The Exeter femoral stem is a double-tapered highly polished collarless cemented implant with good long-term clinical results. In order to determine why the stem functions well we have undertaken a long-term radiostereometric analysis (RSA) study. A total of 20 patients undergoing primary Exeter total hip replacement for osteoarthritis using the Hardinge approach were recruited and followed with RSA for ten years. The stems progressively subsided and internally rotated with posterior head migration. The mean subsidence was 0.7 mm (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.5 to 0.9) at two years and 1.3 mm (95% CI 1.0 to 1.6) at ten years. The mean posterior migration of the head was 0.7 mm (95% CI 0.5 to 0.9) at two years and 1.2 mm (95% CI 1.0 to 1.4) at ten years. There was no significant cement restrictor migration. The Exeter stem continues to subside slowly into the cement mantle in the long term. This appears to compress the cement and the cement bone interface, contributing to secure fixation in the long term.