Anterior Spine Procedure Coding

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Question:

I routinely provide exposure for a neurosurgeon doing an anterior spine procedure. After I’ve done the exposure, I leave and don’t return until he is ready to close. Is a co-surgeon modifier still appropriate or am I acting as an assistant since I wasn’t there the entire time?

Answer:

You are acting as a co-surgeon – a different specialty performing a distinct and separate part of a single CPT code. You provided the approach and closure of the CPT code. You do not have to be present for the entire surgery.