A common spine condition that affects people of all age groups (including children, teenagers and adults), scoliosis refers to the abnormal curvature of the spine. In most cases, the normal shape of a person’s spine – includes a curve at the top of the shoulder and a curve at the lower back area. If there is a curvature in the spine – from side to side or in “S” or “C” shape – a person may have scoliosis. June is observed as “Scoliosis Awareness Month” to raise awareness about detecting and treating this condition at an early stage itself. Sponsored by the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS), the monthly campaign also stresses the importance of developing community support for people living with the condition. Proper documentation is important to ensure appropriate care. For accurate clinical documentation of this spinal disorder, physicians rely on the services of reliable medical billing outsourcing companies.

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), about 80 percent of scoliosis cases have no identifiable cause. However, factors like – birth defects, genetic conditions, neurological abnormalities (like cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy) and injuries and infections of the spine tend to play a major role. Often, the condition is diagnosed during the first 7 years of a child’s life. In most cases, the spinal disorder is mild, but certain spine deformities continue to get more severe as children grow. Severe scoliosis can be quite disabling and reduce the amount of space within the chest, making it quite difficult for the lungs to function properly.

The 2021 monthly observance offers a wide platform that would unite scoliosis patients, families, physicians, clinicians, institutions and related businesses in collaborative partnerships of local activities, events and grassroots networking throughout the month. It aims to build networks of community collaborations and alliances to help sustain and grow the campaign.

Scoliosis is generally categorized into five types which include – congenital, degenerative, neuro-muscular, syndromic and adolescent idiopathic. As the name suggests, congenital scoliosis occurs when the spine does not form correctly before birth. Degenerative type causes wear and tear of the skeletal system. Neuromuscular scoliosis occurs when nerve abnormalities affect muscles in the spine. Syndromic scoliosis is linked to one of a range of syndromes, including Marfons syndrome and trisomy 21. Lastly, adolescent idiopathic scoliosis causes curving and twisting of the spine. Signs and symptoms of the condition vary depending on the degree and type of scoliosis. Common symptoms include – uneven shoulders, uneven hips, a rotating spine, one hip higher than the other, one shoulder blade that appears more prominent than the other and back pain.

National Scoliosis Awareness Month is an annual opportunity for people all over the world to come together, speak out about life with a curved spine, and educate others about what it means to have scoliosis. Diagnosis of this spinal disorder will begin with a detailed physical and neurological exam that checks muscle weakness, numbness and abnormal reflexes. Neurologists will perform a complete medical history evaluation wherein they will ask questions about the recent growth. Several diagnostic imaging tests like X-ray or MRI scan of the lumbar spine will be performed to study the range and severity of spinal curvature. Treatment modalities may be finalized after analyzing several factors like – patient age, type, severity of curves, intensity of symptoms and growth, and location of symptoms. For mild and moderate cases of scoliosis, physicians may recommend wearing a brace (that would help prevent further curvature of the spine). Other treatment modalities include – physical therapy exercises, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) and chiropractic therapy. In severe cases – spinal fusion surgery may be recommended to reduce the severity of the spinal curve and to prevent it from getting worse.

Billing and coding for this spinal disorder can be challenging, and partnering with an orthopedics medical billing and coding specialist can ensure accurate coding and medical claim submission for physicians. Orthopedists or other spinal specialists who treat scoliosis must use the relevant ICD-10 and CPT codes to bill for the diagnosis and procedures. The medical codes used to report scoliosis include –

ICD-10 Codes

  • M41 – Scoliosis
  • M41.0 – Infantile idiopathic scoliosis
  • M41.1 – Juvenile and adolescent idiopathic scoliosis
  • M41.2 – Other idiopathic scoliosis
  • M41.3 – Thoracogenic scoliosis
  • M41.4 – Neuromuscular scoliosis
  • M41.5 – Other secondary scoliosis
  • M41.8 – Other forms of scoliosis
  • M41.9 – Scoliosis, unspecified

CPT Codes

  • 22800 – Arthrodesis, posterior, for spinal deformity, with or without cast; up to 6 vertebral segments
  • 22802 – Arthrodesis, posterior, for spinal deformity, with or without cast; 7 to 12 vertebral segments
  • 22804 – Arthrodesis, posterior, for spinal deformity, with or without cast; 13 or more vertebral segments
  • 22808 Arthrodesis, anterior, for spinal deformity, with or without cast; 2 to 3 vertebral segments
  • 22810 Arthrodesis, anterior, for spinal deformity, with or without cast; 4 to 7 vertebral segments
  • 22812 Arthrodesis, anterior, for spinal deformity, with or without cast; 8 or more vertebral segments
  • 22818 Kyphectomy, circumferential exposure of spine and resection of vertebral segment(s) (including body and posterior elements); single or 2 segments
  • 22819 Kyphectomy, circumferential exposure of spine and resection of vertebral segment(s) (including body and posterior elements); 3 or more segments

HCPCS Codes

  • L1290 – Addition to thoracic-lumbar-sacral orthotic (TLSO), (low profile), lateral trochanteric pad
  • L1300 – Other scoliosis procedure, body jacket molded to patient model
  • L1310 – Other scoliosis procedure, postoperative body jacket
  • L1499 – Spinal orthotic, not otherwise specified

As part of the 2021 campaign, the SRS will organize a wide range of activities like – educational and advocacy campaigns of local activities, and community events during the month of June and throughout the year. In preparing to publicize the awareness event, SRS will be sending requests to all US governors asking them to proclaim “June as National Scoliosis Awareness Month”. SRS would like to invite all scoliosis patients, family members and advocates to support SRS’ request for proclamations by sending in their own letters of support. This would offer an opportunity for those communities to let their voice be heard within the state and take action to support those with spinal conditions. People can become part of this month-long campaign by publishing – “Speak up for Scoliosis Bubble Poster/Spine Poster”, changing their social media profile or cover picture, distributing customized green ribbons and sharing their inspiring scoliosis stories via social media platforms.

Be part of Scoliosis Awareness Campaign in June and generate awareness and research funding to help support those impacted by this spinal condition.