The number of cancer patients living with metastatic disease is growing. The increased survival has led to an increase in the number of cancer-induced complications, such as pathologic fractures due to bone metastases. Surgery is most commonly needed for mechanical complications, such as fractures and intractable pain. We determined survival, disease free interval and complications in surgically treated bone metastasis. Data were collected from the Scandinavian Skeletal Metastasis Registry for patients with extremity skeletal metastases surgically treated at eight major Scandinavian referral centres between 1999 and 2009 covering a total of 1195 skeletal metastases in 1107 patients. Primary breast, prostate, renal, lung, and myeloma tumors make up 78% of the tumors. Number of complications is tolerable and is affected by methods of surgery as well as preoperative radiation therapy. Overall 1-year patient survival was 36%; however, mean survival was influenced by the primary tumor type and the presence of additional visceral metastases. Patients with impending fracture had more systemic complications than those with complete fracture. Although surgery is usually only a palliative treatment, patients can survive for years after surgery. We developed a simple, useful and reliable scoring system to predict survival among these patients. This scoring system gives good aid in predicting the prognosis when selecting the surgical method. While it is important to avoid unnecessary operations, operating when necessary can provide benefit.