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Otolaryngology Coding Alert

Reader Question: Biopsy of Tonsil

- Published on Tue, Jan 01, 2002
Question: How should a punch excisional biopsy of the left tonsil be coded?

Tennessee Subscriber  
Answer: Use 42800 (biopsy; oropharynx) if the otolaryngologist did not use a scope. Code 31510 (laryngoscopy, indirect; with biopsy), 31535 (laryngoscopy, direct, operative, with biopsy) or 31536 ( with operating microscope) if an endoscope was used. There is no specific code for a biopsy of the tonsils.
Note: CPT classifies indirect laryngoscopy as an endoscopy, even though the procedure requires a mirror rather than an endoscope.

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