22551, 22552 Boost Your Arthrodesis Accuracy

Published: 05th January 2011
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Additional neurostimulator and arthrodesis codes are two of the plusses in the new and revised codes your orthopedic practice will have in the coming year.

As a matter of fact, CPT will come up with 200 plus new codes in 2011 and revise over 90 codes to help keep your coding more specific than ever, spanning a number of specialties, from dermatology to orthopedics to cardiology and beyond.

Make room for extra arthrodesis specificity

Beginning January 1, you'll be required to report arthrodesis procedures that include discectomy, osteophytectomy and spinal cord decompression with two new bundled codes:

  • 22551

  • 22552

    Code 22552 is an add-on code; as such, you would report it with 22551 to reflect any additional interspace the neurosurgeon treats below C2. Earlier, this bundled procedure would have been reported as 63075, for the discectomy,osteophytectomy and spinal cord/nerve decompression and 22554-51. This is one of several code pairs which were used together more than 90 percent of the time, prompting CMS to request a bundled code from CPT.

    Add more neurostimulator codes

    Beginning January 1, you will be able to describe more fully tibial and cranial neurostimulator services with four new codes:

    64566, 64568, 64569, 64570

    And if your neurosurgeon carries out chemodenervation, you will have a new code to report for work on the salivary glands: 64611

    Watch halo, allograft, and vertebral fracture revisions

    Do not let code descriptor changes trip you up when you turn to 20664 for halo application as the latest revision removes the phrase "requiring general anesthesia:"

    20664 (Revised)

    Add-on allograft codes 20930 and 20931 received changes, which will be for the coming year:

    20930 (Revised), 20931 (Revised)

    The development of many bone graft extenders including demineralized bone matrix and bone morphogenic protein led to frequent questions regarding the right coding for these materials.

    The revision of 20930 places these materials in the same category as other non-structural bone extenders that aren't obtained directly from the patient being treated.

    Closed vertebral facture code 22315 now omits the phrase "with or without anesthesia": 22315 (Revised).

    And code 22851 for application of intervertebral biomechanical devices deletes "threaded bone dowels" from the definition:22851 (Revised).

    The rationale: The production of machined allografts led to frequent questions regarding the proper coding for placing these materials. As the machined allografts are bone allograft materials, the right code to describe their use was 20931. But the example of threaded bone dowel in code 22851 led to confusion that prompted removal of this example from 22851, which was intended to describe placement of structural devices composed of non-bony prosthetic material.

    For more on this and to get the entire CPT codes list for the coming year, sign up for a medical coding guide like Supercoder!

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