Just knowing that CPT® contains specific codes to describe both fine needle aspiration (FNA) and percutaneous needle biopsy (PNB) is not enough. What you also need is to have the difference between these procedures down pat.
Don’t make the mistake of reporting an otolarynogologist’s specimen sampling with a surgery code. Here’s the lowdown on how you should code each.
Aspiration Doesn’t Equal Biopsyo
You must know that you should use different codes for FNA and PNB. Unfortunately, your otolaryngologist ’s notes may make telling what procedure he performed difficult.
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For instance, you may be wondering, “What is the difference between fine needle aspiration biopsy and percutaneous needle biopsy?” Physicians may use biopsy as a universal term to mean that they took a sample of a specimen. If your otolaryngologist is in this habit, you may miscode his procedures.
Better: Encourage your physician to reserve biopsy for a biopsy procedure. That way, you’ll know that a chart or operative report that contains the term, “biopsy,” really means the physician performed a biopsy.
If the otolaryngologist continues to use contradictory language, a few hints will help you tell the terms apart.
Procedures Have Own Sections
In fact, FNA and PNB are so different that CPT® actually contains the procedures in separate sections.
Where to find FNA codes: FNA has its own codes which live in the integumentary section. CPT® defines these codes as:
- 10021—Fine needle aspiration; without imaging guidance
- 10022—… with imaging guidance.
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