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Our aim in this study was to describe the long-term survival of the native hip joint after open reduction and internal fixation of a displaced fracture of the acetabulum. We also present long-term clinical outcomes and risk factors associated with a poor outcome.A total of 285 patients underwent surgery for a displaced acetabular fracture between 1993 and 2005. For the survival analysis 253 were included, there were 197 men and 56 women with a mean age of 42 years (12 to 78). The mean follow-up of 11 years (1 to 20) was identified from our pelvic fracture registry. There were 99 elementary and 154 associated fracture types. For the long-term clinical follow-up, 192 patients with complete data were included. Their mean age was 40 years (13 to 78) with a mean follow-up of 12 years (5 to 20). Injury to the femoral head and acetabular impaction were assessed with CT scans and patients with an ipsilateral fracture of the femoral head were excluded.A total of 36 patients underwent total hip arthroplasty (THA). The overall ten-year survival of the hip joint was 86% (95% confidence interval (CI) 81% to 90%) and the 20-year survival was 82% (95% CI 76% to 87%). Injury to the femoral head and acetabular impaction were the strongest predictors of failure, with the long-term survival rate falling towards 50% in these patients. The survival fell to 0% at three years when both these risk factors were present in patients aged > 60 years.The long-term survival of the native hip joint after acetabular fractures was good, but the presence of injury to the femoral head and acetabular impaction proved to be strong predictors of failure, especially in patients aged > 60 years. These patients may be better treated with a combination of open reduction and internal fixation and primary arthroplasty.