Since the pandemic started and Zoom meetings became the new normal, Americans have become increasingly more aware of their appearance. In fact, a recent report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons found that one of the top reasons patients sought cosmetic procedures last year was to improve the way they looked on screen.

But cosmetic procedures often come with a hefty price tag. For instance, liposuctions, facelifts and tummy tucks, which are among the most popular ones, can cost anywhere from several thousand to over $8,000. What’s more, because most of these procedures are medically unnecessary, many insurers forgo covering them altogether. This, in turn, makes it harder for patients to come up with the funds.

Here, we’ll go over the cost of some of the most common treatments, as well as the different financing options available and their pros and cons.

Bankrate insight

The average surgeon fee for plastic surgery and cosmetic surgical procedures in the U.S. is $5,377.

Plastic surgery cost statistics

  • 76% of plastic surgeons in the U.S. reported seeing a surge in patients looking to get procedures in 2022 compared to pre-pandemic levels.
  • The pandemic played a key role in the uptick in demand for plastic surgery. About 80% of facial plastic surgeons reported seeing a rise in patients looking to change their appearance just to look better on camera.
  • 59% of plastic surgeons say patients are willing to spend “somewhat more” on cosmetic procedures than before the pandemic. Likewise, 17% of surgeons reported that patients are willing to spend “a lot more” on cosmetic procedures.
  • Liposuctions, facelifts, breast augmentations, tummy tucks and breast lifts were the top procedures requested by patients in 2022.
  • Those between the ages of 40 and 54 account for the majority of cosmetic procedures performed in the U.S., with over six million procedures in 2020 alone.
  • The average surgeon fee for plastic surgery and cosmetic surgical procedures in the U.S. is around $5,377.
  • Non-surgical procedures, like botox, can cost a little over $460. However, complex procedures like mommy makeovers can cost between $10,000 and $20,000 in surgeon fees alone.
  • Anesthesiology fees for plastic surgeries average between $1,000 and $2,000.
  • Operation room fees can cost between $1,550 and $3,000, on average.
  • Health insurance doesn’t cover most plastic surgeries, although there may be some exceptions. These include rhinoplasties, blepharoplasties, breast implant removals, skin removal surgeries and breast augmentations or reconstructions.

Cosmetic procedures cost statistics

  • The average non-surgical cosmetic procedure in the U.S. costs a little over $1,100.
  • Neurotoxin therapy, dermal fillers and skin treatments, such as chemical peels and hydrofacials are the top non-surgical procedures in the U.S., accounting for 33%, 32% and 6% of all procedures, respectively.
  • Adults between the ages of 36 and 50 accounted for the majority of non-cosmetic procedures performed in the U.S. in 2021.
  • Microdermabrasion is the cheapest cosmetic procedure, followed by laser treatment for leg veins and laser hair removal, costing an average of $167, $312 and $389, respectively.
  • Acellular Dermal Matrix fillers are the most expensive non-surgical cosmetic procedure with an average cost of $2,914.
  • Because cosmetic procedures are not medically necessary, they’re not covered by insurance, increasing the financial burden on patients.

How to pay for plastic surgery

Paying for plastic surgery and other cosmetic procedures can be a tall order, especially if you don’t have enough money saved to cover all the costs. There are some financing options you can explore to help you foot the bill, including the following.

1. Insurance

Non-surgical cosmetic procedures, like fillers, chemical peels and hair removals, are not covered by insurance providers. However, your insurer may cover some of the costs of certain plastic surgeries, if they’re needed for medical reasons.

For example, if you have a deviated septum and it’s affecting your breathing, your insurer may cover your rhinoplasty. Likewise, if you have a droopy eyelid that’s impairing your vision and need to get a blepharoplasty, it will likely be covered as well. That said, getting funds from your insurer can be challenging, as you’ll need to provide extensive proof that the surgery is needed for medical and not for cosmetic reasons.

2. Medical credit card

A medical credit card or medical line of credit is a type of financing option that’s usually available at your physician’s office. To apply, you’ll need to provide your name, address, date of birth, net annual income, social security number and housing information.

Once you get approved, these cards act like any other credit card: you’ll pay interest on your accrued balance and will have a minimum due each month. Some companies, like CareCredit, even have a 0 percent introductory offer for a specified period of time, that allows you to pay off your medical expense, without incurring interest.

However, not all physicians offer medical credit cards and interest rates can be as high as 26.99 percent. That means you could end up paying thousands in interest alone on top of the original cost of your surgery.

3. Zero-interest credit card

Some credit card companies offer consumers interest-free purchases for a specific period of time through a 0 percent introductory offer. This offer can last anywhere from six to 18 months. After that, any balance carried will start accruing interest.

Zero-interest credit cards can be a great way of financing a cosmetic procedure as you have the flexibility to pay as you go. However, to qualify for this offer you’ll need excellent credit and a stable source of income. Besides that, the average credit card APR sits just above 20 percent, which is something to keep in mind, especially if you’re trying to save money.

4. Payment plan

Some doctors offer in-house payment plans that allow you to split the charges in fixed, monthly installments. The biggest benefit of choosing this option is that, in most cases, these plans are not subject to credit approval. On the downside, not many doctors’ carry these payment plans, as many find it easier to let third-parties handle these financing options, so you’ll have to do some extensive research.

5. Personal loan

If after exhausting all other options (savings, payment plans, insurance, etc.), you still need to come up with additional funds to pay for your procedure, personal loans are another alternative you can explore.

Personal loans feature fixed interest rates and terms, which means your payment amount will remain the same throughout the life of the loan. They also have much lower interest rates than those of credit cards. According to a Bankrate study, the average two-year personal loan currently has an interest rate of 10.6 percent. Besides that, you also don’t need excellent credit to qualify, as many lenders will work with consumers with less-than-perfect credit profiles.

That said, taking out a loan to pay for a cosmetic procedure is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Defaulting on your loan could have serious financial consequences that could haunt you for many years to come. Before signing on the dotted line, make sure to compare lenders and understand the terms and conditions thoroughly. This, in turn, will help you avoid any future credit or financial woes.