March 16, 2017
We are having a discussion in the office about the correct way to code chronic sinusitis of multiple sinuses in our office. Some are saying to code each sinus condition separately as they have specific codes for each one, some say to code with the “other code”. Who is correct?
Well, it depends on the situation. If a patient has chronic sinusitis of one sinus, then you code the specific chronic sinusitis code from category J32:
J32.0 Chronic maxillary sinusitis
J32.1 Chronic frontal sinusitis
J32.2 Chronic ethmoidal sinusitis
J32.3 Chronic sphenoidal sinusitis
If the patient has all four sinuses affected (unilaterally or bilaterally), then code J32.4 is reported alone for chronic pansinusitis. If the patient has more than one sinus affected, but not pansinusitis, then code J32.8 is reported instead of each individual code. There is an instructional note under code J32.8 that states it is for use for chronic sinusitis involving more than one sinus but not pansinusitis. The same rules would apply for acute and acute recurrent sinusitis under category J01.
*This response is based on the best information available as of 03/16/17.