Endothelial cell seeding procedures have been developed to line prosthetic bypass grafts used in peripheral vascular disease; however, because of current inefficient cell harvest techniques a high ratio of vein-to-graft area is necessary. This study was done to determine if the use of papaverine, a smooth muscle cell relaxant, would affect the number or viability of endothelial cells harvested from canine external jugular veins. Using a 0.12 mg/ml solution of papaverine in tissue culture medium to bathe the veins during disscetion and excision, the viable cell yield was 2.20 ± 1.16 (cells × 10<sup>4</sup>/cm<sup>2</sup>). A control group of veins using standard dissection technique gave a yield of 0.97 ± 0.40 (p = 0.025). A second group of veins dissected while bathed in tissue culture medium alone gave a yield of 1.82 ± 0.75, compared to a yield of 2.73 ± 0.45 for papaverine harvested veins (p = 0.009). Percent cell viability was not significantly different for any of the groups: 73, 70, and 76% for papaverine, control and media only veins, respectively. The papaverine-harvested cells and those harvested with medium alone grew to 95% confluence in tissue culture in 9.8 ± 1.1 and 9.9 ± 0.9 days, respectively. Compared to conventional surgical techniques, use of papaverine more than doubled the endothelial cell yield from excised vein segments without adversely affecting viability or rate of growth in cell culture.