CPT Code 78013 | Description & Clinical Information

CPT 78013 describes a diagnostic imaging procedure in which the thyroid gland is imaged after the administration of radioiodine, enabling the provider to evaluate any lumps or inflammation, investigate the cause of an overactive thyroid or abnormalities of thyroid anatomy, and assess the size, structure, and function of the thyroid by determining the amount of radioiodine that reaches the gland.

Official Description

The CPT book defines CPT code 78013 as: “Thyroid imaging (including vascular flow, when performed)”.

Clinical Information

The procedure described by CPT code 78013 involves imaging of the thyroid gland after administering a dose of radioiodine, which could be in the form of a pill or intravenously. The aim of this study is to determine the functionality and structure of the thyroid gland.
If the pill form is used, the patient is advised to return for imaging after a period of time, usually within 4 hours but sometimes up to 24 hours. In contrast, if an intravenous injection is given, the scan is started within 30 to 60 minutes after administration.

To capture images of the thyroid gland, a scintillation or gamma camera is used. This camera reveals the entire gland in a single image, allowing the provider to assess its structure and functionality. Multiple images are captured from different angles to show different projections of the gland. Additionally, the provider documents the patient’s position while taking the images.

The provider also looks at vascular flow in and around the nodules to determine whether they possess benign or malignant flow characteristics. By assessing the flow, the provider can determine the best locations for biopsy on the nodules.

The provider may also place a radioactive marker near the thyroid gland during the scan to better estimate the size of the gland and to identify the presence and location of nodules. This process allows for a more accurate assessment of the gland’s structure and functionality.

Finally, the provider compares the images captured with any previously relevant studies to understand any changes that may have occurred. Based on their interpretation of the results, the provider dictates, reviews, and signs the nuclear medicine report.

In conclusion, the procedure described by CPT code 78013 is a valuable diagnostic tool in assessing the function and structure of the thyroid gland. The images captured through this procedure allow the provider to make informed decisions about the patient’s treatment options.

Return to all the CPT codes for diagnostic nuclear medicine procedures on the endocrine system.

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