A comparison of codes

Published: 2011-07-15 10:05:53
Author: Marty Kotlar | ChiroEco | July 2011

Q: I’m not sure how to differentiate between CPT codes 97124 and 97140. They seem very similar to me. Can you explain the difference and provide some practical examples?

A: CPT code 97124 is for massage therapy. Massage therapy includes effleurage (circular movement), petrissage (lifting, squeezing), and/or tapotement (stroking, compression, percussion).

Massage therapy is a therapeutic procedure on one or more areas, each for 15 minutes. Massage therapy could be used as a preparatory procedure on the same day as a therapeutic procedure to restore muscle function, decrease stiffness, reduce edema, improve joint motion, or for relief of muscle spasms.

It should be related to other therapeutic procedures within the overall plan of treatment.

CPT code 97140, on the other hand, is for manual therapy techniques. Manual therapy techniques include soft tissue and joint mobilization, manipulation, manual lymphatic drainage, manual traction, trigger point therapy (non-injectable), and myofascial release.

Manual therapy techniques are used to treat restricted motion of soft tissues in the extremities, neck, and trunk. These are used in an active and/or passive fashion to help effect changes in the soft tissues, articular structures, and neural or vascular systems.

For example: Facilitation of fluid exchange, restoration of movement in acutely edematous muscles, or stretching of shortened connective tissue.

Manual therapy is used when a loss of motor ability impedes function. Manual therapy is also considered a therapeutic procedure, on one or more areas and each for 15 minutes.

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