Orthanc is a Belgian, open-source, lightweight DICOM server for healthcare and medical research.


Orthanc in a nutshell

Orthanc aims at providing a simple, yet powerful standalone DICOM server. It is designed to improve the DICOM flows in hospitals and to support research about the automated analysis of medical images. Orthanc lets its users focus on the content of the DICOM files, hiding the complexity of the DICOM format and of the DICOM protocol.

Orthanc can turn any computer running Windows, Linux or OS X into a DICOM store (in other words, a mini-PACS system). Its architecture is lightweight and standalone, meaning that no complex database administration is required, nor the installation of third-party dependencies.

What makes Orthanc unique is the fact that it provides a RESTful API. Thanks to this major feature, it is possible to drive Orthanc from any computer language. The DICOM tags of the stored medical images can be downloaded in the JSON file format. Furthermore, standard PNG images can be generated on-the-fly from the DICOM instances by Orthanc.

Orthanc also features a plugin mechanism to add new modules that extends the core capabilities of its REST API. A Web viewer, a PostgreSQL database back-end, a MySQL database back-end, and a reference implementation of DICOMweb are currently freely available as plugins.

References »      Online demo »


Orthanc is designed to meet the following objectives:

  1. To ease DICOM scripting for clinical routine (e.g. C-Move, C-Store and C-Find SCU).
  2. To ease data management for clinical routine and medical research (mini-PACS).
  3. To bring DICOM images to the Computer Vision community (to ease the automated analysis of medical images).

To meet these objectives, Orthanc is:

  • Lightweight and fast (written in C++),
  • Standalone (all the dependencies can be statically linked),
  • Cross-platform (at least Linux, Windows and OS X),
  • Compliant with the DICOM standard (as it is built on the top of DCMTK),
  • Programmer-friendly (REST API, JSON, PNG).