Background: Dislocation may complicate revision total hip arthroplasty (THA). We examined the correlation between the components revised during hip arthroplasty (femur only, acetabulum only and both components) to the rates of dislocation in the first and multiple revision THA. Methods: We obtained data from consecutive revision THAs performed between January 1982 and December 2005. Patients were grouped into femur-only revision, acetabulum-only revision and revision THA for both components. Results: A total of 749 revision THAs performed during the study period met our inclusion criteria: 369 first-time revisions and 380 repeated revisions. Dislocation rates in patients undergoing first-time revisions (5.69%) were significantly lower than in those undergoing repeated revisions (10.47%; p = 0.022). Within the group of firsttime revisions, dislocation rates for acetabulum-only revisions (10.28%) were significantly higher than those for both components (4.61%) and femur-only (0%) reconstructions (p = 0.025). Conclusion: Although patients undergoing first-time revisions had lower rates of dislocations than those undergoing repeated revisions, acetabulum-only reconstructions performed at first-time revision arthroplasty entailed an increased risk for instability.