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Coding tips for Thyroid Imaging and Uptake

Basics of Thyroid Scan and Uptake

CPT codes are used mainly to describe imaging, surgeries, laboratory, evaluation and many other medical procedures. All these procedures performed by a healthcare provider are designated with a procedure code. CPT codes are an integral part of the billing process. Today, we will learn about the CPT codes used for thyroid uptake and imaging. Earlier, we have seen in nuclear medicine when we should report bone scan  and parathyroid imaging cpt codes. CPT codes works along with ICD 10 codes, hence both should complement each other. If the medical necessity or diagnosis fails for the CPT code, your claim will get denied. Let us learn about the three CPT codes 78012, 78013 and 78014 which are used for coding thyroid scan and uptake. So, we will just see how the whole procedure is performed.

coding tips for thyroid imaging and Uptake

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Thyroid Scan Procedure or Uptake test

We have learned previously the radiopharmaceutical therapy exam of thyroid, which are quite similar with these exam. But, the exam is little different. In this exam, radioactive thyroid scan is performed. The patient is given a small dose of radioactive iodine, usually in the form of a pill or liquid, and is asked to return once or twice in a four to 24-hour period for a thyroid uptake test and/or scan. During the uptake test, a probe is placed in front of patient’s thyroid and the thyroid function is examined with the amount of radiotracer absorbed by the thyroid. This may be performed a second time in the 24-hour period for comparative purposes. Thyroid stimulation, suppression, or discharge tests may also be performed at this time. Sometimes, the radioactive iodine is given intravenously during the thyroid scan, rather than by mouth 30 minutes prior to the examination. The patient is placed supine with the head tilted backwards, extending the neck. A gamma camera is used to capture images of the thyroid from different angles. Let us check now how we should report 78012, 78013 and 78014 while performing this exam. Below is the detail description of these CPT codes.

78012 Thyroid uptake, single or multiple quantitative measurement(s) (including stimulation, suppression, or discharge, when performed)

78013 Thyroid imaging (including vascular flow, when performed);

78014 with single or multiple uptake(s) quantitative measurement(s) (including stimulation, suppression, or discharge, when performed)

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When to use thyroid imaging and uptake CPT codes

When only the thyroid uptake is performed, we should use CPT code 78012. For single uptake of thyroid we have to use only this CPT codes. When only the thyroid scan or imaging is performed, report CPT code 78013. This code is only for the scan or imaging scan is performed. When both the uptake and scan is performed, report CPT code 78014. For multiple thyroid uptake we have to use only this procedure code.