How To Use CPT Code 76770

CPT 76770 is used to represent a complete retroperitoneal ultrasound procedure. This non-invasive diagnostic imaging technique provides a glimpse into the structures within the retroperitoneal region of the abdomen such as the kidneys, aorta and lymph nodes. This particular code is employed when the ultrasound is comprehensive and necessitates real-time image documentation.

The official descriptor for 76770 is: “Ultrasound, retroperitoneal [eg, renal, aorta, nodes], real time with image documentation; complete.”

Short description: Complete retroperitoneal ultrasound.

Procedure for CPT Code 76770

The patient is made comfortable on the examination table usually positioned lying on their back or side. The physician or ultrasound technician then applies a conductive gel on the skin over the retroperitoneal area of the abdomen. This aids in the transmission of sound waves.

A transducer, a hand-held device that emits and receives high-frequency sound waves, is positioned against the skin and moved over the area to be studied. This results in the conjuring of required images on a screen. Real-time images of the kidneys, the abdominal aorta, and the urinary bladder are thus captured and documented, hence completing the procedure for CPT Code 76770.

Qualifying circumstances for CPT Code 76770

CPT code 76770 services are applicable for patients with conditions like abnormal kidney functional tests, abdominal pain or discomfort, enlarged lymph nodes, suspect kidney stones or urinary obstruction. It is also applicable for patients showcasing disparities in the form or size of the kidneys or aorta or patients who are monitoring known renal or aortic conditions.

When to use CPT Code 76770

When one undertakes the completion of an all-inclusive retroperitoneal ultrasound and calls for real-time image documentation, it’s appropriate to bill CPT code 76770. This code annotates that every necessary element for a complete exam, including real-time scans of the kidneys, abdominal aorta, and urinary bladder has been met.

Documentation requirements

For the claim of CPT 76770 to be upheld, the following information should be documented – indication for the ultrasound, including relevant patient history and symptoms; the details of the ultrasound procedure, including the type of transducer used and the specific areas assessed; real-time images of the kidneys, abdominal aorta, and urinary bladder and findings and impressions from the ultrasound examination, including any abnormalities or concerns, and interpretation and report by a certified healthcare professional.

Billing guidelines for CPT Code 76770

While billing for CPT code 76770, the following pointers should be kept in mind – if only the physician’s interpretation of the radiology service is being reported, append professional component modifier 26 to the radiology code.

If only the technical component of the radiology service is being reported, append modifier TC to the radiology code. Do not append a professional or technical modifier to the radiology code when reporting a global service in which one provider renders both the professional and technical components.

Historical Information and Similar codes to CPT Code 76770

CPT code 76770 was introduced in the Current Procedural Vocabulary system starting January 1, 1990. It has seen a few tweaks since then, the latest descriptor being: “Ultrasound, retroperitoneal (eg, renal, aorta, nodes), real time with image documentation; complete.”

Similar CPT codes to 76770 include 76775, 76700, 76705, 93975 and 93976.

Examples of CPT Code 76770

A few examples of instances which fall within the purview of CPT Code 76770 are:

  • A patient with a history of kidney stones backs severe flank pain and a complete retroperitoneal ultrasound is undertaken to assess the kidneys and urinary bladder for potential obstruction.
  • A patient with unexplained hypertension undergoes a complete retroperitoneal ultrasound to assess the renal arteries for potential stenosis or other abnormalities.
  • A patient with a known abdominal aortic aneurysm has a complete retroperitoneal ultrasound to keep an eye on the size and stabilization of the aneurysm.

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