In 33 long-term survivors of lower extremity bone cancer quality-of-life data were studied following limb salvage compared to amputation. Self-report questionnaires, semistructured interviews and visual analog scales were used to measure psychoneurotic and somatical distress, activities of daily living, self-esteem, and adjustment to illness. Fourteen patients with limb salvage (age 13–56 years, median 24) and 19 patients with an amputation (age 21–53 years, median 27) were evaluated 2–17 years (median 10 years) after surgery. The differences between the two groups were not statistically significant. However, physical complaints were reported more often by limb salvage patients, whereas the amputees showed a trend toward lower self-esteem and isolation in social life, due to their disability. Both groups felt equal diminution of quality of life and disability as measured on the visual analog scale. These findings could support the cosmetic advantage of limb salvage compared to amputation. © 1992 Wiley-Liss, Inc.