August 31, 2005

ACR Radiology Coding Source™ July-August 2005 Q and A

Q: Before performing an MR study, a plain film of the orbits is performed to detect any metallic foreign bodies that may be present which would cause eye damage to the patient during an MRI procedure. Is the performance of a plain film in this instance considered a scout film which is not reported or is it considered a screening diagnostic study and separately reportable?

A: It is the consensus of the American College of Radiology's Committee on Coding and Nomenclature that a plain film of the orbits (to detect a foreign body) which is performed prior to an MRI procedure is not considered a scout film. A scout film is an inherent part of an imaging study typically performed on the same modality.

The plain film or digital image on PACS is reported using CPT® code 70030 – Radiological examination, eye, for detection of foreign body. Orbit studies are ordered for patients prior to an MRI when medically necessary (i.e. history of sheet metal work, prior history of intraocular foreign body).