CPT defines each of the closures in the integumentary system section (before code 12001). Note the use of modifier 51 in the instructions.
Some tips for wound repairs:
Simple repairs involve single layer closure with sutures, staples or skin adhesives (Dermabond). Report G0168 (Wound closure utilizing tissue adhesive[s] only) for Medicare payers. You may see the use of chemical (silver nitrate) or electrocautery.
Steri-strips alone are not assigned a wound repair code.
Intermediate repairs include those requiring multi-layered closure or single layer repair that are heavily contaminated.
If the physician mentions repair to the depth of muscle or deeper, it’s complex. Complex repairs are often reconstructive procedures and include creation of a defect to be repaired (for instance, excision of the scar and subsequent closure).
Good luck on the exam.
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