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OpenIGTLink provides a standardized mechanism for communications among computers and devices in operating rooms (OR) for wide variety of image-guided therapy (IGT) applications. Examples of such applications include:

  • Stereotactic surgical guidance using optical position sensor and medical image visualization software.
  • Intraoperative image guidance using real-time MRI and medical image visualization software
  • Robot-assisted intervention using robotic device and surgical planning software

See Applications section below for a list of research projects using OpenIGTLink.

OpenIGTLink is a set of digital messaging formats and rules (protocol) used for data exchange on a local area network (LAN). The specification of OpenIGTLink and its reference implementation, the OpenIGTLink Library, are available free of charge for any purpose including commercial use. An OpenIGTLink interface is available in popular medical image processing and visualization software 3D Slicer.

Recent updates.

OpenIGTLink concept.png


OpenIGTLink Version 2

Extended Protocols


Reference Library




OpenIGTLink has been used in a number of research projects. Here are some examples:

Please see the list of hardware that supports the OpenIGTLink Protocol.


  • Studies using OpenIGTLink
    • Tokuda J, Fischer GS, Papademetris X, Yaniv Z, Ibáñez L, Cheng P, Liu H, Blevins J, Arata J, Golby AJ, Kapur T, Pieper S, Burdette EC, Fichtinger G, Tempany CM, Hata N. OpenIGTLink: an open network protocol for image-guided therapy environment. Int J Med Robot. 2009 Dec;5(4):423-34.
    • Arata J, Kozuka H, Kim HW, Takesue N, Vladimirov B, Sakaguchi M, Tokuda J, Hata N, Chinzei K, Fujimoto H. Open core control software for surgical robots. Int J Comput Assist Radiol Surg. 2010 May;5(3):211-20. Epub 2009 Jul 28.
    • Tokuda J, Fischer GS, DiMaio SP, Gobbi DG, Csoma C, Mewes PW, Fichtinger G, Tempany CM, Hata N. Integrated navigation and control software system for MRI-guided robotic prostate interventions. Comput Med Imaging Graph. 2010 Jan;34(1):3-8. Epub 2009 Aug 20.
    • Elhawary H, Liu H, Patel P, Norton I, Rigolo L, Papademetris X, Hata N, Golby AJ. Intraoperative real-time querying of white matter tracts during frameless stereotactic neuronavigation. Neurosurgery. 2011 Feb;68(2):506-16.
    • Egger J, Tokuda J, Chauvin L, Freisleben B, Nimsky C, Kapur T, Wells W. Integration of the OpenIGTLink Network Protocol for image-guided therapy with the medical platform MeVisLab, Int J Med Robot Article first published online: 28 FEB 2012 DOI: 10.1002/rcs.1415



New BSD license ©2008 Insight Software Consortium

Mailing List / Contact

We are launching the OpenIGTLink mailing list ( If you would like to join, please subscribe from OpenIGTLink ML Info Page or send Junichi Tokuda (tokuda at a message with:

  • Your name
  • e-mail address you would like to use to post and receive ML articles on
  • Affiliation
  • Your research topic