Vertebral compression fracture is the most common complication of osteoporosis. It may result in persistent severe pain and limited mobility, and significantly impacts the quality of life. Vertebroplasty involves a percutaneous injection of bone cement into the collapsed vertebrae by fluorescent guide. The most commonly used bone cement in percutaneous vertebroplasty is based on the polymerization of methylmethacrylate monomers to polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) polymers. However, information on the properties of bone cement is mostly published in the biomaterial sciences literature, a source with which the clinical community is generally unfamiliar. This review focuses on the chemistry of bone cement polymerization and the physical properties of PMMA. The effects of altering the portions and contents of monomer liquid and polymer powders on the setting time, polymerization temperature, and compressive strength of the cement are also discussed. This information will allow spine surgeons to manipulate bone cement characteristics for specific clinical applications and improve safety.