"Question: Can you explain how to code arthroscopies on joints other than the knee? The knee is reported by compartments (medial, lateral, or patello-femoral). It is not clear how the other joints are reported. It appears that the shoulder is coded by whether the work is done anteriorly or posteriorly. What about the wrist and ankle and so forth?
Answer:You are correct that the knee has more than one compartment, and in some cases modifier 59, Distinct procedural service, allows for reporting of multiple procedures when more than one compartment is the site of distinct procedures. However, musculoskeletal system endoscopy/ arthroscopy reporting is generally not based on the compartment(s) in a given joint. While the knee has three compartments, the ankle has only one compartment. The endoscopy/arthroscopy subsection of the CPT codebook is arranged by specific anatomy (eg, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and ankle) with code descriptor language delineating procedural service(s) of the intra-articular structure(s) unique to each joint. There are no endoscopy/arthroscopy codes that divide a joint by exposure (eg, anterior, posterior, medial, or lateral) even though the procedure described may have a typical approach. For reporting purposes, if multiple exposures are required that involve more work than the usual joint procedure, modifier 22, Increased procedural services, may be used. Supporting documentation (eg, procedure report) should be submitted."
Unless there is something new out there, which I've not been able to find, I would stick with the guidance in that CPT Assistant article.
I hope this is helpful!
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