Cracking the Code

Coding Cryosurgery

Cryosurgery is a treatment by which freezing temperatures are applied by cold liquid application or by instrument for the destruction of abnormal or diseased tissue. This requires no injected anesthesia, and no bleeding occurs. According to Wikipedia, the term comes cryosurgery from the Greek words cryo and surgery meaning “hand work” or “handiwork”.

Liquid nitrogen or compressed argon gas is used during this treatment. Since cryosurgery is a local treatment and providers can focus on a precise area, damage to nearby healthy tissue can be decreased. Cryosurgery may also be called cryotherapy or cryoablation. Cryosurgery is used to treat conditions such as actinic keratoses, skin cancers including basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, and retinoblastoma to name a few.

Q: What CPT code(s) would describe the treatment of 10 plantar warts removed and 7 flat warts all destroyed with cryosurgery during the encounter?
A: 17111. We look in our CPT® Index for Destruction/Warts/Flat which leads us to codes 17110 and 17111. Destruction, flat warts, and plantar warts are both included in the definition of lesions. Warts are considered benign lesions and are coded from code range 17110-17111. A total of 15 lesions were destroyed by cryosurgery. Code 17111 represents the destruction of 17 or more lesions.
Reference: FY 2022 CPT book, CPT Assistant, Wikipedia
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