Numerous studies of grafted skin suggest that full-thickness skin grafts are nourished by exudate from the recipient bed called a serum imbibition. However, whether serum imbibition by itself is sufficient for nourishment of skin grafts has not been shown definitely and directly. To clarify the role of serum imbibition, we performed a comparative study between 20 skin grafts and 20 musculocutaneous flaps. The nourishment of the cell in the skin graft is by serum imbibition. That in musculocutaneous flaps is mainly derived from blood supply. We evaluated the nourishment by means of the unique characteristics of the cell cycle. Once cells are put into a synthetic phase, they cannot reverse or stop the progress of the cell cycle. To take advantage of this characteristic of the cell cycle, prewounding methods (40 flaps were lifted once and put back to the original sites prior to the evaluation) were intended for the cells in pre-elevated skin to turn into a proliferating phase. Cells were examined by antibody against proliferating cell nuclear antigen immunohistologically, to determine whether they had turned into the proliferating phase or not. After 3 days, all flaps were reelevated; half (20 flaps) had their muscle layer and the neurovascular bundle removed to make a full-thickness skin graft. The rest (20 flaps) were only lifted. They were sutured back to the original sites. Ten skin grafts and musculocutaneous flaps each were harvested at 3 hours (1st day) and at 11 days (11th day) after the second operation. Bromodeoxyuridine, which is a thymidine analog and is taken into the cells in the synthetic phase, was introduced intraperitoneally 2 hours before the harvest. All flaps and grafts were evaluated histologically and immunohistologically. Proliferating cell nuclear antigen analysis showed that the prewounding method induced the cells of skin grafts and musculocutaneous flaps to proliferate before the implantation. Regarding the bromodeoxyuridine uptake, no significant differences could be seen between skin grafts and musculocutaneous flaps irrespective of their different nourishment. No structural changes, such as degenerative or necrotic, could be seen at the hair follicle and other glands even at the 11th day. Almost all of the layers of skin grafts survived as long as they were checked by light microscopy (hematoxylin and eosin stain). No differences could be seen between musculocutaneous flaps and skin grafts or between the 1st and 11th days in this study. We concluded that serum imbibition is sufficient for nourishment of skin grafts, just as blood supply is sufficient for nourishment of musculocutaneous flaps.