DICOM is continuously changing; the latest version is typically never more than two months old. New modalities are added and additional services are defined to create a more open environment.

The DICOM Standard consists of several parts/sections, each one addressing a specific component of the standard. As of date, it contains 18 parts. Of these, Parts 9 and 13 are identified as retired (RET), which means in this context they are not really used anymore, definitely not for new implementations.

Some of the SOP classes listed in the DICOM standard are old versions i.e. listed as being retired. That is because they have been replaced by newer versions. A potential problem with these SOP classes is that one sometimes finds a modality still using a retired SOP class instead of the most recently defined one. It is, therefore, important to not rely solely on just the description of the SOP Class or the modality identifier (like an Ultrasound), but rather on the actual UID of the SOP Class.

There are also retired Attributes which were part of the DICOM predecessor (ACR-NEMA) standard or part of retired objects (SOP Classes).

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