Eighty-five patients with penetrating colon injuries, treated either by exteriorized repair (39) or loop colostomy (46), were analyzed. Missile wounds accounted for 75.3% of the injuries. The Penetrating Abdominal Trauma Index (PATI) was the scoring method employed to assess quantitatively the severity of injuries in each patient. Of 21 patients with right colon injuries, eight were treated by exteriorized repair and the remainder by loop colostomy. PATI and other variables were comparable in both groups. Suture line leaks occurred in two patients (25%) with exteriorized repair. The morbidity was similar in both groups. In left colon trauma, exteriorized repair was employed in 31 patients and 33 underwent loop colostomy. The injury severity indices, clinical status, and time lapse to laparotomy were similar in both groups. Colostomy was avoided in 67.7% (21 of 31) patients with exteriorized repair. The incidence of abscesses was significantly higher in the colostomy group compared to the group treated by exteriorized repair (24.2% and 6.4%, respectively; p less than 0.05). The length of hospital stay was shorter after exteriorized repair (17.2 days vs. 23.2 days; p less than 0.05). All three mortalities (3.5%) were related to associated injuries. We conclude that exteriorized repair is a safe and superior alternative to loop colostomy in penetrating colon trauma.