During a 21-year period, 39 colon interposition operations were performed on 37 children at the UCLA Medical Center and the Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles. The average age at the time of operation was 5.8 years. The indications for operation were esophageal atresia in 23 patients and other benign strictures in 14 patients. The duration of patient follow-up ranged from 6 months to 21 years (mean: 9.7 years). The most common complications were esophagocolonic anastomotic leak (12), esophagocolonic anastomotic stricture (14), pneumonia, and pneumothorax. Fourteen of the 25 patients with retrosternal colon interposition had complications (56%), whereas 10 of 14 patients with left thoracic colon interposition had complications (71%). One patient died (mortality: 3%) after left thoracic interposition because of severe respiratory distress associated with other malformations. Each of the 18 patients with isoperistaltic colon interposition showed rapid transit and emptying, provided that obstruction or extensive dilatation did not occur; reverse colon segments were more dilated and emptied more slowly. The 25 patients with retrosternal colon segments had less colonic distension with better emptying than did the 14 patients with left thoracic interposition. Thirty-two of the 36 children increased their weight percentile after colon interposition. Within 2 years after cervical anastomotic stricture or leak, 78% of these children were asymptomatic and gaining weight. Thirty-one of the 37 patients (84%) had excellent results with colon interposition, with a mean follow-up of 9.7 years. Most of the major postoperative complications occurred within the first few weeks and were corrected during the first few months after operation. Preservation of the esophagus should be the surgeon's first priority; however, prolonged attempts to elongate the esophagus for anastomosis in certain patients with long-gap esophageal atresia have been more hazardous in our experience than has colon interposition.