Cracking the Code
Coding All Components of a DIEP Procedure
A deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap procedure is a type of breast reconstruction surgery that does not require incisions to be made within the muscles. Instead, surgeons use a free flap of complete tissue from the blood vessels (perforators), skin, and fat from the lower abdomen. Sometimes, a surgeon may complete a mastectomy prior to completing a DIEP procedure. Other times, a surgeon may remove a tissue expander prior to completing a DIEP procedure.
When coding DIEP procedures, it is important for medical coders to read the entire operative report. Be sure to thoroughly review each sentence in the provider’s note so that all components are fully captured.