Skip to main content
  • Does Surgery During the Global Period Start a New Post-Operative Period?


    I learned when a patient has a YAG laser capsulotomy within the global period of cataract surgery in the same eye, the post-operative days do not start again. I wonder if this only applies to cataracts and YAG capsulotomy, or does it apply to any surgery?

    Answer:
    When surgery is performed by the same surgeon within another procedure's global period, a modifier is required for payment. The definitions of the surgical modifiers (-58, -78, -79) determine if a new post operative period begins or not. For example, when reporting CPT code 66821, YAG laser capsulotomy during the global period of cataract surgery in the same eye, append modifier -78, as it is related and an unplanned return to the operating or procedure room. The laser will be paid at 70% paying the intraoperative portion of the procedure only, however the original cataract surgery global period remains. Download the surgical modifier decision tree at aao.org/coding-topics.

    Review the modifier chapter in Fundamentals of Ophthalmic Coding to master modifier usage. Missing or incorrect use of a modifier(s) is one of the top five reasons payers reject insurance claims.