5 of the Strangest ICD-10 Codes

  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • March 11, 2024
  • 4 min read
international classification of diseases and related health problems

Medical coding can seem like a rather dry and humorless profession, until you realize that the basis of modern medical coding is that there needs to be a code for every possible medical procedure and diagnosis. 

And we mean every single one.

So whether you’re considering joining the medical billing and coding profession, or are an old hand, here are five codes we are pretty sure you’ll only come across once. Hopefully.

W61.62XD – Struck by Duck, Subsequent Encounter

This needs breaking down. Let put the whole struck by duck thing to one side for the moment to clarify that “Subsequent Encounter” normally means a subsequent encounter with a healthcare professional. It doesn’t mean the duck came back for round two.

Now, back to the main event, struck by duck. Anyone who has encountered wild ducks will know that they can be fairly aggressive, particularly in defense of their young, however, we can’t help by wonder if this means attacked by a duck or stuck by a duck that was being used as some sort of thrown weapon.

W55.29XA – Other Contact With Cow, Subsequent Encounter

The interesting thing about this code is not that the patient was injured by an animal, we’ve already covered that in “struck by duck“. No, the interesting thing here is that there are other codes for “bitten by cow” and “kicked by cow.”

So the question arises, what was the injurious encounter that this person had that couldn’t be classified as a bite or a kick, but had to filed under “other”?

R46.1 – Bizarre Personal Appearance

Yes, you read that right, “bizarre personal appearance”. Now there are some things that immediately spring to mind here. Tripping over your own clown shows perhaps, or maybe heavy dreadlock based injuries from sudden head-turning. 

But can these things really be classified as “bizarre” and how bizarre does your personal appearance have to be before it causes you to need medical attention.

S10.87XA – Other Superficial Bite of Other Specified Part of Neck

Interestingly, people tend to interpret this code one of two ways. There is a school of thought that suggests this represents someone seeking treatment for a lovebite or hickey, and that interpretation is perfectly reasonable.

There is, however, only one sensible interpretation of this particular code. Vampire bite.

W22.02XD – Spacecraft Collision Injuring Occupant

The amazing this about this code isn’t that it exists, if we’re going to be sending people into the freezing vacuum of space, there needs to be code for when it goes wrong.

The amazing thing about this code is that two spacecraft collided in space, with most near-Earth objects orbiting at around 7,000 miles per hour, 36,000 kilometers above the earth, and anyone survived to be treated. 

A Vital Part Of The Healthcare Cycle

Taken together, medical coding and billing form a link between patients, healthcare providers, and insurance companies. As a medical biller or coder, you’ll need to be accurate, detail-oriented and well organized as you’ll be a vital part of any healthcare provider’s staff.

As one of the premier Medical Billing and Coding Schools in Las Vegas, Northwest Career College employs established, seasoned instructors to teach you every aspect of medical billing and coding. Our student-focused approach puts you first and we offer online and on-campus workshops to accommodate your work and family schedule.

We continue to support our students after they graduate as our experienced Career Services team works with you to help you find the medical billing and coding jobs in Las Vegas. Call us today on (702) 403-1592 to learn more about the exciting opportunities that our Medical Billing and Coding School can offer you!

Nancy Ferrante
Medical Billing & Coding Senior Program Chair

Nancy began her career as a Medical Assistant in 1979. From there, Nancy mastered many other areas of the medical field. She spent 35 years in Ohio, building a successful medical practice with the same Physician until his retirement in…Read Full Bio

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