Oncology & Hematology Coding Alert

Reader Questions: Breakdown Breast Brachytherapy Codes


- Published on Wed, Sep 22, 2010

Question: What's the difference between 19296-+19297 and 19298?

North Carolina Subscriber

Answer: The first two codes describe catheter placement for the newer technique of accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI), such as the MammoSite system:

  • 19296 \" Placement of radiotherapy afterloading expandable catheter (single or multichannel) into the breast for interstitial radioelement application following partial mastectomy, includes imaging guidance; on date separate from partial mastectomy
  • +19297 \" ... concurrent with partial mastectomy (list separately in addition to code for primary procedure).

APBI targets part of the breast after a lumpectomy. Treatment takes place over a five- to six-day period instead of the weeks that older techniques require.

What happens: The physician creates a tunnel or cubbyhole and inflates the expandable catheter so that it can't be removed. Later the patient returns for radiation, often for five treatments, twice a day, with six hours in-between.

Codes [...]

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