Anonymization and modification

Orthanc 0.5.0 introduces the anonymization of DICOM resources (i.e. patients, studies, series or instances). This page summarizes how to use this feature.

Anonymization of a Single Instance

Orthanc allows to anonymize a single DICOM instance and to download the resulting anonymized DICOM file (without storing the anonymized DICOM instance into Orthanc). Anonymization consists in erasing all the tags that are specified in Table E.1-1 from PS 3.15 of the DICOM standard 2008, 2017c or 2021b (default). Example:

$ curl http://localhost:8042/instances/6e67da51-d119d6ae-c5667437-87b9a8a5-0f07c49f/anonymize -X POST -d '{}' > Anonymized.dcm

It is possible to control how anonymization is achieved by specifying a JSON body:

$ curl http://localhost:8042/instances/6e67da51-d119d6ae-c5667437-87b9a8a5-0f07c49f/anonymize -X POST \
  --data '{
            "Replace": {
              "PatientName": "Hello",
              "0010-1001": "World"
            },
            "Keep": [
              "StudyDescription",
              "SeriesDescription"
            ],
            "KeepPrivateTags": true,
            "DicomVersion" : "2017c"
          }' > Anonymized.dcm

Explanations:

  • New UUIDs are automatically generated for the study, the series and the instance.
  • The DICOM tags can be specified either by their name (PatientName) or by their hexadecimal identifier (in the example above, 0010-1001 corresponds to Other Patient Names).
  • Replace is an associative array that associates a DICOM tag with its new string value. The value is dynamically cast to the proper DICOM data type (an HTTP error will occur if the cast fails). Replacements are applied after all the tags to anonymize have been removed. You may also use the Replace field to add new tags to the file.
  • Keep specifies a list of tags that should be preserved from full anonymization.
  • If KeepPrivateTags is set to true in the JSON request, private tags (i.e. manufacturer-specific tags) are not removed by the anonymization process. The default behavior consists in removing the private tags, as such tags can contain patient-specific information.
  • DicomVersion specifies which version of the DICOM standard shall be used for anonymization. Allowed values are 2008, 2017c, or 2021b (new in Orthanc 1.9.4). This parameter has been introduced in Orthanc 1.3.0. In earlier version, the 2008 standard was used. If the parameter is absent, the highest version that is supported by Orthanc is used.
  • Remove can also be used to provide a list of tags to be manually deleted.

Important: Starting with Orthanc 1.9.4, the Replace, Keep and Remove fields can also specify sequences, using the same syntax as the dcmodify command-line tool (wildcards are supported as well). Earlier versions were limited to top-level tags in the DICOM dataset. Check out the integration test test_modify_subsequences for examples.

Implementation: Internally, the setup of the anonymization profiles can be found in the methods SetupAnonymizationXXX() of the class Orthanc::DicomModification (cf. source code).

Modification of a Single Instance

Orthanc allows to modify a set of specified tags in a single DICOM instance and to download the resulting modified DICOM file (without storing the modified DICOM instance into Orthanc). Example:

$ curl -X POST http://localhost:8042/instances/6e67da51-d119d6ae-c5667437-87b9a8a5-0f07c49f/modify \
  --data '{
            "Replace": {
              "PatientName":"hello",
              "PatientID":"world"
            },
            "Remove":[
              "InstitutionName"
            ],
            "RemovePrivateTags": true,
            "Force": true,
            "Transcode": "1.2.840.10008.1.2.4.70"
          }' > Modified.dcm

Remarks:

  • The Remove array specifies the list of the tags to remove.
  • The Replace associative array specifies the substitions to be applied (cf. anonymization).
  • If RemovePrivateTags is set to true, the private tags (i.e. manufacturer-specific tags) are removed.
  • The Transcode option allows you to define the TransferSyntax of the modified file.
  • The Force option must be set to true, in order to allow the modification of the PatientID, as such a modification of the DICOM identifiers might lead to breaking the DICOM model of the real-world. In general, any explicit modification to one of the PatientID, StudyInstanceUID, SeriesInstanceUID, and SOPInstanceUID requires Force to be set to true, in order to prevent any unwanted side effect.
  • To replace a sequence of tags, you may use this syntax:

    {
      "Replace" : {
        "ProcedureCodeSequence" : [
          {
            "CodeValue" : "2",
            "CodingSchemeDesignator" : "1",
            "CodeMeaning": "1"
          }
        ]
      }
    }
    
  • To replace a binary tag, you should encode it in base64 and use:

    {
      "Replace" : {
        "EncryptedAttributesSequence" : [
          {
            "EncryptedContentTransferSyntaxUID" : "1.2.840.10008.1.2",
            "EncryptedContent" : "data:application/octet-stream;base64,SSB3YXMgaGVyZSBpbiAyMDE5LiAgTWFydHkgTWNGbHku"
          }
        ]
      }
    }
    

Important: Similarly to anonymization, starting with Orthanc 1.9.4, the Replace, Keep and Remove fields can also specify sequences, using the same syntax as the dcmodify command-line tool (wildcards are supported as well). Earlier versions were limited to top-level tags in the DICOM dataset. Check out the integration test test_modify_subsequences for examples.

Modification of Studies or Series

It is possible to modify all the instances from a study or from a series in a single request. In this case, the modified instances are stored back into the Orthanc store. Here is how to modify a series:

$ curl http://localhost:8042/series/95a6e2bf-9296e2cc-bf614e2f-22b391ee-16e010e0/modify -X POST -d '{"Replace":{"InstitutionName":"My own clinic"}}'

The parameters are identical to those used to modify a single instance. Orthanc will answer a JSON message that tells where the modified series has been stored:

{
  "ID" : "3bd3d343-82879d86-da77321c-1d23fd6b-faa07bce",
  "Path" : "/series/3bd3d343-82879d86-da77321c-1d23fd6b-faa07bce"
}

Similarly, here is an interaction to modify a study:

$ curl http://localhost:8042/studies/ef2ce55f-9342856a-aee23907-2667e859-9f3b734d/modify -X POST -d '{"Replace":{"InstitutionName":"My own clinic"}}'
{
  "ID" : "1c3f7bf4-85b4aa20-236e6315-5d450dcc-3c1bcf28",
  "Path" : "/studies/1c3f7bf4-85b4aa20-236e6315-5d450dcc-3c1bcf28"
}

Pay attention to the fact that Orthanc implements safety checks to preserve the DICOM model of the real world. These checks prevent the modification of some tags that are known to belong to a level in the patient/study/series/instance hierarchy that is higher than the level that corresponds to the REST API call. For instance, the tag PatientID cannot be modified if using the /studies/{id}/modify route (in the latter case, the /patients/{id}/modify route must be used, cf. next section). You also have to set the Force argument to true if modifying one of the DICOM identifiers tags (i.e. PatientID, StudyInstanceUID, SeriesInstanceUID and SOPInstanceUID).

Modification of Patients

Starting with Orthanc 0.7.5, Orthanc can also modify all the instances of a patient with a single REST call. Here is a sample:

$ curl http://localhost:8042/patients/6fb47ef5-072f4557-3215aa29-f99515c1-6fa22bf0/modify -X POST -d '{"Replace":{"PatientID":"Hello","PatientName":"Sample patient name"},"Force":true}'
{
  "ID" : "f7ff9e8b-7bb2e09b-70935a5d-785e0cc5-d9d0abf0",
  "Path" : "/patients/f7ff9e8b-7bb2e09b-70935a5d-785e0cc5-d9d0abf0",
  "PatientID" : "f7ff9e8b-7bb2e09b-70935a5d-785e0cc5-d9d0abf0",
  "Type" : "Patient"
}

Please note that, in this case, you have to set the value of the PatientID (0010,0020) tag for Orthanc to accept this modification: This is a security to prevent the merging of patient data before and after anonymization, if the user does not explicitly tell Orthanc to do so.

Anonymization of Patients, Studies or Series

Study and series can be anonymized the same way as they are modified:

$ curl http://localhost:8042/patients/6fb47ef5-072f4557-3215aa29-f99515c1-6fa22bf0/anonymize -X POST -d '{}'
$ curl http://localhost:8042/studies/ef2ce55f-9342856a-aee23907-2667e859-9f3b734d/anonymize -X POST -d '{}'
$ curl http://localhost:8042/series/95a6e2bf-9296e2cc-bf614e2f-22b391ee-16e010e0/anonymize -X POST -d '{}'

As written above, the anonymization process can be fine-tuned by using a JSON body.

Bulk modification or anonymization

Starting with Orthanc 1.9.4, it is possible to use the new routes /tools/bulk-modify and /tools/bulk-anonymize to respectively modify or anonymize a set of multiple DICOM resources that are not related (i.e. that don’t share any parent DICOM resource). A typical use case is to modify/anonymize a list of DICOM instances that don’t belong to the same parent patient/study/series.

These two routes accept the same arguments as described above, but must also be provided with an additional argument Resources that lists the Orthanc identifiers of the resources of interest (that may indifferently correspond to patients, studies, series or instances). Here are two sample calls:

$ curl http://localhost:8042/tools/bulk-modify -d '{"Replace":{"SeriesDescription":"HELLO"},"Resources":["b6da0b16-a25ae9e7-1a80fc33-20df01a9-a6f7a1b0","d6634d97-24379e4a-1e68d3af-e6d0451f-e7bcd3d1"]}'
$ curl http://localhost:8042/tools/bulk-anonymize -d '{"Resources":["b6da0b16-a25ae9e7-1a80fc33-20df01a9-a6f7a1b0","d6634d97-24379e4a-1e68d3af-e6d0451f-e7bcd3d1"]}'

The output of the modification/anonymization lists all the resources that have been altered by the call (including their parents). Here is the output of the second sample above:

{
  "Description" : "REST API",
  "FailedInstancesCount" : 0,
  "InstancesCount" : 2,
  "IsAnonymization" : true,
  "Resources" : [
    {
       "ID" : "04c04806-27b01a5a-08ea66cb-cb36c8b9-ebe62fe3",
       "Path" : "/instances/04c04806-27b01a5a-08ea66cb-cb36c8b9-ebe62fe3",
       "Type" : "Instance"
    },
    {
       "ID" : "4e37fce9-6b33b8ba-7bb378e1-abc7e2c4-fca4ade3",
       "Path" : "/instances/4e37fce9-6b33b8ba-7bb378e1-abc7e2c4-fca4ade3",
       "Type" : "Instance"
    },
    {
       "ID" : "6438ee62-b58a4788-517931b3-e10321eb-d1ab2613",
       "Path" : "/series/6438ee62-b58a4788-517931b3-e10321eb-d1ab2613",
       "Type" : "Series"
    },
    {
       "ID" : "660494fd-1ddd661b-4358d996-ba600e5a-066d94cc",
       "Path" : "/studies/660494fd-1ddd661b-4358d996-ba600e5a-066d94cc",
       "Type" : "Study"
    },
    {
       "ID" : "5faa0bf8-8a45520b-3a07e536-fc24f241-f59ae3e1",
       "Path" : "/patients/5faa0bf8-8a45520b-3a07e536-fc24f241-f59ae3e1",
       "Type" : "Patient"
    }
  ]
}

Split/merge of DICOM studies

Starting with Orthanc 1.5.0, Orthanc supports splitting and merging DICOM studies through its REST API.

Splitting

Here is the syntax to split a DICOM study:

$ curl http://localhost:8042/studies/6e2c0ec2-5d99c8ca-c1c21cee-79a09605-68391d12/split -d \
       '{"Series":["6ca4c9f3-5e895cb3-4d82c6da-09e060fe-9c59f228"],"Replace":{"PatientName":"HELLO"},"Remove":["AccessionNumber"]}'

By issuing this command, the series whose Orthanc identifier is 6ca4c9f3-5e895cb3-4d82c6da-09e060fe-9c59f228, and that is part of the source study with identifier 6e2c0ec2-5d99c8ca-c1c21cee-79a09605-68391d12, will be removed from the source study, and will be moved to a brand new study.

This is done by generating a new value for all the following DICOM tags in the DICOM instances of the series of interest: StudyInstanceUID (0x0020, 0x000d), SeriesInstanceUID (0x0020, 0x000e), and SOPInstanceUID (0x0008, 0x0018). Here are the arguments of this /studies/{study}/split URI:

  • Series gives the list of series to be separated from the parent study (mandatory option). These series must all be children of the same source study, that is specified in the URI.
  • Replace allows to overwrite the DICOM tags that are part of the “Patient Module Attributes” and the “General Study Module Attributes”, as specified by the DICOM 2011 standard in Tables C.7-1 and C.7-3.
  • Remove allows to remove DICOM tags from the same modules as in the Replace options.
  • KeepSource (Boolean value), if set to true, instructs Orthanc to keep a copy of the original series in the source study. By default, the original series are deleted from Orthanc.

Merging

Here is the syntax to merge DICOM series, into another DICOM study:

$ curl http://localhost:8042/studies/6e2c0ec2-5d99c8ca-c1c21cee-79a09605-68391d12/merge -d \
       '{"Resources":["ef2ce55f-9342856a-aee23907-2667e859-9f3b734d"]}'

By issuing this command, the DICOM series whose Orthanc identifier is ef2ce55f-9342856a-aee23907-2667e859-9f3b734d, will be merged into target study with identifier 6e2c0ec2-5d99c8ca-c1c21cee-79a09605-68391d12.

As in the case of splitting, this is done by updating the following DICOM tags: StudyInstanceUID (0x0020, 0x000d), SeriesInstanceUID (0x0020, 0x000e), and SOPInstanceUID (0x0008, 0x0018). Furthermore, all the DICOM tags that are part of the “Patient Module Attributes” and the “General Study Module Attributes” (as specified by the DICOM 2011 standard in Tables C.7-1 and C.7-3), are modified to match the target study. Here are the arguments of this /studies/{study}/merge URI:

  • Resources gives the list of source studies or source series that are to be merged into the target study.
  • KeepSource (Boolean value), if set to true, instructs Orthanc to keep the source studies and series. By default, the original resources are deleted from Orthanc.