Removal of Foreign Object from the Ear

Removal of Foreign Object from the Ear

Removal of a foreign object from the external auditory canal without general anesthesia is coded 69200 Removal foreign body from external auditory canal; without general anesthesia. This code is unilateral; therefore, if the patient sticks a Cocoa Puff™ in both ears, report 69200 on a single claim detail line and append modifier 50 Bilateral procedure.

Note: Individual payers may have different rules on billing unilateral procedures performed bilaterally and may prefer that the procedure codes be billed as separate line items with RT Right side and LT Left side modifiers for right and left, respectively.

The type of removal described by this procedure code is performed under direct visualization with an otoscope. Forceps, a cerumen spoon, or suction is used to remove the foreign body. In the case of a live insect, mineral oil is usually dropped into the ear to immobilize the insect before it is removed.

If the patient cannot tolerate the procedure while awake, general anesthesia may be utilized. This may also be the case if the foreign object is so large that an incision is made into the external meatus to enlarge the opening before the foreign body can be extracted. In this instance, report 69205 Removal foreign body from external auditory canal; with general anesthesia. This procedure is also unilateral.

Code 92502 Otolaryngologic examination under general anesthesia is considered a standard of medical/surgical practice when performed with the removal of a foreign object and, as such, should not be separately reported if the examination is performed on the same ear and during the same encounter as the foreign body removal.

Maryann Palmeter

Maryann Palmeter

Maryann C. Palmeter, CPC, CPCO, CPMA, CENTC, CHC, has more than 30 years of technical and executive level experience gained through her work on both the government payer and professional billing ends of the healthcare spectrum. She is director of physician billing compliance at the University of Florida Jacksonville Physicians, Inc., and is responsible for providing professional direction and oversight to the billing compliance program of the University of Florida College of MedicineJacksonville. Palmeter served on the AAPC’s National Advisory Board from 2011-2013 and was subsequently selected to serve as secretary for the 2013-2015 term. She was named the AAPC’s 2010 “Member of the Year” and is the vice president for the Jacksonville, Fla., local chapter.
Maryann Palmeter

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Maryann C. Palmeter, CPC, CPCO, CPMA, CENTC, CHC, has more than 30 years of technical and executive level experience gained through her work on both the government payer and professional billing ends of the healthcare spectrum. She is director of physician billing compliance at the University of Florida Jacksonville Physicians, Inc., and is responsible for providing professional direction and oversight to the billing compliance program of the University of Florida College of MedicineJacksonville. Palmeter served on the AAPC’s National Advisory Board from 2011-2013 and was subsequently selected to serve as secretary for the 2013-2015 term. She was named the AAPC’s 2010 “Member of the Year” and is the vice president for the Jacksonville, Fla., local chapter.

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