Advances in image-guided therapy for vertebral fractures and other bone-related disorders have made acrylic bone cement an integral part of the interventional armamentarium. Unfortunately, information on the properties and chemistry of these compounds is mostly published in the biomaterial sciences literature, a source with which the interventional community is generally unfamiliar. This review focuses on the chemistry of bone cement polymerization and the properties of components in polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA)-based polymers, the most commonly used bone cements in interventional procedures such as percutaneous vertebroplasty. The effects of altering the concentration of components such as methylmethacrylate monomers, PMMA beads, benzoyl peroxide activator, N,N-dimethyl-p-toluidine (DMPT) initiator, and radiopacifiers on the setting time, polymerization temperature, and compressive strength of the cement are also considered. This information will allow interventional radiologists to manipulate bone cement characteristics for specific applications and maximize the clinical potential of image-guided interventions.