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Orthopedic Coding Alert

Reader Questions:

Address Front and Back of Shoulder for 29823

Question: Our surgeon performed an extensive glenohumeral debridement and then he left the joint to do a subacromial decompression. Can we report both 29823 and 29826?

New York Subscriber Answer: You should report 29823 (Arthroscopy, shoulder, surgical; debridement, extensive) only if you extensively debrided both the front and back (anterior and posterior) of the shoulder, per American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) guidelines.

The National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) does not bundle 29823 into 29826 (Arthroscopy, shoulder, surgical; decompression of subacromial space with partial acromioplasty, with or without coracoacromial release). Therefore, you don't need to append any modifiers to report both codes together.

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