One hundred thirty-seven patients who sustained intraperitoneal colon wounds were admitted to the University of Louisville Hospital during the three-year period ending December 31, 1979. One hundred twenty penetrating wounds and 17 blunt injuries were treated. An intraoperative classification system was employed, in which Grade 1 injuries were characterized by minimal contamination, the absence of associated organ injuries, minimal shock, and no significant delay between injury and definitive operation. All of these were managed by single-layer closure. More severe wounds were treated by colostomy or exteriorization. The overwhelming majority of the patients (116) sustained Grade 2 injuries. Twenty-two patients (16%) died. Nine deaths (6% of the patients) were directly attributable to the colon wounds. Twenty-five Grade 1 injuries were treated by primary suture closure with a single complication (3% of the patients). Nine wounds were exteriorized for later reinsertion into the peritoneal cavity, but only two patients were spared colostomy by this method. Right colon injuries were, clearly, more severe than left or sigmoid colon wounds. Intraoperative classification allowed selection of a group of patients in whom suture repair was safe. Colostomy was associated with the lowest complication rate for Grade 2 and 3 wounds.