Treatment of complex and surgically difficult intracranial aneurysms of the posterior circulation is now being performed with intravascular detachable balloon embolization techniques. The procedure is carried out under local anesthesia from a transfemoral arterial approach, which allows continuous neurological monitoring. Under fluoroscopic guidance, the balloon is propelled by blood flow through the intracranial circulation and in most cases, can be guided directly into the aneurysm, thus preserving the parent vessel. If an aneurysm neck is not present, test occlusion of the parent vessel is performed and, if tolerated, the balloon is detached. Twenty-six aneurysms in 25 patients have been treated by this technique. The aneurysms have involved the distal vertebral artery (five cases), the mid-basilar artery (six cases), the basilar artery (11 cases), and the posterior cerebral artery (four cases). The aneurysms varied in size and included three small (less than 12 mm), 15 large (12 to 25 mm), and eight giant (greater than 25 mm). Fifteen patients (60%) presented with hemorrhage and 10 patients (40%) with mass effect. In 17 cases (65%) direct balloon embolization of the aneurysm was achieved with preservation of the parent artery. In nine cases (35%), because of aneurysm location and size, occlusion of the parent vessel was performed. Complications from therapy included three cases of transient cerebral ischemia which resolved, three cases of stroke, and five deaths due to immediate or delayed aneurysm rupture. The follow-up period has ranged from 2 months to 43 months (mean 22.5 months). In cases where posterior circulation aneurysms have been difficult to treat by conventional neurosurgical techniques, intravascular detachable balloon embolization may offer an alternative therapeutic option.