The aim of this study is to analyse the way in which orthopaedic physicians manage consultations, and to identify those factors associated with patient-experienced satisfaction/dissatisfaction. This was explored both using a descriptive method and by analysing comments from patients. Consultations were videotaped; 18 physicians and 18 patients participated. Approximately 1 week after the consultation, the patient was shown the video recording and asked for his/her points of view and spontaneous reactions. Each time, the patient wished to say something, the video was stopped and the comments recorded. According to the patients' comments of the videotaped consultations four consultations were mainly positive, seven negative and seven neither completely positive nor completely negative. We analysed the positive and negative consultations using the Consultation Map (CM) method. The pattern in the positive consultations shows a greater flexibility. Statements regarding initial history and aetiology often move to and fro between other items, and the consultation as a whole was often characterised by this rapid change between items. The pattern in the negative consultations seems to indicate a slower motion; with longer time spent with few items and fewer items covered. The positive consultations were characterised by a greater prevalence of the items 'Sharing Understanding' and 'Involving the Patient in Management'. On the other hand, the negative consultations were characterised by more time spent with the items 'History of problems', and 'Patient Ideas'. This might be due to the patient having tried to express him/herself in order to present his/her views but the physician not following them up. In this study, the CM has been helpful in clarifying the difference between encounters experienced as satisfactory or dissatisfactory.