For services provided in 2023, there will be 1 revised code and 2 new codes to describe suture removal.

Current codes 15850 and 15851 are reported based on whether the physician performing removal under anesthesia performed the primary procedure or is a different physician or other qualified health care professional (QHP). In 2023, removal of sutures or staples requiring anesthesia will be reported with code 15851 regardless of whether the physician or QHP removing the sutures or staples also performed the primary procedure. (See the Table for a year-by-year comparison.)

Note that the revised code descriptor for 15851 describes the required anesthesia as “general anesthesia” or “moderate sedation.” Coders should be aware that this does include deep sedation and monitored anesthesia care, which fall between moderate sedation and general anesthesia on a continuum of levels of sedation and analgesia as defined by the American Society of Anesthesiologists. Removal of sutures...

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