Wiki Paralysis vs Spinal Cord Injury

Community Wiki

This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on AAPC for 30 days and have made 5 posts. Learn More
Code: S14
Injury of nerves and spinal cord at neck level
Note: Code to highest level of cervical cord injury
Code also any associated:
fracture of cervical vertebra (S12.0--S12.6.-)
open wound of neck (S11.-)
transient paralysis (R29.5)

Category Notes
Injuries to the neck (S10-S19)
Includes: injuries of nape
injuries of supraclavicular region
injuries of throat
Excludes 2: burns and corrosions (T20-T32)
effects of foreign body in esophagus (T18.1)
effects of foreign body in larynx (T17.3)
effects of foreign body in pharynx (T17.2)
effects of foreign body in trachea (T17.4)
frostbite (T33-T34)
insect bite or sting, venomous (T63.4)

Coding Guidelines
Injury, poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes (S00-T88)
Note: Use secondary code(s) from Chapter 20 , External causes of morbidity, to indicate cause of injury. Codes within the T section that include the external cause do not require an additional external cause code
The chapter uses the S-section for coding different types of injuries related to single body regions and the T-section to cover injuries to unspecified body regions as well as poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes.
Use additional code to identify any retained foreign body, if applicable (Z18.-)
Excludes 1: birth trauma (P10-P15)
obstetric trauma (O70-O71)


weymouth, MA
Best answers
I have a pt who has paralysis as a result of spinal cord injury. The provider only selected a code for spinal cord injury.

My question is how would you code this? Would you use both codes?


Best answers
Your information does not indicate the level of the injury (neck/cervical, upper/thoracic, lower/lumbar, etc.), so it is difficult to answer specifically, but I would recommend you review S14, S24, and S34, particularly the Coding Notes, which basically indicate the need for 2 codes: one for the nervous system injury , and one for the the spinal injury underlying the neurological injury. You probably need to get specific information, help, from your physician.

Respectfully submitted, Alan Pechacek, M.D.