Cytopathology: Body Cavity Fluid

CPT Code(s):

  • 88108
  • 88106
  • 88305 (if cell block performed)

Additional CPT codes may apply if special studies are required.

Specimen Requirements:

Collection: Effusions/Washings

Collect a specimen and place it in a sterile container if it can be delivered immediately to the lab. If immediate delivery is not available, then it is recommended to place 30 mL of the specimen in ThinPrep® or SurePath® medium or place the specimen in a sterile container with 3 units of heparin and refrigerate it.
We do not recommend storing joint fluids in alcohol.

Storage/Transport Temperature: Submit specimens according to Biological Substance, Category B, shipping guidelines.

Unacceptable Conditions: Frozen, sterile container > 2 hours old without heparin

Stability (collection to initiation of testing):

  • Ambient:
    • Sterile Container: 2 hours
    • ThinPrep®: 3 weeks
    • SurePath®: 4 weeks
  • Refrigerated: Add 3 units of heparin (48 hours)


This test is used to evaluate the presence of malignant cells, non-neoplastic effusions and neoplastic effusions. Body fluid specimens may include the following:

  • Peritoneal fluid (paracentesis)
  • Body cavity washings
  • Pleural fluid (thoracentesis)
  • Pericardial fluid (pericardiocentesis)
  • Synovial fluid
  • Cyst fluid




1 – 2 days