I have the latest version if GIMP which is able to open up the DICOM images, but the images are not clear and not reconstructed properly. Is there any specific plugin which can help me?

  • 1
    Do you have an example file you could upload to a file-sharing service? (post a link here). Can you post small extracts of screenshots that clearly illustrate how GIMP shows it and how it should be? Jul 30 '12 at 11:09
  • This might be a good source for sample images for screenshots, since I sort of suspect actual in use dicom images should and will be somewhat confidential. I VERY vaguely remember using this dicom viewer years ago - due to my rustiness in the subject, i will leave it as an exercise to the OP to add screenshots
    – Journeyman Geek
    Jul 30 '12 at 11:36
  • Do you have a "file-dicom" entry when you open GIMP and go to File/Preference/Folder/plugin? It should be built in, but if it's not, you can find the "file-dicom" plugin here.
    – amiregelz
    Jul 30 '12 at 12:00
  • I too have this issue. I think part of the issue is that the pixel values that are allowed by DICOM are too large for GIMP to handle. For example, when I load a dicom image in OpenCV, each pixel requires a U16int, whereas the typical image only requires a U8int. Not sure yet what a solution would be...
    – Selah
    Sep 27 '18 at 19:49

It is a known bug since 2009.

GIMP loads a DICOM file, but the image doesn't appear in the right way. Probably there is a problem on little/big endian decoding. Indeed, a figure is visualized, but the gray levels are wrong. The foreground is noisy while the background is dark. I suggest an option on the Open wizard to set the little/big endian decoding when the Dicom file type is selected.

See GIMP Issue tracker: Issue on DICOM files


You might want to use MicroDicom, it does the reconstruction properly. You even have a windowing function.

  • I usually go for MicroDicom but this time, I found that GIMP has a built-in option to display DICOM images but not perfect though
    – sarat
    Jul 31 '12 at 18:29

I suspect that GIMP only support a limited subset of the DICOM specification. Here is what I would try:

$ gdcmconv --raw --force input.dcm output.dcm

This will convert the input input.dcm DICOM with possibly an Encapsulated Transfer syntax representation into a more conventional raw Pixel Data element.

If you do not trust GDCM for doing the conversion, you could instead try:

$ gdcminfo input.dcm

This will give you the actual important information about your DICOM instance. Once you are confident this is using one of the compressed Transfer Syntax, you can use DCMTK to do the decompression. For JPEG family you would need to use:

$ dcmdjpeg input.dcm output.dcm

And so on and so forth for JPEG-LS and RLE (namely: dcmdjpls and dcmdrle).

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