Flow Cytometry on Fresh Tissue and/or Body Fluid

CPT Code(s):

CPT coding varies, depending upon actual testing performed, but common CPT codes are listed as the following:
  • 88108 Cytospin technical
  • 88184 First marker flow cytometry, technical
  • 88185 Each additional marker, flow cytometry technical
  • 88187 Flow cytometry interpretation, 2 – 8 markers
  • 88188 Flow cytometry interpretation, 9 – 15 markers
  • 88189 Flow cytometry interpretation, 16 or more markers

Specimen Requirements:

Fresh excised tissue should be kept moist in saline or culture medium (RPMI) at all times. It can be covered with saline or wrapped in medium-soaked gauze for transportation times of less than 24 hours.

Place fresh core needle biopsies or other small biopsies in saline or cell culture medium (RPMI).

Provide a sample of fine-needle aspiration, with freshly prepared smear or cytopathology slides, if available.

For large volumes of body fluid, spin and remove the large fluid volume and send the cell pellet in RPMI or similar culture medium. Small volumes of body fluid that can easily be transported can be submitted directly. No anticoagulant is necessary unless grossly contaminated with blood.

Storage/Transport Temperature: The fresh tissue or fluid specimen can be transported with a cold pack or wet ice, but do not fix or freeze specimens (no dry ice).

Unacceptable Conditions:
  • Frozen specimens
  • Specimens older than 24 hours
  • Inaccurately labeled specimens
Stability (collection to initiation of testing):
  • Ambient: 12 hours
  • Refrigerated: 24 hours

Other Requirements: It is important to submit a brief clinical history with the specimens. For your convenience, you may also check the boxes on requisition form to provide brief clinical information. Although we accept specimens older than 24 hours after collection, the viability of cells may deteriorate over time. Frozen or formalin-fixed samples are unacceptable for flow cytometry studies.

For more information, contact the UF Health Pathology Laboratories Client Services Department at 888.375.LABS (5227).


This test is used to diagnose hematolymphoid malignancies in tissue or bodily fluids.


Flow cytometry with or without microscopic examination


Within 2 days (Stat cases may be completed within 24 hours.)

Reference Values:

Interpretive report