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Old Nov 24, 05, 10:17 am   #1
 
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Exclamation Ankle a Security Problem?

I recently broke my ankle and had to get metal pins and a metal plate put in it for good. I have a cruise to go on this summer and I have to fly to Canada to take this cruise. Is there documentation i need to get or are the scars good enough proof?
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Old Nov 24, 05, 5:41 pm   #2
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Issues with security depend on where you're traveling from. If you're in the US, here's a link to the the TSA - Traveling with Disabilities page. Security screening won't be waived, but make sure you communicate your condition to the screeners.

If you have documentation from your doctor, that helps. I've seen people with cards that indicate they have conditions that prevent certain types of screening or that they'll set off the medical detector. If you ask your doctor, they should be able to walk you through the best way to travel.
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Old Nov 25, 05, 5:45 am   #3
 
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From the TSA page linked above:

"If you have a medical device (on the interior or exterior of your body) check with your doctor prior to traveling to determine if it is safe for you to go through the metal detector or be handwanded. If your Doctor indicates that you should not go through the metal detector or be handwanded, or if you are concerned, ask the screener for a pat-down inspection instead."
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Old Nov 25, 05, 6:02 am   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nfc
If you have documentation from your doctor, that helps. I've seen people with cards that indicate they have conditions that prevent certain types of screening or that they'll set off the medical detector. If you ask your doctor, they should be able to walk you through the best way to travel.
I travel frequently with a friend who has an artificial hip and carries all the medical documentation required by TSA with her. This middle aged grandmotherly individual has yet to go through security without triggering the full secondary work up - wanding, pat down, bag search, etc. The documentation of her surgery and hip implantation carries no weight with the screeners. I have yet to see even one screener glance at it, much less read it. The bottom line is - you trigger the metal detector, you get the works. We have learned to get to the airport with a huge time margin to allow for this procedure.
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Old Nov 25, 05, 6:09 pm   #5
 
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ParadiseDaze,
Encouraging words for you: I had a 4-5 inch-long metal plate with about 5 metal screws put in my leg right above the ankle last spring and I've had no problems with security. I have never triggered a WTMD. It showed up once with the hand-held, but with an explanation and a glance at the scar, that was the end of it. I do have a note from my surgeon that I sometimes take with me, but generally don't bother, as it just hasn't seemed to trigger enough scrutiny to make it worth carrying.
Enjoy your travels & don't bother worrying.
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Old Nov 25, 05, 6:11 pm   #6
 
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I have 3 metal pins holding my right knee together. I have never had problems with screening. I have more problems with a belt buckle.
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Old Nov 26, 05, 12:51 am   #7
 
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I have had a metal hip for three years, and when I pass through airport security I always set off the alarm. However, it is now part of my life that I get screened 100%, and when the TSA Officers can see that you aware of the procedures etc it doesn't take that long to get it done. I ensure my shoes are placed on the belt for x-ray, and place everything else in my carry on so that I don't have anything else metal, apart from my hip.
Procedure.
1. You sit down while they use the wand over your legs and feet.
2. Then you stand while they use the wand over the rest of your body,
3. Then when it is apparent the only part of your body that sets off the wand is my hip, they give me a a brief pat down. (they always ask first)
4. Its all over and done with in a matter of minutes, and the longest part is putting my shoes, belt etc back on.

Its a small price to pay for security, and I get the same procedure when I go through airports in Australia. I have read posts on TSA Agents with a bad attitude etc, but have not struck one thus far.
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Old Nov 27, 05, 9:29 pm   #8
 
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I have a screw (about 1-1/2 inches long) on each side of one ankle. I have never set off the metal detector either in Canda (YVR, YUL, YYZ) or the US (SEA, ORD, etc).

But then years ago, a friend of mine set it off with the under-wire for her bra
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Old Dec 1, 05, 1:10 pm   #9
 
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I had 3 metal screws in my ankle (since removed), but I still have a metal plate in my leg. I have had these since the spring of 2001.

Even after 9-11, I have never been called on these. (Belt buckles and coat buttons - that's another matter! ) Just to be sure, I carry a card from my surgeon. But I've never had to use it.
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Old Dec 2, 05, 1:58 pm   #10
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Looks like there are a lot of us with metal parts

I had 2 screws and a bolt in my ankle (removed now) and still have a 7" metal plate in my leg. Initially I set off the WTMD 100% of the time; after the 2 screws and bolt were removed it was 50% of the time. Now it seems I rarely set off the WTMD. However, when I do, I immediately advise the screener that I have a plate in my right leg.

The metal plate does react to the hand held metal detector and the screener just pats down the area. I tell them in advance that the scar area is sensitive.

Initially I carried a doctor's note, but no screener seemed interested in it because it's something easily forged. I also carried a printout of my x-ray just to gross out any screener who was giving me a hard time.
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Old Dec 2, 05, 4:08 pm   #11
 
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There was a big news story in Denver about a grandma that was sent home by TSA because of I think a hip replacement and/or artificial leg. (I believe it was this past summer) They refused to allow her through security. I would advise having a very detailed letter from the doctor.
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Old Dec 2, 05, 6:54 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat89339
Looks like there are a lot of us with metal parts
That's what I was thinking!

Quote:
I also carried a printout of my x-ray just to gross out any screener who was giving me a hard time.
And *that* is awesome!
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Old Dec 3, 05, 2:10 am   #13
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Originally Posted by Telfes
And *that* is awesome!
Actually, I'd recommend that everyone with hardware do that. It's easy, as long as you have a cooperative orthopod and a flatbed scanner for your computer. Just ask to borrow your x-ray and scan it with the scanner lid open. You can then print it out at home.
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Old Dec 12, 05, 1:12 pm   #14
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I have a metal knee which always sets off the detector and have been subject to secondary screening hundreds of times. I carry no documentation and simply tell the gate screener that I have the metal knee before I can be threatened with secondary screening for not removing my shoes (which I never do) and I then promptly walk over to the screening line. I make it clear to them that I have been thru this many times and that their best course is to get done with me quickly. Why they refused to let the LOL with the hip thru puzzles me. You know that there must be something more to that story because it just cannot happen that way and that all the letters, x-rays, scan results and even the doctor in person with his hand over his heart swearing he put the metal part into you will make not a whit of difference to the TSA.

When I'm shown where they want me to sit, I simply loosen my belt and put up my right foot (their manual says right foot first) and frequently this pre-empts a request to remove the shoes. I would guess that nowadays the shoe carnival happens to me about half of the time.

I can't imagine that carrying an x-ray or photocopy would be of any use because they are still going to give you the same shakedown that you would have gotten without it. The best way to short circuit the inspection procdure is to use the same location every time so that some of them get to know you. And then it's a breeze.
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Old Dec 17, 05, 7:45 pm   #15
 
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I gave up on X-ray...

Quote:
Originally Posted by monitor
I can't imagine that carrying an x-ray or photocopy would be of any use because they are still going to give you the same shakedown that you would have gotten without it.
Count me in the "don't bother" school.

My only suggestion is to be aware that they sometimes use the term "surgical pin". It took me a while to realize that my 6 inch rod is called a pin. That seemed a trifle diminutive.

Anyway, let them know where you have metal and you shpuldn't have any problems.
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