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After a total joint replacement whether it be a hip, knee, shoulder or elbow the most frequently asked question is, “Will I set off a metal detector?” It’s not always a straight yes or no answer but is more like a “most likely”. So it’s best to be prepared before hitting the blue skies.




The metal detectors in the airports vary in sensitivity, so a person who had surgery on a broken wrist may not have an issue but a person with a new knee joint quite possibly may. Wearing clothes that allow you to easily reveal your surgical scar may be one of the easiest things you could do for yourself when traveling through the airports.



In the past, patients were given cards from their physicians with information on their joint replacements, but with the advancements in technology those cards can now be so easily replicated in the comfort of someones home that they are no longer valid in the eyes of the TSA.


TSA security

Patients are no longer required to carry a implant identification cards. It can still be unnerving going through airport security knowing that you will, most likely, be singled out for additional scanning.


“Many passengers find it helpful to have medical documentation as a way to discreetly communicate information about their needs to an officer.” HOWEVER, this will not exempt the passenger or patient from additional screening if they should set off the metal detector.


“Many patients now prefer to be screened by imaging technology (X-ray Machine) to reduce the likelihood of a pat-down being necessary. If a pat-down is selected by the TSA, it will be helpful to wear clothes that allow you to easily reveal your surgical scar.” -AAHKS



Author: Stephanie Jones