We evaluated the growth records of 15 boys and 14 girls who developed end-stage renal failure before or during puberty and who were regularly followed from the onset to the end of their pubertal growth spurt. Height data were smoothed by using the kernel estimation method. Mean values for age, height, and height velocity at defined points of the pubertal growth period were compared with those of normal children entering puberty both at an average and late age. The start of the pubertal growth spurt was delayed by 2.5 y in both sexes. Its duration and intensity were significantly reduced. Mean pubertal height gain was 17.3 cm in boys and 13.9 cm in girls, i.e. 58 and 48% of that observed in the late maturing control group. Mean height at the onset of the pubertal spurt in the patients was the same as that in the late maturing healthy girls and 1.0 SD below that of corresponding boys. During the pubertal growth spurt, mean height declined to -2.9 SD in boys and -2.3 SD in girls. Although skeletal maturation was increasingly retarded, we did not observe accelerated growth velocity during late puberty. Our data indicate that most patients reaching end-stage renal failure before or during puberty irreversibly lose growth potential during this period. Renal transplantation did not consistently improve pubertal growth.