CPT® Code 88184: Guide to Flow Cytometry Procedures

Flow cytometry is a powerful diagnostic tool used in the medical field to analyze and characterize cells, providing essential information for diagnosing and treating various medical conditions. CPT code 88184 is specifically associated with Flow Cytometry Procedures, and it plays a significant role in billing and coding practices for healthcare providers. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the details of CPT code 88184, its applications, and how it relates to different medical conditions.

1. Understanding CPT® Code 88184:

CPT code 88184 is utilized to report flow cytometry procedures, which involve the use of specialized techniques to examine cells and their characteristics. Flow cytometry is commonly employed in diagnosing hematological malignancies, immunodeficiencies, and other medical conditions that involve abnormalities in cellular composition. The code encompasses various aspects of flow cytometry, such as sample preparation, analysis, and interpretation of results.

2. Applications of Flow Cytometry:

2.1 Hematological Malignancies:

Flow cytometry plays a crucial role in diagnosing and classifying hematological malignancies, including leukemia and lymphoma. By analyzing the characteristics of blood cells and identifying abnormal populations, clinicians can determine the type and stage of the disease, aiding in appropriate treatment decisions.

2.2 Immunodeficiency Disorders:

Flow cytometry is instrumental in evaluating immune system disorders, such as primary immunodeficiency diseases. It helps assess the quantity and function of immune cells, providing valuable insights for patient management and treatment planning.

3. Billing and Coding for CPT Code 88184:

Proper billing and coding are essential to ensure accurate reimbursement for medical services. When using CPT code 88184, healthcare providers must follow specific guidelines and document the procedure's medical necessity. Additionally, it is vital to use the appropriate ICD-10 codes that correspond to the patient's condition and support the need for flow cytometry testing.

4. CPT Code 88184 and Malignant Neoplasms/Viral Diseases:

Flow cytometry is useful in diagnosing various malignant neoplasms and viral diseases. By analyzing cell markers and properties, medical professionals can identify specific cancer types and distinguish between benign and malignant cells. Moreover, flow cytometry is valuable in detecting viral infections, including HIV, HTLV-I, and HTLV-II.

CPT Code 88189: Guide to Flow Cytometry Procedures

Q1: What is CPT® Code 88184?

CPT® Code 88184 refers to flow cytometry procedures. It is a specific code used for billing and coding purposes related to flow cytometry testing and analysis [2]

Q2: What is flow cytometry?

Flow cytometry is a laboratory technique used to analyze and measure various characteristics of cells or particles in a fluid sample. It provides information about cell count, size, shape, and the presence of specific proteins or markers on the cell surface. Flow cytometry is commonly used in medical diagnostics, immunology, cancer research, and other fields [2]

Q3: What does CPT® Code 88184 cover?

CPT® Code 88184 covers the technical component of flow cytometry procedures, which includes sample preparation, staining, and analysis of cells using a flow cytometer. This code typically includes the processing and interpretation of a single specimen, as well as the necessary quality control measures [2]

Q4: What are the common uses of flow cytometry?

Flow cytometry has various applications in healthcare. It is commonly used to analyze and diagnose blood disorders, immune system abnormalities, certain types of cancers (such as leukemia and lymphoma), and infectious diseases. Flow cytometry can also be used to monitor treatment response and evaluate minimal residual disease [2]

Q5: Are there specific guidelines for performing flow cytometry procedures?

Yes, there are specific guidelines for performing flow cytometry procedures. These guidelines include proper sample handling, preparation, and staining techniques. It is important to follow standardized protocols and quality control measures to ensure accurate and reliable results [4]

Q6: What diagnoses are associated with CPT® Code 88184?

CPT® Code 88184 does not specify specific diagnoses. However, the medical necessity for flow cytometry procedures is often determined by the clinical indications and suspected conditions, such as hematologic malignancies, immunodeficiency disorders, and certain infectious diseases. The specific diagnostic codes associated with these conditions may be used in conjunction with CPT® Code 88184 for billing purposes [3]

Q7: What is the recommended sample preparation process for flow cytometry procedures?

A1: Proper sample preparation is crucial for accurate flow cytometry results. It involves cell collection, preservation, and labeling with specific fluorescent dyes to target specific markers. This process ensures optimal analysis of cellular characteristics.

Q8: How does flow cytometry differ from other diagnostic techniques?

A2: Flow cytometry provides a rapid and quantitative assessment of individual cells within a heterogeneous sample. Unlike other techniques, it allows simultaneous evaluation of multiple cell properties, providing detailed information about cell populations.

Q9: Are there any potential complications or risks associated with flow cytometry procedures?

A3: Flow cytometry is considered a safe procedure. However, as with any medical test, there may be minimal risks, such as bruising at the site of sample collection or discomfort during the procedure.

Please note that it is always important to consult the most recent coding guidelines and reimbursement policies to ensure accurate coding and billing practices.


CPT code 88184 is an essential tool in the healthcare industry, facilitating the accurate diagnosis and management of various medical conditions, including hematological malignancies and immunodeficiency disorders. Understanding the nuances of this code and its applications is crucial for healthcare providers to ensure proper reimbursement and compliance with billing and coding guidelines. By incorporating flow cytometry procedures, healthcare professionals can deliver precise and targeted care to patients, leading to improved outcomes and better patient management.

Remember, staying up-to-date with coding practices, clinical guidelines, and technological advancements in flow cytometry will enhance the quality of patient care while optimizing reimbursement for healthcare providers.


1. AAPC. CPT® Code 88184 - Flow Cytometry Procedures - Codify by AAPC. [1]

2. CPT® Code 88184 - Flow Cytometry Procedures - Codify by AAPC [2]

3. CMS. Billing and Coding: Flow Cytometry (A56464).  [3]

4. Flow Cytometry (evicore.com) [4]

5. Article - Billing and Coding: Flow Cytometry (A56464) (cms.gov) [5]