CPT Code 76882 | Limited Joint Ultrasound Exam With Image Documentation
CPT code 76882 describes a limited joint or focal evaluation of nonvascular extremity structures (joint, tendon, muscle, nerve, other soft tissue, or soft tissue mass) using real-time ultrasound with image documentation. The procedure involves applying conductive gel to the target area, emitting sound waves to create echoes, and sending the echoes to a computer to create an image. The image is displayed in real-time during the procedure, and a permanent record is documented in the patient’s medical record.
The CPT book describes CPT code 76882 as: “Ultrasound, limited, joint or focal evaluation of other nonvascular extremity structure(s) (e.g., 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.”
The healthcare provider prepares the patient for the procedure by properly cleaning and applying a conductive gel to the target area to improve the transmission of sound waves.
This is a critical step in ensuring the quality of the ultrasound image. The transducer emits high-frequency sound waves that penetrate the body tissues and bounce back, creating echoes.
These echoes are picked up by the transducer and sent to a computer for processing. The image is then created based on the echoes received.
The provider then carefully places the transducer head on the skin over the targeted area, which could be a joint, tendon, muscle, nerve, other soft tissue structures, or a soft tissue mass.
During the procedure, the image is displayed in real-time on a monitor, allowing the provider to see the structures within the body.
Once the exam is completed, a permanent record of the image is documented in the patient’s medical record.
Please note that this is a limited exam and may not provide a full assessment of all the structures in the body.
When billing for an ultrasound exam of a complete joint, use CPT 76881 instead of CPT code 76882. Code 76881 describes a more comprehensive ultrasound examination that includes the entire joint and surrounding tissues.
For ultrasound exams that focus on the entire anatomic course of one or more extremity nerves, the appropriate code to use is 76883. This code provides a more in-depth evaluation of the nerves and their surrounding tissues and is not included in the description of CPT code 76882.