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Shot blasted titanium alloy femoral components with a coarse finish were withdrawn from use in 1987 following reports of early component failure. We reviewed all coarse titanium femoral stems used in primary total hip arthroplasty in our institution between 1985 and 1987 and compared them to a similar stem made of vitallium which was also used over the same period. We found that, at an average of 5.2 years following implantation, over two-thirds of titanium components were associated with endosteal lysis. In many of the cases the early lytic changes were asymptomatic with significant bone loss occurring prior to presentation. We discuss our findings in relation to revision surgery. We advocate that all those with coarse stem titanium components should be positively reviewed to detect early lytic change before extensive bone destruction occurs.