Treatment of Actinic Keratosis
Actinic Keratosis (AKs), also known as solar keratoses, are common, sun-induced skin lesions that are confined to the epidermis and have the potential to become a skin cancer.
Various options exist for treating AKs. Clinicians should select an appropriate treatment based on the patient's medical history, the lesion's characteristics, and on the patient's preference for a specific treatment. Commonly performed treatments for AKs include cryosurgery with liquid nitrogen, topical drug therapy, and curettage. Less commonly performed treatments for AK include dermabrasion, excision, chemical peels, laser therapy, and photodynamic therapy. An alternative approach to treating AKs is to observe the lesions over time and remove them only if they exhibit specific clinical features suggesting possible transformation to invasive squamous cell carcinoma.
Medicare covers the destruction of actinic keratoses without restrictions based on lesion or patient characteristics.
10/2001 - Extended coverage for surgical or medical treatment methods, including but not limited to cryosurgery with liquid nitrogen, curettage, excision, and photodynamic therapy, without restrictions based on patient or lesion characteristics. Medicare contractors retain discretion to determine number of visits considered reasonable and necessary to treat these lesions. Effective and implementation dates 11/26/2001. (TN 145) (CR 1892)
This NCD has been or is currently being reviewed under the National Coverage
Determination process. The following are existing associations with NCAs, from the National
Coverage Analyses database.