Buerger's disease (thromboangiitis obliterans) is a rare peripheral vascular disease that usually affects young male smokers. It is characterized by multiple occlusions distal to the knee and elbow. Although rarely encountered in this condition, major arterial occlusions can be corrected by arterial revascularization. The hospital records of 216 patients (214 men and 2 women) with Buerger's disease were reviewed retrospectively, 142 (66%) between 1 and 120 (mean(s.d.) 72.8(24)) months after diagnosis. Of these patients 21 had had an arterial revascularization; 183 lumbar and 20 thoracic sympathectomies had been performed. In 30 of the patients a total of 29 minor and four major amputations had been performed. In appropriate cases arterial reconstruction provides better healing of ischaemic lesions. Although vasomotor tone is usually normalized in 2 weeks to 6 months after sympathectomy, the temporary increase in blood flow is often sufficient to heal ischaemic lesions during this period.