Changes in motor function occur in the intestinal remnant after intestinal resection. Smooth muscle adaptation also occurs, particularly after extensive resection. The time course of these changes and their interrelationship are unclear. Our aim was to evaluate changes in canine smooth muscle structure and function during intestinal adaptation after transection and resection. Twenty-five dogs underwent either transection (N = 10), 50% distal resection (N = 10), or 50% proximal resection (N = 5). Thickness and length of the circular (CM) and longitudinal (LM) muscle layers were measured four and 12 weeks after resection. In vitro length-tension properties and response to a cholinergic agonist were studied in mid-jejunum and mid-ileum. Transection alone caused increased CM length in the jejunum proximal to the transection but did not affect LM length or muscle thickness. A 50% resection resulted in increased length of CM throughout the intestine and thickening of CM and LM near the anastomosis. Active tension of jejunal CM increased transiently four weeks after resection. Active tension in jejunal LM was decreased 12 weeks after transection and resection. Sensitivity of CM to carbachol was similar after transection and resection. It is concluded that: (1) Structural adaptation of both circular and longitudinal muscle occurs after intestinal resection. (2) This process is influenced by the site of the intestinal remnant. (3) Only minor and transient changes occur in smooth muscle function after resection. (4) Factors other than muscle adaptation are likely involved in the changes in motor function seen following massive bowel resection.