General Question for the Week of November 6, 2023


What is the difference between a ‘catheter’ and a ‘stent’ in genitourinary procedures?


Traditionally, ‘catheter’ and ‘stent’ have been used somewhat interchangeable, but, for the purposes of genitourinary procedure codes stent is used for a completely internal device, no portion remains outside the body while catheter indicates that a portion of the device does remain outside the body. The documentation must be clear so that, despite the term used by the physician, the correct code may be assigned. For example, if the documentation states the placement of a nephroureteral stent that has one end in the bladder and the other connected to a drainage bag, this would be coded as a nephroureteral catheter placement, not a stent placement, despite the use of the term stent.

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