We aimed to evaluate the role of a synthetic somatostatin analogue in delay procedure of experimental skin flaps. Thirty-six rats were randomly divided into 2 groups of 18 each to compare the possible local ischemic effect of octreotide with that of surgical delay in the dorsal random pattern skin flap model. The inducible nitric oxide synthase gene expression was assessed in the flap territory at intervals of immediate, 24 and 48 hours after preconditioning. Histologic analysis was performed in rats at 48th hour and 3 additional rats were used for microangiography. A gradual increase of daily transcript levels was detected in both groups (P < 0.05). The differences of molecular and histologic findings between the groups were not distinctive. Pharmacologically preconditioned rat displayed relevant microvascular features. Forty rats were further grouped randomly into 4 groups of 10 each. In group 1 rats, flaps were raised and reinserted without any prior intervention. Group 2 rats underwent surgical delay procedure, whereas flap territories of the others received either saline solution or octreotide 1 week before the ultimate flap harvest. After another 7-day period, both delay procedures were found effective in improving flap viability (P < 0.01). Ischemia induced by octreotide favored to investigate its utility in delay phenomenon. Although it was not as effective as the surgical delay procedure, it may be a safe pharmacologic alternative to improve the flap survival.