The aim of surgical therapy in Crohn's disease is to improve quality of life. Surgery does not provide cure with radical resection of inflamed bowel. Therefore strictureplasty has become a useful bowel-preserving surgical technique in the treatment of small-bowel stenosis. To preserve functional bowel we extended the indication of this surgical technique to strictures in large bowel. The aim of this retrospective study was to define the efficacy of strictureplasty and resection in patients with obstructive Crohn's disease of the colon. The results were evaluated in terms of postoperative complications, surgical recurrence, and quality of life. The charts of 58 patients with Crohn's colitis were analyzed retrospectively. Patients were either treated by strictureplasty or resection. Quality of life was evaluated in follow-up examinations using the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire. The incidence of postoperative surgical recurrence was 36% in those treated by strictureplasty and 24% in those treated by resection (ns). Postoperative morbidity was 16.1% in the former and 22.3% in the latter. There was no significant difference between the groups in quality of life measures (177 versus 182 points). Strictureplasty in Crohn's colitis is a valuable surgical technique which results in low recurrence rates and in surgical outcome comparable to that in resection without sacrificing functional large bowel length. In our study quality of life after strictureplasty was comparable with quality of life after resection.