BACKGROUND: Operative reports are important documents; however, standards for critical elements of operative reports are general and often vague. Hernia surgery is one of the most common procedures performed by general surgeons, so the aim of this project was to develop a Delphi consensus on critical elements of a ventral hernia repair operative report. STUDY DESIGN: The Delphi method was used to establish consensus on key features of operative reports for ventral hernia repair. An expert panel was selected and questionnaires were distributed. The first round of voting was open-ended to allow participants to recommend what details should be included. For the second round the questionnaire was distributed with the items that did not have unanimous responses along with free text comments from the first round. RESULTS: Eighteen surgeons were approached, of which 11 completed both rounds. Twenty items were on the initial questionnaire, of which 11 had 100% agreement. Of the remaining 9 items, after the second questionnaire an additional 7 reached consensus. CONCLUSION: Ventral hernia repairs are a common and challenging problem and often require reoperations. Surgeons frequently refer to previous operative notes to guide future procedures, which requires detailed and comprehensive operative reports. This Delphi consensus was able to identify key components needed for an operative report describing ventral hernia repair.
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