Quick Tip: Brachytherapy Isodose Planning
Your Instant Coding Guide
Brachytherapy is a radiation therapy that places a short-range radiation source within the body. In a process known as afterloading, one or more catheters, or the channels of the intracavitary applicator, are placed under guidance at the cancer site(s). The source (radioisotope) is delivered via the catheter or channels. By targeting cancer cells precisely, damage to nearby, healthy tissue is minimized.
A specialist must calculate the proper dose and distribution of radiation, which depends on the type and the stage of the cancer being treated. Brachytherapy isodose planning is a billable service, for which CPT® 2015 introduced several new codes. CPT® differentiates the codes by service complexity, as measured by the number of radiation sources or channels that must be considered.
77316 Brachytherapy isodose plan; simple (calculation[s] made from 1 to 4 sources, or remote afterloading brachytherapy, 1 channel), includes basic dosimetry calculation(s)
77317 intermediate (calculation[s] made from 5 to 10 sources, or remote afterloading brachytherapy, 2-12 channels), includes basic dosimetry calculation(s)
77318 complex (calculation[s] made from over 10 sources, or remote afterloading brachytherapy, over 12 channels), includes basic dosimetry calculation(s)
All of the above codes (which replace deleted codes 77326-77328) include basic dosimetry calculation(s), which is a measurement of the radiation dose that the body receives and absorbs. Do not separately report 77300 Basic radiation dosimetry calculation, central axis depth dose calculation, TDF, NSD, gap calculation, off axis factor, tissue inhomogeneity factors, calculation of non-ionizing radiation surface and depth dose, as required during course of treatment, only when prescribed by the treating physician with 77316-77318.
John Verhovshek, MA, CPC, is managing editor at AAPC and a member of the Hendersonville-Asheville, N.C., local chapter.