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Thread: Intervertebral Disc Bulging

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Ann Arbor, MI

    Default Intervertebral Disc Bulging

    AAPC: Back to School
    Hi there. I am a new coder, radiology diagnostic coding and I am looking at coding clinic to help me address how to code Intervertebral disc (IV Disc) disorders. I have a patient who has IV disc bulging at the cervical as well as the lumbar spine.

    when I search "Bulging" in coding clinic, Fusion information comes up mentioning bulging disc with herniated disc in the same sentence but nothing beyond that.

    I did some other research and found the American Journal of Neuro-Radiology on the nomenclature reporting which addresses some ideas about "disc bulging". it states,

    "Translation of the disc nomenclature recommended here into ICD-9-CM codes presents relatively little difficulty. Discs characterized herein as "herniated" should be coded under 722.0, 722.10, 722.11, or 722.2.[U] A disc described as "bulging" without further specification as to the cause of the bulging should not be coded as a displacement, but, like other observations of uncertain significance as 722.9 "other and unspecified disc disorder" or as 793.7, "nonspecific abnormal findings on radiographic examination" (musculoskeletal)."


    Any Thoughts on whether bulging is under herniated or disc disorder?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Salt Lake City


    My thought on this has always been if a disc is buldging it is displaced because buldging is the disc coming expanding outside of the normal disc space. I may be wrong but I have always used the 722 codes for buldging disc.
    Jenifer McPolin CPC, CPMA, RCC

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Columbus GA


    I have this info I have had for awhile from a description from workmans comp...it always came in handy for me:

    Description: Displacement of a disc in the upper or lower back which may put pressure on the adjacent spinal nerve causing pain and sometimes sensory loss.
    Other names: Herniated disc, Herniated nucleus pulposus (HNP), Disc bulge, Disc rupture, Disc protrusion.

    Hope this helps!!!!

  4. #4


    I'd go with 722.9x.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Ann Arbor, MI


    thank you all!

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