Acetabular bone loss is a relevant concern for surgeons dealing with a failed total hip arthroplasty.Since the femoral head is no longer available, allografts represent the first choice for most reconstructive solutions, either as a structural buttress or impacted bone chips.Even though fresh-frozen bone is firmly recommended for structural grafts, freeze-dried and/or irradiated bone may be used alternatively for impaction grafting. Indeed, there are some papers on freeze-dried or irradiated bone impaction grafting, but their number is limited, as is the number of cases.Xenografts do not represent a viable option based on the poor available evidence but bioactive bioceramics such as hydroxyapatite and biphasic calcium phosphates are suitable bone graft extenders or even substitutes for acetabular impaction grafting.Bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells and demineralised bone matrix seem to act as reliable bone graft enhancers, i.e. adjuvant therapies able to improve the biological performance of standard bone grafts or substitutes. Among these therapies, platelet-rich plasma and bone morphogenetic proteins need to be investigated further before any recommendations can be made. Cite this article:EFORT Open Rev2016;1:431-439. DOI:10.1302/2058-5241.160025.