Back to Blogs

10 Best 3D Slicer Alternatives in 2024

February 9, 2024
|
8 mins
blog image

As medical professionals rush to find the best DICOM platform for managing complex medical data, reports project the Global Medical and Radiology software market to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.8% from 2023 to 2030.

Using a robust imaging tool, medical experts can streamline their clinical workflows and improve patient care by conducting accurate diagnoses and developing relevant treatment plans. 3D Slicer is a popular option for handling medical data. However, the tool lacks collaboration features, data security protocols, and anonymization functionality to manage sensitive, large-scale data.  

This article discusses several alternatives that overcome 3D Slicer’s limitations. Primarily, we will review the following tools to help you find the best platform for medical data management.

  • Encord DICOM Label Editor
  • Materialise Mimics Care Suite
  • PostDICOM  
  • Simpleware ScanIP
  • OsiriX MD
  • Invivo6 
  • Weasis
  • RadiAnt
  • Horos
  • PowerDICOM

3D Slicer

3D Slicer is an open-source medical imaging solution that lets you visualize, segment, process, register, and analyze complex medical images in two, three, and four dimensions.

Below are a few challenges of using 3D Slicer.

Challenges

While 3D Slicer is an affordable option with many required features for efficiently managing DICOM files, it has certain limitations:

  • Installation and Setup: Installing 3D Slicer on Windows requires the path to be in ASCII printable characters. Otherwise, specific Python packages will not load.
  • No Collaboration Features: The platform lacks collaboration tools to help healthcare professionals communicate and manage workflows across team members.
  • Clunky User Interface (UI): 3D Slicer’s UI can be challenging to navigate as the solution consists of multiple modules serving specific functions to manipulate DICOM files.
  • Lack of Data Anonymization: 3D Slicer has no dedicated tool to anonymize sensitive patient data files.
  • Data Security Assurance and Compliance Certificates: 3D Slicer’s primary use case involves research applications instead of clinical practice. As a result, the platform lacks the formal compliance certifications required to meet the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), System and Organization Controls 2 (SOC 2), and International Organization for Standardization 27001 (ISO 27001) standards.
  • Missing Image Fusion Compatibility: The platform has no support for image fusion. With image fusion, healthcare professionals can combine images with different modalities, such as Positron Emission Tomography (PET), Computed Tomography (CT), and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for integrated reporting and analysis.

Due to these limitations, we will cover better alternatives that provide the desired features to manage medical data in the modern healthcare ecosystem in the following sections.

light-callout-cta Want to learn how to improve medical image datasets? Read our 7 ways to improve medical imaging dataset
 

Alternatives to 3D Slicer

Current healthcare imaging solutions need robust security protocols with easy-to-use interfaces. They must also support multiple data formats, advanced integration, and collaboration features to streamline surgical and clinical operations.

Medical data mining can uncover valuable insights from your patient records and imaging data to improve diagnostics and treatment. Below is a list of popular alternatives that can help you achieve greater efficiency in your medical practice.

Encord

Encord is an all-in-one solution for annotating and managing DICOM and NIfTI data. It includes features to annotate complex medical images through multiple labeling methods. It also enables you to curate high-quality training data to build computer vision (CV) models for clinical applications. 

Encord - Alternative to 3D Slicer

Encord - Collaborative DICOM & NIfTI Annotation Platform for Healthcare AI

Key Features 

  • Installation and Setup: Installing and setting up Encord involves an easy 4-step process where you create your dataset, define the ontology, make an annotation project, and add team members.
  • Collaboration: Encord lets you create workflows and quickly add team members using their emails. You can assign members roles such as admin, annotator, reviewer, and team manager.
  • User Interface (UI): The platform offers a user-friendly interface with a navigation bar to set up your projects quickly.
  • Data Anonymization: Encord lets you de-identify sensitive patient data, such as personal identifiable information (PII), through its Python software development kit (SDK).
  • Annotation: It allows you to annotate medical images like CT, X-rays, and MRI scans to train CV models for healthcare use cases.
  • Intensity Value: Since Encord renders DICOM files natively, it lets you display images with full intensities ranging up to 20,000 pixels.
  • Multiple Series View: You can view multiple series simultaneously with annotation information if everything is in the same dataset.

Best for

  • Medical experts who want a scalable DICOM management solution to view, annotate, and share medical images across teams.

Pricing

light-callout-cta Learn more about segmentation by reading the blog on Medical Image Segmentation: A Complete Guide.
 

Materialise Mimics Care Suite

Materialise Mimics is a Windows-based 3D printing software that lets you analyze anatomical structures using 3D tools and automate workflows with Python scripts.

Materialise Mimics - Alternative to 3D Slicer

Materialise Mimics

Key Features

  • Installation and Setup: It only takes four minutes to set up Mimics using a licensing key.
  • Collaboration: The Mimics Viewer lets you collaborate with other physicians and engineers to perform measurements, give feedback, and compare anatomical models with images.
  • User Interface: Mimics has a professional-looking interface that is easy to navigate and operate.
  • Data Anonymization: The suite offers a de-identification tool to anonymize files based on company requirements.
  • AR and AI-enabled Segmentation: Mimics’ latest release includes new features such as 3D visualization in augmented reality (AR) and AI for automatic segmentation.

Best for

  • Large healthcare organizations looking for a robust 3D printing solution that integrates with modern printing technology.

Pricing

  • The solution has a licensing-based model.

PostDICOM

PostDICOM is a cloud-based Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) with a CE-certified integrated online DICOM viewer featuring multi-planar reconstruction (MPR), maximum intensity projection (MIP), and 3D rendering.

PostDICOM - Alternative to 3D Slicer

PostDICOM

Key Features

  • Collaboration: PostDICOM lets you add users to folders if you want to share data with other members.
  • User Interface: PostDICOM has a user-friendly interface.
  • Data Anonymization: It has a data anonymization feature.
  • Basic Markers: PostDICOM supports basic tools such as angles, arrows, cross-ruler, etc., to highlight areas of interest directly on the image.

Best for

  • Teams that want a PACS-compatible DICOM viewer to collaborate on large-scale data with JPEG, BMP, AVI, and MPEG file formats.

Pricing

  • PostDICOM offers a Lite, Pro, and Advanced version.

Simpleware ScanIP

ScanIP is a segmentation software for visualizing and analyzing 3D medical images. You can also export them to 3D printing and CAD software to generate 3D models.

Simpleware ScanIP - Alternative to 3D Slicer

Simpleware ScanIP

Key Features

  • User Interface: ScanIP has a highly customizable user interface with interactive tutorials and tools for volume rendering, number formatting, segmentation, and two-way PACS communication.
  • Support for Multiple File Formats: You can import DICOM images in different formats.
  • Statistical Analysis: With ScanIP, you can analyze image statistics, such as volume, surface area, pore sizes, orientation, voxels, etc.

Best for

  • Teams looking for an advanced 3D printing solution that integrates with a DICOM viewer and editor.

Pricing

  • ScanIP has a licensing-based model.

OsiriX MD

OsiriX MD is a DICOM image viewing solution compatible with MacOS. It features advanced post-processing methods for 2D and 3D images and integrates with PACS for file sharing and collaborative workflows.

OsiriXMD - Alternative to 3D Slicer

OsiriX MD

Key Features

  • Installation and Setup: You can install the software within five minutes in any environment.
  • Collaboration: OsiriX MD lets you share files using its built-in database-sharing function.
  • User Interface: The UI has customizable toolbars with tools to create and display critical images.
  • Data Anonymization: The tool lets you anonymize and encrypt data for research and teaching.
  • Image Fusion: OsiriX MD supports image fusion.
  • Support for Plugins: The platform’s architecture supports additional plugins that allow you to extend its functionality and include features such as detailed reporting.

Best for

  • Healthcare experts who want a Mac-based solution for teaching and research.

Pricing

  • OsiriX has subscription-based pricing.

Invivo6

Invivo6 by Anatomage is a cloud-based solution for processing 3D medical images compatible with Windows and Mac OS.

Invivo6 - Alternative to 3D Slicer

Invivo6

Key Features

  • Installation and Setup: Invivo6 does not require installation as the software directly connects to the Anatomage cloud.
  • Collaboration: Teams can quickly collaborate over the cloud and view images on any tablet, smartphone, or laptop using a web browser.
  • User Interface: Invivo6 features a smooth UI designed to streamline medical workflows.

Best for

  • Teams who want an integrated solution for medical and dental use cases.

Pricing

  • Pricing is not publicly available.

Weasis

Weasis is a web-based DICOM solution compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. The platform has a modular architecture and integrates with PACS, Hospital Information Systems (HIS), Patient Health Records (PHR), and Radiology Information Systems (RIS).

Weasis - 3D Slicer Alternative

Weasis

Key Features

  • Installation and Setup: You can install Weasis by downloading the relevant installer and following the instructions on the screen.
  • User Interface: The platform has an easy-to-use interface that lets you explore DICOM images through multiple options for measuring, drawing annotations, zooming, changing the layout, and synchronizing settings for other images.
  • Data Anonymization: The DICOM 2D viewer module lets you anonymize data in views.

Best for

  • Teams who want a cost-effective DICOM solution for research trials.

Pricing

  • Weasis is free to use.

RadiAnt

RadiAnt is a Windows-based PACS DICOM viewer with multiple tools for fluid zooming, setting window presets, adjusting brightness and contrast, and freehand drawing.

RadiAnt - Alternative to 3D Slicer

Key Features

  • Installation and Setup: Installation requires downloading the software and using the setup wizard to configure the application.
  • Multi-touch Support: RadiAnt supports touch-enabled devices to let you browse, zoom, and change window settings.
  • Image Fusion: The software allows image fusion between a PET image and a CT scan. You can also use the functionality with MRI scans.

Best for

  • Teams who want a cost-effective Window-based solution to work with DICOM files.

Pricing

  • RadiAnt is open-source.

Horos

Horos is an open-sourceDICOM viewer compatible with Mac OS and based on OsiriX.

Horos - Alternative to 3D Slicer

Horos

Key Features

  • Installation and Setup: Horos has a quick installation process.
  • Collaboration: The Horos Cloud solution lets you quickly share DICOM files with other users.
  • Data Security and Compliance: Horos is GDPR-compliant.

Best for

  • Teams looking for a Mac-based solution to collaborate on large DICOM files.

Pricing

  • While Horos DICOM viewer is free, Horos Cloud requires a subscription.

PowerDicom

PowerDicom is an easy-to-use DICOM solution that lets you view DICOM files and convert images into DICOM format.

PowerDicom - 3D Slicer Alternatives

PowerDicom

Key Features

  • Multiple Document Interface (MDI): PowerDicom’s MDI allows you to process several documents simultaneously.
  • Report Generation: The platform lets you generate customizable reports in Microsoft Word.
  • Anonymization: The tool supports automated anonymization through batch processing.

Best for

  • Teams who want a beginner-level DICOM viewer to perform essential functions.

Pricing

  • PowerDicom offers a personal, basic, professional, and expert edition.

Alternatives to 3D Slicer: Key Takeaways

As the healthcare ecosystem becomes more complex, practitioners need robust tools for storing, managing, and sharing medical data across multiple devices. Here are a few key points to remember regarding medical data management tools.

  • Benefits of Using 3D Slicer: The most significant benefit of 3D Slicer is that it is a free slicing software that lets you create 3D models of anatomical structures by integrating with 3D printers.
  • Limitations: While 3D Slicer offers support for AR and VR for 3D image viewing with AI-assisted segmentation tools, it lacks other crucial features. For instance, it does not offer anonymization features or collaboration tools and has no official compliance with international standards.
  • Alternatives to 3D Slicer: Encord, Materialise Mimics, and PostDICOM are popular alternatives to 3D Slicer that offer advanced viewing, annotation, sharing, and 3D printing features for effective medical diagnosis.

Encord data engine

The Unified AI Data Development Platform

Consolidates & automate your data curation, annotation, and validation workflows to power your AI models with the right data.

Written by
author-avatar-url

Haziqa Sajid

View more posts
Frequently asked questions
  • You need a DICOM viewer to open a DICOM file.

  • PACS is the backend hardware and software that allows you to store and share DICOM images.

  • DICOM files can store multiple medical images, including X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and ultrasounds.

  • Yes, conforming to the DICOM standard ensures data encryption with access controls for managing privacy.

  • Materialise Mimics is an enterprise-level solution for creating 3D models from anatomical images.

  • Encord, PostDicom, and RadiAnt are popular options for Windows-based DICOM viewers.

  • OsiriX MD, Invivo6, and Encord can work efficiently on MacOS.