CPT 15771 is a code for grafting of autologous fat harvested by liposuction technique to trunk, breasts, scalp, arms, and/or legs; 50 cc or less injectate. This article will cover the description, procedure, qualifying circumstances, when to use the code, documentation requirements, billing guidelines, historical information, similar codes, and examples of CPT 15771 procedures.
1. What is CPT 15771?
CPT 15771 is a medical billing code used to describe a specific type of fat grafting procedure. This procedure involves harvesting autologous fat (fat from the patient’s own body) using liposuction techniques and then injecting it into the trunk, breasts, scalp, arms, and/or legs. The code is specifically for cases where 50 cc or less of fat is injected.
2. 15771 CPT code description
The official description of CPT code 15771 is: “Grafting of autologous fat harvested by liposuction technique to trunk, breasts, scalp, arms, and/or legs; 50 cc or less injectate.”
- The patient is appropriately prepped and anesthetized.
- The provider injects a local anesthetic in the donor area to help control bleeding.
- A multiport cannula, 2 to 6 mm in diameter, connected to a syringe is used to harvest the autologous fat from one or more donor sites.
- The provider makes a small incision and inserts the cannula, pushing down on it while pulling back on the syringe plunger to draw fat back into the syringe.
- When the syringe is full, it is removed from the cannula.
- The fat graft material is processed by centrifugation, sedimentation, filtering, or washing.
- The provider attaches the syringe containing the fat graft to a small cannula about 2.5 mm in diameter and makes a small skin incision over the recipient site(s).
- Multiple recipient sites are created on the trunk, breasts, scalp, arms, and/or legs, with tunnels in a fan pattern at varying depths for multiple small-volume injections.
- The provider inserts the cannula in a fanned-out pattern, injecting the fat as they withdraw the cannula from each tunnel.
- When satisfied with the results, the provider withdraws the cannula completely and closes the incision(s).
4. Qualifying circumstances
Patients eligible to receive CPT code 15771 services are those who require fat grafting for various reasons, such as breast reconstruction, burn scar and other scar revisions, lipofilling to encourage revascularization of skin damaged by radiation, gluteal augmentation, HIV-associated lipodystrophy, and cosmetic surgery. The procedure is appropriate for cases where 50 cc or less of autologous fat is used for injection.
5. When to use CPT code 15771
CPT code 15771 should be used when billing for a fat grafting procedure involving the harvesting of autologous fat using liposuction techniques and injecting it into the trunk, breasts, scalp, arms, and/or legs, with 50 cc or less of fat injectate. This code is appropriate for cases where the procedure is medically necessary and meets the qualifying circumstances mentioned above.
6. Documentation requirements
To support a claim for CPT 15771, the following information should be documented in the patient’s medical record:
- Indication for the procedure and its medical necessity
- Donor site(s) and recipient site(s)
- Amount of fat harvested and injected (50 cc or less)
- Technique used for harvesting and processing the fat graft material
- Details of the procedure, including anesthesia, incisions, and closure
- Postoperative care instructions and follow-up plan
7. Billing guidelines
When billing for CPT code 15771, it is important to follow the appropriate guidelines and rules. For each additional 50 cc of autologous fat inserted, report +15772 in addition to the primary procedure code. If the procedure involves grafting autologous fat to the face, eyelids, mouth, neck, ears, orbits, genitalia, hands, and/or feet, use codes 15773 and +15774 for 25 cc or less and each additional 25 cc of part thereof, respectively. For grafting of autologous soft tissue (fat, dermis, or fascia) harvested by direct excision, use code 15769. For a composite dermis-fat-fascia graft, use code 15770. Report CPT 15771 only once per session.
8. Historical information
CPT 15771 was added to the Current Procedural Terminology system on January 1, 2020. There have been no updates since its addition.
9. Similar codes to CPT 15771
Five similar codes to CPT 15771 and how they differentiate are:
- +15772: Used for each additional 50 cc of autologous fat inserted during the same session as CPT 15771.
- 15773: Used for grafting autologous fat to the face, eyelids, mouth, neck, ears, orbits, genitalia, hands, and/or feet with 25 cc or less injectate.
- +15774: Used for each additional 25 cc of autologous fat inserted during the same session as CPT 15773.
- 15769: Used for grafting autologous soft tissue (fat, dermis, or fascia) harvested by direct excision.
- 15770: Used for a composite dermis-fat-fascia graft.
Here are 10 detailed examples of CPT code 15771 procedures:
- A patient undergoes breast reconstruction using autologous fat grafting after a mastectomy, with 50 cc of fat injected.
- A patient with burn scars on their arm receives fat grafting to improve the appearance and texture of the scarred area, with 30 cc of fat injected.
- A patient with HIV-associated lipodystrophy undergoes fat grafting to the face, with 50 cc of fat injected.
- A patient receives fat grafting to the buttocks for gluteal augmentation, with 40 cc of fat injected.
- A patient undergoes fat grafting to the breasts for cosmetic enhancement, with 50 cc of fat injected.
- A patient with radiation-damaged skin on the chest receives lipofilling to encourage revascularization, with 25 cc of fat injected.
- A patient undergoes fat grafting to the legs to correct contour irregularities, with 50 cc of fat injected.
- A patient receives fat grafting to the scalp to improve the appearance of a scar, with 20 cc of fat injected.
- A patient undergoes fat grafting to the arms for cosmetic enhancement, with 35 cc of fat injected.
- A patient with a history of trauma to the trunk receives fat grafting to improve the appearance of the affected area, with 50 cc of fat injected.