INTRODUCTION Total proctocolectomy, ensuring eradication of all diseased colorectal mucosa is the treatment of choice for ulcerative colitis, familial adenomatous polyposis. Before the era of ileal pouch anal anastomosis, definitive ileostomy was required. The aim of this study is to define both early and late morbidity and the functional result of continent ileostomy. METHODS All patients' chart who had a continent ileostomy in our department were reviewed. The functional result was evaluated in 43 patients. RESULTS Forty-nine patients (34 women) with a mean age of 42 years (range: 17-69) underwent a continent ileostomy, 32 following a restorative proctocolectomy. The mean follow-up was 20.5 (range: 3-34) years. Seventeen patients (35%) experienced an early postoperative complication requiring reintervention in two patients. There was no mortality, and conversion to an end ileostomy was not required. Twenty-two patients developed late complications requiring 50 reoperations. The mean number of catheterisations per 24h was 4.4. The SF36 questionnaire showed values close to those of the general population. CONCLUSION Continent ileostomy carries a significant risk of non-severe complications. In selected patients, it represents a valuable alternative to an end ileostomy, in particular when restorative proctocolectomy has failed.