Background: We previously identified 25 intraoperative findings during laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) as potential indicators of surgical difficulty per nominal group technique. This study aimed to build a consensus among expert LC surgeons on the impact of each item on surgical difficulty. Methods: Surgeons from Japan, Korea, and Taiwan (n = 554) participated in a Delphi process and graded the 25 items on a seven-stage scale (range, 0–6). Consensus was defined as (1) the interquartile range (IQR) of overall responses ≤2 and (2) ≥66% of the responses concentrated within a median ± 1 after stratification by workplace and LC experience level. Results: Response rates for the first and the second-round Delphi were 92.6% and 90.3%, respectively. Final consensus was reached for all the 25 items. ‘Diffuse scarring in the Calot's triangle area’ in the ‘Factors related to inflammation of the gallbladder’ category had the strongest impact on surgical difficulty (median, 5; IQR, 1). Surgeons agreed that the surgical difficulty increases as more fibrotic change and scarring develop. The median point for each item was set as the difficulty score. Conclusions: A Delphi consensus was reached among expert LC surgeons on the impact of intraoperative findings on surgical difficulty.
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