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CPT Code 73721 | MRI | Lower Extremity Joints | Without Contrast

CPT 73721 can be used for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of any lower extremity joint without the use of contrast material, which can be used to diagnose and evaluate various conditions such as bone and cartilage disorders, soft tissue injuries, and inflammatory conditions.

What Is CPT Code 73721?

CPT code 73721 describes a specific type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedure of a lower extremity joint performed without contrast material.

In this procedure, the provider uses an MRI machine to produce detailed images of the patient’s leg.

This can diagnose and evaluate various conditions, such as bone and cartilage disorders, soft tissue injuries, and inflammatory diseases.


The CPT book describes CPT code 73721 as: “Magnetic resonance (e.g., proton) imaging, any joint of the lower extremity; without contrast material.”


In this diagnostic procedure, the provider conducts an MRI of a lower extremity joint without using contrast material.

The procedure uses the MRI machine’s magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the patient’s leg, specifically focusing on a specific joint or joint.

The patient is positioned on the scanning table and slowly moved into the MRI machine’s tunnel-shaped scanner.

During the scan, the patient is instructed to remain still and hold their breath while the technician captures the radiofrequency signals emitted by the body.

The computer then uses this information to create a series of images displayed on a computer screen.

The radiology provider then reviews these images, analyzes the data, and provides a diagnostic interpretation. Finally, a written report of the provider’s findings is prepared.

How To Use CPT 73721

When using CPT code 73721, it’s essential to consider whether the procedure is being performed bilaterally (on both legs) or on a single leg. How you report the code on a claim may vary depending on the payer’s preferences.

One option for reporting a bilateral procedure is to list CPT 73721 twice on the claim and to append modifiers LT (left side) and RT (right side) to indicate which side of the body the procedure was performed on. Another option is to report a single line item and two units.

If the provider orders an MRI of the foot and ankle, you can report this using one joint and lower extremity codes.

However, if the radiology provider expands the field of view to include more of the foot, it’s appropriate to report the appropriate joint code CPT 73721, CPT 73722, or CPT 73723.

In some cases, it may also be appropriate to report a joint code (CPT 73721, CPT 73722, or CPT 73723) and a non-joint code range (CPT 73718, CPT 73719, or CPT 73720) if the study was done separately.

If the provider orders an MRI of the knee and ankle on the left leg, it’s appropriate to report the code twice, once for each joint.

Depending on the payer’s preference, you may also append modifiers LT for the left side and modifier 59 to indicate that the procedure is performed on two different joints.

It’s important to note that the codes you bill must match the ordered and pre-certified services, so it’s essential to consult with your payer to ensure that you are using the correct codes and modifiers.

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