December 3, 2020
Someone told us to bill 23395 for repairing the pectoralis muscle after removing breast implants. Here’s the common scenario:
- Removal of old bilateral breast implants with capsulectomies
- Repair of pectoralis muscle with re-attachment to chest wall
- Creation of pre-pectoral pocket with acellular dermal matrix
- Placement of bilateral breast implants for reconstruction
What do you think of the recommendation to code 23395?
Let’s look at the details. The CPT descriptor for 23395 says “Muscle transfer, any type, shoulder or upper arm; single”. First, are you doing a muscle transfer? No – your scenario says “re-attachment to chest wall” which is not a transfer. Second, are you operating on the shoulder or upper arm? No – your scenario says “breast” and “pectoralis muscle” and “chest wall” which is neither the shoulder or upper arm. Lastly, does your patient scenario look like the typical patient scenario described by CPT? “This is a 35-year-old patient with scapular disability and pain caused by scapular winging undergoes pectoralis major transfer.” No.
Your scenario says “repair” so we ask how the muscle got to a point where it needed to be repaired. The usual scenario is that the surgeon partially detached the muscle to place the implant. Therefore, we do not agree that “repair” of the pectoralis muscle by re-attaching to the chest wall, or putting the muscle back to its original place, would be separately reported. We believe this service is included in whatever code(s) you choose for the breast reconstruction procedure and separately reporting 23395 is not accurate. If there is additional significant work, then you could potentially append modifier 22 to your primary procedure code.
Stay tuned for major CPT code changes to the breast reconstruction codes starting 1/1/21….Kim Pollock will have an upcoming webinar about the changes.
*This response is based on the best information available as of 12/03/20.