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Orthopedic Coding Alert

Reader Questions:

Apply 27822 to Trimalleolar Fracture Care

Question: Our surgeon performed an open reduction with internal fixation (ORIF) on the medial malleolus for a patient who suffered a trimalleolar ankle fracture. The surgeon noted that the lateral malleolus and posterior malleolus were in good positions and just casted them. Which codes should I report?

Florida Subscriber
Answer: Because the surgeon will continue to manage each ankle fracture throughout the healing process (not just the medial malleolar fracture), you should report 27822 (Open treatment of trimalleolar ankle fracture, with or without internal or external fixation, medial and/or lateral malleolus; without fixation of posterior lip).

Because the descriptor notes "medial and/or lateral malleolus," it indicates that you can report this code if he only treats the medial malleolus.

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