Cracking the Code

Wound Debridement vs Active Wound Care Management

It is important for coders to understand the difference between wound debridement and active wound care management. Wound debridement procedures consist of physicians removing nonviable tissue from a wound with forceps, scissors, scalpel, or tissue nippers. Wound debridement codes are reported by depth of tissue that is removed and surface area of the wound and using CPT codes 11042 – 11047. Active wound care procedures are performed to remove devitalized and/or necrotic tissue to promote healing. These procedures are captured with CPT 97597 and 97598.  Pay very close attention to provider’s documentation to ensure the accurate CPT codes are reported for the encounter.

Q: A 72-year-old male presents to the outpatient wound clinic for treatment of his chronic diabetic ulcer on his left lower leg. The wound currently measures 6.3 cm x 5.2 cm x 2.2 cm. Previously, the patient underwent extensive debridement of the necrotic tissue of the site. After careful examination of the wound, the provider determines the best route of action is to provide active wound care management. The provider completes debridement of ulcer using Versajet.
A: E11.622, type 2 diabetes mellitus with other skin ulcer
L97.929, non-pressure chronic ulcer of unspecified part of lower leg with unspecified severity
CPT 97597, debridement, open wound, including topical application(s), wound assessment, use of a whirlpool, when performed and instruction(s) for ongoing care, per session, total wound(s) surface area; first 20 sq cm or less
Reference: CPT ASST October 2016: Wound care and active wound care management, clarification
Scroll to Top
Call Now Button