College of American Pathologists
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  CPT Questions


CAP Today



January 2008
Feature Story

Q: How do you bill “donuts” as separate specimens from a colon cancer resection?

A: A “donut” is a donut-shaped ring of colon that is a byproduct of the auto reanastomosis devices used in colon surgery. Donuts are submitted separately because they result from a change in the way the colon is resected. If donuts are examined microscopically, they constitute the surgical margins of the aforementioned colon segment. Donuts should be considered along with the colon cancer specimen, which is given the CPT code 88309, Level VI—surgical pathology, gross and microscopic examination, colon, segmental resection for tumor.

Q: What is the correct CPT code for a previable fetus—that is, less than 20 weeks gestation or less than 500 grams? This is considered a surgical specimen at our hospital. We perform a cursory exam and take sections from organs for histologic examination. And what is the correct CPT code for an accompanying placenta?

A: The correct code for a previable fetus is 88309, Level VI—surgical pathology, gross and microscopic examination, fetus, with dissection. The placenta should be coded as 88305, Level IV—surgical pathology, placenta, other than third trimester.

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 2008. CPT 2008 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, or go to Reference Resources and Publications/CPT Coding.