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Tape, waterproof, per 18 square inches

HCPCS code

Name of the Procedure:

  • Common Name(s): Waterproof Tape Application
  • Technical/Medical Term: Adhesive Tape, Waterproof, per 18 square inches (HCPCS Code A4452)


Waterproof adhesive tape is a durable, water-resistant tape used to secure dressings or medical devices to the skin. It is designed to withstand moisture, making it ideal for activities like showering or sweating.


  • Conditions Addressed: Used for securing dressings, catheters, tubing, and other medical devices to the skin, especially where there is exposure to moisture.
  • Goals: To keep medical dressings and devices securely in place while allowing the patient to maintain personal hygiene and remain active.


  • Symptoms/Conditions: Any situation where a medical device or dressing needs to remain secure and dry.
  • Patient Criteria: Suitable for patients requiring securement of medical devices in a moist environment, such as during showering or sweating.


  • Pre-Procedure Instructions: Clean and dry the area of skin where the tape will be applied to ensure optimal adhesion.
  • Diagnostic Tests: None typically required.

Procedure Description

  1. Step-by-Step:

    1. Identify the area where the tape will be applied.
    2. Ensure the skin is clean and dry.
    3. Measure the required length of the tape.
    4. Cut the tape to the desired size (up to 18 square inches per usage as specified in HCPCS A4452).
    5. Apply the tape over the dressing or medical device, smoothing it down to eliminate any air pockets.
    6. Ensure the edges are firmly pressed down for a secure fit.
  2. Tools and Equipment: Waterproof adhesive tape (A4452), scissors.
  3. Anesthesia: None.


The application process typically takes a few minutes.


The procedure can be performed in various settings, such as a hospital, outpatient clinic, home healthcare setting, or by the patient themselves.


Usually performed by a nurse, healthcare provider, or the patient themselves under instruction.

Risks and Complications

  • Common Risks: Skin irritation or allergic reaction to adhesive.
  • Rare Risks: Infection if the tape traps moisture too effectively.
  • Management: Discontinue use if irritation occurs and consult a healthcare provider.


  • Expected Benefits: Keeps dressings and medical devices securely in place, resistant to water and moisture.
  • Timeline: Immediate benefit upon application, with extended wear time before needing reapplication.


  • Post-Procedure Care: Regularly check the tape for signs of peeling or irritation. Change the tape as needed, usually when it starts to lose adhesion or after a significant water exposure.
  • Expected Recovery Time: Not applicable, as this is a maintenance procedure.
  • Restrictions/Follow-Up: Follow the healthcare provider’s instructions regarding dressing changes and monitoring for skin irritation.


  • Other Options: Non-waterproof adhesive tape, elastic bandages, medical adhesives.
  • Pros and Cons:
    • Non-Waterproof Tape: Cheaper but less durable in moist conditions.
    • Elastic Bandages: Reusable but less secure.
    • Medical Adhesives: Provide a strong bond but can be difficult to remove.

Patient Experience

  • During Procedure: Generally painless; a slight tugging sensation when tape is applied.
  • After Procedure: May feel the presence of the tape; should not hinder normal activities. If discomfort or skin irritation develops, remove the tape and consult a healthcare provider.
  • Pain Management: Not typically necessary, but if skin irritation occurs, topical anti-itch creams may provide relief.

Medical Policies and Guidelines for Tape, waterproof, per 18 square inches

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