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Need to know: The evidence - The plastic surgeon's consulting room

Mr Dai Davies FRCS is a plastic surgery partner at The Stamford Hospital, and consultant plastic surgeon at the Charing Cross Hospital

"During a consultation I sit opposite the patient with a mirror (1) and get them to tell me what they don't like about their face. Then I ask them to look in the mirror and I point with my letter opener (2) to what they want to change. It's easier to point with this than a finger. The calliper (3) is for measuring breast size, but it's also very good for measuring the size of peoples' noses and lengths of scars. I do quite a lot of breast surgery so I usually have an implant out (4). It gives the patient an opportunity to feel it and to discuss what we put inside the silicone bag - saline, silicone, or even soya bean liquid. I see a lot of skin cancer, so my magnifying glass (5) comes in very useful. A patient will only retain about 30 per cent of what I tell them in a consultation, so we give them a lot of literature (6) to take home. We now use computer-imaging (7) during consultations. I take a digital picture and we manipulate it to change the shape of their nose or whatever. No one can bring in a picture of a nose and say `I want this' - it all depends on

where you start from."

Interview by Aoife O'Riordain

Photograph by Claudia Janke