The objective of the present work is to investigate the role of different grain sizes produced by equal channel angular pressing (ECAP) on the degradation behavior of magnesium alloy using in vitro and in vivo studies. Commercially available AZ31 magnesium alloy was selected and processed by ECAP at 300 °C for up to four passes using route Bc. Grain refinement from a starting size of 46 μm to a grain size distribution of 1-5 μm was successfully achieved after the 4th pass. Wettability of ECAPed samples assessed by contact angle measurements was found to increase due to the fine grain structure. In vitro degradation and bioactivity of the samples studied by immersing in super saturated simulated body fluid (SBF 5 ×) showed rapid mineralization within 24 h due to the increased wettability in fine grained AZ31 Mg alloy. Corrosion behavior of the samples assessed by weight loss and electrochemical tests conducted in SBF 5 × clearly showed the prominent role of enhanced mineral deposition on ECAPed AZ31 Mg in controlling the abnormal degradation. Cytotoxicity studies by MTT colorimetric assay showed that all the samples are viable. Additionally, cell adhesion was excellent for ECAPed samples particularly for the 3rd and 4th pass samples. In vivo experiments conducted using New Zealand White rabbits clearly showed lower degradation rate for ECAPed sample compared with annealed AZ31 Mg alloy and all the samples showed biocompatibility and no health abnormalities were noticed in the animals after 60 days of in vivo studies. These results suggest that the grain size plays an important role in degradation management of magnesium alloys and ECAP technique can be adopted to achieve fine grain structures for developing degradable magnesium alloys for biomedical applications. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.