Permeability of the soft tissue-bone system surrounding artificial joints fixed in cancellous bone was measured in four adult dogs after implants had been in place 2 months. Fluid was forced through a cavity formed by removal of the implant, the cavity was capped with a stopper to allow for pressure generation. Surface permeability of the 2-month-old implant cavity was 45 times less than the permeability of freshly drilled holes in cancellous bone. A mathematical model of a rigid implant resting on a biphasic solid-fluid layer showed the fluid carried 90% of the load when the implant cavity permeability was assumed, but only 27% when the freshly drilled permeability was used. The results suggest caution in interpreting finite-element models with bonded interfaces and suggest a possible role of the fluid in biological response at the interface.