Irrigation and Drainage

February 2, 2017

Question:
There is some confusion in my office as what is the difference between a simple and complication irrigation and drainage (I&D) of an abscess. Can you help?

Answer:
A simple I&D includes drainage of the pus or purulence from the cyst or abscess and is reported with CPT 10060. The physician leaves the incision open to drain on its own, allowing for healing with normal wound care. A complex I&D includes placement of a drainage tube to allow for continuous drainage or packing to facilitate healing and reported with CPT 10061. In certain cases, tissue excision, primary closure, and/or Z-plasty may be required. Incision and drainage of a blister requires of a “super infection” with pus and abscess formation. CPT 10061 often involves larger abscesses requiring probing to break up loculations and packing to promote ongoing drainage. A loculate region in an organ or tissue, or a loculate structure formed between surfaces of organs or mucous or serous membranes.

*This response is based on the best information available as of 02/02/17.

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