The objective of this experimental study was to investigate the temperature variations within the spinal cord of calf cadavers during polymethlymethacrylate (PMMA) application for vertebral body reconstruction. Cervical spines including the cervical spinal cord of ten fresh cadavers were used. Corpectomy and laminectomy were performed and dura was exposed at the same level for proper placement of thermal sensors. Sensors were placed in multiple holes in the spinal cord at depths of 3, 6, 9 and 12 mm, respectively. Whether the thermal sensors were placed in the gray or white matter was determined by computerized tomography. The white and gray matters of the spinal cord exhibited different thermal properties. The white matter was more conductive and absorbed less heat than the gray matter. The heat sensor nearest to PMMA exhibited temperatures of 42-44 degrees C. The second heat sensor placed at 9 mm depth within the gray matter showed 44 degrees C. The third sensor, which was placed at 6 mm depth within the spinal cord recorded the same temperature as the first, i.e., nearest to PMMA sensor. The fourth heat sensor, which was at the farthest location from PMMA demonstrated 37-39 degrees C. The temperature distribution within the gray matter was inversely proportional to the distance from the heat source. The temperature at the dorsal white matter, which was distant from the heating source, remained nearly constant and was not elevated. Our data suggest that thermal injury to the spinal cord during PMMA application may be expected to be more significant in the gray matter when compared with other neural tissues.