Background. Small intestinal submucosa (SIS) is an extracellular matrix used in tissue engineering studies to create de novo abdominal wall, urinary bladder, tendons, blood vessels, and dura mater. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the feasibility of using SIS as a scaffold for small bowel regeneration in an in situ xenograft model. Materials and methods. Twenty-three dogs had a partial defect created on the small bowel wall which was repaired with a SIS patch. Four dogs underwent small bowel resection with placement of an interposed tube of SIS. The animals were followed 2 weeks to 1 year. Results. Three of the 23 dogs with SIS placed as a patch died shortly after surgery due to leakage from the site. The other 20 dogs survived up to time of elective necropsy with no evidence of intestinal dysfunction. At necropsy, the bowel circumference in the patched area had no stenosis. Histological evaluation showed the presence of a mucosal epithelial layer, varying amount of smooth muscle, sheets of collagen, and a serosal covering. Architecturally, the layers were not well organized in the submucosal region. An abundance of inflammatory cells was present in the early postoperative period but receded with time. All 4 dogs with a tubular segment of SIS interposed had significant problems. One had partial obstruction at 1 month, and 3 died in the early postoperative period due to leakage. Conclusions. This preliminary study suggests that SIS patches can be used for small bowel regeneration. Tubular segmental replacement is not feasible at this time. © 2001 Academic Press.