DICOM PS3.5 2016c - Data Structures and Encoding

8.2.4 JPEG 2000 Image Compression

DICOM provides a mechanism for supporting the use of JPEG 2000 Image Compression through the Encapsulated Format (see PS3.3). Annex A defines a number of Transfer Syntaxes that reference the JPEG 2000 Standard and provide lossless (bit preserving) and lossy compression schemes.


The context where the usage of lossy compression of medical images is clinically acceptable is beyond the scope of the DICOM Standard. The policies associated with the selection of appropriate compression parameters (e.g., compression ratio) for JPEG 2000 lossy compression are also beyond the scope of this standard.

The use of the DICOM Encapsulated Format to support JPEG 2000 Compressed Pixel Data requires that the Data Elements that are related to the Pixel Data encoding (e.g., Photometric Interpretation, Samples per Pixel, Planar Configuration, Bits Allocated, Bits Stored, High Bit, Pixel Representation, Rows, Columns, etc.) shall contain values that are consistent with the characteristics of the compressed data stream. The Pixel Data characteristics included in the JPEG 2000 bit stream shall be used to decode the compressed data stream.


These requirements are specified in terms of consistency with what is encapsulated, rather than in terms of the uncompressed pixel data from which the compressed data stream may have been derived.

When decompressing, should the characteristics explicitly specified in the compressed data stream be inconsistent with those specified in the DICOM Data Elements, those explicitly specified in the compressed data stream should be used to control the decompression. The DICOM data elements, if inconsistent, can be regarded as suggestions as to the form in which an uncompressed Data Set might be encoded.

The JPEG 2000 bit stream specifies whether or not a reversible or irreversible multi-component (color) transformation, if any, has been applied. If no multi-component transformation has been applied, then the components shall correspond to those specified by the DICOM Attribute Photometric Interpretation (0028,0004). If the JPEG 2000 Part 1 reversible multi-component transformation has been applied then the DICOM Attribute Photometric Interpretation (0028,0004) shall be YBR_RCT. If the JPEG 2000 Part 1 irreversible multi-component transformation has been applied then the DICOM Attribute Photometric Interpretation (0028,0004) shall be YBR_ICT.


  1. For example, single component may be present, and the Photometric Interpretation (0028,0004) may be MONOCHROME2.

  2. Though it would be unusual, would not take advantage of correlation between the red, green and blue components, and would not achieve effective compression, a Photometric Interpretation of RGB could be specified as long as no multi-component transformation was specified by the JPEG 2000 bit stream.

  3. Despite the application of a multi-component color transformation and its reflection in the Photometric Interpretation attribute, the "color space" remains undefined. There is currently no means of conveying "standard color spaces" either by fixed values (such as sRGB) or by ICC profiles. Note in particular that the JP2 file header is not sent in the JPEG 2000 bitstream that is encapsulated in DICOM.

The JPEG 2000 bitstream is capable of encoding both signed and unsigned pixel values, hence the value of Pixel Representation (0028,0103) may be either 0 or 1 depending on what has been encoded (as specified in the SIZ marker segment in the precision and sign of component parameter).

The value of Planar Configuration (0028,0006) is irrelevant since the manner of encoding components is specified in the JPEG 2000 standard, hence it shall be set to 0.

DICOM PS3.5 2016c - Data Structures and Encoding