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Oral thermometer, reusable, any type, each

HCPCS code

Name of the Procedure:

  • Common Name: Oral Thermometer
  • Technical/Medical Term: Oral thermometer, reusable, any type, each (HCPCS Code: A4931)


An oral thermometer is a device used to measure a person's body temperature through the mouth. It is reusable and can come in various types, including digital, mercury, or alcohol-based thermometers.


Oral thermometers are essential for monitoring a patient's body temperature to diagnose fevers or monitor body temperature for various medical conditions. The goal is to provide accurate and reliable temperature readings to assist in medical diagnosis and treatment decisions.


  • Symptoms: Fever, chills, sweating, discomfort
  • Conditions: Infections, flu, colds, monitoring body temperature in post-surgical or ICU patients
  • Criteria: Any patient presenting with symptoms indicative of fever or requiring regular temperature monitoring


  • Pre-Procedure Instructions: Ensure the patient has not consumed hot or cold drinks, smoked, or exercised in the 15 minutes prior to taking the temperature.
  • Diagnostic Tests: No specific pre-takes required.

Procedure Description

  1. Preparation: Ensure the thermometer is clean and functioning.
  2. Placement: Guide the patient to place the thermometer under their tongue, ensuring it is in contact with the sublingual pocket.
  3. Measurement: Instruct the patient to keep their mouth closed around the thermometer.
  4. Reading: Wait until the thermometer beeps or indicates it has completed the reading, then remove and check the temperature.
    • Tools Used: Digital or mercury/alcohol-based oral thermometer
    • Anesthesia/Sedation: None required


  • The procedure typically takes about 1-3 minutes to complete.


  • The procedure can be performed in various settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, doctor's offices, or even at home.


  • The procedure can be performed by healthcare professionals such as nurses or medical assistants. Patients or caregivers can also perform it at home following proper instructions.

Risks and Complications

  • Common Risks: Discomfort, minor irritation under the tongue
  • Rare Risks: Inaccurate readings due to improper use
  • Management: Re-instruct on proper use, ensure the thermometer is clean and functional.


  • Expected Benefits: Quick, non-invasive, and accurate measurement of body temperature.
  • Realization: Immediate upon completing the reading.


  • Post-Procedure Care: None required; the thermometer can be cleaned and stored for future use.
  • Recovery Time: Instantaneous, no recovery needed.
  • Restrictions: None, but avoid eating, drinking, or smoking immediately before subsequent readings.
  • Follow-Up: None required unless monitoring continues.


  • Other Options: Tympanic (ear), rectal, axillary (underarm) thermometers, and infrared forehead thermometers.
  • Pros and Cons:
    • Tympanic and forehead methods are quicker but may be less accurate.
    • Rectal thermometers are very accurate but more invasive.
    • Axillary thermometers are less reliable but useful for patients who can't use oral thermometers.

Patient Experience

  • During Procedure: Mild discomfort under the tongue, need to remain still and keep mouth closed.
  • Post-Procedure: Immediate return to normal activities, no pain or lasting discomfort.
  • Pain Management: None required, as the procedure is typically painless.

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