OBJECTIVES: The use of barrier membranes in guided bone regeneration (GBR) procedures for the treatment of alveolar bone defects is common practice. The objective of this study was to test whether a synthetic bioresorbable polyethylene glycol (PEG) hydrogel membrane could result in a similar amount of vertical bone fill as a standard collagen membrane, both combined with a membrane supporting material. MATERIAL AND METHODS: The study enrolled 37 patients requiring implant treatment with an expected osseous defect in the posterior maxilla or mandible. After raising a mucoperiosteal flap, the implant sites were prepared and dental implants placed. The defect height was then measured and defects <3 mm were excluded from the study. Defects were grafted with bovine bone mineral and randomly covered with either a collagen membrane (control group, 18 patients) or a PEG hydrogel membrane (test group, 19 patients), which is applied as a liquid. After a healing period of 6 months, surgical re-entry was performed and the change in vertical bone height from baseline evaluated. RESULTS: Well-vascularized hard tissue was apparent at all sites and the regenerated bone was similar to the surrounding native bone. Mean vertical defect fill after 6 months was 5.63+/-1.84 mm at test sites and 4.25+/-1.16 mm at control sites, and the mean defect fills were 94.9% and 96.4% at test and control sites, respectively. More soft tissue complications were observed with the PEG membrane (e.g., delayed or incomplete wound healing) but all sites recovered uneventfully. CONCLUSIONS: The new PEG hydrogel membrane was as successful as a standard collagen membrane in the treatment of bony dehiscence defects around dental implants with simplified clinical handling.