Over a 12-year period, 160 transmetatarsal amputations were performed in patients with peripheral vascular occlusive disease. The following groups were defined: group 1 - nonreconstructable disease (n = 40); group 2 - transmetatarsal amputation in conjunction with distal revascularization (n = 99); group 3 - reconstructable disease but transmetatarsal amputation performed without simultaneous revascularization (n = 21). There were nine early deaths in the entire series, for an operative mortality rate of 5.6%. The lowest rate of transmetatarsal amputation healing (24%) occurred in group 1. An 86% healing rate was achieved in group 3, but in seven cases (33%) some type of revascularization was required within 3 months of the amputation. In group 2 the healing rate was 62% but reached 83% where the bypass remained patent for at least 3 months after the amputation. Long-term patency rates also affected healing. Healing was not influenced by the number of local procedures (single vs multiple). The presence of severe infection or extensive necrosis necessitated open transmetatarsal amputation in 89 cases; the remaining 71 amputations involved primary closure. Since many patients were treated at a time when diagnostic modalities as well as the operative indications and techniques differed somewhat from the current practice, much of the information regarding group I patients in particular should be considered as a negative historical control and any conclusion from our data should be adjusted accordingly. Healing after amputation at the transmetatarsal level can be expected in the majority of instances in which revascularization can be performed with predictable patency, even when the standard criteria for performing such amputations are liberalized. The majority of patients in this series (93%) were able to resume an independent gait, a functional result far superior to that following below-knee amputation.