This article reviews codes and guidelines for excision of skin lesions. For additional information about minor procedures, see the additional resources at the bottom of this page.
CPT® codes for excision
Excision of skin lesions are reported using codes from the integumentary section:
Excision of benign lesions: 11400—11471
- Cicatricial (scars)
- Cutaneous lipoma
- Inflammatory lesions
- Congenital lesions
Excision of malignant lesions: 11600—11646
- Neoplasms of skin (e.g., basal cell CA, squamous cell CA, melanoma)
- Select the code based on the size of the excision, not the lesion
- The excision size is defined as the widest clinical diameter of the lesion and narrowest margin
- Each lesion is reported separately, except two lesions adjacent to one another that are removed with the same excision
- Document the size of the excision and the location
- Wait for pathology to select the code
Closure after excision that requires more than simple closure is reported separately.
If the closure of the lesion is intermediate or complex described it in the procedure note. CPT® allows it to be reported; Medicare does not pay in addition to the excision. Wait for pathology to select the code.
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