The role of wear debris in provoking joint replacement failure through bone resorption is now supported by much research. This study presents the analysis of 104 tissue samples using laser diffraction wear particle analysis in conjunction with standard histologic methods. The number and volume distributions were correlated to a range of joint and patient parameters. The median particle diameter by number was 0.69 μm. No particles smaller than 0.113 μm were resolved. No variation in terms of particle distribution was found among joint types. The ability of particles to migrate away from their point of origin was found to be inversely proportional to their size. The numbers of particles per gram of tissue found in various regions around the prosthesis varied little. Further, the numbers of particles in tissue samples shown to have a chronic foreign-body reaction was > 1 × 109 particles/gram.