Perineural treatment of peripheral nerves with capsaicin produces a long-lasting selective regional thermo- and chemo-analgesia and elimination of the neurogenic inflammatory response involving degeneration of nociceptive afferent fibers. In this study, we examined longitudinal changes in mustard oil-induced sensory neurogenic vasodilatation and plasma extravasation following perineural capsaicin treatment of the rat saphenous nerve utilizing scanning laser Doppler imaging and vascular labeling with colloidal silver. Capsaicin treatment resulted in a marked decrease in mustard oil-induced vasodilatation in the skin area served by the saphenous nerve. Repeated imaging of the vasodilatatory response showed no recovery for at least 7 weeks. However, following transection and ligation of the capsaicin-treated saphenous nerve, a substantial recovery of the vasodilatatory response was observed, suggesting a reinnervation of the chemodenervated skin area by collateral sprouting of neighboring intact sciatic nerve afferents. Elimination of the recovered vascular reaction by capsaicin treatment of the sciatic nerve supported this conclusion. Similar results have been obtained by using the vascular labeling technique. These findings indicate an inhibitory effect of persisting cutaneous nerve fibers on the collateral sprouting of intact nerve fibers into the chemodenervated skin area. These observations may bear implications for the development of sensory disturbances following peripheral nerve injuries.