Coding arthroscopic knee procedures

By Mary LeGrand, RN, MA, CCS-P, CPC

Although coding arthroscopic knee procedures should be pretty straightforward, confusion persists around coding and reimbursement for chondroplasty and removal of loose or foreign bodies. This tends to result from a lack of understanding of the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) coding rules and payor reimbursement rules.

Chondroplasty, loose/foreign body coding basics
According to CPT, code 29877 (Arthroscopy, knee, surgical; debridement/shaving of articular cartilage [chondroplasty]) should be reported to indicate the performance of an arthroscopic chondroplasty in the medial, lateral, and/or patellofemoral compartment(s). This code may only be reported one time per surgical session and may only be reported if the chondroplasty is performed in a separate compartment from the primary surgical procedure.

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