Donna. I am Phil and I attend coding class regularly and am scheduled to test in December. My instructional book in which I will be quoting is the 2010 Step-by-Step medical coding by Carol J. Buck.
"Debridement is the removal of infected, contaminated, damaged, devitalized, necrotic, or Foreign tissue from a wound. Debridement promotes wound healing by reducing sources of infection and other mechanical impediments to healing. The goal of debridement is to cleanse the wound, reduce bacterial contamination, and provide an optimal environment for wound healing or possible surgical intervention. The usual end point of debridement is removal of pathological tissue and/or foreign material until healthy tissueis exposed. Debridement techniques include, amoung others, sharp and blunt dissection, curettement, scrubbing, and forceful irrigation. Surgical instruments may include a scrub brush, irrigation device, electrocautery, laser, sharp curettet, forceps, scissors, burr, or scalpel. Prior to debridement, determination of the extent of an ulcer/wound may be aided by the use of probes to determine the depth and to disclose abscess and sinus tracts."
It was explained to me that operative debridement pertains to the surgical intervention of the "cleansing". So in lamemann's terms it depends on the extent of the debridement procedure. If it is a simple in and out debridement procedure it might state "debridement," and if it requires surgical intervention (described above) it could be reported as "operative."
I hope this answers your question
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