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Patient safety in aesthetic surgery soon to be ensured by European standards


28 Apr 2010


Health & Consumers
Innovation & Enterprise
Trade & Society

Brussels (27 April 2010) – The market of aesthetic surgery interventions – sometimes also

called cosmetic surgery - has increased dramatically over the last years. The growing

availability of travel, the internet and the numerous financial payment facilities also mean

that medical tourism in relation to aesthetic surgery has become a reality.

Nevertheless, many Member States have not yet put in place adequate regulations or

standards on how to provide these surgery services in a safe environment and consumers

are not always fully aware of the risks associated with aesthetic surgery.

Consequently, there is a rising need – especially from a patient safety perspective – to

ensure that patients can rely on safe aesthetic surgery interventions, whether it is at home or


This has prompted CEN – the European Committee for Standardisation – to accept the

proposal from the Austrian Standards Institute (ASI) to create a new Project Committee,

CEN/TC 403 “Project Committee- Aesthetic surgery services”, the aim of which is to

elaborate European standards for aesthetic surgery services. The first meeting of this new

Project Committee is expected to be held in September 2010.

European standards are, from a legal point of view, voluntary, but their impact is significant.

In this particular instance, they will provide a real added-value for the aesthetic surgery

market by helping consumers to make informed choices, by creating an equal level playing

field for aesthetic surgery service providers, complementing existing legislation and filling

gaps where no regulation or standard exist. Aesthetic surgery standards will also contribute

to the European Commission’s patient safety communication COM (2008) 836 Final.

CEN has traditionally made standards for products. However, over the last few years, it is

moving towards elaborating standards for services, with a specific focus on healthcare and

social services standards. Aesthetic surgery services standards are a prime example of how

standards can be used as an alternative instrument for detailed European legislation.


The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) is a business catalyst in Europe,

removing trade barriers for European industry and consumers. Its mission is to foster the

European economy in global trading, the welfare of European citizens, and the environment.

Through its services it provides a platform for the development of European Standards and

other technical specifications. CEN’s 31 National Members work together to develop

voluntary European Standards (ENs) in various sectors to build a European Internal Market

for goods and services and to position Europe in the global economy. By supporting

research, and helping disseminate innovation, standards are a powerful tool for economic

growth. More than 60.000 technical experts as well as business federations, consumer and

other societal interest organizations are involved in the CEN network that reaches over 480

million people.

For further information, please visit:

Media contact:


Celine Oeyen

Manager Communication

: +32.2.519 68 85