Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes are an important part of surgical documentation and billing for services provided within the United States. This limited coding language presents a challenge in the heterogenous and rapidly evolving field of craniofacial surgery. The authors aimed to survey members of the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgery (ASMS) to characterize the variability in coding practices in the surgical management of craniofacial trauma.
A cross-sectional of 500 members of the ASMS survey was carried out. Descriptive statistics were calculated. The effect of various practice characteristics on coding practices was evaluated using Chi-squared tests and Fisher's exact tests.
In total, 79 participants responded including 77 plastic surgeons. About 75% worked in academic centers and 38% reported being in practice over 20 years. Coding practices were not significantly associated with training background or years in practice. Unilateral mandibular and unilateral nasoorbitoethmoid fractures demonstrated the greatest agreement with 99% and 88% of respondents agree upon a single coding strategy, respectively. Midface fractures, bilateral nasoorbitoethmoid fractures, and more complex mandibular demonstrated considerable variability in coding.
There is a wide variability among members of the ASMS in CPT coding practices for the operative management of craniofacial trauma. To more accurately convey the complexity of craniofacial trauma reconstruction to billers and insurance companies, the authors must develop a more descriptive coding language that captures the heterogeneity of patient presentation and surgical procedures.