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Orthopedic Coding Alert

READER QUESTIONS: Most Co-Planing Is Included in SAD

- Published on Mon, Mar 19, 2007
Question: Our surgeon performed an arthroscopic bursectomy, subacromial decompression and debridement of a partial cuff tear with co-planing of the clavicle. Which codes should we report for these services?

New York Subscriber

Answer: You should report 29826 (Arthroscopy, shoulder, surgical; decompression of subacromial space with partial acromioplasty, with or without coracoacromial release) to cover the surgeon's work performing the subacromial decompression and the bursectomy.

If the surgeon performed the debridement of the partial cuff tear in the gleno-humeral space, you should report either 29822 (Arthroscopy, shoulder, surgical; debridement, limited) or 29823 (... debridement, extensive), depending on the extent of the debridement that the surgeon documented.

If the surgeon performed the partial cuff tear debridement in the subacromial space, you cannot separately report a debridement code because the service is included in the reimbursement for 29826.

You shouldn't report any additional codes for co-planing the distal clavicle. Although some practices want to bill 29824 (Arthroscopy, shoulder, surgical; distal claviculectomy including distal articular surface [Mumford procedure]) for this procedure, co-planing of the distal clavicle is actually part of the subacromial decompression and you cannot separately bill it.

Keep in mind: You should only report 29824 separately if the surgeon removes at least 1.0 centimeter of the distal clavicle. Code 29824 does not refer to coplaning alone.

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