Balloon-expandable intraluminal grafts that ranged in diameter from 2 to 4 mm were placed in the atherosclerotic abdominal aortas of 24 rabbits. The animals were killed 1, 3, 8, or 24 weeks after placement of the graft. All grafts retained patency without altering the luminal diameter. The small degree of neointimal thickening covering the graft's inner surface was not detectable on conventional in vivo arteriograms. Aortic atherosclerotic plaque external to the graft was markedly compressed 1 week after graft placement. The plaque regained full thickness 24 weeks after grafting when the plaque expanded outside the graft as a result of relaxation or atrophy of the surrounding arterial media.