Radiology Question for the Week of July 4, 2016

Question:

Question:

Does CPT code 47382 (ablation, 1 or more liver tumor(s), percutaneous, radiofrequency) cover microwave ablation of liver tumors as well? I’m not seeing a specific CPT code for microwave ablation, and we are being told that it’s the same CPT code as radiofrequency ablation.  

Answer:

Answer:

It is appropriate to use this code for microwave ablation. The following was published in 2012 by the American Medical Association in its Clinical Examples in Radiology (Volume 8, Issue 3, Summer):

As currently practiced, CPT codes 32998, 47382, and 50592 should be used for both microwave and radiofrequency ablation in their respective anatomic locations in conjunction with the associated imaging guidance code (eg, 76940, 77013, or 77022). Microwave is part of the radiofrequency spectrum, and simply uses a different part of the radiofrequency spectrum to develop heat energy to destroy abnormal tissue. Microwave ablation equipment is substantially comparable to operate in practice, which is also reflected in the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of microwave devices under the 510(k) clearance process as equivalent to radiofrequency.