CPT 70551 may be billed when the provider performs an MRI of the brain (stem) without administering contrast.
1. What Is CPT Code 70551?
CPT 70551 covers an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the brain stem and the brain. Contrast is not administered during this procedure.
The CPT book describes 70551 CPT code as: “Magnetic resonance (e.g., proton) imaging, brain (including brain stem); without contrast material.”
The 70551 CPT code procedure starts with positioning the patient on the table that goes into the MRI machine.
Then, the providers ask the patient to remain still so they can create images of the brain (stem). Finally, the MRI scan of the brain is performed without contrast.
The MRI machine creates directed radio waves and a magnetic field. The patient’s hydrogen atoms alleged and procedure a signal that is picked up by the computer and turned into images of the targeted area(s).
The images of the brain (stem) help the provider by identifying anatomic abnormalities (e.g., tumors) or other foreign bodies.
4. Billing Guidelines
Append modifier 26 to CPT 70551 if you report the physician’s interpretation alone.
Rectally or orally administered contrast can be billed without contrast because the radiology services have included it already.
Other codes for MRIs of the brain (stem) include CPT 70552 and CPT 70553.
Include modifier TC to the claim if you bill the technical component of CPT code 70551 alone. Double check with the payer’s policy because hospitals might be exempted.
You can not add the technical and professional modifiers if you bill CPT 70551 as a global service.