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Thread: ? Coding Sternal Wire Removal

  1. #1

    Default ? Coding Sternal Wire Removal

    AAPC: Back to School
    My phy takes the patient to the operating room for removal of retained sternal wires. (patient had coronary bypass 2005). I am leaning towards code 10121. Any thoughts?

  2. #2


    how about 20680 (Removal of implant; deep (eg, buried wire, pin, screw, metal band, nail, rod or plate)

    or 20670 (Removal of implant; superficial (eg, buried wire, pin or rod) (separate procedure)

  3. #3

    Default sternal wire removal

    I would bill 20680. I've been told you can charge for each wire removed but the Society of Thoracic Surgeons advises against that. The excerpt below is from the STS website.

    Can you bill 20680 x 6 units for removal of sternal wires on the same claim as a re-do CABG or a re-do Valve?

    No. Code 20680 (removal of implant; deep) should not be reported in addition to code 33530 (Reoperation, CABG or valve, more then one month after original operation). The work to remove the sternal wires is included in the re-operation code. The re-operation code also accounts for lysis of adhesions and any debridement that has to be preformed in order to gain access to the surgical site. In addition, code 20680 should not be reported separately for any type of thoracic re-do procedure where the sternal wires are removed as this is considered part of the procedure. For those cases where code 20680 may be reported, you should only report the code once regardless of the number of wires removed.

    Lisi, CPC

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Albany, New York


    I would have to see specifics of the procedure note before offering a suggestion.
    Karen Maloney, CPC
    Data Quality Specialist

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Lincoln, NE


    For sternal wire removal I bill 20680 unless the sternum was also debrided then I would use 21627.

    Julie, CPC
    Last edited by jdrueppel; 05-21-2009 at 11:26 AM. Reason: typo

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