Tip: Say so long to eponyms in ICD-10-PCS


March 1, 2012

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. At least Shakespeare says so.

And what does that have to do with ICD-10-PCS coding, you might ask? Well, you won’t find eponyms—words derived from the name of a real, fictional, mythical, or spurious character or person—in ICD-10-PCS. So you’ll need to know what that physician is actually doing.
For example, when a physician documents that he or she performed a Whipple procedure (and physicians will still use that term), you will need to know the physician performed a pancreaticoduodenectomy. (Yeah, Whipple procedure is much easier to remember and say.)
Similarly, an Abbott-Fisher-Lucas procedure is a two-stage technique for hip fusion in absence of femoral head, failed femoral prosthesis, or infected trochanteric mold arthroplasty. If you work for an OB/GYN, you’ve probably also seen documentation of Smead-Jones technique, a running closure technique used to approximate abdominal fascia, rectus muscles, and anterior peritoneum.
Physicians will not be required to change their terminology for documenting procedures in ICD-10-PCS (lucky for them, but not so much for us). So how do you know what the physician means by Gatellier-Chastang approach? The best way to know is to ask now.
Look at your documentation and see what eponyms your physicians currently use. Make a list, then make an appointment to sit down with the physicians and have them explain exactly what they are doing for each procedure. You’ll gain a better understanding of what your physicians are actually doing and you’ll get a leg up on coding in ICD-10-PCS.
Editor’s Note: This tip first appeared on the ICD-10 Trainer Blog.

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