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Spinal Surgery Coding Challenge: Tethered Cord Release & Dural Tag Removal

Posted on 14. Aug, 2009 by in Coding Challenge, Hot Coding Topics

Question: My neurosurgeon released a tethered cord under the microscope, then excised a dural tag and sent it to pathology. Can we be reimbursed for both services, or are they inclusive?

Answer: The procedure removes adhesions (tags) from the dura to correct any neurological deficits. Physicians often remove a specimen to send for lab review, but that service is included in the primary procedure.

In this situation, you’ll report 63200 (Laminectomy, with release of tethered spinal cord, lumbar) for the cord release and +69990 (Microsurgical techniques, requiring use of operating microscope [List separately in addition to code for primary procedure]) for the microscope use. Don’t report the dural tag removal separately, as it is incidental to the tethered cord release.

Audio Training Event: Spinal Surgery Coding Secrets, with Dr. Greg Przybylski.

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