We evaluated 377 patients (428 hips) who had been managed, by a total of fourteen surgeons at twelve clinical sites in the United States and Europe, with a porous-coated press-fit acetabular cup, a hydroxyapatite-coated threaded screw-in cup, or one of two similar designs of hydroxyapatite-coated press-fit cups between April 1987 and November 1992. The same type of hydroxyapatite-coated femoral stem was inserted without cement in all patients. After a minimum duration of follow-up of five years (mean, 7.9 years; range, 5.3 to 9.1 years), one (1 per cent) of the 131 hydroxyapatite-coated threaded cups, two (2 per cent) of the 109 porous-coated press-fit cups, and twenty-one (11 per cent) of the 188 hydroxyapatite-coated press-fit cups had been revised because of aseptic loosening.A common radiographic sign of impending failure of the hydroxyapatite-coated press-fit cups was radiolucency at the interface between the implant and the subchondral bone beneath it. This radiolucency usually was seen initially more than two years after implantation. Radiographic evaluation of the 383 acetabular implants that were in situ at the time of the most recent follow-up showed that 123 (99 per cent) of the 124 hydroxyapatite-coated threaded cups, 101 (98 per cent) of the 103 porous-coated cups, and 139 (89 per cent) of the 156 hydroxyapatite-coated press-fit cups were stable with osseous ingrowth (as indicated by the absence of radiolucency at the interface and the absence of migration within the acetabulum). The probability of revision due to aseptic loosening was significantly greater for the hydroxyapatite-coated press-fit cups than it was for the hydroxyapatite-coated threaded cups or the porous-coated press-fit cups (p < 0.001 for both comparisons). Within the group of patients who had a hydroxyapatite-coated press-fit cup, the probability of revision due to aseptic loosening was significantly greater in association with a young age (p = 0.003), female gender (p = 0.02), the use of a femoral head with a diameter of thirty-two millimeters (p = 0.018), and the use of a thin polyethylene liner (p < 0.001).We found that the hydroxyapatite-coated threaded cups and the porous-coated press-fit cups continued to perform well more than five years after the operation. The hydroxyapatite-coated press-fit cups that were revised probably failed because the fixation interface beneath the cup could not sustain the tensile stresses that were imposed between the cup and the bone by the activity of the patient. Our data suggest that, in the specific biomechanical environment of the acetabulum, physical interlocking between the cup and the supporting bone beneath it may be a prerequisite for long-term stability.