We compared the ability of temporary and permanent tubing to achieve morphological and functional recovery of nerve-muscle units, following experimental nerve transection (8-mm gap) in rat tibial nerve. Electrical stimulation of the sciatic nerve was used to analyze tension output, evoked electromyogram and conduction-transmission time (CTT) of denervated nerve-muscle units. Morphological analysis of the nerve and muscle was also performed. Within 6 weeks, the nerve gap had been bridged by a thin nerve trunk, and a few myelinated fibers were observed, although there was still no functional recovery. The rats were divided into two groups: permanent tubing (PT) and temporary tubing (TT; tubing subsequently removed). At 10 weeks after the operation, the TT group showed apparently greater thickness of regenerated nerve trunks, significantly higher tension output of plantar flexors, shorter CTT, and heavier muscle mass. These results were consistent with the presence of myelinated fibers in the regenerated nerve trunks, as shown histologically. Thus, removal of the silicone chamber results in faster and better recovery than tubing left permanently in place.