Fifty-three patients underwent removal of their scleral buckling elements in our operating rooms during a 25-year period. Of these, 18 patients suffered a retinal redetachment and two went on to phthisis. "Life-table" (survival) analysis showed that the risk of redetachment was 23% within the first 30 days after buckling element removal and 33% within 90 days. The cumulative risk of redetachment during a four-year period gradually increased to 47%. Factors that had a statistically significant association with redetachment included the degree of vitreous traction at the time of the original retinal detachment and the extent of the original detachment. Age, race, sex, preoperative condition, type of buckling element, and cause of buckling element removal did not have a statistically significant association with redetachment.