Cracking the Code
Arthrocentesis can be found in the musculoskeletal section of the CPT code book in the 20600–20611 series. It is a procedure performed to collect synovial fluid from joint spaces for the identification of a disease process or the relief of painful or bothersome symptoms. Fluids are removed for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Injections reduce pain and inflammation in a joint, tendon, or bursa. It is used in multiple disease processes, including arthritis, gout, and infectious processes such as septic arthritis.
A ganglion cyst is a type of tumor usually located in a joint capsule or tendon sheath. Codes 20604, 20606, and 20611 are with ultrasound guidance, the other codes in this range are without ultrasound guidance. Code 20612 is for the aspiration of the cyst and/or injection of an anti-inflammatory substance, which often relieves the symptoms without surgery.