We have developed a surgical model to perform partial nephrectomy in mice using the milliwatt CO2 laser and have used this model for studying the influence of the sequel of surgery on experimental tumor metastasis. Strain A mice were subjected to partial nephrectomy using the milliwatt CO2 laser. The surgical procedure was time efficient, the blood loss was minimal, and the postoperative mortality was 6%. Immediately after surgery, the wound consisted of a superficial layer of charring and a deeper layer of thermal damage (coagulative necrosis). The wound healing was completed within 30 days and was accompanied by fibroblast infiltration and tubular regeneration but minimal inflammatory response. Seventy surgical mice were injected I.V. with TA3Ha murine mammary adenocarcinoma cells at different intervals (immediately to 30 days) after surgery. Among 38 mice inoculated with tumor cells immediately or up to 3 days after surgery, 18 (47%) showed histologically confirmed tumors at the site of surgical trauma. None of the 38 unoperated kidneys showed any evidence of tumor. This difference is statistically significant at a P value of less than 0.001. As the interval between surgery and tumor inoculation was increased to 7, 15, and 30 days, the frequency of tumor formation at the site of surgery decreased to 20% (2/10), 14% (2/14), and 0% (0/8), respectively. The results demonstrate that a) partial nephrectomy in mice is feasible with minimal mortality or apparent morbidity, b) the laser-induced surgical trauma favors implantation and growth of tumors, c) the frequency of tumor formation is related to the stage of wound healing, and d) the tumors are anatomically related to the healing wound but do not invade into the parenchymal tissue.