Start of Main Content

Healthcare Insights

Most common dermatology procedures by procedure volume

Skin is the largest organ in the human body, and while skincare gets the spotlight in pharma marketing and within the social media influencer sphere, it doesn’t earn quite as much attention at the doctor’s office. A 2022 survey found that only 10% of respondents had seen a dermatologist that year. Two barriers to care are awareness and available staffing, as dermatologists represent only about 2.3% of all medical specialists.

Dermatology isn’t just for people who want to improve their complexion; it’s a critical field of medicine that can involve the treatment of cancer and other life-limiting conditions of the skin. Using the Definitive Healthcare Atlas All-Payor Claims dataset, we’ve listed the dermatology procedures with the highest claims volumes in 2023 through November.

Top 15 most common dermatology procedures in 2023

RankHCPCS/CPT codeHCPCS/CPT description% Total procedures in 2023Explore dataset
199213Office/outpatient visit, 20-29 min.17.50%Explore
299214Office/outpatient visit, 30-39 min.8.90%Explore
317000Destruction of 1st premalignant lesion7.80%Explore
411102Tangential biopsy of skin, single lesion5.90%Explore
517003Destruction of 2-14 premalignant lesions5.50%Explore
617110Destruction of 1-14 benign legions5.40%Explore
799203Office/outpatient visit, new pt., 30-44 min.5.20%Explore
888305Tissue exam by pathologist4.60%Explore
999204Office/outpatient visit, new pt., 45-59 min.2.60%Explore
1099212Office/outpatient visit, 10-19 min.2.60%Explore
1111103Tangential biopsy of skin, additional lesions1.60%Explore
1217311Mohs micrographic technique, 1st stage, 5 blocks1.60%Explore
13J3301Triamcinolone acetonide injection, 10 mg1.50%Explore
1411900Intralesional injection, up to 7 lesions1.30%Explore
1517004Destruction of 15+ premalignant lesions1.10%Explore

Fig. 1. Data is from the Definitive Healthcare Atlas All-Payor Claims dataset and represents the percentage of total dermatology procedures performed in 2023 through November. Data accessed January 2024.

What dermatology procedures are performed most frequently?

Office and outpatient visits for routine care management are the most common types of dermatological care events, representing more than 36% of all dermatology procedure claims. Nearly half of visits with dermatologists are between 20 and 29 minutes in duration.

The most common dermatology procedure itself is the surgical destruction or removal of premalignant lesions, accounting for more than 14% of annual dermatology procedures. Premalignant lesions are sections of altered skin considered to have a significantly higher risk of cancer than the rest of the body. These lesions include abnormal growths related to actinic keratosis, actinic cheilitis, Bowen disease, as well as those caused by ultraviolet exposure.

Tangential biopsies of skin lesions are also relatively common dermatology procedures, representing about 7.5% of claims. In this case, “tangential” refers to a biopsy in which only a sliver of tissue is removed by shaving the growth or lesion above the normal layer of skin. Another common biopsy method is saucerization, in which the tissue is shaved below the dermis to produce a deeper sample.

What dermatology procedures are covered by Medicare?

Medicare covers dermatological procedures that are medically necessary to diagnose or treat injuries, illnesses, or other conditions through Medicare Part B. These procedures may include:

  • Biopsies
  • Botox (for muscle spasms, migraines, or TMJ)
  • Breast reconstruction (following cancer treatment)
  • Cryotherapy
  • Laser surgery
  • Mohs surgery
  • Skin grafts

As with other specialist procedures, most cosmetic dermatology procedures are not covered by Medicare unless they relate to an underlying condition.

Learn more

Healthcare Insights are developed with healthcare commercial intelligence from the Definitive Healthcare platform. Want even more insights? Start a free trial now and get access to the highest quality data and intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers.