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Code a Single Knee Arthroscopy per Compartment

The knee contains three compartments: lateral, medial, and patella-femoral. You may report a maximum of one arthroscopy procedure for each compartment. For example, if the surgeon performs meniscectomy and debridement in the medial compartment, you can only bill a single procedure (normally the meniscectomy, which has the higher value).

Be sure to read code descriptors carefully; in some cases, even procedures in different compartments may be bundled. For instance, meniscectomy in the medial and/or lateral compartment (29880 Arthroscopy, knee, surgical; with meniscectomy (medial AND lateral, including any meniscal shaving) including debridement/shaving of articular cartilage (chondroplasty), same or separate compartment(s), when performed and 29881 Arthroscopy, knee, surgical; with meniscectomy (medial OR lateral, including any meniscal shaving) including debridement/shaving of articular cartilage (chondroplasty), same or separate compartment(s), when performed) include chondroplasty in any compartment, when performed.

For example, if a surgeon performs an arthroscopic chondroplasty of the patella along with arthroscopic medial meniscectomy, only 29881 would be reported. When arthroscopic chondroplasty is performed in the absence of meniscectomy, 29877 Arthroscopy, knee, surgical; debridement/shaving of articular cartilage (chondroplasty) may also be reported (as long as the procedure doesn’t bundle with any other code also billed).

Bonus tip: Allografts are not reported separately with arthroscopic knee procedures.

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John Verhovshek

John Verhovshek

John Verhovshek, MA, CPC, is Managing Editor at AAPC. He has covered medical coding and billing, healthcare policy, and the business of medicine since 1999. He attended York College of Pennsylvania and Clemson University.
John Verhovshek

About Has 264 Posts

John Verhovshek, MA, CPC, is Managing Editor at AAPC. He has covered medical coding and billing, healthcare policy, and the business of medicine since 1999. He attended York College of Pennsylvania and Clemson University.

One Response to “Code a Single Knee Arthroscopy per Compartment”

  1. Juan A.Rodriguez says:

    Greetings. My doubt is how should I codify a partial meniscectomy in any knee compartment ( lateral or medial ) with a partial synovectomy in all three knee compartments or two compartments. Thanks !

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