College of American Pathologists

  Your CPT Questions


Reprinted from August 2001 CAP TODAY

Q: I noticed that sentinel lymph node is listed under the 88307 family in the CPT 2001 book. If I receive two separately identified lymph nodes, each designated as a “sentinel” node, can I bill for two units of service? Also, if I receive a sentinel node in conjunction with a mastectomy and/or regional lymph node resection, can I bill for it separately?

A: Code 88307, Sentinel Lymph Node, is used for sentinel lymph node protocol related to isotopic identification of a sentinel node. When you receive sentinel nodes that are separately identified, then each should be coded separately. If you receive a separately identified sentinel lymph node in conjunction with a mastectomy and/or regional lymph node resection, the sentinel node should be coded separately. Please also note that sentinel lymph node was accidentally omitted from the 88307 family in the CPT 2001 pathology and laboratory mini edition. However, it is listed in the CPT 2001 main edition.

If immunohistochemistry is required to evaluate a sentinel node, code 88342, Immunocytochemistry (including tissue immunoperoxidase), each antibody, is appropriate in addition to 88307. Code 88342 is reported once per antibody, per specimen.

Q: Now that 87087, Culture, bacterial, urine; commercial kit, has been deleted, the CPT book refers pathologists to code 87088, Culture, bacterial; with isolation and presumptive identification of isolates, urine. Code 87088 is indented beneath code 87086, Culture, bacterial; quantitative colony count, urine. Does this mean that the colony count is included in the 87088 service and that 87086 should not be billed separately when a colony count is performed in addition to the isolation and presumptive identification service?

A: Code 87088 does not include the colony count quantification service. Code 87088 should be used in addition to 87086 only when presumptive bacterial identification is performed on the colony count plate.

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

The codes and descriptions listed here are from Current Procedural Terminology, a copyrighted publication of the American Medical Association. To purchase CPT books, call the AMA at (800) 621-8335.