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Meniscal Tear Severity

Camille Posted Thu 20th of February, 2020 18:55:35 PM
Performed medial and lateral meniscectomies. In the procedure description for the Medial meniscectomy, provider states "very small undersurface vertical tear of the posterior horn. This was approx. 5 mm. This was very lightly debrided along the capsular margin. This was very lightly debrided along the capsular margin. This was not an unstable tear." The Lateral meniscectomy was described more extensively and stated "This was brought back to a stable base using a wide up-biting basket forceps." Fee Ticket indicates he/she is not coding the Medial Meniscectomy. Question: Is it under-coding or is it appropriate to not code the Medial Meniscectomy because it was only lightly debrided and the tear was not an unstable tear? Thank you!
SuperCoder Answered Mon 24th of February, 2020 08:36:45 AM


Thanks for your question.

As per the limited documentation available, it appears the surgeon performed both medial and lateral meniscectomies. So, you have to code for both the medial and lateral meniscectomies.

If the provider performed arthroscopy then kindly go through code 29880 Arthroscopy, knee, surgical; with meniscectomy (medial AND lateral, including any meniscal shaving) including debridement/shaving of articular cartilage (chondroplasty), same or separate compartment(s), when performed.

Code 29880 includes meniscectomy of both medial and lateral meniscus.

Hope this helps.


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