Background: Restenosis after balloon angioplasty of coronary arteries is thought to be a proliferative response of the arterial wall to injury. Recently, it has been suggested that geometric remodeling of the arterial wall, rather than intimai fibromuscular hyperplasia, may be the major pathophysiological mechanism underlying restenosis. In this study, we evaluated the relative contribution of a geometric decrease in arterial size versus neointimal growth to luminal narrowing associated with restenosis after balloon angioplasty of atherosclerotic femoral arteries in rabbits. Methods and Results: Focal femoral atherosclerosis was induced by endothelial desiccation injury followed by a 2% cholesterol diet. After 1 month on the high cholesterol diet, the animals were subjected to one of four strategies: (1) balloon angioplasty, (2) balloon angioplasty followed by treatment with the factor Xa inhibitor antistasin, (3) combined laser and balloon angioplasty, or (4) no angioplasty. Animals were killed 2 hours or 28 days after angioplasty, and excised femoral artery segments were prepared for histomorphometric analysis. Angiography was performed serially before and immediately after angioplasty and before the animals were killed. An initial postprocedural gain in luminal diameter at sites of angioplasty was followed by a significant reduction in diameter by angiography and a significant increase in luminal cross-sectional area narrowing by plaque by histomorphometry 28 days after angioplasty compared to adjacent nonangioplastied segments of the same arteries, to nonangioplastied control arteries, or to angioplastied segments of animals treated with the factor Xa inhibitor antistasin. By contrast, the overall arterial size (cross-sectional area bounded by the external elastic lamina) at sites of restenosis was not significantly different from adjacent nonangioplastied segments in the majority of arteries excised at 28 days, and the mean overall arterial size at sites of restenosis was not significantly different from corresponding segments of nonangioplastied control arteries or from angioplastied segments of animals treated with antistasin. In the minority of angioplastied arteries in which the arterial size did change, most got larger. Conclusions: Geometric remodeling resulting in a decrease in overall cross-sectional arterial size does not appear to be the principal pathogenetic mechanism for restenosis after balloon angioplasty with or without laser in this experimental model.