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General Surgery Coding Alert

Reader Question:

Select 'Unspecified' Appendix Code

Question: Our surgeon removed a patient's appendix, and the pathology report returned with "diverticulum of appendix." I know that we use 540 to report appendicitis, but what is the correct diagnosis code for this condition?Pennsylvania SubscriberAnswer: The correct ICD-9 code for diverticulum of appendix is 543.9 (Other and unspecified diseases of appendix). Even if the patient presented with appendicitis symptoms, you should code the diverticulum diagnosis if it's known at the time of billing.ICD-10: Beginning Oct. 1, 2014, you'll have a specific code for the condition in ICD-10 -- K38.2 (Diverticulum of appendix). This is part of a larger group of more-specific codes that will replace 543.9 under the new code set. You can see the new codes here:K38.1 -- Appendicular concretions K38.2 -- Diverticulum of appendix K38.3 -- Fistula of appendix K38.8 -- Other specified diseases of appendix K38.9 -- Disease of appendix, unspecified.