Fly Through Airport Security with Your New Joint

After you've recovered from joint replacement surgery, you might be ready for a relaxing vacation. But certain types of joint implants can set off airport security alarms. Here's what you need to know to make your trip through security a smooth one.

Expect security screening to detect implants. In one survey, about half of the 53 patients who had flown since they had joint replacement surgery more than a year before said that their implants had set off airport security metal detectors. When implants were detected, the travelers underwent further screening, but only a few were asked to provide proof of their surgery.

Advise security officers of your implant. Tell the security officers about your joint replacement when you approach the security area. Let them know where your implant is located. The security officer will offer you a private screening that could include screening with a hand-held wand and a pat-down inspection. You will not need to show your surgical scar or remove any clothing, but feel free to ask to be screened in a private area.

Carry a joint replacement ID. Although few people are asked for proof of their surgery, your orthopedic surgeon can provide a card that confirms you have an artificial joint. These cards identify the holder of the card as having a joint replacement. They also state that the implant may activate metal-detection devices. Keep your joint replacement card with you when you travel in case you need to present proof of your implant.

If you have any questions or concerns about airport security screening, call the Transportation Security Administration at 866-289-9673 or visit www.tsa.gov/travelers


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