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What Is the CPT Code for Foreign Body Removal From the Ear?

What is the CPT code for foreign body removal from the ear?

The CPT code for foreign body removal from the ear without general anesthesia is 69200.The CPT code for foreign body removal from the ear without general anesthesia is 69200.

The current procedural terminology (CPT) code for foreign body removal from the ear without general anesthesia is 69200. The type of removal described in this procedure includes the removal of foreign bodies under direct visualization with an otoscope (an instrument for examining the ear). The most commonly used instruments to remove foreign bodies include

  • Forceps
  • Cerumen spoon
  • Suction
  • Mineral oil (in case of an insect to immobilize them before removing)

If the removal procedure requires general anesthesia, the CPT code changes to 69205: Removal of foreign body from the external auditory canal with general anesthesia.

In the case of a large foreign body, the procedure may require an additional incision to enlarge the opening before the foreign body can be extracted.

Some of the CPT codes for other types of foreign body removal include

  • 30300: Removal of foreign body, intranasal, office-type procedure
  • 40804: Removal of embedded foreign body, the vestibule of mouth, simple
  • 42809: Removal of foreign body from the pharynx
  • 69200: Removal of foreign body from the external auditory canal, without general anesthesia

Foreign bodies in the ear, nose and throat are occasional problems seen in children. Foreign bodies can be either graspable or non-graspable. Graspable foreign bodies (e.g., foam rubber, paper and vegetable material) have a higher success rate for removal under direct visualization. By contrast, non-graspable foreign bodies (e.g., beads, pebbles, popcorn or kernels) have a lower success rate of removal, which may further lead to complications. Some of the common foreign bodies found in the ear include

  • Food
  • Plastic toys
  • Small household items
  • Pebbles
  • Popcorn
  • Kernels
  • Beads
  • Insects
  • Batteries

Due to the structure of the ear, foreign body removal from the ear seems difficult. Attempts to remove foreign bodies may push them further into the canal where they become lodged at a narrow point within the ear.

How are foreign bodies removed from the ear?

Some of the instruments for ear foreign body removal and their indications are in the table below.

Table. Instruments and indications for foreign body removal from the ear


DO use for

  • Insects
  • Loose, inorganic, small objects, such as small beads and popcorn kernels

DO NOT use for

  • Batteries
  • Vegetable matter
  • Grommets in situ, tympanic membrane perforation and patients with known or suspected cholesteatoma
  • Polystyrene (bean bag) balls
    • This will absorb and partially degrade the fragmented pieces left for future removal if the procedure is unsuccessful.

Alligator forceps

DO use for

  • Insects
  • Soft graspable items, such as paper

DO NOT use for

  • Round objects
    • It can push the object further into the ear

Right angle hook

DO use for

  • Round objects without a leading edge

DO NOT use for

  • Friable objects
  • Objects deep inside the canal without proper visualization

Wax loop/curette

DO use for

  • Removing wax
  • Small round objects

Note: Bold items should be referred to a specialist for removal. A failed attempt at any of the above should be referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist.

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