There is an increasing demand for accountability in all areas of our society. State licensing boards, while thorough, are perceived as too lenient, and physicians tend to shield inept colleagues from public scrutiny. All the while, medical practice has become much more specialized and complex. For these reasons and more, the public is more concerned than ever about the continuing competence of their physicians and surgeons. Beginning efforts to establish practice guidelines now underscore the public's desire to be assured that orthopaedic surgeons are knowledgeable and competent to treat with use of the latest clinical innovations. Although the initial impetus for recertification came from the public, recertification also benefits our profession immensely. Through periodic evaluation, the recertification process demonstrates to the profession and to the public that the orthopaedic surgeon has maintained an acceptable level of continuing qualifications, knowledge, and skills in his or her area of practice.