I’m having trouble with code selection choices between 88331 and 88332, can you help?


To select these codes properly it’s necessary to understand the definitions of “block” and “section.”

  • A block is a portion of tissue taken from a specimen and frozen or encased in a support medium such as paraffin or plastic. It is the source from which sections are prepared.
  • A section is a thin slice of tissue taken from a block and prepared for microscopic examination.

If the physician examines a single frozen section from a specimen, report 88331. If the physician examines frozen sections from more than one block taken from the same specimen, the appropriate coding is one unit of service of code 88331 for the first block and an additional unit of service of code 88332 for each additional block. If more than one specimen is submitted for consultation, code the services for each specimen as appropriate.

88331 Pathology consultation during surgery; first tissue block, with frozen section(s), single specimen
88332 Pathology consultation during surgery; each additional tissue block with frozen section(s) (List separately in addition to code for primary procedure))

This question was answered in our Coding Essentials for Laboratories. For more hot topics relating to laboratory services, please visit our store or call us at 1.800.252.1578, ext. 2.


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