The histological features of periprosthetic tissues are related to the bioreactivity of particles generated by the prosthesis. This study analyzed synovial-like pseudocapsules collected from 21 patients with alumina ceramic-on-ceramic hip arthroplasties and correlated histological features with wear of the ceramic bearings, duration of implantation and clinical factors such as neck-to-rim impingement. A histopathological classification system was developed for this purpose. The pseudocapsules were viable, with few foreign body type giant cells and occasional lymphocytes. This differs from tissues in polyethylene containing hip arthroplasties which often have extensive foreign body type inflammatory changes or from metal-on-metal hip arthroplasties in which extensive necrosis is common. Soft-tissue inflammation was not associated with failure of the hip arthroplasties, and may be clinically insignificant in alumina-on-alumina total hip arthroplasties.