PURPOSE. A common treatment for motility disorders of the extraocular muscles (EOMs) is a resection procedure in which there is surgical shortening of the muscle. This procedure results in rotation of the globe toward the resected muscle, increased resting tension across the agonist-antagonist pair, and stretching of the elastic components of the muscles. In the rabbit, due to orbital constraints and limited rotation, resection results in more significant stretch of the surgically treated muscle than the antagonist. This surgical preparation allows for the examination of the effects of surgical shortening of one rectus muscle and passive stretch of its ipsilateral antagonist. METHODS. The insertional 6 mm of the superior rectus muscles of adult rabbits were resected and reattached to the original insertion site. After 7 and 14 days, the animals were injected intraperitoneally with bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) every 2 hours for 12 hours, followed by a 24-hour BrdU-free period. All superior and inferior rectus muscles from both globes were examined for BrdU incorporation, MyoD expression, neonatal and developmental myosin heavy chain (MyHC) isoform expression, and myofiber cross-sectional area alterations. RESULTS. In the resected muscle and in the passively stretched antagonist muscle, there was a dramatic increase in the number of myofibers positive for neonatal MyHC and in the number of BrdU- and MyoD-positive satellite cells. The addition of BrdU-positive myonuclei increased from 1 per 1000 myofibers in cross sections of control muscles to 2 to 3 per 100 myofibers in the resected muscles. Single myofiber reconstructions showed that multiple BrdU-positive myonuclei were added to individual myofibers. Addition of new myonuclei occurred in random locations along the myofiber length of single fibers. There was no correlation between myofibers with BrdU-positive myonuclei and neonatal MyHC isoform expression. CONCLUSIONS. Both active and passive stretch of the rectus muscles produced by strabismus surgery dramatically upregulated the processes of satellite cell activation, integration of new myonuclei into existing myofibers, and concomitant upregulation of immature myosin heavy chain isoforms. Understanding the effects of strabismus surgery on muscle cell biological reactions and myofiber remodeling may suggest new approaches for improving surgical outcomes.