The clinical results of eighty-four total hip arthroplasties performed through a transtrochanteric approach in sixty-seven patients who had a high dislocation of the hip (the femoral head completely out of the acetabulum), from 1976 to 1994, were reviewed. The acetabular component was placed in the true acetabulum and the femur was shortened at the level of the femoral neck, along with release of the psoas tendon and the small external rotators, in order to facilitate reduction of the components and to avoid neurovascular complications. Eleven hip prostheses (13 per cent) failed at a mean of 6.4 years (range, two months to sixteen years) postoperatively; the failure was due to aseptic loosening of both components in four hips, aseptic loosening of the stem only in three, late infection in three, and malpositioning of the acetabular component that caused recurrent dislocations in one. The other seventy-three hips were functioning well at the latest follow-up examination, two to twenty years (mean, 7.1 years) postoperatively.The overall cumulative rate of success was 92.4 per cent (95 per cent confidence interval, 89.5 to 95.3 per cent) at five years and 88.0 per cent (95 per cent confidence interval, 82.2 to 93.8 per cent) at ten years. We believe that this operative technique of total hip arthroplasty is effective for the treatment of the difficult condition of high dislocation of the hip.