Major lower extremity amputations continue to be performed despite an aggressive policy of revascularization. Factors leading to amputation were analyzed to determine whether a reduction in the limb loss rate is possible. A retrospective analysis of a prospectively maintained vascular registry was performed to identify patients undergoing above-knee amputation (AKA), below-knee amputation (BKA), and lower extremity revascularization (LER) for limb salvage between January 1, 1999 and January 1, 2002. Patient demographics, comorbidities, insurance carriers, and indications for operative intervention were analyzed. Greater than one-half of all major lower extremity amputations are performed in patients who have failed attempts at revascularization or who are not candidates for LER due to anatomic factors. However, one-quarter of eventual amputees present very late to the vascular surgeon with extensive gangrene or infection that precludes limb salvage. Prompt patient referral and treatment may improve outcome in this group of patients. In our study, insurance issues did not appear to affect treatment. Renal failure continues to play a major role in limb loss.