1/27/14 – Tap Catheters

Question: What is a TAP catheter, and how should we code for using one?


Answer: Transversus abdominis plane (TAP) catheters are an alternative to epidural analgesia after upper abdominal surgery. It sometimes is also used as an adjunct to anesthesia for abdominal laparoscopic procedures.


If a TAP catheter is used for postoperative pain management, report 64450 (Injection, anesthetic agent; other peripheral nerve or branch). Another option is 64421 (Injection, anesthetic agent; intercostal nerves, multiple, regional block).


If the block is used as part of the anesthesia — not for post-operative pain management — do not report it separately from the anesthesia services code.


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