Medical Metal Implants

Old Jan 22, 07, 9:45 am
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Medical Metal Implants

According to the TSA Web site pax are advised to alert CP security officers if they have metal implants. Fair enough.

I've just been the lucky recipient of metal plates and screws in my right ankle. While I don't mind going through the WMD in principle, I'm now facing a lifetime of secondary searches because of the inevitable ping.

Apparently, people with Pacemakers can get a special Pacemaker ID card so they can bypass the WMDs altogether. Does anyone know if there's a card for those with metal implants such that they can get a reasonable secondary pat down and not a full-on body massage? As I stated above, I'm not looking to get around the WMD, but I do want to minimize my hassles.
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Old Jan 22, 07, 10:04 am
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I have a titanium screw in my foot and have never set off the security machines. Perhaps the material makes a difference.
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Old Jan 22, 07, 10:53 am
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I, like you, am looking forward to a lifetime of secondary searches with two metal plates and pins in my ankle along with a few screws. I was told that, unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to circumvent such searches. So far, I can't walk through on my own so I have to have it; however one supervisor checked the "level" and said, yes, I will put almost all metal detectors off. I've assigned myself to this sad, long, future.

I also told my husband that I am going to try and figure out how to travel less, so I did a plan, and even with that, I'm still traveling, on average, every week. I have been fortunate to have 95% good screeners throughout this. Sigh.
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Old Jan 22, 07, 11:03 am
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Even with a Pacemaker ID, they are still subjected to a full body pat down. I see passengers with there implant cards that have an x-ray of the joint. Nothing I can do for them other than hand wand. There is no method to circumvent. If you bypass the WTMD, you will get a full pat down.

I do believe that it is unfortunate that the folks with metal implants will have to face some form of secondary search every time they travel. Maybe if they find a way to make the backscatter better, the secondaries will cease. Then again, not too many people like the idea of being "x-ray'ed" every time they travel either.
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Old Jan 22, 07, 11:20 am
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I'm trying to imagine what could actually be done, absent a national flyer ID card or some such, to let people who set off the metal detector 'take a pass' and/or get hand wanded?

It's been pointed out a zillion times that a doctor's note isn't something the TSA can/should interpret, so no need to go there!
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Old Jan 22, 07, 1:28 pm
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Originally Posted by essxjay View Post
According to the TSA Web site pax are advised to alert CP security officers if they have metal implants. Fair enough.

I've just been the lucky recipient of metal plates and screws in my right ankle. While I don't mind going through the WMD in principle, I'm now facing a lifetime of secondary searches because of the inevitable ping.

Apparently, people with Pacemakers can get a special Pacemaker ID card so they can bypass the WMDs altogether. Does anyone know if there's a card for those with metal implants such that they can get a reasonable secondary pat down and not a full-on body massage? As I stated above, I'm not looking to get around the WMD, but I do want to minimize my hassles.
The people with pace makers and defibrillators are not supposed to go through the WTMD because in the old days, the magnetic field from the WTMD would shut them down. This doesnt happen today with new pacemaker technology but TSA doesnt want to take that chance.
Therefore people with electronic implants (and there are others besides the two I mentioned) get a full body pat down. Any person can request a full body pat down and they dont have to give a reason. It has to be a full patdown though there is no shortcut to this. With implants like you have, you may set off the WTMD. When this happens you will be subject to a hand wand secondary screening. This is faster and less intrusive than a full pat down. You will get touched at the area the implants are in. Along with the secondary hand wand comes the second part were TSA is required to pat your arms, sides, belly, back and thighs. There is no way around this either. If someone shows a card to TSA about an implant, we are obligated to view the card but it does nothng as far as getting you are shortcut to the screening process.
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Old Jan 22, 07, 2:19 pm
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In Canada (FWIW) you get an specific ID card if you have a hip/knee/joint replacement or surgical metal anywhere in your body.
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Old Jan 22, 07, 2:27 pm
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I have a metal plate keeping my tibia together on my left knee. I have a few piercings (downstairs - I wont elaborate). I have not had any trouble with them. They have not set off any metal detectors.
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Old Jan 22, 07, 2:32 pm
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My son has had 3 spinal surgeries and is loaded with rods, screws and cages. He never beeps when he goes through security. It's kind of funny because he used to beep all the time before he had the metal implants. He asked his neurosurgeon for an ID card stating he has metal implants. The doctor said he didn't need one and they don't give cards anymore because the metal is titanium.
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Old Jan 22, 07, 4:03 pm
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I also have numerous body piercings which are not visible when I am dressed. They have never set off any metal detectors.....except, once, in FRA....and after he checked it out more thoroughly, I thought I was going to get a marriage proposal!
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Old Jan 22, 07, 4:04 pm
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metal implants

Most medical implants are made of titanium. As airport metal detectors are giant magnometers that need a ferrous/iron based metal to set them off. At least that is what my surgeon told me when he took my gall bladder out and said that I did not have to worry if I needed an MRI.
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Old Jan 22, 07, 4:08 pm
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Originally Posted by kevinsac View Post
I also have numerous body piercings which are not visible when I am dressed. They have never set off any metal detectors.....except, once, in FRA....and after he checked it out more thoroughly, I thought I was going to get a marriage proposal!
I think it depends on the airport my metal hand brace set off the alarm in JFK, GSO and RDU. But in MEM it did not set if off. The screener kept asking me if I was sure it was metal.
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Old Jan 22, 07, 4:55 pm
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Originally Posted by PhilaBurbTom View Post
Most medical implants are made of titanium. As airport metal detectors are giant magnometers that need a ferrous/iron based metal to set them off. At least that is what my surgeon told me when he took my gall bladder out and said that I did not have to worry if I needed an MRI.
The ferrous property of metal doesnt apply to the WTMD. The term magnetometer is very antiquated. A brief on metal detection works like this. The metal detector emits a radio frequency. As a physical property of the metal is concerned, any time a metal of any kind encounters a magnetic field, and eddy current is produced across its surface. This eddy current causes the metal to induce its own magnetic field. This field has a strength based on the type of metal and the amount of metal. It is a physical property of metal that the better it conducts electricity, the worse it induces a magnetic field. Therefore because titanium is good inductor and it is actually is magnetic in a very slight way it will trigger the metal detector. The reason that it is used for medical implants is because of its high strength and light weight.
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Old Jan 22, 07, 5:04 pm
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Originally Posted by kevinsac View Post
except, once, in FRA....
I confess I first read that as: "except, once, my PA ..."
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Old Jan 22, 07, 5:19 pm
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Originally Posted by eyecue View Post
You will get touched at the area the implants are in. ....
There is no way around this either.
So do women with pacemakers get to have the chests felt up every time they fly?
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