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Lower extremity=foot, leg, or both?

  1. #1
    Default Lower extremity=foot, leg, or both?
    Medical Coding Books
    Physician wrote "LLE cellulitis" and all through his consult dictation, he just refers to the "left lower extremity" without specifically stating leg or foot. Is there a common assumption that the term "lower extremity" includes both parts? Or is it just the leg, or just the foot? Seems like I bump up against this a lot and can usually get some additional details in the consult dictation, but not this time! Thanks.

  2. #2
    This is a prime example of when to query/educate the physician. LLE encompasses all specific parts of the leg including the knee, ankle, foot and toe. If you choose leg, you must know the foot is not involved. If you choose the foot, you must know the toe is not involved. Since the documentation does not state specifally which part of the leg is affected, you would be guessing at the correct code...which you know you cannot do. When you query the physician for the specific location for this record, take the opportunity to explain why you are asking. Hopefully this will be the last time he just uses LLE in his diagnosis.

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