The clinical course of 44 patients undergoing elective proximal fecal diversion for Crohn's disease of the colon is reported. Sustained disease remission was obtained in 31 patients (70 percent). Diversion was associated with a significant reduction in steroid requirements (P < 0.01) and a significant improvement in hemoglobin (P<0.001), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (P < 0.001), and albumin (P<0.05). Sixteen patients (36.4 percent) have required a proctocolectomy, 19 patients (43.2 percent) remain defunctioned, and four patients (9 percent) have died. Five patients have had intestinal continuity restored, which has remained intact in four patients for a mean follow-up of 99 (range 21-153) months. Fecal diversion for Crohn's disease of the colon produces a high incidence of sustained disease remission, but for the majority of patients the prospect of future restoration of intestinal continuity is limited.