© 2015 Springer Science+Business Media New York Background: Prolonged ileus is one of the most common postoperative complications after colorectal surgery. We sought to investigate the predictors of prolonged ileus following elective colon resections procedures. Methods: The national participant user files of NSQIP databases were utilized to examine the clinical outcomes of patients undergoing elective colon resection during 2012–2013. Multivariate regression analysis was performed to investigate predictors of prolonged ileus. Prolonged ileus was defined as no return of bowel function in 7 days. Results: We sampled a total of 27,560 patients who underwent colon resections; of these, 3497 (12.7 %) patients had prolonged ileus. Patients with ileocolonic anastomosis (ICA) had a significantly higher rate of prolonged ileus compared to patients with colorectal anastomosis (CRA) (15 vs. 11.5 %, AOR 1.25, P < 0.01). Prolonged ileus was significantly associated with intra-abdominal infections (13 vs. 2.8 %, AOR 2.56, P < 0.01) and anastomotic leakage (12 vs. 2.4 %, AOR 2.50, P < 0.01). Factors such as preoperative sepsis (AOR 1.63, P < 0.01), disseminated cancer (AOR 1.24, P = 0.01), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AOR 1.27, P = 0.02) were associated with an increased risk of prolonged ileus, whereas oral antibiotic bowel preparation (AOR 0.77, P < 0.01) and laparoscopic surgery (AOR 0.51, P < 0.01) are associated with decreased prolonged ileus risk. Conclusions: Prolonged ileus is a common condition following colon resection, with an incidence of 12.7 %. Among colon surgeries, colectomy with ICA resulted in the highest rate of postoperative prolonged ileus. Prolonged ileus is positively associated with anastomotic leak and intra-abdominal infections; thus, a high index of suspicion must be had in all patients with prolonged postoperative ileus.