Eli's Rehab Report

READER QUESTIONS: Look for Desiccation of Disk, L5-S1, Dx No More

- Published on Tue, Oct 04, 2005
Question: I’m looking for an ICD-9 code for “Desiccation of disk, L5-S1.” Is there a code for this?

Nebraska Subscriber
Answer: You should use 722.52 (Lumbar or lumbosacral intervertebral disk degeneration). The medical term “desiccation” means “drying out.” A desiccated disk is one with reduced water content in the nucleus pulposus of the intervertebral disk.

All disks degenerate as we age. Disks are basically shock absorbers that hold a lot of water. Each disk begins to lose its water and its shock absorber effect starting in the late teens.
Disk degeneration is not necessarily a problem and is frequently a normal process of aging. Only when a degenerated disk causes pain does it become a problem. Degeneration of the vertebral joint structures commonly begins with disk desiccation. 

Get 14-Day Fully-Functional Free Trial of Physician Coder

Get access to all your specialty alerts and archived articles along with some comprehensive tools including:
  • Code Search for CPT®, HCPCS, ICD-9 and ICD-10
  • CCI Edits Checker
  • Part B Fees, MUEs
  • CPT-ICD-9 CrossRef
  • CPT® ↔ ICD-9 ↔ ICD-10 CM Crosswalk
  • LCD/NCD Lookup
  • CMS 1500 Claims Scrubber
  • NDC ↔ CPT/HCPCS CrossReference
First Name: *
Last Name: *
User Name: *
E-mail: *
Phone: *
Choose Speciality*
Please enter the characters shown in box*