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ICD-10 Code M79.603: Overview


Code: M79.603
Description: Pain in arm, unspecified
Context: This code is used for cases where a patient is experiencing pain in an arm, but the specific arm (left or right) is not specified or known.

Guidelines for Proper Use:

  • General Use for Arm Pain: Utilize M79.603 when a patient presents with pain in an arm, and the specific arm (right or left) affected is not documented or known.
  • Accurate Documentation: Ensure that the healthcare provider’s documentation supports a diagnosis of arm pain without specifying which arm is affected. The term “unspecified” should be evident in the medical records.
  • Exclusion of Specific Arm Identification: Do not use M79.603 if the patient’s medical record specifies which arm is affected by pain. In such cases, use more specific ICD-10 codes corresponding to the identified arm.
  • Initial Diagnosis: M79.603 can be used as an initial code when arm pain is first noted, but should be updated to a more specific code as more information about the affected arm becomes available.
  • Compliance with Coding Standards: Utilize M79.603 in line with clinical documentation and adhere to all relevant coding guidelines and payer-specific requirements.

Common Misuses of M79.603:

  • Application When Specific Arm is Known: Misuse occurs when M79.603 is used despite the documentation specifying which arm is affected by pain. More specific ICD-10 codes should be used in such scenarios.
  • Confusion with Other Conditions: Avoid using M79.603 for conditions affecting the arm that do not primarily involve pain, such as numbness, tingling, or weakness, unless pain is also a significant component.

Use for Generalized Pain: Do not use M79.603 for generalized pain that is not localized to the arm or for pain that involves both arms and other parts of the body.

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