Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) is the most performed minimal invasive surgical procedure and has a relatively high complication rate. As complications are often revealed postoperatively, clear, accurate, and timely written operative notes are important in order to recall the procedure and start follow-up treatment as soon as possible. In addition, the surgeon's operative notes are important to assure surgical quality and communication with other healthcare providers. The aim of the present study was to assess compliance with the Dutch guidelines for writing operative notes for LC. Nine hospitals were asked to send 20 successive LC operative notes. All notes were compared to the Dutch guideline by two reviewers and double-checked by a third reviewer. Statistical analyses on the "not described" items were performed. All hospitals participated. Most notes complied with the Dutch guideline (52-69%); 19-30% of items did not comply. Negative scores for all hospitals were found, mainly for lacking a description of the patient's posture (average 69%), bandage (94%), blood loss (98%), name of the scrub nurse (87%), postoperative conclusion (65%), and postoperative instructions (78%). Furthermore, notes from one community hospital and two teaching hospitals complied significantly less with the guidelines. Operative notes do not always fully comply with the standards set forth in the guidelines published in the Netherlands. This could influence adjuvant treatment and future patient treatment, and it may make operative notes less suitable background for other purposes. Therefore operative note writing should be taught as part of surgical training, definitions should be provided, and procedure-specific guidelines should be established to improve the quality of the operative notes and their use to improve patient safety.