Essentials of coding and procedures in knee surgery


In some cases, even if the code has been around for a while, it has become a more common procedure. As we live longer, we get our joints replaced, but the problem with us living longer is that our joint replacements will not last as long as our lifetime.

When we live a long life and had a joint replacement, it would last 20 or 30 years. And we wouldn't have to worry about it wearing out on us. But in this day and age, as people are being more active and the procedures are sometimes being done at a younger age or because we're living longer, our joints are wearing out before we do.

So, a very common procedure that the code again has been around for a long time, but what's becoming a more common procedure is the unicompartmental arthroplasty of the knee. What they do here is instead of replacing the whole knee because we know that when we have to do a revision of these total replacements, the bones have been compromised as it is and it become more difficult for revision to be successful.

And so, in these unicompartmental arthroplasties, they're only replacing either the medial or the lateral compartment. In fact if they end up having to do a total knee replacement at a later date, they've only got one week side instead of both when they do this in a single compartment. It does obviously have a small incision because we don’t have to go across the whole knee. But the biggest problem though is that only about 6 to 8 of 100 patients are good candidates for this. Learn more about knee replacements with the latest healthcare guideline articles.

And so, it really narrows it down to not being good for most people but for those patients when they're 50, this is a better way of going. So, the code is 27446. And again, it is the medial or lateral compartment. They're not doing a total replacement of the knee.

When we have performed both an anterior cruciate ligament repair and a chondroplasty or debridement of the patella at the same time, you could use this for the 29877 being performed and any other compartment along with the anterior cruciate ligament repair.

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