Current Procedural Terminology: What’s new and noteworthy for 2021

As we all settle into 2021, COVID-19 news may still dominate the news, but it’s not the only thing happening in medicine.
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CPT Takeaways

In December, IMO hosted a webinar about the CPT 2021 updates. This year’s release saw 206 CPT® terms added, 54 deleted, and 69 revised. Effective January 1, the 2021 edition now contains approximately 10,600 medical coding terms. Here are five key updates to know:

1) Code clarification for breast surgeons

This year, codes for procedures involving the alteration of natural breast tissue were updated to provide more clarity about a procedure’s objective. Code 19324, mammaplasty, augmentation; without prosthetic implant, was deleted, with code 19318 revised to breast reduction from reduction mammaplasty. New notes with code 19325, breast augmentation with implant direct users to codes 15771 and 15772 for procedures with fat grafting.

2) New nose codes

A new code, 30468, represents nasal implant repair. Specifically, use 30468 for a minimally invasive repair of a collapsed nasal valve with a subcutaneous or submucosal lateral wall implant that is bilateral. This code was added to differentiate the procedure from repair of nasal vestibular stenosis, code 30465. Updated notes help providers determine the most appropriate documentation for specific cases. Additionally, new codes 69705, nasopharyngoscopy, surgical, with dilation of eustachian tube; unilateral and 69706, bilateral, replace the use of code 69799, unlisted procedure, middle ear for dilations of the eustachian tube.

3) Cutting out clinically outdated cardiology codes

Both codes 92992 and 92993, representing atrial septectomy or septostomy; transvenous method, balloon, and blade method, were deleted. A set of new codes: transcatheter atrial septostomy (TASI) for congenital cardiac anomalies to create effective atrial flow (code 33741); transcatheter intracardiac shunt (TIS) creation by stent placement for congenital cardiac anomalies to establish effective intracardiac flow (code 33745); and additional intracardiac shunt (code 33746) replace the clinically outdated deletions, with notes to help providers use them in conjunction with other CPT terms.

4) A breath of fresh air for lung procedure codes

Code 32405, previously representing biopsy, lung or mediastinum, percutaneous needle, was deleted, as it was typically performed with CT guidance. Code 32408, which has two instructional notes, now represents core needle biopsy with imaging guidance, bundling both biopsy and imaging measures. Furthermore, several revisions to the notes in this section help providers appropriately report other concomitant services provided.

5) Updates to coding for urology procedures

Urologists now have a new way to represent ablation of malignant prostate tissue using transrectal high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)​, with CPT code 55880. Additionally, code 74425, antegrade urography, has a new parenthetical note clarifying appropriate use with other urological procedures. Finally, new add-on code 57465 identifies cervical mapping during colposcopy, which allows for better identification of abnormal tissue for biopsy.

For more on the 2021 changes to CPT terms, be sure to stream our on-demand webinar today. And, if you need a refresher on the ins and outs of medical coding systems — including CPT – our coding 101 guide has you covered.
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