PURPOSE: To evaluate the surgical success of rectus muscle plication compared to resection and to compare the short- and long-term changes in ocular alignment after both procedures. METHODS: The medical records of all patients who underwent a rectus muscle tightening procedure (resection or plication) at a single institution over a 5-year period by a single surgeon were reviewed retrospectively. Binocular alignment was recorded before and immediately after surgery and again at 6-12 weeks and final follow-up visit. Primary outcome was surgical success rate, defined as distance alignment of ≤10(Δ) for horizontal and ≤6(Δ) for vertical strabismus. Secondary outcomes were reoperation rate and postoperative alignment drift. RESULTS: A total of 72 surgeries were identified for inclusion: 48 resections and 24 plications. Surgical success was significantly higher in the resection group than in the plication group (89% vs 58%; P = 0.005) at both 6-12 weeks' follow-up (P = 0.005) and at mean final follow-up of 19 ± 13 months (range, 3-56 months [n = 48]; P = 0.03). Reoperations were performed in 3 patients in the plication group (12.5%), all for undercorrection; there were no reoperations in the resection group (P = 0.03). CONCLUSIONS: Rectus muscle plication has many potential advantages over resection, including sparing of the ciliary circulation. In our experience, however, patients treated with plication had lower surgical success rates and a higher reoperation rate. Surgeons should monitor their long-term results before considering plication as their procedure of choice over resection.