Rhinoplasty Without Insurance?

I've had a crooked nose since the time I entered high school. I never had enough money to fix it until now. The main problem now is that I do not have any health insurance.

If the plastic surgeon wants me to get a C.T. scan, I am definitely refusing. Would you recommend for me to get a Rhinoplasty procedure without insurance and without a CT scan of my facial bones?

Also, do you think the plastic surgeon would refuse to perform on me?

Doctor Answers 14

Rhinoplasty is not often covered by medical insurance

Rhinoplasty for cosmetic shaping and refinement of the nose is not covered by most insurance plans except in the case of recent accident and injury which can be well documented. Breathing difficulties can be covered, however again insurance is usually very careful to exclude any cosmetic changes made to the nose. Surgeons are used to working under these limitations and you should have no trouble finding a nasal surgeon to care for you without insurance coverage as a self paying patient.

The CT scan suggested is not necessary for cosmetic rhinoplasty and is most likely to diagnose sinus disease. If you do have a medical condition that requires attention stick with your physician until you can make an informed decision about treatment.

Best of luck,


Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Patient compliance is important (but I doubt a CT will be required)

Your question brings up several issues.

One issue is whether a CT scan will be ordered. A CT is not necessary for evaluation of the external shape of the nose. That assessment is done by the surgeon looking at the nose and in the nose, and by feeling the nose. A CT scan would be required if there is suspicion of sinus disease or maxillofacial trauma.

A second issue is that of insurance. Improving the appearance of the nose is not covered by insurance anyway, so the point is moot. Plus, many (most) insurance policies do not cover complications arising from cosmetic surgery. Example: patient has an intra-operative heart attack (exceedingly rare, I know, but possible) that now requires an ICU admission, cardiac catheterization, echocardiogram, specialist consults, etc... tens of thousands of dollars of care or more. Most times, your insurance will not cover that since it was subsequent to cosmetic surgery.

There is a company or service I saw once (can't recall the name) that specifically offered coverage for just this scenario for plastic surgery patients.

The last issue that you raise is one of patient compliance. If a patient does not want to follow the doctor's recommendations, such as getting a CT, then it's probably best that the patient finds another doctor. Doctors don't get paid for ordering tests. We don't order them for our amusement. We order them when our clinical judgment suggests it's helpful in the care of the patient.

All the best,


David C. Pearson, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Rhinoplasty Without Insurance or CT Scan

Hi S,

If you have had a history of sinus infections and wish to have possible sinus surgery along with rhinoplasty, then a C.T. scan of your sinuses would by indicated. A CT scan is not necessary for rhinoplasty or for straightening of the nose.

Most insurance companies will not cover rhinoplasty, consequently most rhinoplasty surgery is done without insurance. In the rare instance of a complication that would require hospitalization, then you would be responsible for the hospital charges. Hopefully Pres. Obama will have an insurance plan for you to get on in the near future.

Good luck and be well.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Rhinoplasty without insurance?

Hello!  Thank you for your question.  A CT scan is not completely necessary for a rhinoplasty, but your surgeon may be looking for something specific for surgical planning.  It will be up to your surgeon if he requires.  You should discuss with him/her.  Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Rhinoplasty does not require a .CT scan

Some insurance companies have required scans for preauthorization which is ironic because the scan costs almost as much as they pay in network doctors. This is probably part of a plan to deny payment or to create such difficult barriers to surgery that patients either give up or pay out of pocket.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Rhinoplasty not covered by insurance

A rhinoplasty is not covered by any medical insurance whatsoever and is considered completely cosmetic. If the nose has been broken by an injury it can sometimes be covered under a medical insurance plan if the procedure is simply to correct the nose for any breathing problems that was the result of the injury. A CAT scan of the sinuses is only needed for chronic sinus disease to diagnose chronic allergic nasal polyps located inside the sinuses. There is no reason to get a CAT scan of your nasal bones.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

CT scan is used to help rule out sources of airway obstruction

Rarely in my practice do I order a CT scan for patients that present with interest in performing a cosmetic rhinoplasty. As stated by some of the other specialists, insurance companies don't cover the cosmetic (or external, as they see it) portion of a rhinoplasty. They will cover internal problems causing airway obstruction or external problems caused by trauma or cancer.

If you don't have health insurance and are paying cash, you should speak with your surgeon about the procedure cost breakdown, that is, how much is he charging to repair the external appearance if you don't have significant airway obstruction. If the internal problems are significant enough to be causing some of the outward deformity such as a deviated septum, then you will need to have that treated also.

Joseph M. Perlman, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

CT scans of the nose are used to evaluate obstruction or sinus disease

I think you may be confusing two different issues.

Surgeons rarely need a CT scan for a rhinoplasty. However, they frequently request it when contemplating a functional rhinoplasty in which the sinuses or breathing disorders are also being treated.

Plastic surgeons will not likely refuse your request but in this era of defensive medicine, they may request that you sign a document stating that you refused the recommendation.

If you are seeking to improve your breathing, then I would advise you to get a CT scan to make sure there are not other causes for your obstructive symptoms.

If, however, you want to only improve the appearance, then it is possible that a plastic surgeon would proceed without a CT scan

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

You do not need a C.T. scan for a rhinoplasty.


You can certainly have a rhinoplasty without a C.T. scan.  And cosmetic surgery of your nose is not covered by insurance anyway.  If you have real breathing problems that can be corrected together with your rhinoplasty, that may be covered by insurance.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews


 If you are unhappy with the appearance of your nose, then a rhinoplasty is an option for treatment. I do not routinely get CT scans unless there are strong indications to obtain one. Usually this is related to breathing issues.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.