Scraping the Vertebral Endplates

June 22, 2017

Question:
Our spine surgeon recently attended a presentation (not KZA’s which is why I’m questioning the advice!). He said the spine surgeon speaker advised that he could bill a corpectomy code if he documented “scraping or smoothing of vertebral endplates.” He told me we had missed out on a lot of reimbursement because I was coding these as a traditional anterior cervical decompression/discectomy and fusion (ACDF) procedure. Was I wrong in how I coded these procedures, and if yes, should I go back and submit a corrected claim?

Answer:
You were absolutely correct in not interpreting this work as a corpectomy. The work or preparing the endplates for fusion is included in the ACDF code (22551) assuming all other appropriate work is performed and documented.

*This response is based on the best information available as of 06/22/17.

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