Answers to Five Common Coding Questions

Margaret Maley, BSN, MS
Meet Sarah Wiskerchen
Sarah Wiskerchen, MBA, CPC

Answers to Five Common Coding Questions
AAOS Now – October 2018
by Margaret M. Maley, BSN, MS and Sarah Wiskerchen

What orthopaedic surgeons, practice managers, and staff want to know

In this article, we discuss five concerns from surgeons and their staff that are currently “trending.”

1. Vendor advice = a flashing yellow light

Question: Our orthopaedic surgeon recently performed a single-level anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion and reported Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes 22853 and 22845 for the intervertebral biomechanical device and anterior instrumentation. When I look up the device name, it includes the description “low profile,” and I don’t see documentation for, or the name of, a separate plate in the operative note. The physician told me the vendor said it is okay to report both codes. Is this correct?

Answer: When reporting plate instrumentation in conjunction with insertion of intervertebral biomechanical devices, specific criteria must be met to support reporting an additional code. The CPT description of 22853 includes the phrase, “with integral anterior instrumentation for device anchoring (e.g., screws, flanges).”

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