CT colonography, also known as virtual colonoscopy, utilizes helical
computed tomography of the abdomen and pelvis to visualize the colon
lumen, along with 2D or 3D reconstruction. The test requires colonic
preparation similar to that required for instrument colonoscopy, and air
insufflation to achieve colonic distention.
CT colonography is only indicated:
1. In those patients in whom an instrument colonoscopy of the entire
colon is incomplete due to an inability to pass the colonoscope
proximally, due to one of the following:
A. An impassable obstruction (e.g., neoplasm, intrinsic compression,
stenosis due to causes such as inflammatory bowel disease)
B. Scarring or aberrant anatomy (e.g., stricture, tortuosity,
adhesion) with obstruction from prior surgery, radiation, diverticular
C. Extrinsic compression
This is intended for use in pre-operative situations when knowledge of
the unvisualized colon proximal to the obstruction would be of use to
the surgeon in planning the operative approach to the patient.
2. When ordering physician determines and documents instrument
colonoscopy cannot be safely attempted based on current or previous
studies. Such contraindications may include severe coagulopathy,
increased sedation risk, etc.
1. CT colonography is not reimbursable when used for screening, or in
the absence of signs or symptoms of disease, regardless of family
history or other risk factors for the development of colonic disease.
2. CT colonography is not reimbursable when used as an alternative to
instrument colonoscopy for screening or in the absence of signs or
symptoms of disease.
3. CT colonography is not reimbursable following incomplete
colonoscopy if the reason for the colonoscopy is other than one of those
4. Except as noted in Indication 1. a., CT colonography is not
indicated in patients with high risk disease symptoms (e.g. inflammatory
bowel disease, hematochezia) and situations in which the pretest
probability of identification of colonic abnormality is increased.
Procedure code /HCPCS Codes
Group 1 Paragraph: N/A
Group 1 Codes:
74261 Ct colonography dx
74262 Ct colonography dx w/dye
Group 2 Paragraph: The following Procedure code is not covered by Medicare:
Group 2 Codes:
74263 Ct colonography screening
ICD-10 CODE DESCRIPTION
C18.2 – C18.4 – Opens in a new window Malignant neoplasm of ascending colon – Malignant neoplasm of transverse colon
C18.6 – C18.8 – Opens in a new window Malignant neoplasm of descending colon – Malignant neoplasm of overlapping sites of colon
C19 – C21.8 – Opens in a new window Malignant neoplasm of rectosigmoid junction – Malignant neoplasm of overlapping sites of rectum, anus and anal canal
D12.0 – D12.9 – Opens in a new window Benign neoplasm of cecum – Benign neoplasm of anus and anal canal
K56.0 – K56.7 – Opens in a new window Paralytic ileus – Ileus, unspecified
K57.32 – K57.33 – Opens in a new window Diverticulitis of large intestine without perforation or abscess without bleeding – Diverticulitis of large intestine without perforation or abscess with bleeding
K63.5 Polyp of colon
Z08 – Z09 – Opens in a new window Encounter for follow-up examination after completed treatment for malignant neoplasm – Encounter for follow-up examination after completed treatment for conditions other than malignant neoplasm
Z53.8 Procedure and treatment not carried out for other reasons
ICD-9 Codes that Support Medical Necessity
Group 1 Paragraph: The correct use of an ICD-9-CM code listed in the
“ICD-9 codes that Support Medical Necessity” section does not guarantee
coverage of a service. The service must be reasonable and necessary in
the specific case and must meet the criteria specified in this LCD.
ICD-9 codes must be coded to the highest level of specificity. Consult
the ‘Official ICD-9-CM Guidelines for Coding and Reporting’ in the
current ICD-9-CM book for correct coding guidelines. This LCD does not
take precedence over the Correct Coding Initiative (CCI).
For Procedure Codes 74261 and 74262:
Group 1 Codes:
153.0 – 153.3
MALIGNANT NEOPLASM OF HEPATIC FLEXURE – MALIGNANT NEOPLASM OF SIGMOID COLON
153.6 MALIGNANT NEOPLASM OF ASCENDING COLON
153.8 MALIGNANT NEOPLASM OF OTHER SPECIFIED SITES OF LARGE INTESTINE
154.0 – 154.3
MALIGNANT NEOPLASM OF RECTOSIGMOID JUNCTION – MALIGNANT NEOPLASM OF ANUS UNSPECIFIED SITE
154.8 MALIGNANT NEOPLASM OF OTHER SITES OF RECTUM RECTOSIGMOID JUNCTION AND ANUS
211.3 BENIGN NEOPLASM OF COLON
211.4 BENIGN NEOPLASM OF RECTUM AND ANAL CANAL
560.0 – 560.9
INTUSSUSCEPTION – UNSPECIFIED INTESTINAL OBSTRUCTION
562.11 DIVERTICULITIS OF COLON (WITHOUT HEMORRHAGE)
562.13 DIVERTICULITIS OF COLON WITH HEMORRHAGE
V64.3* PROCEDURE NOT CARRIED OUT FOR OTHER REASONS
V67.1 FOLLOW-UP EXAMINATION FOLLOWING RADIOTHERAPY
Group 1 Medical Necessity ICD-9 Codes Asterisk Explanation: **NOTE: V64.3 is to be used for Indication #2.
ICD-9 Codes that DO NOT Support Medical Necessity
Paragraph: Any ICD-9 code that is not listed in the “ICD-9 codes that Support Medical Necessity” section of this LCD.