cpt 22551, cpt code 22551, 22551 cpt code

CPT Code 22551 | Description, Procedure & Billing Guidelines

CPT code 22551 can be billed when a surgeon removes the cervical disc through the neck of the patient to relieve spinal pain. Fusion might be applied. 

1. What Is CPT Code 22551?

CPT 22551 covers the removal of a cervical disc through the front of the patient’s neck for pain relief of the spine and other related symptoms. The surgeon can use fusion to stabilize the vertebrae.

2. Description

The CPT manual defines the description of CPT code 22551 as: “Arthrodesis, anterior interbody, including disc space preparation, discectomy, osteophytectomy and decompression of spinal cord and/or nerve roots; cervical below C2.”

3. Procedure

The 22551 CPT code procedure starts with draping and draping the patient. Then, anesthesia is administered to the patient before the surgeon makes a transverse incision.

The transverse incision is made through the front of the patient’s neck (anteriorly) and over the level of the arthrodesis target site.

Then, the provider cuts the underlying platysma muscle. They then clear the front of the patient’s spine of the prevertebral fascia. An X-ray might be used for identifying the target disc, but this will only sometimes be the case.

Then, traction devices are utilized. First, the surgeon removes portions of the disc by cutting the fibrous ring (annulus fibrosis). They then remove the disc’s inner core (nucleus pulposus).

Once the disc’s inner core is removed, decompression is performed. In the case of the removal of bone spurs (osteophytes), they then remove the posterior longitudinal ligament to get access.

The CPT 22551 procedure is often performed with an operating microscope. Disc material can be removed to create the proper space for cervical fusion.

The bone graft material is inserted when the bone is ready for fusion.

4. Billing Guidelines

You can use add-on code CPT 22552 in combination with CPT 22551 for each additional interspace affected.

The 22551 CPT code procedure is also known as anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). This code can be used for reporting anterior interbody arthrodesis and includes discectomies at the same level.

5. Resources

CPT Professional 2022

https://www.aapc.com/blog/25658-procedure-coding-made-simple/

https://www.aetna.com/cpb/medical/data/700_799/0743.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6047374/

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