Defining “under anesthesia”

July 1, 2008

Are you able to clarify code 26340? Does “under anesthesia” mean that the patient needs to be under general anesthesia? Or at a facility using anesthesia other than local?

Question: Are you able to clarify code 26340? Does “under anesthesia” mean that the patient needs to be under general anesthesia? Or at a facility using anesthesia other than local?

Answer: According to the AAOS, “January 1999 CPT Assistant noted that the phrase “with or under anesthesia” in a code description meant under general anesthesia. But by 2002, this information was outdated and the terms ‘under anesthesia’ or ‘with anesthesia’ are now understood to reflect the appropriate anesthesia for a given patient and/or given situation.” (Source: AAOS archives) Individual payers, of course, may have their own interpretations.