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Orthopedic Coding Alert

Reader Questions:

Nerve Exploration Is Probably Included in Elbow ORIF

Question: Our surgeon performed an open reduction with internal fixation (ORIF) of the left elbow (24575) to treat a medial epicondylar fracture. During the procedure, he also performed an ulnar nerve exploration. Can I separately report the nerve exploration?

Florida Subscriber
Answer: If the surgeon merely identified, explored and protected the ulnar nerve, you should not bill separately for the exploration.

The type of nerve exploration that you describe is typical when surgeons perform procedures in this region of the elbow, because the nerve lies right near the medial epicondyle.

Therefore, you should report only 24575 (Open treatment of humeral epicondylar fracture, medial or lateral, with or without internal or external fixation) for your surgeon's work.

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