Q & A with Dr. Z: Multiple Abscess Drains

by David Zielske, MD, CIRCC, COC, CCVTC, CCC, CCS, RCC

If more than one abscess drain is placed within a large, loculated abscess, can you code 49406 and 49406-XS or can you just code for one abscess drainage?

We would recommend one. Loculations can be broken up with catheters or wires. Large abscesses sometimes need two catheters to sufficiently drain the infection and sometimes for irrigation. We recommend one code for one abscess regardless of loculations. The use of fibrinolytics can break up loculations (fibrin).


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About the Author

David Zielske is founder and President of ZHealth Publishing and primary author and editor of ZHealth publications. Dr. Z practiced as an interventional radiologist and has over twenty years experience as a coding reviewer and coding expert. He is Board Certified in Radiology and has functioned as an independent interventional radiology, vascular surgery, and cardiovascular coding consultant to a variety of physician groups and hospital providers across the country. He also served as an instructor for over 200 coding seminars.

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