Pedicles created from a long vein graft increase the scope and applications of prefabricated skin flaps. This study reports the survival and pattern of neovascularization of lower abdominal skin flaps in rabbits based on a pedicle formed by interposition of a long vein graft between the divided ipsilateral femoral artery and vein. Flaps were elevated 2–5 weeks after pedicle implantation and the surviving area quantitated and vascular patterns examined 1 week later. Only 8 out of 35 flaps were greater than 50% alive, the most frequent cause of flap failure being pedicle non‐patency. If the pedicle remained patent, complete flap survival was possible as early as 2 weeks after implantation. In non‐patent pedicles, recanalization or formation of a new vascular network may, given at least 4 weeks, be sufficient to ensure partial flap survival. The findings indicate that implantation of a long, skeletonized vein graft is an unreliable method of prefabrication of abdominal skin flaps in this model. © 1994 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.