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Medicare Coverage for Surgical Dressings


Surgical dressings are covered for as long as they are medically necessary. Surgical dressings are covered when either of the following criteria are met:
  • They are required for the treatment of a wound caused by, or treated by, a surgical procedure; or
  • They are required after debridement of a wound.
Surgical dressings include both primary dressings (i.e., therapeutic or protective coverings applied directly to wounds or lesions either on the skin or caused by an opening to the skin) and secondary dressings (i.e., materials that serve a therapeutic or protective function and that are needed to secure a primary dressing).

The surgical procedure or debridement must be performed by a physician or other healthcare professional to the extent permissible under State law. Debridement of a wound may be any type of debridement (examples given are not all-inclusive): surgical (e.g., sharp instrument or laser), mechanical (e.g., irrigation or wet-to-dry dressings), chemical (e.g., topical application of enzymes), or autolytic (e.g., application of occlusive dressings to an open wound). Dressings used for mechanical debridement, to cover chemical debriding agents, or to cover wounds to allow for autolytic debridement are covered although the agents themselves are noncovered.

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