Are You Nervous About Traveling Due To Your Recent Knee/Hip Replacement?
So, you’ve recently undergone a total knee replacement or total hip replacement surgery and are planning on traveling sometime in the future. You’re absolutely certain that your new artificial implanted joint isn’t plastic, so it must be metal, right? But wait! Every type of metal object has to be removed prior to walking through an airport scanner – you’ll have to take off your belt, your shoes, your watch – and you’ll even have to remove your cell phone and keys from your pockets before stepping foot into the scanner to ensure that the alarm doesn’t sound. But, what about your metal hip or knee? You can’t remove that!

Airport Security Scanners
Roughly 90% of all implants from total knee or total hip arthroplasty will most definitely set off the security alarms when passing through an airport security scanning system. Even if your particular implant only contains small traces of metal, it will more than likely sound the alarm. In previous years, those patients with an implanted joint would be required to present the TSA agent(s) with an identification card from their personal Orthopedic surgeon, acknowledging that you have an artificial implant that can potentially set off the security alarm.

Here Are Your Options
Since the old days of formal identification cards, times have certainly changed! Now, patients who are nervous about their implant potentially setting off the alarm are only required to inform the TSA agent prior to walking through the scanner that they have a joint implant from a recent total knee or total hip replacement surgery that contains metal. In addition, you could discreetly fill out the TSA Notification Card to explicitly identify and acknowledge your implant in writing prior to passing through the scanner. This method helps to protect your privacy while also informing the TSA agent of your implant. However, you must also fully acknowledge the fact that simply disclosing your implant may not be enough to warrant your security clearance. A TSA agent reserves the right to demand additional screening processes, including a pat down process. In the event that you are required to undergo a pat down process, it is best to wear clothes that will enable you to easily provide visual evidence of your surgical scar to the TSA agent(s). Many patients offer, and sometimes prefer, to go through the X-Ray process to reduce the likelihood of a pat down. Not only should the X-Ray help to clear you through security checkpoints, but it will also provide the TSA agents with the required proof that you have an artificial implant that contains metals strong enough to be detected by their systems.

Talk To Your Doctor
And don’t forget, you can always talk to your Orthopedic surgeon prior to your travels! Ask them for their advice, what they recommend, and maybe which process would be the easiest for you. Because this is such a common occurrence, TSA agents are often non-problematic and will simply provide a more extensive verification to ensure that your implant is just that, an implant!
So, have you lost your ability to travel or fly on an airplane? Absolutely not! You may just have to spend a few more minutes at airport security, but then you’ll be sent right on your way.

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