DRG Coding Advisor: Use modifier -60 for complicated surgeries

The CPT manual introduced modifier -60 in 2001 to allow providers to indicate when a procedure was more complex than normal due to an altered surgical field. Previously, coders had to use the usual services modifier (modifier -22) for a variety of conditions. The -60 modifier, however, is more specific.

Modifier -60 should be used when a procedure is significantly more surgical or requires more time as a result of:

  • previous surgeries;
  • significant scarring, adhesions, or inflammation;
  • distortion of the anatomy;
  • irradiation;
  • infection;
  • trauma;
  • very low birth weight ( i.e., neonates and small infants weighing less than 10 kg).