Solid-phase microextraction (SPME) is a new solventless sample preparation technique that is finding wide usage. This review provides updated information on headspace SPME with gas chromatographic separation for the extraction and measurement of volatile and semivolatile analytes in biological fluids and materials. Firstly the background to the technique is given in terms of apparatus, fibres used, extraction conditions and derivatisation procedures. Then the different matrices, urine, blood, faeces, breast milk, hair, breath and saliva are considered separately. For each, methods appropriate for the analysis of drugs and metabolites, solvents and chemicals, anaesthetics, pesticides, organometallics and endogenous compounds are reviewed and the main experimental conditions outlined with specific examples. Then finally, the future potential of SPME for the analysis of biological samples in terms of the development of new devices and fibre chemistries and its coupling with high-performance liquid chromatography is discussed.