Suture Removal: How to Code

Suture Removal: How to Code

Both CPT® and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) consider suture removal to be part of a minor surgical procedure’s global package. If the same physician who placed the sutures removes them during the original procedure’s global period, you cannot report the removal separately. If a different physician removes the sutures, the removal becomes part of any E/M service reported. Possible exceptions include:

Certified General Surgery Coder CGSC

  • If the patient must be placed under general anesthesia to remove the sutures, you may report 15850 Removal of sutures under anesthesia (other than local), same surgeon or 15851 Removal of sutures under anesthesia (other than local), other surgeon. Circumstances under which generally anesthesia would be medically necessary or appropriate for suture removal are rare.
  • If your payer allows, report S0630 Removal of sutures by a physician other than the physician who originally closed the wound, as long as a different physician than the one who placed the sutures removes them. Check with your insurer before submitting this code.
John Verhovshek
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About Has 569 Posts

John Verhovshek, MA, CPC, is a contributing editor at AAPC. He has been covering medical coding and billing, healthcare policy, and the business of medicine since 1999. He is an alumnus of York College of Pennsylvania and Clemson University.

2 Responses to “Suture Removal: How to Code”

  1. Kathy says:

    What do you recommend when a procedure doesn’t have a global, such as code 11100, Biopsy of Lesion? If they have to place sutures and then remove them at a later date, is that billable because there is no global? Also, if a patient doesn’t return within a 10 day global, is that billable? Or is the suture removal tied to the procedure regardless of the global?
    Thank you!

  2. Lisa Cathey says:

    I would like to know the answer to this question as well.