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Thread: 32422 and 32551

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Default 32422 and 32551

    AAPC: Back to School
    Does anyone have any hints as to what the difference is between CPT 32422 and 32551? Which is a true chest tube insertion?
    I feel like the CDR descriptions of these procedures is nearly identical. Please help!

  2. #2


    In simple words I explain:

    32440- NEEDLE puncture for removing air or fluid for small amount withdrawal with the syringe. short lived procedure, thin density/viscus fluid or air and mostly diagnostic( could effect therapeutic along with diagnostic).

    32551- is TROCAR punctured( big bore puncture) for removing thick viscus /thick density fluid like pus, hemmorrhagic fluid for removing large amount for a long duration by securing to the skin and leaving there for days together as a therapeutic measure, for like promoting the lung expansion. this is the true tube thoracostomy an dthe true test tube insertion for therapeutic purpose

  3. #3


    I use 32422 for Thoracentesis:
    Code 32422 is used for catheter drainage of fluid from the pleural space for therapeutic purposes. This is usually 3-6 French in size, and anywhere from 50-1500 cc fluid is removed to help the patient breath better. The catheter is removed at the end of the procedure.
    I use 32551 for chest tube insertion:
    Code 32551 describes a chest tube placement. The chest tube that is placed may be of small diameter ("Heimlich Valve" type) or large bore (as placed in the emergency room for hemothorax in trauma cases).
    Hope this helps,
    Trinia Roberto CPC,CIRCC

  4. #4


    Sorry the number is typed as 32440 instead of 32422 which I MEANT. It is obviously a typing error
    Then, what I meant by big bore is that the TROCOR is definitely bigger than the needle though there are varying numbers available and ALSO IN SHAPE ie, the tip is like a lancet shaped SHAPE for a trocor; and thorococentesis is short lived procedure not an indwelling for days and can be from a few ccs to thousands at that time of the procedure
    Where as the chest tube -real tube thorocostomy is for a longer basis of contninum and left indwelling bieng secured to the skin until the physician could/need to have it so.
    This is what I meant in simple words and it is not having deviation from what you explained

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    Thanks very much all the information was extremely helpful.

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