BACKGROUND Isolated ileocecal involvement by tuberculosis in the absence of pulmonar disease is rare in Brasil, therefore causes a diagnostic dilemma as it mimics colonic malignancy and Crohn's disease. METHODS Between 1969 and 1989, eight patients with isolated hypertrophic ileocecal tuberculosis were treated by surgery in the Gastroenterology Surgery Department of the HSPE-FMO. The most common complaint among them was abdominal pain (100%) with associated symptoms of weight loss (62.5%); nausea, vomiting, fever and general weekness appeared in half of the patients. A right iliac fossa mass was present in seven (87.5% ) of them. The mean duration of symptoms was 14.7 month (range 5-36 months). In all eight patients chest x-rays were negative for tuberculosis. Barium contrast studies showed abnormalities in all cases, but these could not be distinguished from carcinoma. Colonoscopy was helpful in establishing the diagnosis of suboclusive lesions of the ileocecal regions in three patients. Tuberculosis diagnosis was suspected in two of them because ofr the presence of granulomas in colonic biopsy material. RESULTS Six patients were submitted to elective right hemicolectomy. The two remaining with suspect of tuberculosis were operated with signals of intestinal occlusion, and underwent a limited ileocaecal resection. The positive diagnosis of intestinal tuberculosis was made in all the patients by identification of acid-fast bacilli and by the presence of caseating granulomas in intestinal or lymph node tissue on histological examination. The outcome in all of them was favorable. They received treatment with three antituberculosis drugs over a twelve month period. CONCLUSION Hypertrophic ileocecal tuberculosis must still be considered in the differential diagnosis of abdominal pathology localized in the right lower quadrant.