Personal Loans

Can I Get a Personal Loan for Cosmetic Surgery?

You can get a loan to help pay for your plastic or cosmetic surgery. Compare rates, terms, and fees, and find the best loan.
Surgeons in an operating room taking care of a patient
By Shannon Lee
Posted on: October 27th, 2022

Sometimes you want an elective surgery to enhance your looks or fix an aspect of your looks that have bothered you, but insurance doesn’t cover it.

What are your options? Saving up for the procedure might take far too long. A loan for elective surgery can allow you to get the help you need right now.

Plastic surgery, often called cosmetic surgery, is big business in the U.S. In 2021, despite the pandemic concerns, the demand for facial plastic surgery went up by a whopping 40%, according to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

And in most cases, those surgical procedures are not covered by insurance, and thus must be paid for out-of-pocket.

And those amounts are not cheap. That’s why many people who want or need elective surgery will sometimes struggle to pay for it.

A personal loan for plastic surgery could be the answer.

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What Is Considered Plastic Surgery?

Plastic surgery involves restoring, reconstructing, or altering the human body through surgical means.

There are two broad types: Reconstructive surgery and cosmetic surgery.

Reconstructive surgery

In most cases, reconstructive surgery is focused on restoring function or appearance for someone who has suffered an illness or injury.

For instance, breast restoration surgery after a mastectomy is common for breast cancer survivors and is considered reconstructive. Most insurance companies will cover reconstructive surgery as part of a larger treatment plan.

Cosmetic surgery

Cosmetic surgery, sometimes referred to as elective plastic surgery, focuses more on changing a person’s appearance.

For instance, someone who doesn’t like the shape of their nose might get a rhinoplasty, or nose job. Most insurance companies will not cover elective plastic surgery.

This can put people in a real bind if they need plastic surgery but find that their insurance company considers it as an elective procedure for their situation.

For instance, someone who has lost a great deal of weight might have excess skin on their body that leads to difficulty in wearing clothing, chafing where the skin folds rub together and having to carry around the excess weight the skin adds to their overall size.

While some physicians might recommend that the excess skin be removed, it takes some serious convincing of potential medical issues in the future for an insurance company to view that surgery as “necessary” or “reconstructive” rather than “elective.”

To put costs in perspective, a typical rhinoplasty runs about $5,500, while breast implants average about $4,500.

A tummy tuck costs around $6,200, while a facelift costs about $8,000. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons offers further information on costs and more.

Find and compare personal loans to pay for cosmetic surgery and more.

How to Pay for Plastic Surgery

There are many good options that allow you to pay for plastic surgery that your insurance company won’t cover. Each has its pros and cons. Here’s what you need to know about each one.

Personal loan

Taking out a personal loan can provide you with the cash you need to pay for not only the surgery but for some living expenses while you recover.

You can compare loans and find one with a low interest rate and ample time to pay it off.

This allows you to save your cash and avoid using your credit cards.

However, if you don’t have the best credit, you might find that your interest rates for a personal loan could rival that of your credit cards.

Loan from the doctor’s office

Getting a loan through the doctor’s office might be possible.

This is often a loan offered through a third party on behalf of the physician or medical center.

You might even get a discount on the cost of the surgery if you go with this option.

It might offer the option to pay off the loan over the span of two or three years, but the interest rate will likely be higher than if you chose to take out a personal loan on your own.

Credit card

Putting the surgery cost on a credit card might seem like a good idea at first blush.

This allows you to simply pay for the surgery without any worries about carrying an outstanding balance with the doctor’s office.

However, if your credit limit isn’t quite high enough you would risk maxing out the card, which can hurt your credit score.

If you can find a credit card that offers no interest for 18 months, that’s a good option — but keep in mind that it only gives you 18 months to pay off the surgery before interest is charged.

Depending upon how much the surgery cost, this could make monthly payments a prohibitive expense.

Home equity loan

Taking out a loan against the equity in your home might be another tempting option.

However, keep in mind that defaulting on a home equity loan puts the possession of your home in jeopardy.

And you might not want to go through the process.

With high closing costs and rising interest rates, you might wind up paying much more than you bargained for to get that loan.

Cash

Paying for the surgery in cash is almost always the best move, but only if you have plenty of money on hand to cover any emergency expenses.

A good rule of thumb is to have at least six months’ worth of living expenses in your account; drop to anything less than that and you might find yourself in financial trouble if you lose your job.

Also, keep in mind that you need to have that kind of savings in case something goes wrong and you have complications from the surgery that lead to higher costs or the inability to work for a while.

Crowdfunding

Reaching out to others for help with elective surgery might be an option, especially if you have a need for surgery that goes beyond something many would consider “elective.”

For instance, someone might feel generous about helping you with a surgery that will make it easier to be more active or alleviate pain, but they might not feel so giving if you’re hoping to get a tummy tuck to fit back into your favorite jeans.

Approach crowdfunding as a way to supplement paying for your surgery, not to actually cover the whole cost.

Retirement fund

It might be tempting to dip into your retirement fund.

And yes, the money is what you’ve saved, sitting there waiting for the day when you need it.

But as retirement costs go up, that fund could be quite useful when you hit the age when you want to stop working and enjoy yourself into the golden years.

Therefore, think long and hard about taking the money out. The magic of compound interest can’t be regained once you give it up.

Friends and family

Though accepting a loan from friends or family might seem like the easiest way to get the surgery you need without breaking the bank, beware of the potential pitfalls.

Many a family reunion and or friendship has been ruined when money entered the picture.

Before accepting this generosity, ask yourself what might happen if you couldn’t pay the money back within an agreed-upon period of time. Is it worth the potential of a strained relationship?

If you do choose to go this route, get everything in writing to protect both yourself and the giver.

Why a Personal Loan for Plastic Surgery Could Be a Good Solution

There are many reasons why it’s a good idea to consider a personal loan to pay for the surgery you need.

Let’s look at some of the best reasons to opt for a personal loan.

Lower interest rates

Though you might be able to get a financing plan through your doctor’s office, it will likely be for only six months to a year of evenly-spaced payments.

That means those payments can be pretty big. If you are offered a loan that allows for more time, it often has a high interest rate.

A personal loan can provide you with a much lower interest rate.

More time to pay off

Paying off the loan quickly can mean those higher payments, and that can take a huge chunk out of your bank every month.

Even CareCredit, a credit card that allows you to pay for medical expenses over time, only offers payment plans of up to 24 months.

A personal loan can give you up to five years or even more.

Better than credit cards

If you have a high credit limit, you might see that as a surefire way to pay for your surgery.

However, there are two things to keep in mind:

First, you will likely pay much higher interest on a credit card than you will on a personal loan — and that interest could fluctuate.

Second, if you put the surgery on your card and wind up using more than 30% of your available credit, your credit score could go down, making it harder to get a loan in the future.

Save your cash

Obviously, cash is king. But you don’t want to use cash if it means you are cutting into your emergency savings or the money set aside for other important things, like higher education for the kids or that down payment on a home.

Taking out a personal loan allows you to keep that cash on hand as a cushion in the event that an emergency strikes.

You won’t touch your retirement

You might be tempted to dig into that retirement fund that you’ve been paying faithfully into for years, but that money is there for a reason: your retirement.

While using that money might look like a good idea, you are cutting into the potential compound interest earned by that cash, as well as possibly taking a steep penalty for early withdrawal.

That might actually wind up costing you more in the long run than any personal loan ever could.

How to Compare Loans

When you’re comparing the best personal loans for your elective surgery, it helps to know exactly what to examine.

These points are important when it comes to choosing the best option for you:

Interest rates

This is a very important consideration when comparing loan companies.

What kind of interest rate do they offer you? Some might give you a much better deal on interest.

However, you must look at the big picture.

A very low interest rate could be negated by fees or might have a penalty for paying the loan off early.

Length of payoff

How long do you need to pay off the loan?

Consider how much you can afford each month and divide the loan amount by that number.

What you come up with is the number of months you need to comfortably pay back the loan.

Choosing a loan that has a shorter payoff can mean you might feel a little financially strapped as you pay it down.

Origination fees

Origination fees can take a big chunk of change out of your loan.

This fee is assessed by the lender to help them cover the costs they incur when approving and issuing your loan, but some personal loans don’t charge an origination fee.

Though the origination fee is usually about 1% of the total amount, it can be higher.

You’ll usually receive the agreed-upon amount minus the origination fee.

Secured or unsecured

An unsecured loan is offered to you based on your credit score and payment history, your employment longevity, your income, and more.

A secured loan is offered if the lender is uncomfortable with providing you with a loan based on the above; in this case, they want something as collateral, such as the title of your vehicle.

This gives the lender the peace of mind that you will pay the loan back. If you don’t, they can seize whatever you used as collateral to pay the outstanding balance after default.

If you’re curious as to what a personal loan might cost you in the long run, our installment loan calculator can help you figure it out.

Best Personal Loans for Plastic Surgery

There are many lenders vying for your business.

How do you know which one is best?

That depends on your personal situation, including your credit score, how long you need to pay off your loan, how much money you need, and more.

Let’s take a look at the top lenders and how they might work for you.

Avant: Good for bad or fair credit

Avant moves fast to approval and can deposit your funds into your bank account as soon as the next business day after that approval.

Apply online to determine what you might qualify for – this doesn’t affect your credit score.

Amount

The mobile app allows you to manage your loan of anywhere from $2,000 to $35,000.

Credit requirement

This is a good option for those with bad to fair credit, as the minimum credit score requirement is 550.

Exclusions

There are no co-signed or joint accounts allowed with Avant.

Term

Expect a loan term of up to five years.

SoFi: Good for large amounts

With potential loan amounts between $5,000 and $100,000 with up to seven years to pay it off, even extensive plastic surgery can be achieved with SoFi.

How long it takes

Same-day funding makes it fast to get the money you need.

Interest rates

The interest rates can go very low, but that’s only if you have a top-tier credit score.

Fees

There are no origination fees or any other fees, for that matter — the cost of your loan is transparent.

Customer service

Live customer support and unemployment protection make SoFi stand out from the pack.

Upgrade: Good for longer loan terms

There is no prepayment penalty on Upgrade loans, which can range from $1,000 to $50,000.

Loan terms

Though there are origination fees, there are also longer loan terms than what you might find with other lenders, with up to 84 months available.

Credit score

Though there is no information on the minimum credit score required to receive a loan, the wide range of loan amounts suggests that it’s good for those with anything from bad to excellent credit.

Loan funding time

Expect funding within a few days after approval.

Upstart: Good for quick funding

Check your rate in minutes and get fast approval with Upstart, a lender that offers amounts from $1,000 to $50,000 that can be funded in one business day after signing the agreement.

Origination fee

There is an origination fee with this lender and two repayment terms to choose from: three years or five years.

Credit score

Upstart doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement.

Online access

Unlike other lenders, Upstart doesn’t offer a mobile app to manage your loan, but it can be easily handled online.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to negotiate a lower cost for plastic surgery?

Yes, it’s possible, but your success depends greatly upon the surgical center or surgeon.

A package deal, where you choose to have a few different surgeries through the same center, can result in a 10-15% discount.

You might also be able to speak to the surgeon about your financial situation, especially if your elective surgery is something that can improve your quality of life. They might be willing to come down on their costs.

What if my surgery costs go beyond my personal loan amount?

If you wind up with higher costs for surgery than you anticipated, you could take out another loan or look at a variety of financial options open to you, such as paying down the amount with your loan proceeds and then working out a finance plan for the rest.

When taking out a personal loan for plastic surgery, take into account not just the cost of the procedure but the little extras, such as the cost of prescriptions or follow-up visits.

Is participating in a clinical trial a good idea?

Sometimes you can find an opportunity to participate in a clinical trial for a new procedure or device.

This can make your plastic surgery free of charge. Before agreeing to this, however, make sure the procedure or device is approved in other countries, such as the UK, or comes from a company that has a strong reputation.

A good example of a clinical trial might be a new type of breast implant that is deemed safe in other countries but needs clinical testing in the US to get formal approval.