Procedure Coding: When to Use the 79 Modifier

    This is part of the Modifier Series, the articles include:

    • Modifers 59, 25, and 91
    • Modifier 59
    • Modifier 25
    • Modifier 26
    • Modifier 22
    • Modifier 51
    • Modifier 53
    • Modifier 58
    • Modifier 52

    Chances are, if you commonly bill for procedural services which are accompanied by a global period, you’ve had at least some experience with modifier 79. This is because the 79 modifier is appended to surgical procedures done within the global period of a separate, prior procedure. Only, the two procedures cannot be at all related. As you might expect, this can cause confusion even amongst experienced billing and coding staff. Modifier 79 may require precise application, but we’re here to help. This article will serve to clarify when and how to use modifier 79, so you can be confident in your coding knowledge and ensure that you’re getting paid appropriately for all your performed procedures.

    Defining Modifier 79

    Modifier 79 is defined by CPT as an “ unrelated procedure or service by the same physician during the postoperative period.” Essentially, it’s the modifier you’ll need to use when a provider has performed two unrelated procedures within the same day, and/or when the second procedure is performed within the global period of the first procedure. The 79 modifier would be appended to the second of the two procedures. Typically, the second procedure would also be linked to a different diagnosis, further demonstrating to the payer that it is distinctly separate from the first. Let’s look at examples of modifier 79 in action to get a better idea of how to use it appropriately.

    Clinical Scenarios

    Modifier 79 Example 1

    A patient who is in the global period of care for a fracture to their right leg falls and injures their left wrist. Arthroscopic wrist surgery is unrelated to the global period created by treating the right leg, so any procedure for the left wrist would have a 79 modifier appended. Services that qualify for a 79 modifier may be performed anywhere, as long as they are performed by the same physician.

    Modifier 79 Example 2 A surgeon amputates a patient’s right little finger because of an infection. Within the postoperative period of this surgery, the same physician amputates the patient’s left little toe after it is crushed in an accident. Modifier 79 would be used on the second surgery because the two operations are completely unrelated, even though they may seem similar.

    Modifier 79 Example 3

    A patient presents to his dermatologist with actinic keratoses, which the physician removes via cryosurgery (CPT code 17000, 17003, or 17004, depending on how many are treated.) The same patient comes back 7 days later, saying he also meant to consult the physician about the suspicious lesion on his chest. The physician thinks the chest lesion is a skin cancer and biopsies it. The biopsy would need a modifier 79 since that procedure fell within the 10-day global period for the cryosurgery.


    The 79 modifier may have its points of confusion, but a little clarification can go a long way. Here are the important specifics to keep in mind about modifier 79:

    • It can only be submitted with surgical codes.
    • Append 79 to the second procedure done within the global period.
    • It only applies when the second procedure is done by the same physician within the global period of the prior procedure.

    As with all other types of modifiers, supporting documentation should be maintained in the patient’s medical record. The documentation needs to substantiate that the surgeries are unrelated to rule out any questioning by the payer.


    What is the 79 modifier?
    Modifier 79 is defined by CPT as an “unrelated procedure or service by the same physician during the postoperative period.” Essentially, it's the modifier you'll need to use when a provider has performed two unrelated procedures within the same day, and/or when the second procedure is performed within the global period more
    What language do Wookies speak?
    Shyriiwook They have three different languages. Chewbacca speaks a dialect called Shyriiwook, while other Wookiees may speak either Thykarann or Xaczik. Shyriiwook is the most common to understand, however, as both Han Solo and Rey can decipher Chewie's grunts. more
    Should you touch a cat's nose?
    Like us, cats prefer that we ask if it's okay before we touch. Felines who are friends greet each other by touching noses. A human head is too big to really mimic that behavior, but a human fingertip is just about the size of that adorable triangle of skin at the tip of a cat's nose. more
    What does the Ronin charm do?
    This charm has two unique perks, which are: Spirit Bear: a perk that transforms the Ronin's spirit animal from a wolf to a bear. Healing spirit: a perk that surrounds the ronin's spirit animal with a healing incense, which heals all allies in its radius. more
    How much do you get for 1 million views on TikTok?
    TikTok pays content creators $0.02–$0.04 per every 1,000 views. This means you'll get about $15 for 500,000 views and $40-$50 for 1 million views. It sounds insane—we know—especially when compared to YouTube, which pays between $2,000 and $4,000 for a million views. more
    What is Yoongi's dog?
    Min Holly Min Holly (민홀리) or Holly (홀리) is a brown "Toy Poodle" dog that belongs to Suga. more
    Why do Bulldogs choke?
    Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome These dogs are born with a soft palate that obstructs airflow into their lungs. Your bulldog will have difficulty in breathing and will retch or gag especially while swallowing. more
    Is the Zeus armor good?
    1 Zeus Armor Set The Zeus Armor Set is, without a doubt, the best armor set in the entire game. It's also the most dangerous and hardest to obtain since you'll need to defeat all the Valkyries in New Game Plus. more
    What was Elsa's last words on 1883?
    Elsa Dutton and James Dutton seemingly sat for hours beneath the tree in 1883 episode 10. It's clear to both of them that Elsa will die under that tree. When she finally starts to go, she has a few final words for her father after seeing a bird. “You birds sure are smart,” Elsa says to the bird. more
    Why did the Mongols drink blood?
    While everyone likes to talk about how scary the Spartans or Romans could be, it was the Mongols who pioneered new warfare tactics, used them to win battle after battle, and survived on a diet of horse blood and liquor to ride across whatever terrain they needed to in order to murder you. more
    What was Hitler's Myers-Briggs?
    Which personality type was Adolf Hitler? Adolf Hitler was an unhealthy INFJ personality type. He tended to feel resentful of other people and this could have been the driving force behind some of his actions. more


    You may be interested in...

    Who is stronger Amit or Khonshu?

    How many butterflies can lift a human?

    What causes pelvic pain in females?

    Are Border Collies high maintenance?

    What is cookie in Germany?

    Where is rutabaga popular?

    What is considered the working poor?

    Which is the most developed country in Africa?

    What is the minimum down payment for a Fannie Mae loan?

    Can I work at Sam's Club if I quit Walmart?

    What does omega mean in statistics?

    How many times a week can you eat bacon?

    How long is dental technician?

    What do phantom smells mean?

    Will AAA tow the same car twice?

    About Privacy Contact
    ©2022 REPOKIT