To evaluate the optimum conditions for osteogenesis during limb lengthening and to study the changes in soft tissues undergoing elongation, a series of experiments were performed on the canine tibia. The experiments used the transfixion-wire, Ilizarov circular external skeletal fixator in configurations of differing stability of fixation in combination with a second variable, i.e., preservation of the periosteum, bone marrow, and medullary blood supply. Both increased fixator stability, and maximum preservation of the periosseous and intraosseous soft tissues enhanced bone formation during limb lengthening. To assess the role that the direction of the elongation vector plays in osteogenesis, canine tibiae were widened rather than lengthened in a second series of experiments using an Ilizarov apparatus modified for lateral distraction. The new bone formed parallel to the tension vector even when perpendicular to the bone's mechanical axis. As in longitudinal lengthening, damage to the bone marrow inhibits osteogenesis occurring by the influence of a lateral tension-stress vector. In a third series of experiments, half- and full-circumference cortical defects were created in canine tibiae to study the osteogenic potential of the marrow. New bone formed rapidly, even when the marrow was separated from the surrounding periosseous soft tissues by a sheet of polyvinyl chloride, attesting to the importance of marrow element preservation during osteotomy for limb lengthening.