OpenIGTLink: Open source Development Library for building Medical Image-Guided Therapy (IGT) Solutions

The OpenIGTLink is an open source development library for building Medical Image-Guided Therapy (IGT) applications. It developed and maintained by OpenIGTLink community & Brigham and Women's Hospital. It's a low level C/C++ library that can be used to create multi-platform applications that runs on Windows, Linux, & Mac OSX. It uses: OpenIGTLink protocol.

3D Slicer: Medical Imaging Analysis and Processing software using OpenIGTLink

What is Image-guided Therapy

The basic definition for Image-guided surgery (IGT):

Image-guided surgery (IGT) is any surgical procedure where the surgeon uses tracked surgical instruments in conjunction with preoperative or intraoperative images in order to directly or indirectly guide the procedure.

But with more rich definition, according to the Brigham and Women's Hospital the main factor behind OpenIGTLine and the best description to define Image-guided Therapy technology:

Image-guided therapy, a central concept of 21st century medicine, is the use of any form of medical imaging to plan, perform, and evaluate surgical procedures and therapeutic interventions. Image-guided therapy techniques help to make surgeries less invasive and more precise, which can lead to shorter hospital stays and fewer repeated procedures.
While the number of specific procedures that use image-guidance is growing, these procedures comprise two general categories: traditional surgeries that become more precise through the use of imaging and newer procedures that use imaging and special instruments to treat conditions of internal organs and tissues without a surgical incision.
The cross-sectional digital imaging modalities Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computed Tomography (CT) are the most commonly used modalities of image-guided therapy. These procedures are also supported by ultrasound, angiography, surgical navigation equipment, tracking tools, and integration software.

Applications of Image Guided Therapy (IGT):

  • Surgical navigation systems software
  • Robotic surgery applications
  • Medical image processing
  • Medical Image tracking
  • Medical image analysis
  • Open source (BSD-style license)
  • Used in many successful applications
  • Backed by a stable developer community
  • Battle-tested in enterprise-grade apps
  • Built with C++

OpenIGTLink is providing a C/C++ Library that works for Windows, Linux, Mac OSX, and a Java implementation built by AIM Lab at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  The OpenIGTLink protocol is developed and maintained by The OpenIGTLink community hosted at National Center for Image Guided Therapy, Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

3D Slicer

3D Slicer is a free, open source (Libre)  medical imaging analysis and medical visualization. It works smoothly on Windows, Linux, & Mac OSX. It uses The OpenIGTLinux library to exchange data between 3D Slicer and other open software, and medical devices. 3D Slicer is one of our top recommendations for Open source Medical Imaging processing and Analysis software (DICOM).


CustusX is a Navigation System for Image-Guided Intervention developed by the team of clinicians, surgeons and engineers at the Norwegian National Competence Centre for Ultrasound and Image-Guided Therapy.


Web page:
The Intraoperative Brain Imaging System (Ibis) is an open source image-guided neurosurgery (IGNS) platform that replicates most of the basic functionality of it commercial counterparts while allowing for rapid development of new techniques. The platform focuses on intraoperative imaging such as tracked ultrasound and improved visualization through the use of augmented reality.


MITK-IG is a Medical Imaging Interaction Toolkit (MITK) that combines medical imaging toolkit and medical visualization kit with Image-guided technologies. It is used to built advanced real-time medical imaging processing, analysis, & intervention devices and software.

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