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General Surgery Coding Alert

Bariatric Surgery:
Answer 4 Questions to Pick the Right Gastric Bypass Code

Centimeters count for some codes. Duodenal switch, Roux-en-Y, limb length ... let us help you unravel the confusing language of bariatric surgery so you can chose the correct code -- and get the proper pay for your surgeons' work. Know the context: Surgeons perform various gastric restrictive procedures for some patients with morbid obesity and co-morbid health conditions (see "Don't Count on Obesity for Medical Necessity" on page 58 in this issue). The procedures effectively reduce the stomach size to limit food intake and absorption, leading to weight loss. The most common gastric restrictive surgeries fall into two main categories -- bypass procedures (which we'll discuss here), and banding (which we'll discuss in a future article). When you face an op note for gastric bypass surgery, simply decode the report and zero in on the suitable CPT® code by responding to these four questions. Question 1: Is the Procedure Laparoscopic or Open? [...]

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