Is It Co-Surgery or Not?

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August 18, 2016

Question:
I was called into the OR by a urologist who was doing a nephrectomy for a malignancy. He noted a lesion on the spleen I was called in to remove the spleen. Is this co-surgery or assistant surgery?

Answer:
Thank you for your question. In the American College of Surgeons (ACS) coding course, we discuss numerous scenarios where more than one surgeon participates in a surgery. Co-surgery and assistant surgery have specific criteria and documentation requirements. In the scenario you describe, the urologist will report the appropriate nephrectomy code. The CPT codes for a nephrectomy for malignancy are not described or valued to include a splenectomy. Therefore this is not co-surgery or assistant surgery. You will code for the splenectomy only. Please join us in Dallas or Chicago for upcoming ACS coding courses.

*This response is based on the best information available as of 08/18/16.

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