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Thread: 29822 vs 29823

  1. #1

    Default 29822 vs 29823

    AAPC: Back to School
    I am struggling (as you probably have noticed) with the codes 29822 and 29823. What exactly is "back and front"? I have gone over the anatomy and multiple coding examples but am still confused.

    What combinations constitute the use of 29823 vs 29822. So if the physician does a debridement of a biceps tendon and a subscapularis tendon is that a 29823?

    If a physician performs a debridement of a labral tear and biceps is that 29822?

    If a physican performs a glenohumeral chondroplasty, labral debridement is that a 29822?

    I am so confused cuz each doc gives me a different answer.

    Please help!!

    Thank you

  2. #2


    heres from coders pink sheet article:

    Subject One surgeon's answers to the shoulder coding conundrum
    Source Coder Pink Sheets: Orthopedic
    Publication Orthopedic Coder's Pink Sheet, January 2006, Vol. 7, No. 1
    Effective Date Jan 1, 2006
    Publish Date Jan 1, 2006

    One surgeon’s answers to the shoulder coding conundrum

    Wondering what to do until the AAOS Coding, Coverage and Reimbursement Committee meets and updates its instructions on the reporting of shoulder synovectomy (29820, 29821) and debridement (29822, 29823)? Here’s how committee member William Beach MD, an orthopedic surgeon with Tuckahoe Orthopaedic Associates in Richmond , Va. , uses the codes.

    29820: For a minor synovectomy. “I use this code if I do a very limited synovectomy and nothing else,” Beach says. “Obviously I rarely use this code and I think of this as similar to a plica excision of the knee – included with almost every other procedure.”

    29821: For major synovectomy of the entire intraarticular synovioum, “but not a little synovial shave to improve visualization,” he says.

    29822: For minor debridement of soft tissue, including labral debridement, cuff debridement, and so on.

    29823: Either for debridement of multiple soft tissue structures (labrum, subscapularis, supraspinatus) and/or a chondroplasty of the humeral head or glenoid.

    The information contained herein was current as of the publication date. © Copyright DecisionHealth, all rights reserved. Electronic or print redistribution without prior written permission of DecisionHealth is strictly prohibited by federal copyright law.

  3. #3

    Default Desperate D


    You really do rock - this has been driving me crazy for the past three weeks. We have done more shoulders the last 3 weeks than I have coded in 10 years. It gets confusing because I am not sure the docs understand my questions half the time.

    I really do appreciate your help - I have a couple more difficult ones - the one with the Haglund lesion is killing me.


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