SecretariatMedical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA)
Lisa Spellman,
ChairsAllan Noordvyk, Change Healthcare
Justin Ryan, Rady Children’s Hospital-SD
Last strategy update2019-10-02
MinutesWG-17 minutes



  • New Approved Scope as of April 2019: Extend and promote the use of DICOM for the creation, storage and management of virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality models in a healthcare setting, where the model is either (a) derived from medical images, or (b) expected to be compared / composited with medical images.

Current Supplements, Work and Objectives:

    • Reorganized WG17 to ensure all 3D+ technologies are represented
      • Change the name of WG-17 to “3D”
    • Maintain a working relationship with:
      • SME industry association’s AM/3DP work group
      • RSNA’s 3D Special Interest Group
    • Maintain a working relationship with other DICOM Work Groups currently responsible for related Information Object Definitions (IODs): Computed Tomography, Magnetic Resonance, Encapsulated PDF, and Secondary Capture
    • Propose a new IOD, with references to existing IODs, to address the remaining priority needs of the medical 3D+ community (color 3D printing and AR/VR/MR)
      • Store 3D printing models in the Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) and Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA) systems in a manner that allows direct association with the relevant patient (and any source images from which the model was derived)
      • Allow for clinical users to review 3D+models in the context of relevant patient images, prior to printing
    • Perform further gap analysis of the existing DICOM standard with respect to potential 3D+requirements (e.g. intermediate segmentation representation)
    • Establish priorities for filling gaps identified
    • Sup/208 for the encapsulation of advanced 3D file formats is currently out for Public Comment through 19 October 2019.
    • WG-17 3D hopes to develop a series of short videos (“Library Videos”) to illustrate utility from WG17s work product. The video will primarily be used to support awareness efforts of 3D manufacturing in medicine.

Challenges and Opportunities (Environment):

  • The current level of enthusiasm for a standards-based approach in both end-user and vendor community appears high. Moving quickly to put the WG in motion can leverage this to address both risks above
  • There are a number of competing native data format standards for high fidelity 3D models outside of medicine, and no “lingua franca” appears to be developing in the near term
    • Different vendors and end-user communities favor different data formats as their primary working one
    • DICOM would need to take fairly neutral approach with respect to working with these data formats (suggesting an encapsulation approach, similar to what was done with PDF)
    • The STL data format, although older and limited, is near universally supported and thus may be leveraged as a baseline, to maximize interoperability
  • A 3D shape visualization capability of PDF is used at many institutions as part of the preview workflow
    • This appears to be compatible with DICOM PDF encapsulation IOD as it exists today
  • Unlike the case with medical printers, there appears to be no good case for DICOM directly support communicating with 3D printers themselves
    • There exists a final stage of preparing a 3D model for a specific printer’s capabilities and build material options before initiating printing
    • This final stage is already well addressed by vendors in this space and has no dependency on whether the object to be printed is related to a patient or is for some other purpose
    • DICOM’s scope can thus stop after delivering a 3D model to this final prep software
  • Many institutions have extended their 3D visualization labs to encompass 3D printing requests from clinical staff
    • This presents a community with knowledge of other DICOM-enabled workflow that could be leveraged for WG activities.

Future Roadmap and Objectives (Committee Direction):

  • The WG-17 roadmap is based upon the analysis of the 3D+ data and workflow needs through a standard framework. The results of this analysis would then be used to specify information objects and services needed to best serve patients and the imaging-based 3D printing medical community.
  • As much as possible and compatible with DICOM guiding principles, the new specifications this would be proposed in a manner to (a) leverage the existing and growing ecosystem of DICOM-capable systems in use in healthcare institutions and (b) leverage standards already in use in the 3D+ industry.
  • The ultimate goal is a comprehensive, standards-based digital platform for 3D+ in the patient care setting, of which DICOM-based imaging would be a significant part.

Past Work:

  • Completion of Sup/205 and adoption into the 2018b specification of DICOM.
  • STL was IANA registered.
  • WG17 completed Supplement 205, DICOM Encapsulation of STL Models for 3D for the encapsulation of the STL 3D file format. This supplement became part of the 2018b DICOM specification.