Skin problems can be a major concern, whether it is a mild allergic reaction or other conditions which are far more serious. Regarded as the body’s biggest organ, the skin shields you from different outside elements and hence requires a lot of care and attention. Several factors like allergens, immune system disorders, medications, infections, environmental irritants and other genetic and stress factors can contribute to the development of skin conditions, which make the root cause of the problem hard to pinpoint. In some cases, even with proper skin care, multiple skin disorders occur on the skin. Skin disorders vary greatly in symptoms and severity and can be either temporary or permanent and may be painless or painful. Chronic skin conditions cannot be fully cured, but they can be effectively managed by using medications and paying close attention to your lifestyle. To diagnose skin conditions, physicians typically consider a person’s medical history and symptoms. Assessing the size, shape, location, and color of bumps, blisters, and rashes can help physicians pinpoint the exact cause. Consulting a dermatologist is the best way to gain improved understanding about the most common skin conditions, and to find the best treatment for any skin concerns. Dermatologists or other physicians treating common skin conditions need to use the correct ICD-10 codes to report the correct diagnoses. Relying on the services of an established dermatology medical billing company can help in accurate and timely claim submission for appropriate reimbursement.

Symptoms of Skin Conditions

There are different types of skin conditions that affect people. The most common skin conditions can have similar symptoms; hence it is important to understand the differences between them. Skin irregularities that are typically symptoms of a skin disorder include –

  • Raised bumps that are red or white
  • Scaly or rough skin
  • Peeling skin
  • Painful or itchy rashes
  • Fleshy bumps, warts, or other skin growths
  • Dry, cracked skin
  • Discolored patches of skin
  • A loss of skin pigment

Top Five Skin Conditions – Know the ICD-10 Codes

Here are the ICD-10 codes for coding five common skin conditions –

Acne (Acne vulgaris)– Regarded as the most common skin disorder in the United States, affecting about 17 million Americans, acne is caused by blocked hair follicles and oil (sebaceous) glands of the skin, often triggered by hormonal changes. Commonly located on the face, neck, shoulders, chest, and upper back, acne can affect people with any skin type – at any age. Breakouts can appear in the form of pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, or painful nodules and cysts. If left untreated or treated poorly, acne can leave scars or dark spots on the skin. Topical treatments and other medicines can help unclog pores and prevent new breakouts. ICD-10 codes for acne include –

  • L70 – Acne
    • L70.0 – Acne vulgaris
    • L70.1 – Acne conglobata
    • L70.2 – Acne varioliformis
    • L70.3 – Acne tropica
    • L70.4 – Infantile acne
    • L70.5 – Acné excoriée
    • L70.8 – Other acne
    • L70.9 – Acne, unspecified

Atopic Dermatitis (AD) – Atopic Dermatitis (AD) is a chronic skin disorder characterized by itchy and red skin. Also known as eczema, this skin condition is more common among children. However, it can occur at any age. Common symptoms of AD include – dry, itchy skin and red rashes that can occur on any part of the body. In affected infants, the rashes commonly appear on the face, cheeks, scalp, arms and legs. However, the rashes can also occur on the wrists, ankles, eyelids, front side of the neck and bend side of the elbows and knees. One of the main causes of this condition is the presence of too many inflammatory cells in the skin. As there is no specific cure for this inflammatory skin condition, a combination of treatment methods that include medicines, skin care, and lifestyle changes may be opted. Therapies include – Wet dressings and light therapy (phototherapy). Medications and other therapies will help control itching, clear infections, minimize skin inflammation (swelling and redness), loosen and remove scaly lesions and reduce new lesions from forming. Related ICD-10 codes include –

  • L20 – Atopic dermatitis
    • L20.0 – Besnier’s prurigo
  • L20.8 – Other atopic dermatitis
    • L20.81 – Atopic neurodermatitis
    • L20.82 – Flexural eczema
    • L20.83 – Infantile (acute) (chronic) eczema
    • L20.84 – Intrinsic (allergic) eczema
    • L20.89 – Other atopic dermatitis
  • L20.9 – Atopic dermatitis, unspecified

Rosacea – A common inflammatory skin condition, rosacea causes redness and visible blood vessels on your face. The redness can slowly spread beyond the nose and cheeks to the forehead and chin. Rosaceaconsists of four different sub types and the exact cause of each condition is not fully known but a number of factors can trigger symptoms. Common symptoms include – facial redness, swollen red bumps, visible broken blood vessels, large pores and excess facial skin around the nose. The condition most commonly affects middle-aged women in the age group of 30 – 60 years, who have fair skin. However, when it occurs in men, the condition tends to be severe and may eventually cause the nose to become enlarged (rhinophyma). Treatment modalities may involve a combination of prescribed medications (applied to the skin) and oral drugs (swallowing pills, tablets, or capsules) to control the symptoms. Related ICD-10 codes include –

  • L71 – Rosacea
    • L71.0 – Perioral dermatitis
    • L71.1 – Rhinophyma
    • L71.8 – Other rosacea
    • L71.9 – Rosacea, unspecified

Hives – Also known as urticaria, hives are red, raised, itchy skin rashes that are sometimes triggered by an allergen (allergic reaction). Due to an allergic reaction, the body releases a protein called histamine. When histamine is released, the tiny blood vessels (known as capillaries) leak fluid, which accumulates in the skin causing rashes. Swellings, (known as wheals), appear as rashes on the skin. These rashes are usually pink or red, with an oval or round shape. Hives are usually temporary, but some people can develop chronic hives. Treatment for this condition includes non-sedating antihistamines (consumed regularly for several weeks) which help block or reduce the body’s allergic response and ease itch. In severe or chronic cases, patients may be prescribed corticosteroids or stronger drugs. ICD-10 codes for hives are –

  • L50 – Urticaria
    • L50.0 – Allergic urticaria
    • L50.1 – Idiopathic urticaria
    • L50.2 – Urticaria rashesto cold and heat
    • L50.3 – Dermatographic urticaria
    • L50.4 – Vibratory urticaria
    • L50.5 – Cholinergic urticaria
    • L50.6 – Contact urticaria
    • L50.8 – Other urticaria
    • L50.9 – Urticaria, unspecified

Psoriasis – Psoriasis is the most prevalent, chronic autoimmune disease that causes rapid build-up of skin cells. This over growth of cells on the skin can lead to thick, scaly plaques that may itch or cause discomfort. Recent reports suggest that the condition affects about 8 million people in the United States. The exact cause of this condition is not fully known, but it is thought to be largely related to an immune system problem and genetics. The skin condition can begin at any age, though the disease typically manifests in adulthood. Symptoms include – dry/cracked skin that may bleed, small scaling spots, swollen and stiff joints, soreness/itching/burning sensation around the patches, thick pitted nails and painful or swollen joints. Treatment modalities include – systemic medications (methotrexate, cyclosporine, biologics, and retinoids), topical therapies (like corticosteroids, synthetic vitamin D analogues, salicylic acid, and moisturizer) and light therapy (like exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, UVB phototherapy and excimer laser). ICD-10 codes used for billing purposes include –

  • L40 – Psoriasis
    • L40.0 – Psoriasis vulgaris
    • L40.1 – Generalized pustular psoriasis
    • L40.2 – Acrodermatitis continua
    • L40.3 – Pustulosis palmaris et plantaris
    • L40.4 – Guttate psoriasis
    • L40.5 – Arthropathic psoriasis
  • L40.50 – Arthropathic psoriasis, unspecified
    • L40.51 – Distal interphalangeal psoriatic arthropathy
    • L40.52 – Psoriatic arthritis mutilans
    • L40.53 – Psoriatic spondylitis
    • L40.54 – Psoriatic juvenile arthropathy
    • L40.59 – Other psoriatic arthropathy
  • L40.8 – Other psoriasis
  • L40.9 – Psoriasis, unspecified

Skin conditions are a common problem, but you do not need to battle with them forever. Consulting a dermatologist is the best way to know about the different treatment options available and lifestyle remedies that can help prevent their occurrence. Incorporating certain lifestyle changes and following home remedies can help reduce the signs and symptoms of different skin conditions and prevent flare-ups.

Medical coding for inflammatory skin conditions can be complex. Healthcare providers need to be familiar with the highly specific ICD-10 codes to report common skin problems. By outsourcing these tasks to a reliable and established medical billing and coding outsourcing company (that provides the services of AAPC-certified coding specialists), healthcare practices can ensure correct and timely medical billing and claims submission.