June 8, 2017
Coding Assistant surgeon or co-surgery in trauma. Which is it?
My trauma surgeon partner and I operate on a patient with multiple trauma. Together we performed a trauma laparotomy: jointly repaired a laceration in the small bowel and packed the liver. My coder says this is not co-surgery. If not, what is it?
If you and your partner are both general surgeons, one surgeon will be the primary surgeon and one will be the assistant. Co-surgery is most typically surgeons of different specialties performing separate and distinct parts of a single CPT code. The scenario you describe is a second surgeon assisting with the procedure(s); a second pair of hands. This is assistant surgery.
*This response is based on the best information available as of 06/08/17.