A clinical trial was undertaken to study the healing capacity of the periodontal tissues following different modes of periodontal surgery in patients whose oral hygiene was professionally maintained at an optimal level. Fifty patients, distributed into five groups, participated in the study. Following an initial examination and presurgical treatment, the various patient groups were subjected to one of the following surgical procedures: 1) the apically repositioned flap operation including elimination of bony defects, 2) the apically repositioned flap operation including curettage of the bony defects but without removal of bone, 3) the "Widman flap" technique including elimination of bony defects, 4) the "Widman flap" technique including curettage of the bony defects but without removal of bone, 5) gingivectomy including curettage of the bony defects but without removal of bone. After surgery, all patients received oral hygiene instruction and professional cleaning of the teeth once every 2 weeks during a 2-year period. The results showed that periodontal disease can be cured and further destruction of the periodontal tissues avoided irrespective of the surgical technique utilized for pocket elimination. Different surgical techniques, however, promoted varying degrees of regeneration of the supporting tissues. The most favourable healing was obtained when resection of bone was avoided and when complete coverage of the alveolar bone was ensured.