Fam Pract Manag. 2012 Mar-Apr;19(2):8.

Excision vs. removal of a skin lesion

The skin procedures encounter form on your website is helpful but needs a slight clarification. “Excision” is not the same as “lesion completely removed.” Instead, excision is the medically necessary, full thickness (down to the fat), complete removal of a lesion. For example, many nevi can be “removed” completely by saucerization or shave into the dermis. This is removal, but it is not excision. An excisional punch to fat, or ellipse to fat, is excision; this should be distinguished from “incisional” punch evaluation, the sampling or incomplete removal of a lesion, which is always coded as a biopsy (11100), even if it is full thickness to fat.

Editor’s note:

Thank you for the feedback. The “Common Skin Procedure Form” has been updated accordingly and can be downloaded from our website.


Send your comments to fpmedit@aafp.org. Submission of a letter will be construed as granting AAFP permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. We cannot respond to all letters we receive. Those chosen for publication will be edited for length and style.


Copyright © 2012 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact fpmserv@aafp.org for copyright questions and/or permission requests.

Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions


Nov-Dec 2020

Access the latest issue
of FPM journal

Read the Issue

FPM E-Newsletter

Sign up to receive FPM's free, weekly e-newsletter, "Quick Tips & Insights."

Sign Up Now


Tobacco Cessation Telehealth Guide

Smoking cessation counseling and pharmacotherapy options are cost-effective ways to help patients quit smoking. Learn the role telehealth can play in your practice’s efforts, along with billing, coding, and documentation tips.

Understanding and Improving Risk Adjustment in Team-Based Care

Understand the basics of risk adjustment and how it is used in value-based payment (VBP) arrangements. Learn strategies to thrive in VBP and risk-adjustment models to optimize payment while providing high-quality patient care.

Incorporating Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention Into Practice

Incorporating alcohol screening and brief intervention benefits your patients and family medicine practice. Follow these steps to reduce risky alcohol use by choosing a screening test, establishing a practice workflow, and appropriately coding and billing.