A U.S. based medical billing outsourcing company with extensive experience, Outsource Strategies International (OSI) provides medical billing services for individual physicians, medical practices, clinics, and hospitals.

In today’s podcast, Natalie Tornese, one of our Senior Solutions Managers, discusses kyphosis symptoms and treatment options and codes to report diagnosis of the conditions.

00:12 Introduction to Kyphosis

Kyphosis is a spinal disorder condition in which the spine in the upper back has an excessive curvature.

01:47 Different types of Kyphosis

There are mainly three types of Kyphosis – Postural, Scheuermann's and Congenital

03:03 Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of this spinal disorder vary depending upon the cause and severity of the curve.

03:39 Diagnosing Kyphosis

After evaluating your signs and symptoms, your physicians will begin diagnosis the condition by conducting several test and methods.

04:10 Treatment Options

Depending on the cause and severity of the condition, treatment options will vary.  Most commonly your physician might suggest nonsurgical medications that may include pain relievers, osteoporosis medications, therapy (such as exercises and Bracing) or surgical treatment.

Read Transcript

Hello everyone and welcome to our podcast series. My name is Natalie Tornese and I’m a Senior Solutions Manager at Outsource Strategies. I wanted to talk a little bit about Kyphosis

Kyphosis refers to a condition in which the spine in the upper back has an excessive curvature. Also known as round back or hunchback, this spinal disorder can occur in any age, but is most common in adolescence or young adulthood. Having a small curve in the upper back is normal, but having a curve of more than 45 degrees is considered excessive and that can cause discomfort and other issues throughout the body. In most cases, it does cause few problems and does not require any specific treatment. But treatment for the condition does depend on the patient’s age, and the cause and effects of the curvature. Patients may need to wear a back brace or perform exercises in order to strengthen the spine and adjust their posture. In several cases, kyphosis can be painful and cause significant spinal deformities and lead to breathing problems. Surgery may be needed in such severe cases in order to reduce the excessive spinal curvature.

The natural curvature of the spine is important for balance and helps people stand upright. However, if any one of the curves becomes too large or too small, it becomes difficult to stand up straight, which in turn, may affect your posture. Kyphosis occurs when the vertebrae in the upper part of the back called the “thoracic region” to become wedge-shaped. This causes the spine to curve forward more than usual.

ICD-10 Codes for Kyphosis and its types include:

  • M40 - Kyphosis and lordosis
  • M40.0 - Postural kyphosis
  • M40.00 - Postural kyphosis, site unspecified
  • M40.03 - Postural kyphosis, cervicothoracic region
  • M40.04 - Postural kyphosis, thoracic region
  • M40.05 - Postural kyphosis, thoracolumbar region
  • M40.1 - Other secondary kyphosis
  • M40.10 -Other secondary kyphosis, site unspecified
  • M40.12 -Other secondary kyphosis, cervical region
  • M40.13 -Other secondary kyphosis, cervicothoracic region
  • M40.14 -Other secondary kyphosis, thoracic region
  • M40.15 -Other secondary kyphosis, thoracolumbar region
  • M40.2 - Other and unspecified kyphosis
  • M40.20 - Unspecified kyphosis
  • M40.202 - Unspecified kyphosis, cervical region
  • M40.203 -Unspecified kyphosis, cervicothoracic region
  • M40.204 -Unspecified kyphosis, thoracic region
  • M40.205 -Unspecified kyphosis, thoracolumbar region
  • M40.209 -Unspecified kyphosis, site unspecified
  • M40.29 - Other kyphosis
  • M40.292 - Other kyphosis, cervical region
  • M40.293 -Other kyphosis, cervicothoracic region
  • M40.294 -Other kyphosis, thoracic region
  • M40.295 -Other kyphosis, thoracolumbar region
  • M40.299 -Other kyphosis, site unspecified

The common causes associated with the condition include poor posture, developmental issues, disk degeneration, spinal injury, and abnormal vertebrae shape. If left untreated, Kyphosis can cause severe damage to the spine and other areas of the body.There are different types of kyphosis and these include

Postural kyphosis, which is regarded as one of the most common types of kyphosis. This occurs due to poor posture or slouching, but is not associated with severe structural abnormalities of the spine. This condition which usually becomes noticeable during adolescence is more common in girls than boys, and the curve caused by the postural kyphosis is typically round and smooth. They can often be corrected by the patient when he or she is asked to stand up straight.

Scheuermann's is often common during the teen years and this type is caused by structural abnormality and usually affects the thoracic spine, but occasionally it can also develop in the lumbar spine. It can lead to significantly more severe deformity - particularly in thin patients. The spinal condition is more common in boys than girls and stops progressing once growing is complete.

Congenital - As the name suggests, this type of spinal curvature is present at birth. The condition occurs when the spinal column fails to develop normally while the baby is in the uterus. Typically, the congenital type worsens as the child ages. Such patients often require surgical treatment at a very young age to stop the progression of the curve.

Mild kyphosis may not produce any visible noticeable signs or symptoms. But the signs and symptoms do vary depending upon the cause and severity of the curve. Common symptoms include a visible hump on the back, tight hamstrings, spine stiffness, rounded shoulders, back pain, and fatigue.

In rare cases, progressive curves may lead to weakness, numbness, or tingling in the legs, loss of sensation and shortness of breath or breathing difficulties. If left untreated the condition can lead to several severe complications like limited physical functions, digestive problems, and body image issues.

Physicians will begin diagnosis of this condition by conducting a detailed physical exam, and previous medical history review. Patients will be asked to bend forward from the waist in order to view the spine sideways. They may be asked to do several exercises or stretches so the physicians can assess how the condition affects their balance and range of motion. Neurological exams may be performed to check the extent of reflexes and muscle strength. X-rays, MRIs and bone density tests may also be performed.

Treatment options depend on the cause and severity of the condition. Treatment will mainly focus on preventing the curve from worsening and restoring normal posture. Nonsurgical treatment options include physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and wearing braces. Physical therapy may also help to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles, relieve pressure on the spine, and improve posture and reduce discomfort.

Physicians may recommend surgical treatment for patients who suffer from severe form that is may be pinching the spinal cord or nerve roots. Spinal fusion is the most common surgical procedure done for reducing the degree of curvature. As part of the procedure, the surgeon would insert pieces of bone between the vertebrae and then fasten the vertebrae together with metal rods and screws until the spine heals together in a corrected position.

There are specific ICD 10 codes that are required for this condition and I will include a transcript along with this podcast.
It does occur when the upper back becomes hunched due to an abnormally curved spine. So maintaining good body posture and back health can help prevent this condition in the long run. Other prevention tips include doing regular body strength exercise, avoiding slouching, using orthopedic equipment when using a desk or computer, and using well-designed backpacks that spread the weight evenly across the back.

I hope this helps. Thank you for listening!