Abstract The present investigation was designed to clarify what induces circulatory enhancement in the delay procedure. Two different sizes of a bipedicle flap were prepared in rats and the blood flow was measured at the centre of the flaps. The delay effect, that is, elongation of the survival length, was significantly less in the wide flap than in the narrow flap, though the two flap groups had almost identical levels of central ischaemia when averaged for each group. On the basis of ischaemic level, the flaps, regardless of size, were classified into two groups: more and less ischaemic than the mean. The delay effects noted in the more ischaemic flaps were not significantly different from those in the less ischaemic flaps. These results indicate that flap width has more influence on the delay effect than the degree of ischaemia.