Radiology Question for the Week of March 13, 2023


Would code 76881 or 76882 be the correct code assignment if an ultrasound is performed to evaluate multiple joints for the presence of arthritis? Would it be appropriate to assign a code per joint evaluation?


It is inappropriate to report code 76881, Ultrasound, complete joint (ie, joint space and peri-articular soft-tissue structures), real-time with image documentation or 76882 Ultrasound, limited, joint or focal evaluation of other nonvascular extremity structure(s) (eg, joint space, peri-articular tendon[s], muscle[s], nerve[s], other soft-tissue structure[s], or soft-tissue mass[es]), real-time with image documentation in this scenario when a survey study is performed. These codes were not created to be reported for a survey evaluation. Therefore, until a new code, or series of codes, for an ultrasound extremity survey is created, this type of survey study should be reported with unlisted procedure code 76999.

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