We obtained follow-up information on 13 patients who underwent subtotal colectomy for severe idiopathic constipation 19-45 months previously. Stool frequency increased from one bowel movement per 11.5 days before colectomy to 5.3 bowel movements per day after colectomy. Nine patients have required readmissions for abdominal pain and four have required further surgery for symptoms of small bowel obstruction. Ten patients consider that their quality of life is improved, although five have variable amounts of fecal incontinence. Preoperative studies did not predict the three patients who failed to improve. Subtotal colectomy palliates constipation in most patients with severe idiopathic constipation but patients should be cautioned that not all improve and some are left with significant abdominal pain, obstructive symptoms, diarrhea, and fecal incontinence.