The distal femoral epiphyseal plates of 21 8‐week‐old New Zealand white rabbits were totally or partially (nutrient artery only) devascularized, or devascularized and then microsurgically revascularized. Sacrifice was at 24, 48 or 72 hours postoperatively. The heights of the proliferative and hypertrophic zones of the epiphyseal plates operated upon were compared with the contralateral control epiphyseal plates for both the central and the peripheral regions of the epiphyseal plate. Neither extent of devascularization nor revascularization had a significant effect on the height of the proliferative zone of chondrocytes at any of the follow‐up intervals. Selective devascularization of the nutrient artery led to a significant increase in height of the central region of the hypertrophic zone of chondrocytes at 48 and 72 hours. Microsurgical revascularization did not lead to a significant change in the height of either the central or the peripheral regions of the hypertrophic zone of chondrocytes at any of the follow‐up intervals. This study is another ‘building block’ experiment toward vascularized epiphyseal plate transplantation in humans. © 1994 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.