CT Scan of COVID Lung with Ground Glass Opacity - 3Dicom Surgical

3Dicom Lite – View More Detail With DICOM Display Settings

So you’ve just loaded your scan/dicom image into the dicom viewer and used the Hounsfield slider to view the skin, muscle, bone or specific layer that you’re interested in. Now you want to enhance the scan for your screenshots or recording. Let’s say you are have a scan of the lungs with apparent ground glass opacity and would like to increase your view inside the lungs or surrounding areas. With the three DICOM display settings built into Lite, Pro and Surgical, these can aid us in our analysis of all scans. Furthermore, these display settings can also help those with visual impediments when analysing the 3D model or image.

Adjusting the 3 DICOM Display Settings – Brightness, Contrast & Opacity

Brightness, contrast and opacity are three imperative dicom display settings we can use, to alter how we view a scan or image and extract any fine details we deem necessary. These three display settings all serve different functions and alter how we view a scan.

Brightness, contrast and opacity can be found under “Display Settings” within the “Expose” tab on the left side. Each of these three display settings are complemented with an individual slider which we can adjust accordingly. To use the slider, we can simply click and hold the mouse button and drag it to where we would like. In conjunction with this we can input specific values in the box situated next to the slider by upgrading to 3Dicom “Pro” or “Surgery”.

display settings

Brightness is a display setting we can use to adjust how bright the scan image appears. When this display setting is increased, scans become brighter and darker elements in the dicom image become more visible. Increased brightness can be used to make an image more clear for analysis or highlight significant areas.

Contrast is a display setting we can use to differentiate different tissues, bones or layers from eachother. When contrast is increased, the difference between lighter and darker areas within the image are enhanced. This in turn, will aid us in identifying dense areas from less dense areas.

Opacity is the final display setting we can use to adjust the transparency of a scan. Opacity is a display setting we can use to make dense or large areas more transparent to see through. When dense areas become more transparent, we are able to identify any fine details that may have been missed for example small muscles or areas of cartilage.

When altering the display settings of our dicom file, it is important to note the dicom image result will be dependent on a number of factors. Some of these include slice size, slice view, patient specific anatomy, image type, pixel size, result of volume rendering, dicom file appearance (color image or grayscale image) or overall change in the dicom file. It is recommended that changing the display settings is a matter of ‘trial and error’ and testing what produces the strongest active image for analysis as no anatomy is ever the same.

What else can I do with the DICOM display settings?

The dicom display settings also serve many other functions rather than just manipulating our scan or image to how we would like. One of the most common uses of the dicom display settings is changing our opacity of the image to be near zero. When changing our opacity to be near zero, it will give us an “X-ray” view in CT scans, allowing you to ‘see through’ the patient and replicate a 2D image view. Furthermore, when changing our opacity to be near zero, it will replicate a scan that we have most likely seen before hence easier to interpret. However, this will not be kind to our GPU and battery.

Another common function the dicom display settings provide us with, is distinguishing bone from muscle and skin. By increasing the contrast, it allows us to have a more clear view of bone and dense pieces of human anatomy. In conjunction with this, by increasing the contrast, it hides less dense skin and flesh that may not be important in our scan and analysis.

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