Dermatology Billing CPT Cheat Sheet for 2023 Updated: Simplifying Coding for Skin Procedures

Dermatology Billing CPT Cheat Sheet for 2023 Updated

Accurate coding is crucial in dermatology billing to ensure proper reimbursement for the services provided. The Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes are used to identify and bill for specific procedures or services. Staying updated with the latest CPT codes is essential to streamline the billing process and maximize revenue. In today’s blog post, we will provide a concise dermatology billing CPT cheat sheet with updated codes for various skin procedures, along with a brief explanation of their purposes.

Evaluation and Management CPT Codes:

Evaluation and Management (E&M) codes are used to bill for office visits and consultations. These codes are based on the complexity of the patient’s condition, the level of history and examination, and the decision-making involved. It is essential to accurately document the visit and select the appropriate E&M code to reflect the complexity of the encounter.

99201-99215: Office or other outpatient evaluation and management services

Skin Biopsy CPT Codes:

Skin biopsies involve the removal and examination of a skin sample for diagnostic purposes. CPT codes for skin biopsies vary based on the technique used, such as shave biopsy, punch biopsy or excisional biopsy. Proper documentation of the biopsy technique, site, and size is important for accurate coding.

11100-11101: Biopsy of skin, subcutaneous tissue, or mucous membrane (including simple closure)

11102-11107: Biopsy of skin, subcutaneous tissue, or mucous membrane (separate procedure)

11120-11125: Biopsy of skin, subcutaneous tissue, or mucous membrane (each additional lesion)

Mohs Micrographic Surgery CPT Codes:

Mohs micrographic surgery is a specialized technique used for the treatment of skin cancer. It involves the systematic removal and examination of thin layers of tissue until no cancerous cells are detected. CPT codes for Mohs surgery capture the stages of tissue removal and reconstruction. Accurate coding is crucial for proper reimbursement due to the complexity of this procedure.

17311-17315: Mohs micrographic surgery (including removal of all gross tumors and microscopic examination of surgical margins, per day)

Excisions of Lesions CPT Codes:

Excision refers to the surgical removal of a skin lesion, such as a cyst, mole, or skin cancer. CPT codes for excisions consider factors such as the size, complexity, and anatomical location of the lesion. Proper documentation of the excision size, closure method, and any additional procedures performed is necessary for accurate coding.

11400-11471: Excision, benign lesion, including margins

11600-11646: Excision, malignant lesion, including margins

11660-11662: Excision, malignant lesion including margins, face, ears, eyelids, nose, lips

Phototherapy Treatments CPT Codes:

Phototherapy involves the use of light sources to treat various skin conditions, such as psoriasis, vitiligo, and eczema. CPT codes for phototherapy capture the type of light treatment, duration, and body surface area treated. Accurate coding ensures proper reimbursement for these specialized procedures.

96900: Actinotherapy (ultraviolet light) for psoriasis, each phototherapy session

96910-96912: Photo chemotherapy; psoralen and ultraviolet A (PUVA)

96920-96921: Laser treatment for inflammatory skin disease (e.g., psoriasis)

96922: Laser treatment for inflammatory skin disease; total area over 500 sq. cm

Wound Repair CPT Codes:

Wound repair codes are used to bill for the closure of lacerations, surgical incisions, or other skin wounds. CPT codes for wound repair consider factors such as wound length, depth, and complexity. The documentation should include the repair technique (simple, intermediate, or complex) and the number of sutures or staples used.

12001-12018: Simple/superficial wound repair

13100-13160: Complex/layered wound repair

14000-14302: Adjacent tissue transfer or rearrangement

15002-15261: Skin grafting

Laser Therapy Treatments CPT Codes:

Laser therapy is commonly used in dermatology for various purposes, including hair removal, tattoo removal, and treatment of vascular lesions. CPT codes for laser therapy specify the type of laser used, the extent of treatment, and the area treated. Accurate coding is crucial to ensure proper reimbursement for these specialized procedures.

17106: Destruction of benign lesions (e.g., laser surgery)

40806: Excision of malignant tumor, soft tissue of face or scalp, subcutaneous; less than 2 cm

67820: Excision of the lesion, the cornea (keratectomy, lamellar, partial), except pterygium; with laser

67930: Destruction of the lesion(s), eyelid margin, up to and including 1 cm

Lesion Removal CPT Codes:

Lesion removal codes encompass the surgical excision or destruction of benign or premalignant skin lesions. CPT codes for lesion removal consider factors such as lesion size, location, and the technique used (e.g., scalpel, laser, or electro-surgery). Proper documentation of these details is essential for accurate coding.

17000-17286: Destruction, excision, or removal of skin and subcutaneous tissue (e.g., laser surgery, electro surgery, cryosurgery, chemosurgery, surgical curettage)

This list provides an overview of the CPT codes commonly used in dermatology medical billing. However, it’s important to note that there are numerous other CPT codes that may be applicable depending on the specific procedure or service performed. It is always recommended to consult the official CPT code book and work closely with billing and coding professionals to ensure accurate coding and appropriate reimbursement.

What are the most common modifiers in dermatology CPT codes?

In dermatology, some of the common modifiers used with CPT codes include:

  • -25 Modifier: This modifier is used to indicate that a significant, separately identifiable evaluation and management (E/M) service was provided on the same day as a minor procedure (e.g., biopsy, excision). It allows for separate reimbursement for both the procedure and the E/M service.
  • -50 Modifier: This modifier is used for bilateral procedures when the same service is performed on both sides of the body during the same session.
  • -51 Modifier: The -51 modifier is used to indicate multiple procedures performed during the same session or on the same day.
  • -59 Modifier: The -59 modifier is used to identify distinct procedural services when multiple procedures are performed during the same encounter, and they are not normally reported together. It indicates that the procedures are separate and distinct from each other.
  • -58 Modifier: This modifier is used for staged or related procedures, where a subsequent procedure is planned or anticipated during the postoperative period of a previous procedure.
  • -59, -58, -78 Modifier Subset: In dermatology, some codes have a specific subset of modifiers to distinguish between different types of lesions or services. For example, when reporting excisions, modifiers like -59, -58, and -78 can be used to indicate different aspects of the procedure.
  • -XS Modifier: This modifier is used to indicate a separate structure when multiple procedures are performed on different sites during the same session.
  • -XE Modifier: The -XE modifier is used to indicate a separate encounter when the same procedure is performed on the same patient during multiple sessions or visits.
  • -XP Modifier: This modifier is used to indicate a separate practitioner when two or more practitioners are involved in performing the same procedure during the same session.

It’s crucial to note that modifiers should be used appropriately and in accordance with the specific requirements of the payer, CPT coding guidelines, and the documentation supporting the medical necessity for each service. Incorrect or inappropriate use of modifiers can lead to claim denials or potential audits. Always consult the latest coding guidelines and payer-specific policies, and consider seeking advice from a certified professional coder or a healthcare billing specialist for accurate coding and billing practices.


Staying updated with the latest dermatology billing CPT codes is essential for accurate coding and proper reimbursement. Understanding the purpose of each CPT code category, such as evaluation and management, skin biopsies, Mohs surgery, excisions, phototherapy, wound repair, laser therapy, and lesion removal, helps ensure that dermatology procedures are coded correctly. Proper documentation of the procedure details, including technique, size, location, and any additional services provided, is crucial for accurate coding and billing.

Remember, the CPT codes serve as a standardized language for medical professionals, insurers, and billing personnel. By using the correct codes, dermatologists can streamline the billing process, reduce claim denials, and ensure appropriate reimbursement for the services they provide.

It is important to regularly review and stay updated with any changes or additions to the CPT codes relevant to dermatology. This can be done by referring to the official CPT code books, attending coding seminars or webinars, and consulting with professional billing and coding experts.

By following this dermatology billing CPT cheat sheet and understanding the purpose of each code category, dermatology practices can enhance their revenue cycle management and maintain compliance with coding guidelines. Accurate coding not only helps in maximizing reimbursement but also contributes to the overall efficiency and financial health of the practice.

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