AMA CPT® Assistant - 2008 Issue 5 (May)

Surgery: Digestive System (May 2008)

May 2008 page 14c Surgery: Digestive System, 42820, 42821 (Q&A) Question: Which CPT code should be reported for a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy when the physician excises the tonsils using electrocautery and then destroys, ablates, or vaporizes the adenoid tissue using suction diathermy? Answer: Code 42820, Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy; younger than age 12, should be reported if the patient is younger than age12. Code 42821 is reported for patients 12 and older. Suction diathermy is a term generally applied to electrosurgery/electrocautery. Medical diathermy generally indicates that no tissue harm or destruction is done. Ablation implies removal or destruction of...

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