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Thread: stenosis question please?

  1. #1

    Default stenosis question please?

    AAPC: Back to School
    okay.. dumb question.. if I have an operative report that states cervical herniated disc at C4-C5 with stenosis.... I know for herniation it's 722.0 but if the stenosis is not further specificed as foraminal or spinal, then I should not code it right?

  2. #2


    (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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    AHA Coding Clinic states: "Do not code symptoms and signs associated with (due to) spondylosis and allied disorders or intervertebral disc disorder (such as slipped disc or arthritic degeneration of interevertebral disc). They are included in the 721-722 code series....."

    You could look at the MRI Report and see if the stenosis is due to the disc impinging the nerve roots or thecal sac. Or if the stenosis is unrelated to disc displacement and due to narrowing of foramen or osteophyte build up. It would seem that this type of stenosis would be unrelated to the disc displacment and would not follow the guideline in the ICD-9 book which states Excludes: conditions due to: 722.0-7229, 721.0-721.9 because the stenosis was not due to the disc displacment.

  4. #4


    I work for ASC so I won't have any of that access....... so Im wondering if the operative report doesn't state "due to" not only for this case scenario but for my future reference... then shouldn't I code it since I won't know if this is due to the disc displacement?

    & In this scenario, since I don't know if it's "due to" but also I don't know what kind of stenosis it is, should I just leave it out then?


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Kokomo, IN


    It's all according to what's documented, as the other's have said, all indications lead to not coding one if it's caused by the other. I usually look at locations and all documentation before making that decision. If the herniated disc is L2-L3 and your stenosis is L2 or L3, I would not code the stenosis. If the stenosis is thoracic, cervical, or L5, then I would consider coding it with the herniated disc. Good luck.
    Anna Weaver, CPC, CPMA, CEMC
    Associate Auditor

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    "Excludes notes under categories 723, other disorders of cervical region, and 724, other and unspecified disorders of back Symptoms and signs associated with (due to) spondylosis and allied disorders, 721.0-721.91, or intervertebral disc disorders, 722.0-722.93 are included in the 721-722 code series. If the
    physician states the symptoms and signs are not attributed to the conditions noted in the excludes note, then use two codes; one from category 723 or 724 and one for the condition. Spinal stenosis due to degenerative disc disease is classified to the 722 category. Spinal stenosis, congenital or NOS, is classified within the 723-724 categories. (See Coding Clinic, third quarter 1994, page 14 and Coding Clinic, second quarter 1989, page 14.)"


    Spinal Stenosis NOS is coded for the lumbar for example is coded as 724.02 but they say if it is due to degenerative disc disease then only code 722. The doctor did not state it as being due to degenerative disc or secondary to displaced disc which would leave with Spinal Stenosis NOS. Under 722.0-722.6 it states what is considered included include in these codes such as the types of displacement, lumbago, sciatica, or neuritis/radiculitis. It does not say spinal stenosis. You could take the view point that Spinal Stenosis that is not specified should be coded as 723/724 codes and I don't think if that if you would code 722.10 724.02 that this would be miscoding since you don't have documentation that it was "due to" Since it is not documented that it is "due to" I feel you would still be making an effort to follow the icd-9 guidelines if you listed 724.02 also.

  7. #7


    yes.. thank you. But sometimes I get op reports that will have something like the following

    Post Op DX: Cervical Disc herniation at C3-C4
    Cervical spinal stenosis (& sometimes just cervical stenosis)

    So there really isn't any history there for me to determine where the stenosis really is..... so then would you suggest just leaving it out, or code it since the stenosis could be at a diff. location?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    You could look at the surgery or procedure you are billing and determine if disc displacement for example would accurately describe why the procedure was performed. But in order to justify the reason CPT(s) were performed, if it is necessary to also code stenosis NOS then I would also use this code. If it seems like it is the same physicians doing the same thing, you could talk to the medical records dept which should have contact with the physician. You could ask them to provide them a memo you could create explaining this conflict with the way they are documenting.

  9. #9


    yes.... it is always the same docs & I have tried speaking with their office and sending memo's but no luck... so now I was just trying to see if maybe I can't just code it separately since I don't really know if related or not.. etc...

    but I think I will go with what you said....using stenosis NOS

    Thank you!!!

  10. #10


    dwaldman..... what stenosis NOS would I use? there's only 724.00 under "spinal" unspecified region & 724.09 which is also under "spinal" other.
    they're both uner "spinal" but what about when I'm not sure if it's "foraminal" or "spinal"

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