OBJECTIVE: A retrospective review was performed to determine the results after surgical reconstruction for chronic dysfunction of ileal pouch-anal procedures for ulcerative colitis and familial colonic polyposis at a university medical center. METHODS: During the 20-year period from 1978 to 1998, 601 patients underwent colectomy and ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA) for ulcerative colitis, familial colonic polyposis, or Hirschsprung's disease. A J pouch was used for 351 patients, a lateral pouch for 221, an S pouch for 6, and a straight pull-through for 23. Acute complications after pouch construction have been detailed in previous publications and are not included in this study. Chronic pouch stasis with diarrhea, frequency, urgency, and soiling gradually became more severe in 164 patients (27.3%), associated with pouch enlargement, an elongated efferent limb, and obstruction to pouch outflow, largely related to the pouch configuration used during the authors' early clinical experience. These patients were sufficiently symptomatic to be considered for reconstruction (mean 68 months after IPAA). Transanal resection of an elongated IPAA spout was performed on 58 patients; abdominoperineal mobilization of the pouch with resection and tapering of the lower end (AP reconstruction) and ileoanal anastomosis on 83; pouch removal and new pouch construction on 7; and conversion of a straight pull-through to a pouch on 16. RESULTS: Good long-term results (mean 7.7 years) with improvement in symptoms occurred in 98% of transanal resections, 91.5% of AP reconstructions, 86% of new pouch constructions, and 100% of conversions of a straight pull-through to a pouch. The average number of bowel movements per 24 hours at 6 months was 4.8. Complications occurred in 11.6% of reconstructed patients. Five of the 164 patients (3.1%) required eventual pouch removal and permanent ileostomy. The high rate of pouch revision in this series of patients undergoing IPAA is due to a policy of aggressive correction when patients do not experience an optimal functional result, or have a progressive worsening of their status. CONCLUSIONS: Although occasionally a major undertaking, reconstruction of ileoanal pouches with progressive dysfunction due to large size or a long efferent limb has resulted in marked improvement in intestinal function in >93% of patients and has reduced the need for late pouch removal.