We examined the effect of distraction rate on blood vessel growth in intramembraneous ossification after vertical distraction osteogenesis in the human mandible. Six edentulous patients (aged 60±9 years) with a severely atrophic mandible underwent bone augmentation with distraction osteogenesis. Two distraction rates (0.5 and 1 mm/day) were compared and for each group three patients were analyzed. Vascular histomorphometry was carried out in two different areas in the distraction gap: (1) in the first and (2) in the second 1 mm area from the osteotomy line, representing the oldest and younger new-bone area, respectively. Correlation analysis was performed between blood vessel parameters and the amount of new bone formed during distraction. Histological analysis demonstrated the presence of blood vessels throughout the soft connective tissue in the distraction gap. The volume density of blood vessels between the two investigated areas was significantly lower in the 1 mm/day groups, suggesting a delay in angiogenesis in this group of patients. A positive correlation between blood vessel volume and bone volume density was found in the younger new-bone area but not in the oldest new-bone area. This correlation was due to a higher number of blood vessels rather than to a larger size of the blood vessels. Our data suggest that the lower blood vessel density found in the patients with 1 mm/day distraction rate may be related to disruption of angiogenesis in the soft connective tissue of the gap or to a less optimal mechanical stimulation of cells involved in angiogenesis. This probably results in the slower rate of osteogenesis seen at the 1 mm/day distraction rate compared with the 0.5 mm/day distraction rate. The data support the concept that a positive relationship exists between the density of blood vessels and the formation of bone. For distraction of the human mandible in elderly patients, a distraction rate of 0.5 mm/day seems beneficial.