Symptomatic metastatic bone disease affects a large proportion of patients with malignant tumours and significantly impairs patients’ quality of life. There are still controversies regarding both surgical indications and methods, mainly because of the relatively few high-quality studies in this field. Generally, prosthetic reconstruction has been shown to result in fewer implant failures and should be preferred in patients with a good prognosis. Survival estimation tools should be used as part of preoperative planning. Adjuvant treatment, which relies on radiotherapy and inhibition of osteoclast function may also offer symptomatic relief and prevent implant failure. In this review we discuss the epidemiology, indications for surgery, preoperative planning, surgical techniques and adjuvant treatment of metastatic bone disease.