During the 82 years since ulcerative colitis was originally described, little has been learned regarding its etiology. Medical treatment, combined on occasion with psychotherapy,1 has been effective in controlling the disease in 50% to 80% of patients. In the others, some form of operative surgery has been necessary to eradicate the disease. During the past seven years we have had occasion to treat, surgically, 33 such patients. Our experience with this group, including the indications for operation and the results, form the basis for this article.
Ulcerative colitis may occur at any age, having been reported in the newborn2 and the aged. In this series, the youngest patient operated on was 12 years of age and the oldest was 65. Sixty-one per cent of the patients were less than 40 years old at the time of operation. There were 14 men and 19 women in the group.