Heterotopic ossification (HO) is a frequent complication following total hip arthroplasty (THA). At present, the etiology HO is unknown, however, genetic predisposition may be a cause of HO in individuals in whom no risk factors can be detected. The goal of this study was to investigate the HLA system, searching for any correlation with the presence of HO after THA. Thirty-five patients of Sicilian origin were operated on between January 1997 and January 1999 for cementless THA under regional anesthesia. The entire series was divided into three groups and all underwent histocompatibility typing. Group I was made up of 10 patients who presented with HO Brooker grades 1 and 2 after THA; group 2 comprised 7 patients affected by grades 3 and 4 HO after THA; and group 3 was made up of 18 subjects who presented with one or more preoperative risk factors for developing peri-prosthetic HO before undergoing THA. No positivity for HLA-B27 antigen was observed, but there was as an increase in HLA-B18 (with respect to that in the Sicilian population) in patients with HO following THA. The main conclusion from the study is that there is a strong correlation between the presence of the antigens HLA-A2 and HLA-B18 in patients with HO grades 3 and 4.