(These are my opinions and should not be construed as being the final authority. Other opinions may vary.)
If you look at the 724 codes in your ICD-9 tabular you will see verbiage that states; "EXCLUDES conditions due to: intervertebral disc disorders (722.0-722.9)". I believe that this means that if your documentation indicates a causal relationship between a 722 code and a 724 code (722 caused 724), then the 724 does not get coded. In your case, you state 'cervical herniated disc at C4-C5 with stenosis'. This, I believe, is indicating a causal relationship (herniation causes stenosis). Consequently, I would not code the stenosis. Now, if your boss/auditor wants to know why you did not code something that is on the report, good luck explaining why!
Richard Mann, your pain management coder
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