The metal stem of the totally replaced hip carries load and resists fatigue, but it is electrochemically corroded. Metallic atoms act as haptens, induce type 1 T-helper cells/Th1-type immune responses and enhance periprosthetic osteolysis. Stiff metal implants, which do not have the same elasticity as the surrounding bone, cause stress shielding. Cyclic loading and lack of ligamentous support lead to mechanical and ischemia reperfusion injury and particle formation from bone, polymethylmethacrylate, and porous implant surfaces, which accelerate third-body polyethylene wear. Surgical injury and micromotion induce the formation of a fibrous capsule interface. Type-B lining cells produce lubricin and surface-active phospholipids to promote solid-to-solid lubrication but may loosen the implant from bone. The pumping action of the cyclically loaded joint and synovial fluid pressure waves dissect the implant-host interface and transports polyethylene particles and pro-inflammatory mediators to the interface. Hyaluronan induces formation of a synovial lining like layer. Because of its localization close to bone, foreign body inflammation at the interface stimulates osteoclastogenesis and peri-implant bone loss. Metal-on-metal and ceramic-on-ceramic pairs might minimize third body wear, but can lead to high-impact load of the acetabulum. Diamond coating of a metal-on-polyethylene couple might solve both of these problems. The basic biomaterial solutions allow good mechanical performance and relatively long life in-service, but surface modifications (porous coating, hydroxyapatite, diamond, bioglass, and others) may facilitate performance of the implant and improve the biomaterial and body interfaces.