63005 vs. 63047

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August 27, 2015

Question:

Help me understand the difference between 63005 and 63047 – I don’t get it! The codes look the same to me.

Answer:

Yes, it can be confusing because the code descriptions are very similar. However, look very carefully and you’ll see the differences. Here are the code descriptions and I’ve bolded some key differences:

CPT Code Description
63005 Laminectomy with exploration and/or decompression of spinal cord and/or cauda equina, without facetectomy, foraminotomy or discectomy, (e.g., spinal stenosis), one or two vertebral segments; lumbar, except for spondylolisthesis
63047 Laminectomy, facetectomy and foraminotomy (unilateral or bilateral with decompression of spinal cord, cauda equina and/or nerve root(s), (e.g., spinal or lateral recess stenosis)), single vertebral segment; lumbar

CPT 63005 is generally used for removal of the lamina to provide central decompression of the spinal cord. CPT 63047 involves not only removal of lamina for central decompression but also lateral recess decompression in the form of a facetectomy (e.g., medial, partial) and/or foraminotomy for nerve root decompression.

*This response is based on the best information available as of 08/27/15.

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