Excision of Lymph Node/Breast Reconstruction

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April 3, 2014

Question:

Sometimes when I do a breast reconstruction I find a lymph node or two that I excise to access blood vessels and complete the procedure. I have never billed for this but one of my partners says he always bills. So who is right – me or my partner?

Answer:

Removal of lymph nodes as you describe it is part of the exposure and is included in the breast reconstruction code; therefore, you would not separately report a lymph node removal code such as 38530.