PURPOSE: To determine the clinical efficacy of percutaneous vertebroplasty in cases of painful and medically intractable osteoporotic vertebral compression fracture. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Ninety-eight patients (20 men and 78 women; mean age, 69 years) underwent 122 per-cutaneous vertebroplasty procedures for the treatment of osteoporotic vertical compression fracture. For the evaluation of bone mass, bone densitometry was performed in 45 patients, and to assess the recent evolution of the fracture, all 98 underwent MRI. Percutaneous vertebroplasty involves percutaneous transpedicular puncture of the involved vertebrae followed by the injection of a Polymethylmethacrylate(PMMA)-Barium mixture into the vertebral body. To assess leakage of the mixture into the epidural tissue, neural foramina, venous plexus and paravertebral tissue, we then immediately obtained a computerized tomographic (CT) scan, assessing the clinical efficacy of the procedure on the basis of time required for pain relief (defined as more than 60% reduction of initial pain), and time required for ambulation without significant pain. RESULTS: Percutaneous vertebroplasty was successful in all patients. Pain relief was accomplished within 1-5(mean, 1.8) days and early ambulation without significant pain was possible within 2 -15 (mean, 3.3) days. Post-procedural CT scanning revealed leakage of the PMMA-barium mixture into Paravertebral tissue(n=41), the paravertebral venous plexus (n=34) and epidural tissue (n=4). No neural foraminal leakage was identified, and no procedure-related complication requiring surgical treatment occurred. CONCLUSION: Percutaneous vertebroplasty is an effective new interventional procedure for the treatment of osteoporotic vertebral compression fracture. It relieves pain, provides early mobilization, and strengthens involved vertebral bodies.