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Thread: CPT for cauterization of burn

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Rome, Georgia Chapter - Rome Coding Professionals

    Default CPT for cauterization of burn

    AAPC: Back to School
    Which code would you use for cauterization by silver nitrate for 2nd degree burn - initial treatment and wrapping? CPT 16020 or 17250?:

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Richmond, Virginia


    The 17250 is for "Destruction, Benign or Premalignant Lesions". Use of Silver Nitrate is uncommon for burn treatment. Silver Nitrate is usually used to control bleeding for small areas, It cauterizes the bleeding area/vessel.

    The USUAL treatment for a burn is Silver Sulfadine cream application......so first I would make sure there was not a miscommunication here.... Since it is a second degree burn, which means just blistering, I doubt there were any exposed or bleeding vessels to cauterize, and it would be very strange to treat one burn with another type of burn.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Milwaukee WI

    Default 16020

    17250 is inappropriate as there is no evidence of granulation tissue (I don't think it has to be related to destruction of lesion).

    16020 seems appropriate, EVEN if doctor did, in fact, use silver nitrate.

    F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CPC-E/M

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