What are Common Dermatology CPT Codes?

Touseef Riaz

August 3, 2023

dermatology cpt codes

CPT codes are a crucial component of medical billing and coding in dermatology. These codes provide a standardized system for identifying and billing dermatological procedures and services. Understanding the common dermatology CPT codes is essential for accurate billing, appropriate reimbursement, and efficient claims processing.

CPT codes, or Current Procedural Terminology codes, are crucial in the healthcare industry, including dermatology. They are a standardized system of codes that describes medical procedures and services provided by healthcare professionals.

dermatology cpt codes

Understanding the Importance of Dermatology CPT Codes Accurate coding using CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) codes is vital in dermatology. CPT codes help healthcare providers communicate their services to insurance companies for reimbursement. These codes ensure proper billing, facilitate tracking of medical procedures, and support statistical analysis. By correctly documenting and reporting dermatology procedures with the appropriate CPT codes, healthcare professionals ensure compliance, transparency, and financial viability.

Standard CPT Codes in Dermatology

  1. Skin Biopsy Codes

Skin biopsies are frequently performed in dermatology to diagnose and treat various skin conditions. Common CPT codes for skin biopsies include:

  • 11100: Biopsy of a single skin lesion
  • 11101: Each additional biopsy of a separate lesion

Proper documentation and accurate code selection are crucial when using skin biopsy codes.

  1. Excision and Repair Codes

Dermatologists often perform excisions and repairs for skin lesions, tumours, or cysts. Common CPT codes for excision and repair procedures include:

  • 11400-11646: Excision and repair codes based on the complexity and size of the lesion

Accurate coding requires precise documentation of the excision’s depth, margins, and closure technique.

  1. Cryosurgery Codes

Cryosurgery involves using extreme colds to treat various dermatological conditions, such as warts or skin tumours. Common CPT codes for cryosurgery include:

  • 17000-17286: Cryosurgery codes for different body areas and lesion types

Proper documentation should include details of the number and size of lesions treated.

  1. Destruction Codes

Destruction codes are used for various procedures involving destroying or removing skin lesions or unwanted tissue. Common CPT codes for destruction procedures include:

  • 17110-17286: Destruction codes for different body areas and lesion types

Accurate coding requires documentation of the specific procedure performed and the lesion size.

  1. Phototherapy Codes

Phototherapy, also known as light therapy, is a common treatment modality in dermatology for conditions like psoriasis or vitiligo. Common CPT codes for phototherapy include:

  • 96900-96912: Phototherapy codes for different types of phototherapy and body areas

Accurate coding necessitates specifying the type and duration of phototherapy administered.

  1. Evaluation and Management Codes

Evaluation and management (E&M) codes are used for billing for office visits and consultations. Dermatologists commonly use E&M codes for patient evaluations, assessments, and follow-up visits. The specific E&M code selected depends on the complexity and duration of the encounter.

  1. Modifier Usage in CPT Codes in Dermatology

Modifiers are additional codes appended to the main CPT codes to provide additional information or indicate special circumstances. Dermatology frequently uses modifiers to specify unique circumstances, such as multiple procedures, bilateral procedures, or reduced services.

CPT code 40490

The CPT code for excision procedures on the lip is 40490.

What is CPT code 69100 reported for?

CPT code 69100 is used to report a myringotomy procedure involving making an incision in the tympanic membrane (eardrum) to relieve pressure or drain fluid from the middle ear. It is a common procedure to treat conditions such as recurrent ear infections or allow for the insertion of ear tubes.

How to Properly Use CPT Codes in Dermatology for Billing?

  1. Documentation Requirements: Accurate coding begins with thorough and detailed documentation of the procedure performed, including indications, findings, and the medical necessity for the service.
  2. Accurate Code Selection: Select the appropriate CPT code that best describes the procedure performed, considering the nature and complexity of the service provided.
  3. Avoiding Common Coding Errors: Avoid common coding errors, such as unbundling codes, incorrect modifier usage, or inadequate documentation.
  4. Staying Updated with Coding Changes: Regularly review and stay updated with changes in dermatology CPT codes, guidelines, and documentation requirements to ensure compliance and accurate billing.

Benefits of using CPT codes in Dermatology 

  • Accurate Communication: CPT codes help healthcare providers communicate the specific services they have performed to insurance companies and other healthcare entities. Using the appropriate code, healthcare professionals can convey what procedures were carried out during a patient’s visit.
  • Billing and Reimbursement: CPT codes are essential for medical billing and reimbursement. Insurance companies rely on these codes to determine the appropriate payment for the services rendered. Each CPT code has a designated value corresponding to the complexity and resources required for the procedure. Accurate coding ensures that healthcare providers receive proper reimbursement for their services.
  • Tracking and Analysis: CPT codes facilitate the tracking and analysis of medical procedures. By assigning specific codes to each procedure, healthcare organizations can gather valuable data on treatment types and frequency. This information helps in identifying trends, evaluating outcomes, and conducting research to improve patient care.
  • Compliance and Regulation: CPT codes ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and guidelines. They help healthcare providers follow established standards for documenting and reporting medical procedures. Compliance with coding guidelines is crucial to prevent fraud, maintain accurate medical records, and adhering to legal and ethical obligations.
  • Transparency and Accountability: CPT codes promote transparency and accountability in the healthcare industry. By using a standardized coding system, healthcare providers can easily communicate the services they offer to patients, other healthcare professionals, and insurance companies. This transparency fosters trust and enables accurate tracking of medical procedures.
  • Billing and Reimbursement: CPT codes are vital for billing and reimbursement processes. Insurance companies and payers use these codes to determine the appropriate payment for dermatology services. Accurate coding ensures fair and timely reimbursement for dermatologists’ expertise and services, promoting financial viability and sustainability.
  • Data Analysis and Research: CPT codes enable comprehensive data collection and analysis. By consistently using these codes, healthcare organizations can gather valuable information on the types and frequency of dermatological procedures. This data supports research, quality improvement efforts, and evidence-based decision-making in dermatology.
  • Compliance and Regulatory Compliance: CPT codes ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and coding guidelines. They help healthcare providers adhere to legal and ethical standards while documenting and reporting medical procedures. Compliance with coding guidelines promotes transparency, reduces fraud and abuse, and upholds professional integrity in dermatology practices.

In dermatology specifically, accurate coding using CPT codes is vital for proper billing and reimbursement of services related to skin conditions and treatments. Dermatologists rely on CPT codes to accurately describe procedures like skin biopsies, excisions, cryosurgery, and phototherapy. Accurate coding ensures that dermatologists are reimbursed appropriately for their expertise and services, while insurance companies can verify the necessity and accuracy of the billed procedures.

Dermatology billing guidelines

Dermatology billing guidelines are a set of rules and regulations that govern the billing and reimbursement process for dermatology services. These guidelines ensure that dermatologists and healthcare providers correctly document and report their services in a manner that aligns with insurance requirements.

Here are some key aspects of dermatology billing guidelines explained in simple terms:


Dermatology billing guidelines emphasize the importance of thorough and accurate documentation. This means that dermatologists need to keep detailed records of the services provided, including the reason for the visit, the examination findings, and the treatment plan. Proper documentation supports the medical necessity of the services and helps prevent billing errors.

Coding Accuracy: 

Dermatology billing guidelines require accurate coding using the appropriate CPT codes for each procedure. Dermatologists must select the correct codes that best describe the services rendered. Using the wrong code or misrepresenting the services can lead to claim denials or even legal repercussions.

Medical Necessity: 

Dermatology billing guidelines emphasize the need for medical necessity when billing for services. This means that the services provided must be reasonable and necessary for the patient’s diagnosis or condition. Insurance companies typically require supporting documentation to demonstrate the medical necessity of the services rendered.

Modifier Usage:

          Dermatology billing guidelines address the proper use of modifiers. Modifiers are codes that provide additional information about a service or indicate special circumstances. Dermatologists need to use modifiers correctly to indicate things like multiple procedures, bilateral procedures, or reduced services.


Dermatology billing guidelines stress the importance of compliance with legal and ethical standards. Healthcare providers must adhere to all applicable laws, regulations, and professional guidelines when billing for dermatology services. Non-compliance can result in penalties, fines, or even loss of professional licensure.

How to Properly Use CPT Codes for Billing?

Properly using CPT codes in dermatology for billing is essential for accurate reimbursement. Here are some key steps to follow:

  • Documentation Requirements: Maintain thorough and detailed documentation of the dermatology procedure or service provided. Include information such as patient history, examination findings, and treatment plan. Accurate and complete documentation supports the medical necessity of the service.
  • Accurate Code Selection: Select the appropriate CPT code that best represents the procedure performed. Review the code descriptions and guidelines to ensure proper code selection based on the complexity and nature of the service rendered. Consider factors such as the site, size, and extent of the procedure.
  • Specificity and Detail: Be specific and provide detailed documentation that supports the selected CPT code. Include relevant information such as the number of lesions, dimensions, anatomic location, and any additional procedures performed during the same encounter.
  • Modifier Usage: Apply modifiers, if applicable, to indicate specific circumstances or additional information. Common modifiers used in dermatology include modifiers for multiple procedures, bilateral procedures, or reduced services. Use modifiers accurately to provide clarity and avoid coding errors.
  • Regular Education and Updates: Stay informed about changes in CPT codes for dermatology, documentation requirements, and billing guidelines. Regularly review updated coding resources, attend continuing education programs, and stay updated with coding changes specific to dermatology.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Ensure compliance with coding regulations, such as those set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and private payers. Follow coding guidelines, local coverage determinations, and other payer-specific policies to ensure accurate billing and avoid claim denials.


Understanding the common CPT codes is essential for accurate dermatology medical billing and reimbursement. Dermatologists can optimise their billing processes and reduce errors by utilizing proper documentation, accurate code selection, and staying updated with coding changes. Moreover, it is a great way to ensure efficient claims processing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is dermatology covered by medicare?

Medicare covers dermatology services, the federal health insurance program for people aged 65 and older and certain younger individuals with disabilities.

What are dermatology billing associates?

Dermatology billing associates are professionals or companies that specialize in handling dermatology practices’ billing and reimbursement processes, ensuring accurate and timely payment for services rendered.

What is the CPT code for dermatology?

The CPT code for dermatology procedures can vary depending on the specific procedure performed. Common CPT codes used in dermatology include those for skin biopsies (e.g., 11100), excisions (e.g., 11400), cryosurgery (e.g., 17000), and destruction of lesions (e.g., 17110)

What is the CPT code for dermatology referral?

There is no specific CPT code for a dermatology referral. CPT codes are used to describe medical procedures and services, whereas a referral is a process of directing a patient to another healthcare provider. Referrals are typically documented through other means, such as referral forms or notes in the patient’s medical record, rather than being associated with a specific CPT code.

What is CPT code 99204 for dermatology?

CPT code 99204 is an Evaluation and Management (E&M) code used for new patient office visits that require a detailed history, comprehensive examination, and medical decision-making of moderate complexity. While this code is not specific to dermatology, dermatologists can use it when evaluating new patients and providing a comprehensive assessment and treatment plan for their dermatological condition. 

What is CPT code 17110?

CPT code 17110 is a code used for the destruction (e.g., by laser, electrocautery, or surgical excision) of benign (non-cancerous) skin lesions or tumours. This code is often used in dermatology to bill for removing or destroying lesions such as warts, seborrheic keratoses, or other benign growths.

You May Also Like…


Ready To Get Started?

Pin It on Pinterest