CPT 78815, cpt code 78815, 78815 cpt code

CPT Code 78815 | Combined PET/CT | Skull Base To Mid-Thigh

CPT code 78815 is used for billing for the medical procedure of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) with concurrently acquired Computed Tomography (CT), specifically for attenuation correction and anatomical localization imaging of the body from the skull base to mid-thigh.

What Is CPT Code 78815?

CPT 78815 describes a procedure that combines Positron Emission Tomography (PET) with concurrently acquired Computed Tomography (CT). The procedure is used for attenuation correction and anatomical localization imaging of the body, specifically from the skull base to mid-thigh.

PET is a nuclear medicine imaging technique that uses a small amount of a radioactive tracer to produce detailed images of organs and tissues.

The tracer is usually injected into the patient’s bloodstream, and as it circulates, it emits positrons, a type of subatomic particle. These positrons interact with electrons in the body and produce gamma rays, which the PET scanner detects to create images.

Conversely, CT uses X-ray technology to produce detailed images of the body’s internal structures.

CT scanners take multiple X-ray images of the body from different angles and process them by a computer to produce detailed pictures of the body’s internal structures.

In the 78815 procedure, the PET and CT scans are acquired concurrently because both scans are done simultaneously rather than separately.

This allows the information from both scans to be combined and used, improving the images’ accuracy and completeness.

The attenuation correction technique is used to correct the image distortion caused by the different densities of the body’s tissue. In contrast, anatomical localization imaging is used to identify the exact location of the targeted body part.

Description

The CPT book describes CPT code 78815 as: “Positron emission tomography (PET) with concurrently acquired computed tomography (CT) for attenuation correction and anatomical localization imaging; skull base to mid-thigh.”

Procedure

PET and CT scans are standard imaging tools that doctors widely use to evaluate the location and metabolic activity of tumors or cancer inside the body.

They are both non-invasive methods that produce detailed images of internal organs and structures, allowing doctors to make accurate diagnoses and treatment plans.

When used alone, each imaging study has its benefits and limitations. 

However, when the results of these two scans are combined, the image that is produced provides a more complete and accurate picture of the location and metabolism of the tumor.

The procedure begins with the patient being placed in the PET/CT chamber. CT scanners use X-rays to create detailed two-dimensional images of the size, shape, and location of internal organs or tumors.

The CT detectors measure the X-rays, and the computer algorithms process the data to produce the images. CT scans are beneficial for identifying the size and location of tumors and assessing the disease’s spread.

For the PET scan, the patient is given an injection of glucose infused with radionuclide (radioactive) material.

The PET scan measures essential body functions, such as blood flow, oxygen use, and sugar metabolism in bodily organs and tissues.

Cancer cells consume more sugar than normal cells, and this faster rate of metabolism is accurately detected and transformed into images via the PET scan.

This allows doctors to assess the function of the organs and tissues and to identify abnormal metabolic activity. This is often an indicator of cancer.

Modern PET/CT scanners use PET and CT technology together by fusing the data obtained from both scans.

This eliminates the limitation of PET scans and provides a more comprehensive view of the patient’s condition.

The highly sensitive PET scan detects the abnormal metabolic activity of tumor cells, and CT provides a detailed picture of the internal structure of the targeted organ or tumor for the physician.

How To Use CPT 78815

CPT code 78815 can be used for billing for a medical procedure known as Positron Emission Tomography (PET) with concurrently acquired Computed Tomography (CT) on body organs or suspected tumors located between the skull base and thigh.

The procedure produces detailed images of the targeted area, allowing doctors to make accurate diagnoses and treatment plans.

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