cpt 73221, cpt code 73221, 73221 cpt code

CPT 73221 | MRI | Upper Extremity Joint | Without Contrast Material

CPT code 73221 can be used for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of any upper extremity joint without contrast material.

What Is CPT Code 73221?

CPT 73221 describes a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of any upper extremity joint without using contrast material.

The 73221 procedure uses a magnetic field, radio waves, and a computer to produce detailed images of the inside of the body.

The term “any joint of the upper extremity” means that the 73221 procedure can be performed on any of the joints in the upper body, including the shoulder, elbow, wrist, or hand.

CPT 73221 is performed without contrast material because a patient will not receive any special dyes or substances that help to enhance the visibility of specific structures within the body during the imaging process. Instead, the procedure relies on the natural signals emitted by the body to produce images.


The CPT book describes CPT code 73221 as: “Magnetic resonance (e.g., proton) imaging, any joint of the upper extremity; without contrast material(s).”


A diagnostic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the joints of the upper extremity is performed by a healthcare provider.

CPT 73221 can identify and diagnose any potential issues or abnormalities within the targeted joint of the upper extremity, allowing for effective treatment and management of any conditions that may be present.

This procedure allows for detailed imaging of the hand’s shoulder, elbow, wrist, or joints, without using contrast material.

The patient is positioned on a scanning table and slid into a large tunnel-shaped magnetic scanner, where their upper extremity is placed within a strong magnetic field.

The patient is instructed to hold their breath and remains still during the imaging process.

The provider captures the radiofrequency signals generated by the body, and a computer generates a series of images that display detailed slices of the targeted joint.

The healthcare provider then reviews the images, performs their analysis, and interprets the results.

They also prepare a written report of their findings.

How To Use CPT 73221

You can use CPT code 73221 to report an MRI of the upper extremity joints. For other MRI studies of upper extremity joints, you may use CPT code 73222 for upper extremity joints with contrast.

CPT code 73223 can be billed for an MRI of the upper extremity joints first without contrast, then with contrast and additional sequences.

For an MRI of the upper extremity, excluding joints, use code CPT 73218 for MRI without contrast, CPT 73219 for an MRI with contrast, and CPT code 73220 for MRI without contrast, followed by contrast and further sequences.

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