Abstract Attaching tantalum markers to prostheses for Roentgen stereophotogrammetry (RSA) may be difficult and is sometimes even impossible. In this study, a model-based RSA method that avoids the attachment of markers to prostheses is presented and validated. This model-based RSA method uses a triangulated surface model of the implant. A projected contour of this model is calculated and this calculated model contour is matched onto the detected contour of the actual implant in the RSA radiograph. The difference between the two contours is minimized by variation of the position and orientation of the model. When a minimal difference between the contours is found, an optimal position and orientation of the model has been obtained. The method was validated by means of a phantom experiment. Three prosthesis components were used in this experiment: the femoral and tibial component of an Interax total knee prosthesis (Stryker Howmedica Osteonics Corp., Rutherfort, USA) and the femoral component of a Profix total knee prosthesis (Smith & Nephew, Memphis, USA). For the prosthesis components used in this study, the accuracy of the model-based method is lower than the accuracy of traditional RSA. For the Interax femoral and tibial components, significant dimensional tolerances were found that were probably caused by the casting process and manual polishing of the components surfaces. The largest standard deviation for any translation was 0.19 mm and for any rotation it was 0.52°. For the Profix femoral component that had no large dimensional tolerances, the largest standard deviation for any translation was 0.22 mm and for any rotation it was 0.22°. From this study we may conclude that the accuracy of the current model-based RSA method is sensitive to dimensional tolerances of the implant. Research is now being conducted to make model-based RSA less sensitive to dimensional tolerances and thereby improving its accuracy.