CPT code 76881 is for an ultrasound examination of a complete joint, including the joint space and surrounding soft tissue structures, with real-time image documentation.
What Is CPT Code 76881?
CPT 76881 describes an ultrasound examination of an entire joint, including the joint space and surrounding soft tissue structures.
The provider applies gel to the target area and uses a transducer to produce and receive sound waves that create an image of the joint in real-time. The image is displayed on a monitor, and a permanent copy is documented in the medical record.
The CPT book describes CPT code 76881 as: “Ultrasound, complete joint (i.e., joint space and peri-articular soft-tissue structures), real-time with image documentation.”
The provider appropriately preps the patient and applies gel to the target area to enhance the connection between the tissues and the transducer head.
The transducer produces sound waves that bounce off body tissues and make echoes, and then the transducer receives the echoes and sends them to a computer that uses them to create an image.
The provider places the transducer head on the skin of the target joint and moves the transducer head to image the joint space and soft tissue structures around the joint. This is an exam of the complete joint.
The image appears in real-time on a monitor, and a permanent copy is made and documented in the medical record.
How To Use CPT 76881
CPT code 76881 may only be used for unlimited ultrasound of the joint. You can use CPT 76882 for a limited ultrasound of a joint.