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New Proposed Classification of Difficulty in Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy.

Background: Difficult laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) has been challenging for surgeons. Randhawa's system used operative time, complications, and conversion to define three difficulty grades. However, using fixed numbers of operative time as dividers among three groups might not be applicable universally. This study aimed to propose new classification with more flexible parameters. Methods: This retrospective cohort study was conducted with patients who underwent LC because of gallstone-related diseases between January 2017 and December 2021 at Thammasat University Hospital. The exclusion criteria were (1) emergent LC for acute cholecystitis, (2) other procedures performed in the same setting of LC, (3) incomplete information, and (4) LC converted to open cholecystectomy. Patients were categorized into three groups using Randhawa's classification. Thereafter, new classification using mean and standard deviation was applied to reclassify patients into three new groups. The comparison between two grading results was performed to prove the advantage of new classification. Results: Total of 523 patients who underwent LC were included with median age 59.3 years old and 60.8% female. By Randhawa classification, proportions of easy, difficult, and very difficult groups were 39%, 53.7%, and 7.3%, respectively. Then, the new operative-time dividers among three groups were changed from 60 and 120 minutes to mean and mean + 2SD, respectively. Reclassified three difficult groups were 38.9%, 57.1%, and 4%. The comparison demonstrated new classification as more flexible and more compatible with each individual surgeon. Conclusions: New surgeon-referenced grading system of difficult LC included surgeon's factors, not only unfavorable operative findings. This classification should be more flexible than the previous criterion-referenced one. Thai Clinical Trials Registry at https://www.thaiclinicaltrials.org with Number TCTR20220426003.

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