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January 2006

Q: Is CPT code 88360 appropriate for billing estrogen receptors by manual quantitative immunohistochemical analysis if the results are reported as 87 percent tumor cells staining?

Yes. To meet the criteria for manual quantitative analysis and to bill using CPT code 88360, Morphometric analysis, tumor immunohistochemistry (eg, Her2/neu, estrogen receptor/progesterone receptor), quantitative or semiquantitative, each antibody; manual, there must be a count of target cells. The results may be reported as a percentage positivity. A simple determination of 1+ or 2+ does not suffice.

Q: Should I bill using CPT codes 88329 and 88333 if an intraoperative consultation with microscopic review of touch preparation is performed without a frozen section?

No. CPT code 88329, Pathology consultation during surgery, is encompassed in 88333, Pathology consultation during surgery; cytologic examination (eg, touch prep, squash prep), initial site, and should not be billed as a separate service. It became effective on Jan. 1 that labs can use only 88333 or 88334, Pathology consultation during surgery; cytologic examination (eg, touch prep, squash prep), each additional site, or both, when a pathologist performs a tissue imprint during surgery. The work of the intraoperative consultation (CPT code 88329) is included in the work of codes 88333 and 88334. Two codes are no longer required to report the service. Unlike the previous CPT code combination of 88329 and 88161, Cytologic, smears, any other source; preparation, screening and interpretation, the new code allows reporting of cytopathology services performed in conjunction with intraoperative consultation in a single code.


Frequently asked questions about CPT are published bimonthly in “Capitol Scan.” This section of CAP TODAY is a product of the CAP Economic Affairs Committee.

The codes and descriptions listed here are from Current Procedural Terminology, 4th ed., CPT 2006. CPT 2006 is copyrighted by the American Medical Association. To purchase CPT books, call the AMA at 800-621-8335.

For more information about CPT coding, visit the CPT Coding Resource Center on the CAP Web site.