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Thread: chest tube insertion

  1. #1

    Default chest tube insertion

    AAPC: Back to School
    One of my surgeons would like to know the difference between 32422 and 32551. He cannot tell the difference between the as they are both chest tube insertion. We discussed it and he still wants to know what the rationale for creating these new codes. I have been searching for guidelines for the new codes but I am not getting anywhere. If anyone has any suggestions or can help answer my question I would really appreciate it.
    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Milwaukee WI

    Default These are NOT new codes

    I'm confused by your questions, as these are not new codes.

    CPT 2009 Professional Edition page 141 shows a drawing of Thoracentesis (32421-32422); page 142 shows a drawing of Thoracostomy (34550-34551).
    Be sure to read the description of the procedure that goes with each drawing;the method of insertion is different and clearly explained in the book.

    F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CPC-E/M

  3. #3


    32422 is thoracentesis insertion of tube (exchanges a needle to a catheter) and is temporary usually for effusion
    32551 is a placement used primarily for a abscess, hemothorax and empyema and it's usually described as a "pigtail" cathe being placed.

  4. #4


    thanks for the feedback. I was referring to them being new in 2008. I am new to this practice and he has had this questions for awhile.
    thank you

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