CPT: Posterior Lumbar Interbody Spinal Fusion

CPT: Posterior Lumbar Interbody Spinal Fusion


CPT Coding for spinal procedures can be challenging. This LibmanLightbox™, by nationally recognized coding authority Gail I. Smith, MA, RHIA, CCS-P, takes a closer look at posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) codes and when it is appropriate to use the decompression add-on codes.

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CPT®: Coding of Spinal Fusion Procedures
CPT coding of spinal fusion procedures requires detailed understanding of the structure of the CPT coding system, the guidance specific to proper coding of spinal fusion procedures, and clinical knowledge of both spine anatomy and current medical procedures. CPT®: Coding of Spinal Fusion Procedures explores the documentation necessary to distinguish between similar or related common spinal fusion procedures to ensure coding that is both accurate and complete. Learn more here.

Disclaimer: This article is written for educational purposes only. Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure its accuracy and completeness. It is the responsibility of the reader to refer to the definitions, descriptions, conventions, and guidelines specific to each coding classification, as well as relevant laws and regulations when selecting and reporting medical codes.

About the Author

Gail Smith, MA, RHIA, CCS-P
Gail Smith, president of Gail I. Smith Consulting, is a nationally recognized coding educator. For most of her career Gail was an associate professor and director of the health information management (HIM) program at the University of Cincinnati and HIM program director at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. Gail is a currently a consultant with a software company specializing in medical terminologies. Gail has authored several textbooks, including Basic Procedural Terminology and HCPCS Coding published by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).   An advocate for advanced coder training, Gail is the author of several titles for Libman Education including CPT: Introduction to Procedural Coding and two courses on the unique challenge of CPT coding in the pediatric setting: CPT for Pediatrics and CPT for Pediatrics: Advanced Orthopedic Coding. According to Gail: “One cannot possibly teach every coding scenario a coder will experience in their career. That is why coding education needs to focus instead on how to arrive at an accurate and defensible code assignment. It is the difference between learning to fish, and being given a fish. If you learn to code instead of being given answers to memorize, you will be able to arrive at the complete codes more quickly and with greater confidence.”

One thought on “CPT: Posterior Lumbar Interbody Spinal Fusion

  1. Linda Schwartz - February 4, 2022 at 7:19 am

    Seeing video of the procedure is worth a thousand words. Thank you.