There remains no consensus among vitreoretinal surgeons regarding the optimal management of primary rhegmatogenous retinal detachment. In this article, fundamental principles are discussed and applied to recent clinical reports. The consensus of the peer-reviewed literature appears to be that scleral buckling and primary pars plana vitrectomy may yield comparable single-operation success rates and visual acuity outcomes for a wide variety of rhegmatogenous retinal detachments. No definitive prospective, randomized, multicenter trial compares scleral buckling with pars plana vitrectomy. The upcoming Scleral Buckling versus Primary Vitrectomy in Rhegmatogenous Retinal Detachment study may yield useful information in this regard. Even when this study is completed, the choice of surgical modality is complex and may be individualized for specific patients.