Denial of Breast Reconstruction

Denial of Breast Reconstruction

August 19, 2021

We received a denial for 19357-50 (tissue expander reconstruction) and +15777 x 2 units. The denial reason was “the diagnosis code and CPT code combination is inappropriate”. We used a diagnosis of C50.911 (Malignant neoplasm of unspecified site of right female breast). What diagnosis code(s) should we have used?

For breast reconstruction procedures, we typically use the following two diagnosis codes:

Z42.1 Encounter for breast reconstruction after mastectomy
Z90.11 or Z90.12 or Z90.13 Acquired absence of right or left or bilateral breast

The cancer diagnosis code, such as C50.911, can be a third diagnosis if the mastectomy was performed on the same day as the reconstruction but we would not use it as a first diagnosis. Your procedure was performed for reconstruction – not to treat cancer. If the reconstruction were performed after the patient has completed all treatment for breast cancer, then you’d use Z85.3 (personal history of breast cancer) as a third diagnosis code.

*This response is based on the best information available as of 08/19/21.

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