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Orthopedic Coding Alert

Reader Question:

Count Interspaces to Report Units of +22851, +22552

Question: When coding 22851 (Application of intervertebral biomechanical device[s] [e.g., synthetic cage(s), methylmethacrylate] to vertebral defect or interspace [List separately in addition to code for primary procedure]) and 22552 (Arthrodesis, anterior interbody, including disc space preparation, discectomy, osteophytectomy and decompression of spinal cord and/or nerve roots; cervical below C2, each additional interspace [List separately in addition to code for separate procedure]) multiple times in an operative session, is it appropriate to use units or should each procedure be listed separately?\\ New Mexico Subscriber Answer: You report +22851 for synthetic cages and threaded bone dowels. You report this code once per interspace. For example, if your surgeon places two cages or three bone dowels at interspace T11-T12, you should report a single unit of +22851. You may report additional units of +22851 for additional interspaces your surgeon treats. For instance, if your surgeon places two cages at T11-T12 and a third [...]

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