Digital images play an important role in a wide range of medical applications. Several widespread technologies for digital imaging, such as Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance (MR), etc., produce three-dimensional images. Data compression, is thus essential to reduce the volume of such images, permitting their efficient storing along with the improvement of the relative transmission time through Internet or any other ad-hoc systems, like Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), Tele-radiology, etc.. Since these images are often stored in system particularly vulnerable from the point of view of security, especially because they contain sensitive data, it is necessary to provide such images with a mechanism which ensures at least security against message forgery. In fact, an attack can be made by altering a medical image, and consequently, may alter the relative diagnosis. The purpose of this work is twofold, first we propose a low complexity approach for the compression of 3-D medical images, then, in order to limit the above defined potential attack, we proposed en efficient method to insert within each image an invisible digital watermark, during the compression process. In this way, we define a hybrid approach that handles simultaneously and efficiently both the compression that the security of three-dimensional images. We validate the proposed approach by showing test results.
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