In today's world many formally analog process are finally getting the digital treatment. This includes the medical world. Many modern doctors or chiropractic offices now have new digital x-ray machines. These new machines expose you to less x-rays and develop the "film" instantaneously. The visit may not be fun but the great part about this new technology is you can usually get a copy of your x-ray just by asking. The down side for the Mac user can be unreadable files and an unusable PC only application. As a Mac guy I knew there must be a Mac version of a medical application out there somewhere that can read DICOM files so I did some sleuthing and found an application called OsiriX.
Files from medical imaging devices like MRI’s, ultrasound, PET, X-Rays & CT scans come as a collection of .DCM files. This file type will not open on using your average image application. There seem to be a lot of applications out there for Mac that say they support this file but many are outdated and don't run on the latest Mac OS. I finally found a DICOM image viewer called OsiriX that works well and best of all is free.
Download the application, open it up and insert the CD/Thumb-Drive or manually import the files your doctor has given you. If the application is already open you should get a dialog like this:
Select copy and the files will be imported. When finished you can now view the x-rays on your screen
If you want a more universal file you can export the file as a JPEG. Go to the file menu and select "Export to JPEG"and select your destination.
OsiriX is a free version of a professional application so there are a lot of options you can play with. For the non-medical user however it's a great tool to look at files you might not otherwise have access to. If you need the iPhone or iPad version it's available for $30.
If you are willing to pay a little money there are other applications available that do the same thing. For $3.99 you can pick up an application called Espresso Ray that can view and batch convert DICOM files. But if you need to batch convert x-ray files I think $3.99 is the least of your worries. For me free works well.
I hope you never need this application but if you do you can view and save your own medical data to your home computer.
PS - The files make great backgrounds!