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Thread: Removal Sternal Wires

  1. #1

    Default Removal Sternal Wires

    AAPC: Back to School

    I just can't find this code and would SO appreciate your help!

    Sternal wire removal times 3, pt had CABG in 1999, now has painful broken sternal wires that are being removed.

    This has to be so much easier than I'm making it. ughh it is so monday.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Nashville AAPC Chapter


    More details are needed to code, are you asking for a CPT code or ICD-9 code?

    How deep did the physician have to go to pull the sternal wires out.

    I have used both 10120 and 10121 depending on the documentation. With possible ICD-9 diagnosis depending on what the physician calls out.

    733.99 Foreign body, old or residual, bone
    729.6 Foreign body, old or residual, skin
    729.6 Foreign body, old or residual, soft tissue

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Biloxi, MS


    I would lean more toward 20680 removal of implant deep (eg, buried wire,pin screw, metal band nail, rod or plate. Just my opinion.

  4. #4


    When I was working for a cardiothoracic surgery department we always used 20680 for the removal of sternal wires.

  5. #5


    Thank you all oh so much!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Richardson, TX

    Default Sternal wires

    I'm wondering if 20680 can be used for Removal of Mersilene Sternal Ribbon? I can't seem to find what I need to answer my own question.

    Patient has pain surrounding what is felt to be her sternal wires, these wires were found to be Mersilene Ribbons and therefore indicated for removal.

    Incisions were made and carried down to 5 Mersilene Ribbons. The knots were large, and was the offending agent as far as irritation to the skin. Each were cut and removed. Each incision was then irrigated with antibiotic solution and closed.

    Would that be the same as the wire removal; 20680?

    Please help!

    Julie Graham, BA, CPC, CCC

  7. #7


    I think it would be the same code. The description of 20680 is removal of implant: deep (ie: buried wire, pin, screw, metal band, nail, rod or plate). The examples are just that, examples. In think the ribbons would be considered implants as well.

    Lisi, CPC

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Richardson, TX


    Thank you Lisi!
    Julie Graham, BA, CPC, CCC

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