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CPT 2019 Unveils Tangential Biopsy Codes, More

CPT 2019 Unveils Tangential Biopsy Codes, More

The 2019 CPT® codebook will include six new codes in the range 111xx to describe tangential biopsy, punch biopsy, and incisional biopsy.
Two codes describe tangential biopsy: the first code describes biopsy of a single lesion, and the second (add-on) code describes each additional lesion biopsied, beyond the first. A tangential biopsy is performed with a sharp blade to remove a sample of epidermal tissue (which may include some underlying dermis).
Two new codes will describe punch biopsy, which requires a punch tool to remove a full- thickness cylindrical sample of skin, and includes simple closure of the defect. One code describes biopsy of a single lesion, and the second (an add-on code) describes each additional lesion biopsied.
The final two codes describe incisional biopsy. Incisional biopsyis performed using a sharp blade to remove a full-thickness sample of tissue via a vertical incision or wedge, penetrating deep to the dermis, into the subcutaneous space. Again, the first code describes biopsy of an initial lesion by this method, and the second, add-on code describes additional lesions targeted by incisional biopsy.
Use of the incisional, punch, and tangential biopsy codes indicates that the procedure is to obtain tissue for diagnostic histopathologic examination, only; and, that the procedure was performed independently, or was unrelated or distinct from other services provided at that time.
The new biopsy codes may be “mixed and matched” to report biopsy of numerous lesions by various methods (e.g., incisional biopsy of an initial lesion, tangential biopsy of a second lesion). The 2019 codebooks will also include a table to help with coding when reporting multiple biopsies.
For a complete rundown of the new, revised, and deleted codes and guidelines in CPT® 2019, sign up for AAPC’s comprehensive 2019 CPT Coding Updates Virtual Workshop on December 6 (by demand starting 12/7), presented by AAPC’s own Raemarie Jimenez, CPC, CPMA, CPC-I, CANPC, CRHC. Or, join Raemarie on Nov. 20 for a one-hour webinar that highlights the changes you can expect in CPT® 2019.

Certified General Surgery Coder CGSC

John Verhovshek
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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.

One Response to “CPT 2019 Unveils Tangential Biopsy Codes, More”

  1. Marie says:

    A blade biopsy is done via transverse incison. How do I code this using the new cpt codes?