AHA Coding Clinic® for HCPCS - 2012 Issue 4; Ask the Editor

Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery

A patient has a long history of neck and shoulder pain and now presents to have arthroscopic shoulder surgery which includes decompression with acromioplasty, claviculectomy, extensive debridement, and synovectomy. A standard posterior portal was made and the scope was introduced into the glenohumeral joint where extensive synovitis was noticed. An anterior portal was made and complete synovectomy was performed in the rotator area and the posterior and inferior capsular margins. Extensive intra-articular debridement was performed for the degenerative labral tear. A complete bursectomy for extensive synovitis and bursitis in the subacromial space, accessed from the same standard posterior portal was performed, in addition to a subacromial decompression with acromioplasty. A coracoacromial ligament release and distal claviculectomy were performed along with additional debridement in the superior joint capsule. After complete irrigation all portals were closed and patient was in stable condition. We want to report CPT codes 29826, 29824, 29823, and 29821 for the procedures performed. However, codes 29823 (extensive debridement) and 29821 (complete synovectomy) trigger an edit. Can you please clarify whether codes 29823 and 29821 can or cannot be reported since they are considered inherent into code 29824 (claviculectomy)? Or would both procedures be considered performed at a “separate site” within the shoulder and reported with modifier 59 appended? ...

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