Nuclear Medicine Question for the Week of November 9, 2015



Can you please tell me the difference in CPT code 78815 and 78816 for positron emission tomography (PET)? Specifically, what defines “whole body”? Is it from top of skull to toes, top of skull to below the knees, or skull base to toes?


According to the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, the CPT codes for whole body PET scans include imaging from the top of the skull (vertex) to significantly below the knees, usually to the feet. The following codes may be reported, as appropriate, for these procedures. 

78813 PET imaging; whole body

78816 PET with concurrently acquired computed tomography (CT) for attenuation correction and anatomical localization imaging; whole body