The Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) standard is widely used in the medical community for interchange of images and other data. Because it is the predominant standard, Scan2MCNP reads scan data in DICOM format.
A DICOM file contains binary data elements. Each element consists of a tag that specifies the type of information, an optional Value Representation (VR) field that specifies the data type, a length field giving the length of the data, and the data. Each data element must be read in order to march through the file and find the data of interest. The program retains information about the format and location of the image and the image itself. Irrelevant data, such as the patient's birth date, is discarded.
The current DICOM standard specifies that the file contains the string "DICM" starting at byte position 128. Some, but not all, older DICOM files do not follow this convention but can still be read by Scan2MCNP. The program warns about a nonstandard file header if this header convention is not found.
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