A group of 15 partially edentulous patients who needed alveolar ridge augmentation for implant placement, were consecutively treated using a two-stage technique in an outpatient environment. A total of 18 alveolar segments were grafted. During the first operation bone blocks harvested from the mandibular ramus or symphysis were placed as lateral or vertical onlay grafts and fixed with titanium osteosynthesis screws after exposure of the deficient alveolar ridge. After 6 months of healing the flap was re-opened, the screws were removed and the implants placed. Twelve months after the first operation implant-supported fixed bridges could be provided to the patients. Mean lateral augmentation obtained at the time of bone grafting was 6.5 +/- 0.33 mm, that reduced during healing because of graft resorption to a mean of 5.0 +/- 0.23 mm. Mean vertical augmentation obtained in the 9 sites where it was needed was 3.4 +/- 0.66 mm at bone grafting and 2.2 +/- 0.66 mm at implant placement. Mean lateral and vertical augmentation decreased by 23.5% and 42%, respectively, during bone graft healing (before implant insertion). Mandibular sites showed a larger amount of bone graft resorption than maxillary sites. All the 40 implants placed were integrated at the abutment connection and after prosthetic loading (mean follow-up was 12 months). No major complications were recorded at donor or recipient sites. Soft tissue healing was uneventful, and pain and swelling were comparable to usual dentoalveolar procedures. A visible ecchymosis was present for 4 to 7 days when the bone was harvested from the mandibular symphysis. From a clinical point of view this procedure appears to be simple, safe and effective for treating localised alveolar ridge defects in partially edentulous patients.