After orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT), not infrequently a deterioration of bone disease leading to compression fractures of vertebrae is seen. In a consecutive series of 36 adult OLT patients, we studied, clinically and radiologically, the incidence and degree of bone disease before and after OLT; we also studied whether clinical, radiological and laboratory findings were related to the event of postoperative vertebral collapse. Before OLT, radiological signs of mostly slight osteoporosis were seen in a minority of patients. After OLT, 38% of patients developed vertebral collapse, mainly in the second trimester. Collapse occurred in both previously normal and abnormal vertebrae. Of the preoperative parameters sex, age, menopause, intake of prednisolone, duration and diagnosis of liver disease, duration and degree of cholestasis, bone radiology and urinary calcium, only a low urinary calcium was related to postoperative collapse. Of the postoperative parameters duration of cholestasis, urinary calcium, duration of hospital stay, prednisolone dose and outcome in terms of life and death, none was related to collapse. We conclude that vertebral collapse after OLT occurs frequently and is not easily predicted. Early prevention of bone disease in patients with chronic liver disease before OLT and a low steroid-containing immunosuppressive regimen after OLT are advocated.