3.6. A Note on Importing DICOM Images

Without importing your DICOM slices, the standard MeVisLab image loading modules like ImageLoad will only be able to load single DICOM slices separately. For further information, see the chapter Chapter 12, Excursion: Image Processing in ML.

The DICOM import is mainly provided by the modules DicomImport and DirectDicomImport. The use of DicomImport will be described here:

  1. Add the module to the network via the quick search or the menu bar, ModulesFileDICOMDicomImport. Open the module panel with double-click on the module.

    Figure 3.25. DicomImport


  2. Enter the necessary data.

    1. Select the Source Directory where your DICOM slices are located. In the MeVisLab installation path you can find some example DICOM slices in the directory $(InstallDir)/Packages/MeVisLab/Resources/DemoData/BrainT1Dicom. All subdirectories will be scanned recursively by default.

    2. Click the Import button. The lower part of the module panel will show error messages (if there are any).

    Most of the import process happens asynchronously. When the progress bar at the bottom of the module panel disappears the import has finished. The area above the error message area will contain the list of imported patients, which can be expanded to show studies, series, and finally image volumes. You can click on the volume entries, which will be provided at the first and second output connector of the module. (The second output only contains the combined DICOM tree, while the first one also provides the image volume.) By default no entry will be selected.

    You can now connect any module that processes images (or DicomTree objects) to the module.

If your DICOM import fails, or doesn't provide the expected results, check the settings of the module by clicking the Configuration... button, especially check the sections Sort/Part. You should probably also consult the help page for this module which is available through the context menu of this module via HelpShow Help.


DICOM multi-frame files can be opened directly in MeVisLab through the ImageLoad module; therefore, the use of DicomImport is not absolutely necessary for displaying the data. ImageLoad will not split or re-arrange the frames in a multi-frame file, though.

DICOM files without image data can also be opened with LoadDicomTree.


MeVisLab has its own 3D file format which stores the image values and the image DICOM tags in a file with the file extension .mlimage, which can be stored with MLImageFormatSave and loaded with MLImageFormatLoad.

There is also an older format that stores image and tags separately in two files with the same base file name but different file extensions: <filename>.tiff and <filename>.dcm. These pairs can be loaded with ImageLoad