Amazing Tips for coding CPT code 73221

MRI codes are used very frequently in radiology. In Medical coding, radiology has many codes from x-rays, CT, MRI, Ultrasound etc. hence the coders may assign wrong code if not confident. I have seen mostly happening in MRI codes like CPT code 73221 which is used for upper extremity joint but coder tend to use sometimes for non-joints. So, it is important to know about these radiology cpt codes. Radiology CPT codes are important for medical coding certification exam as well. In CPC (Certified Professional Coder) exam, organized by AAPC, there are few questions asked from this facility as well. Same can be seen in CCS (Certified Coding Specialist), conducted by AHIMA. So, we should be prepared and confident about using Radiology codes perfectly.
Amazing Tips for coding CPT code 73221

When to assign CPT code 73221

MRI codes are differentiate with the use of intravenous. CPT code 73221 is used for coding MRI exam performed for upper extremity joint without the use of intravenous contrast. Hence, this code should be used only for Upper extremity joints. There are specific codes for MRI exam for upper extremity joint with intravenous contrast (CPT code 73222), with, and without intravenous contrast (CPT code 73223). Hence, we should use the appropriate CPT code depending on the exam performed. MRI codes are not like Ultrasound breast or Ultrasound thyroid, which are easy and direct code. Here, codes are not complete or limited like ultrasound, but differ from the use of intravenous contrast. MRI exam are done following arthrogram procedure or myelogram procedures, do remember to code MRI CPT Codes following these procedures. Never use CPT code 73221 following arthrogram procedures, which is an injection procedure done on joints. MRI exam following an arthrogram will be always coded with intravenous contrast and hence the CPT code of MRI should be with intravenous contrast that is 73222 if performed on upper extremity joint.

Do and Don’t with MRI CPT code 73221.

Do code CPT code 73221 only for Upper extremity joint like shoulder, elbow, and wrist.
Do use RT or LT modifier with CPT code 73221 depending on the side of upper extremity joint.
Do not use CPT code 73221 for non-joints like ulna, radius, hand, scapula, humerus etc. We have separate CPT code for non-joints (CPT code 73218, 73219, 73220).

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