Late loss of free muscle flaps following surgical or accidental trauma to the dominant vascular pedicle has been reported. In this study, time-dependent ligation of the dominant vascular pedicle was undertaken in denervated latissimus dorsi musculocutaneous or muscle-only island flaps in the pig. Muscle flaps were covered with a skin graft, and silicon rubber sheets were inserted between the flaps and their bases to simulate a poorly vascularized bed. Hemodynamic and viability studies were then performed using intravenous fluorescein (skin viability), tetrazolium blue (muscle viability), and radiolabeled 15-micron microspheres (capillary blood flow). Blood flow did not change in acutely raised musculocutaneous flaps (n = 10) but was significantly elevated in acutely raised muscle-only flaps (n = 10), suggesting that the skin paddle may steal blood flow from the underlying muscle in musculocutaneous flaps. Peripheral neovascularization at 1 day to 8 weeks was assessed (n = 30). Viability increased during the first week of revascularization and was not different in musculocutaneous and muscle-only flaps. Revascularization of muscle-only flaps was enhanced compared with musculocutaneous flaps in the 2- to 8-week period.