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Orthopedic Coding Alert


Do You Know How to Report Olecranon Bursitis? Find Out

Don’t miss these ‘Excludes’ notes.

Olecranon bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa, a tiny fluid-filled sac that functions as a gliding surface to reduce friction between tissues of the body. Bursitis in the elbow can result from a sudden injury, or a continuous pressure over time such as leaning on a desk.

Most times it is caused by a small spur which has grown on the extraarticular, dorsal, surface of the olecranon, which is the point of the elbow.

Here’s how you should report this condition:

  • M70.20, Olecranon bursitis, unspecified elbow
  • M70.21, ... right elbow
  • M70.22, ... left elbow

While you used to have one ICD-9 option for olecranon bursitis (726.33, Olecranon bursitis), ICD-10 gave you three more based on anatomical site (right elbow, left elbow, and unspecified).

Documentation: Your physician most likely already documents the side of the olecranon bursitis, so now have you a way of specifying this with a diagnosis code.

Although you have a code for unspecified, you should always code to the highest specificity.

Here is how you will find these codes in the Alphabetic Index:


- elbow NEC

- - olecranon M70.2-

Coder tips: Underneath the M70 category, you’ll find the following notations:

  • Includes: soft tissue disorders of occupational origin
  • Use additional external cause code to identify activity causing disorder (Y93.-)
  • Excludes1: bursitis NOS (M71.9-)
  • Excludes2: bursitis of shoulder (M75.5), enthesopathies (M76-M77), and pressure ulcer (pressure area) (L89.-)