The number of characters signifying an ICD-10 diagnosis varies. For example, when coding for ophthalmic complications from diabetes, there will be seven characters. But not all of them mean something.
Sometimes only one character is needed to designate a complication but there will always be a seventh character designating laterality. So when there is a fifth character but not a sixth, use X as a placeholder as a sixth character.
Here’s a round up of recent articles and posts on how to code diagnoses and procedures in ICD-10:
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