Quality of life is an important outcome measure following surgery for ulcerative colitis. Quality of life incorporates not only the physical or functional outcome; it also considers the emotional and social well-being of patients. Quality of life may be measured using disease-specific or generic quality of life measures or by utility measurement. Although the pelvic pouch procedure is preferred by most patients, there are data to suggest that the quality of life is excellent irrespective of the procedure, possibly because physical well-being is improved and is the main determinant of outcome. Those who have a pelvic pouch may be less restricted in some activities. Compared to medically treated patients, quality of life is usually superior in surgical patients, although it varies depending on the activity of the disease and the surgical outcome. Despite more publications on this topic in recent years, there is a need for further studies comparing quality of life in patients receiving medical and surgical treatment as well as assessing outcome following the various surgical procedures.