The endocrine system is a system of glands found throughout the body that secrete various chemicals into the blood stream. Among these chemicals are a number of hormones, which regulate growth, metabolism, sleep, and mood, among many other bodily functions.
In terms of questions on the CPC exam, there will be approximately ten questions on codes in the 60,000 range of Surgery section, which encompasses procedures on the nervous system, endocrine system, eye, and ear. That’s a lot of information to cover in only a handful of questions, so you can expect to see broader questions on procedures related to the endocrine system.
That doesn’t mean you can breeze through the endocrine system, however. Let’s take a look at it now.
Surgical procedures on the endocrine system are found in the 60000 – 60699 numerical range, toward the end of the section.
The endocrine system is made up of a number of highly important glands. Many of these, like the pineal gland, are integral parts of other major systems in the body. The pineal gland is located inside the brain (and thus the nervous system), while the pancreas is located in the digestive system.
These glands secrete hormones through the bloodstream or, in certain cases, the nervous system. These hormones are slow-acting, long-lasting chemical agents that affect and monitor everything from growth to mood. Unlike the nervous system, which carries rapid, short-term electrical impulses, hormones secreted by the endocrine system may have an effect for weeks or longer.
You can find an anatomical drawing of the endocrine system in your CPT manual. And a table of the endocrine system, what each gland does, and where it’s located, in the e-book.
Because so many of the endocrine glands are found in other systems of the body, the Endocrine System subsection of the Surgery section focuses mostly on the thyroid gland. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck, and is the largest gland in the endocrine system. You’ll also find procedure related to the adrenal glands, located superior to the kidneys.
As with all Surgery subsections, you should be familiar with the vocabulary of surgery itself and the prefixes and suffixes related to the body. If you see a question with a “thyroid lobectomy, unilateral,” you should know this is the removal of one half of the thyroid. You should be able to read that from the ‘–ectomy’ (cutting away) and ‘unilateral’ (one side of the “butterfly”).
Other endocrine glands, like the ovaries and testes, are covered in different sections of the CPT manual. The ovaries, for example, would be found in the male or female genital system subsections, while the pancreas would be found in the digestive system.
For this reason, you can think of the endocrine system subsection of Surgery as a sort of basin that catches procedures on the endocrine system that aren’t easily classifiable elsewhere.