PURPOSE: This study was performed to assess the complications and functional outcomes after a total proctocolectomy and ileal J-pouch anal anastomosis for patients with ulcerative colitis. METHODS: We reviewed the medical records of 30 patients who had undergone a total proctocolectomy and ileal J-pouch anal anastomosis for ulcerative colitis from 1992 to 1999 in our hospital. We used questionnaires or telephone interviews to assess the functional outcomes of the patients. The median duration of follow-up was 23 months after the ileostomy take down. RESULTS: The mean age of the patients at the definitive operation was 35.9 (+/-11.8). The indications for operation were medical intractability (76.7%), suspicious malignancy (13.3%), perforation (6.7%), and hemorrhage (3.3%). The double stapling method was used in 26 patients and the handsewn method in 4 patients. Of the 30 patients, 23 patients completed the functional analysis. Bowel frequency was 6.6 (+/- 2.6) per 24 hours, with 5.1 (+/- 2.1) in the daytime and 1.4 (+/-1.3) in the night. Fourteen patients (60.9%) had relatively mild incontinence, and four patients (17.4%) had to wear pads, especially at night. Eighteen patients (78.3%) were able to discriminate flatus from feces, and only one patient (4.3%) suffered from perianal irritation. Twelve patients (52.2%) had to restrict their diets, and five patients (21.7%) took antidiarrheal medications. Pouchitis occurred in three patients (13.0%). Sexual dysfunction was noted in four patients (17.4%), and urinary urgency in one patient (4.3%). There was no functional difference between the double stapling method and the handsewn method. CONCLUSIONS: The functional outcomes after ileal J-pouch anal anastomosis for patients with ulcerative colitis were satisfactory, irrespective of the method of anastomosis.