The Lower Extremity Assessment Project (LEAP) is a multicenter study of severe lower extremity trauma in the US civilian population. At 2- and 7-year follow-ups, the LEAP study found no difference in functional outcome between patients who underwent either limb salvage surgery or amputation. However, outcomes on average were poor for both groups. This study and others provide evidence of wide-ranging variations in outcome following major limb trauma, with a substantial proportion of patients experiencing long-term disability. In addition, outcomes often are more affected by the patient's economic, social, and personal resources than by the initial treatment of the injury--specifically, amputation or reconstruction and level of amputation. A conceptual framework for examining outcomes after injury may be used to identify opportunities for interventions that would improve outcomes. Because of essential differences between the civilian and military populations, the findings of the LEAP study may correlate only roughly with combat casualty outcomes.