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Updated: Mar 18, 2024

Should You Use a Personal Loan to Pay for Plastic Surgery?

Find out whether it is a good or bad idea to take out a personal loan to pay for plastic surgery (or other types of elective cosmetic procedure).
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Cosmetic procedures are expensive, yet some people never consider paying for one with a personal loan.

Whether you’re considering dental surgery, plastic surgery, LASIK/vision correction surgery, breast augmentation, a tummy tuck, or another procedure, there’s no denying the high cost.

And if your bank account’s running on empty, you might have to consider financing plastic surgery with a personal loan.

Understand the pros and cons of using personal loans for elective surgery and compare them to other financing options available.

Why Consider a Personal Loan for Plastic Surgery (and Other Cosmetic Surgery)?

A personal loan is useful for just about any purpose. It’s not unusual to get a loan for:

  • home improvements
  • debt consolidation
  • a vacation
  • wedding expenses

But these aren’t the only uses for funds.

A personal loan for cosmetic surgery also comes in handy when you don’t have enough cash for a procedure. Or, when your health insurance doesn’t cover the cost.

Many health insurance plans will not cover the cost of an elective cosmetic surgery.

An elective surgery is a procedure that’s not medically necessary.

Since these surgeries aren’t covered by insurance, you have to pay the entire expense out-of-pocket.

Most insurances will cover reconstruction or repair surgery, though. You might have an accident or illness that causes physical deformity. Or you may need breast reconstruction after a mastectomy.

But even when a cosmetic procedure is necessary, health insurance doesn’t always pay the entire hospital balance. In which case, you must pay the difference out-of-pocket. A personal loan is also useful in these circumstances.

Although you’re able to use a personal loan for cosmetic surgery, should you?


Only you can decide whether a cosmetic procedure is worth getting a loan.

More than a health issue

Some people feel that cosmetic surgery will be an investment in their future—professionally, personally, or both.

Maybe your job involves being in front of a camera, and you feel that your physical imperfections prevent moving forward with your career.

Then again, maybe physical imperfections hurt your self-esteem and self-confidence, and you honestly believe plastic surgery will help you feel better about yourself.

Pros and Cons

Financing plastic surgery can put you closer to a much-needed (or wanted) procedure.

Just make sure you weigh the pros and cons of this decision.


You may qualify for an unsecured loan

A personal loan for plastic surgery is worth consideration if you have an excellent credit score.

With any loan, you can expect a bank or credit union to check your credit history. The higher your credit score, the better.

A high credit score not only helps you get approved for financing. It also helps you secure a lower interest rate. And if you have an excellent credit score, the lender may approve your loan without requiring collateral or security.

Just know that unsecured personal loans typically have higher interest rates.

Dischargeable in bankruptcy

Not to say you’ll file bankruptcy.

But on the off chance that you run into financial difficulty and declare bankruptcy, personal loans are dischargeable.

Could get a lower APR than a credit card

Your personal credit card is another option for financing plastic surgery. By using a card you already have, you don’t have to apply for a loan.

Keep in mind that many credit cards charge much higher interest rates than personal loans.

This is because a credit card is a type of revolving debt, thus the most dangerous and expensive type of debt.

Using a personal loan could save you money in the long run.


High rates with bad credit

But just because personal loans “can” have a lower rate than credit cards doesn’t guarantee that you’ll receive a favorable rate.

Your personal loan rate is determined by your credit history. If your credit history isn’t great, your personal loan rate could be as high (or higher) than a credit card.

You might need collateral

Unsecured personal loans are harder to get. So you might need to pledge some type of collateral or security.

This is personal property equivalent in value to the amount of the personal loan.

So if you apply for a $7,000 personal loan, your collateral must be worth at least $7,000.

Security can help you get approved. But if you default, the lender can also claim your collateral as repayment.

Other Financing Alternatives for Plastic Surgery

Before you move forward with a personal loan, make sure you consider other financing options.

In-house financing

Some plastic surgery centers offer in-house payment plans.

Because you’re working directly with the facility, it’s easier to negotiate a monthly payment that works with your budget.

These plans are flexible, with low interest or no interest.

Be mindful:

ome facilities don’t offer in-house financing. Instead, they use a third-party financing provider. This allows less room for negotiating.

Healthcare financing

Finance companies like CareCredit offer healthcare financing for costly medical expenses.

Whether you need financing to pay your deductible or the entire cost of a procedure, some companies offer zero-percent financing if you agree to pay back funds within six, 12, 18, or 24 months.

The downside:

You’re not getting a loan, but rather a medical credit line.

Interest kicks in after the introductory rate period. And if you’re unable to pay off the entire balance by this time, the finance company charges retroactive interest.

Personal credit card

You might consider a low APR credit card or a new credit card with a 0% introductory APR to pay for the surgery.

This means that you will minimize the interest paid.

The downside:

Your credit card limit may not be high enough to cover the costs.

And, if you can’t pay off the balance within the low-APR period, the surgery will end up costing way more in the long run.

Home equity options

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) or home equity loan might seem like an option for financing plastic surgery.

Home equity options can have lower interest rates than a credit card and personal loan.

The downside is that you’re putting your house on the line. If you default on a home equity loan or HELOC, the lender can foreclose.

Plus, home equity options have other expenses like origination fees and closing costs.

Retirement accounts

The benefit of using a retirement account for financing cosmetic surgery is that you don’t have to apply for a loan.

You may feel that taking a small amount from a sizable 401(k) or IRA isn’t a big deal.

But make sure you count the cost first.

You may be subject to a 10 percent early withdrawal penalty. Also, the amount you withdraw might be taxed as ordinary income.

Final Word

The bottom line is that a personal loan can be a cost-effective option, if you’re able to get a low interest rate.

Make sure you compare all your options before making a decision. Also,  shop around and compare personal loan interest rates.

With any financing alternative, come up with a plan to pay off the debt as soon as possible. Be absolutely confident in your ability to afford the monthly payment, and don’t agree to terms that make you uncomfortable.

If you do your due diligence, a personal loan for cosmetic surgery can work.