The position of surgery in the treatment of ulcerative colitis (UC) has changed in the era of biologics. Several important questions arise in determining the optimal positioning of surgery in the treatment of UC, which has long been a challenge facing gastroenterologists and surgeons. Surgery is life-saving in some patients and leads to better bowel function and better quality of life in most patients. The benefits of surgery, however, must be weighed against the potential surgical morbidity and compromised functioning that clearly can occur. The introduction of biologic therapy has added further complexity to decisions about medical management, surgery, and the relative timing of these choices. Appropriate medical management of UC may induce and maintain remission and may prevent surgery. However, medical management also carries risks of adverse effects, and recent data suggest that delay of surgery during ineffective medical therapy can increase the chances of negative surgical outcomes. To make individualized timely treatment decisions, early collaboration between gastroenterologists and surgeons is important and more data on predictors of treatment response and positive outcomes are needed. Early identification of patients who would benefit from biologic therapy or surgery is challenging.