Postoperative Spinal Wound Infection

Postoperative Spinal Wound Infection

January 27, 2022

Our surgeon performed a thoracolumbar spinal procedure two weeks ago. The patient developed a wound infection requiring surgical intervention. The surgeon’s note indicates that subfascial irrigation and debridement was performed from T10 through L5. In reviewing the CPT manual, I see codes for the cervical/thoracic and the lumbar/sacral regions. Should both codes 22010 and 22015 be reported for this return to the operating room during the global period since the surgeon did work in both the thoracic and lumbar regions?

CPT codes 22010 and 22015 may not be reported together during the same operative session. Incision and drainage at the thoracolumbar junction would be reported with the code describing the region where the majority of the work is performed.

In this scenario, the majority of work was performed in the lumbar spine. Thus, CPT code 22015 (Incision and drainage, open, of deep abscess [subfascial], posterior spine; lumbar, sacral, or lumbosacral) should be reported.

Append Modifier 78, indicating a return to the operating room for a related procedure to indicate this was an unplanned return during the global period of the original procedure.

*This response is based on the best information available as of 01/27/22.





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