Called To the OR to Repair an Artery. What Do I Bill?

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Question:

I was recently called to the OR to repair an artery that was inadvertently knicked during abdominal surgery. I repaired the artery. Do I bill this as a co-surgeon to the general surgeon?

Answer:

No, you will report the codes for the procedure(s) that you performed, for example repair blood vessel, intra-abdominal, direct (35221), repair blood vessel, intra-abdominal, with vein graft (35251) or repair blood vessel intra-abdominal with graft other than vein (35281). You are not acting as a co-surgeon (performing a distinct part of the same procedure/CPT code as the general surgeon), or an assistant surgeon, (assisting with one or more procedures performed by the general surgeon.). You are called in specifically to repair a vessel, a procedure that is not a typical component of the abdominal surgery being performed.

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