DICOM PS3.15 2024a - Security and System Management Profiles

E.3.2 Clean Recognizable Visual Features Option

When this Option is specified in addition to the Basic Application Level Confidentiality Profile, if there is sufficient visual information within the Pixel Data of a set of instances to allow an individual to be recognized from the instances themselves or a reconstruction of a set of instances, then sufficient removal or distortion of the Pixel Data shall be applied to prevent recognition.

This may require intervention of or approval by a human operator.

The Attribute Recognizable Visual Features (0028,0302) shall be added to the Dataset with a Value of "NO".


  1. This capability is called out as a specific Option, since it may be extremely burdensome in practice to implement and is unnecessary for the vast majority of anatomic sites and modalities.

  2. In the case of full-face photographs, the risk of visual identification is obvious, and numerous techniques are well established for de-identification, such as applying black rectangles over the eyes, etc.

  3. In the case of high-resolution cross-sectional imaging of the entire head and neck, it has been suggested that a 3D volume or surface rendering of the pixel data may be sufficient to allow identification (or matching against a constrained subset of individuals) under some circumstances.

  4. Application of this Option may render the pixel data unusable for the purpose for which it has been collected, and hence its use may require a compromise between de-identification and utility based on obtaining appropriate ethical approval and informed consent. Consider for example, the case of dental images.

  5. Since the Referenced Patient Photo Sequence is removed as part of the Basic Profile, support of the Clean Recognizable Visual Features Option does not add requirements for that Attribute.

DICOM PS3.15 2024a - Security and System Management Profiles