Hyaluronic acid has been shown to enhance peripheral nerve regeneration in vitro. It has been proposed that, during the fibrin matrix phase of regeneration, hyaluronic acid organizes the extracellular matrix into a hydrated open lattice, thereby facilitating migration of the regenerating axons. Hyaluronic acid solutions and saline control solutions were injected into a nerve guide spanning a transected gap in the sciatic nerve of Sprague-Dawley rats (five in each group). Nerve conduction velocities were measured at 4 weeks by electromyography (EMG) before sacrifice of the animals. These studies demonstrated increased conduction velocities in the hyaluronic acid group compared with control animals (P = 0.006). After the animals were sacrificed, regenerated axon cables were quantified histologically, and axon branching was delineated by retrograde tracer analysis. In addition, the hyaluronic acid group showed an increase in myelinated axon counts at 4 weeks (P= 0.03). An increase in retrograde flow was demonstrated in the hyaluronic acid groups compared with animals receiving saline solution.