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CPT Code 66982 | Complex Extracapsular Cataract Removal

CPT 66982 can be used for a complex extracapsular cataract removal procedure. 

What Is CPT Code 66982?

CPT code 66982 describes a complex extracapsular cataract removal procedure, which involves the removal of the hard nucleus from the eye’s lens and the insertion of an intraocular lens prosthesis.

This procedure may be performed using manual or mechanical techniques, such as irrigation, aspiration, or phacoemulsification. It may involve devices or methods not commonly used in routine cataract surgery, such as an iris expansion device or suture support for the intraocular lens.

It may also be performed on patients in the amblyogenic developmental stage, meaning that the procedure is done to correct a vision problem that could cause amblyopia (lazy eye).


The CPT book describes CPT code 66982 as: “Extracapsular cataract removal with insertion of intraocular lens prosthesis (1-stage procedure), manual or mechanical technique (e.g., irrigation and aspiration or phacoemulsification), complex, requiring devices or techniques not generally used in routine cataract surgery (e.g., iris expansion device, suture support for intraocular lens, or primary posterior capsulorrhexis) or performed on patients in the amblyogenic developmental stage; without endoscopic cyclophotocoagulation.”


When the patient is appropriately prepped and anesthetized, typically by applying local anesthesia to the eye, the provider makes a small incision, enters the capsule, and removes the hard nucleus from the eye’s lens.

He may use an iris expansion device to achieve stable pupil dilation. He then evacuates the soft lens cortex, leaving the capsule partially intact. Finally, he uses a microscope to assist with visualization.

Finally, he inserts a prosthetic intraocular lens after irrigation and aspiration (I&A). The provider may also use phacoemulsification, where he uses an ultrasonic device to break up the cloudy lens and then uses I&A to remove it from the eye.

He then inserts the intraocular lens prosthesis. The provider may also support an intraocular lens by suturing it behind the iris if the capsule support is insufficient to hold the lens.

The provider might also employ primary posterior capsulorrhexis to remove posterior capsular deposits to achieve permanent clear vision. He finally sutured the cut and placed antibiotic solution into the eye.

This procedure does not include endoscopic cyclophotocoagulation in which a laser destroys the ciliary body to treat glaucoma.

How To Use CPT 66982

To report a complex extracapsular cataract removal with concomitant endoscopic cyclophotocoagulation, use CPT code 66987 instead of CPT 66982.

To report a complex extracapsular cataract removal with an intraocular lens implant and concomitant intraocular aqueous drainage device by internal approach, use CPT code 66989 instead of CPT code 66982.

For the insertion of an ocular telescope prosthesis, including the crystalline lens removal, use temporary code 0308T.

Extracapsular extraction involves removing the eye lens while leaving the posterior capsule mostly intact, whereas intracapsular extraction involves removing both the lens and the surrounding lens capsule.

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