Short wave diathermy is an effective modality for heating skeletal muscle. Because heating is accomplished without physical contact between the modality and the skin, it can be used even if skin is abraded, as long as there is no significant edema.
The use of diathermy is considered medically necessary for the delivery of heat to deep tissues such as skeletal muscle and joints, for the reduction of pain, joint stiffness, and muscle spasms.
Specific indications for the use of diathermy include:
– the patient has osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or traumatic arthritis;
– the patient has sustained a strain or sprain;
– the patient has acute or chronic bursitis;
– the patient has sustained a traumatic injury to muscle, ligament, or tendon resulting in functional loss;
– the patient has a joint dislocation or subluxation;
– the patient requires treatment for a post surgical functional loss;
– the patient has an adhesive capsulitis; and/or
– the patient has a joint contracture.
Diathermy is not considered medically necessary for the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, or any other pulmonary condition.
Diathermy/Diapulse (CPT code 97024)
High energy pulsed wave diathermy machines have been determined to produce the same therapeutic benefit as standard diathermy; therefore, any reimbursement for diathermy will be made at the same level as standard diathermy.
Diathermy/Microwave (CPT code 97024)
Because there is no evidence from published, controlled clinical studies demonstrating the efficacy of this modality, this service will be denied as not reasonable and necessary