Assistant Surgeon with Stereotatic Navigation Planning

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Question:

My doctors want me to submit 61781 for both the primary and assistant on the operative note. The payor denied it and I’m wondering if there is something else I need to do to get it paid.

Answer:

CPT 61781 (Stereotactic computer-assisted (navigational) procedure; cranial, intradural (List separately in addition to code for primary procedure)) is an add-on code for the surgeon’s pre-incision, pre-procedure as well as intraoperative work of stereotactic navigation for an intradural cranial procedure. This involves cognitive work and image manipulation at a computer workstation which occurs prior to surgery and the utilization of the navigation system during the procedure. This activity does not require an assistant, so it is appropriate that a payor would deny payment for an assistant surgeon on 61781.