AHA Coding Clinic® for HCPCS - 2018 Issue 1; For Your Information

Coding clarification

In second quarter 2016, Coding Clinic for HCPCS, Page 3, Question 1, we provided guidance regarding appropriate coding of a left breast mass and a left axillary lymph node. We recently received a question regarding the response provided. The question is whether CPT code 38505, Biopsy or excision of lymph node(s), by needle, superficial (e.g., cervical, inguinal, axillary, or similarly CPT code 38500, Biopsy or excision of lymph node(s); open, superficial, should include a modifier for laterality. The code itself does not identify a specific site, and lymph nodes do not have laterality nor are they considered paired organs. Can you please clarify whether it is appropriate to append a modifier for laterality to these codes? ...

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