The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of topically applied minoxidil in the pharmacological delay phenomenon and to demonstrate the comparable microscopic and macroscopic changes between minoxidil-pretreated flaps and surgically delayed flaps. A modified version of the McFarlane flap was used. Group 1 rats, in which a caudally based dorsal skin flap was raised and sutured back, were the control group. In group II, minoxidil solution was spread over the marked skin flap area for 7 days. On the 7th day, a caudally based dorsal skin flap was elevated and then sutured back. Group III rats underwent a surgical delay procedure alone. On the 7th day after flap elevation, evaluation was done by histologic examination and calculation of the flap survival areas in all groups. The lowest flap survival rate appeared in group I and was statistically different from groups II and III. The mean surviving skin flap area in the minoxidil-pretreated group was significantly larger than that in the control group. After histologic evaluation, moderate angiogenesis was also detected in group II. We also found that surgical delay significantly reduced flap necrosis when compared to the minoxidil pretreatment group. According to our study, minoxidil may be considered an effective vasoactive agent for the stimulation of angiogenesis in rat cutaneous flaps and capable of achieving pharmacological delay and increasing flap survival.