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View Full Version : Going through airport security with heavy metal in my ankle


Freckles_51
January 13th, 2013, 07:17 PM
I suffered a broken ankle recently (in Honolulu, missing my Hawaii cruise....waaahhh!!!). Anyway, I had surgery and now have "heavy metal" ;)(several large screws, a plate, etc) in my ankle. Is it necessary to obtain a letter from the surgeon to show airport security, to explain why the alarms go off when going through the scanner?

Daisyloo
January 13th, 2013, 07:21 PM
I think that it would be a good idea to have a letter from your doctor. It will probably save you lots of hassles.

LHT28
January 13th, 2013, 07:28 PM
Sorry to hear about your accident
I had a knee replacement I told them about it they send you to the body scan the wand you anyway
I had the letter they never looked at it

Good luck

Laurie S.
January 13th, 2013, 07:53 PM
Don't bother with a letter, TSA isn't interested. I have a hip replacement and set off the alarm every now and then. I tell them about the metal in my hip and stand patiently while I get wanded. It's all you can do.

klfrodo
January 13th, 2013, 08:31 PM
or,
if you fly often enough you can join the Trusted Traveller program. Google GOES

Stelladoro
January 13th, 2013, 10:39 PM
I also have some metal in my ankle but never had a problem with airport security. Hope your ankle heals properly.

Strawberry
January 13th, 2013, 11:35 PM
I broke my wrist and have a metal plate and screws etc. and I have never mentioned it to the screener. My doctor told me it was "surgical stainless steel" and would not set off a metal detector and it hasn't.

lovesublime
January 14th, 2013, 02:31 AM
No letter neeeded. I broke my ankle badly a couple of years ago (both bones and a dislocation). I had the large screws, metal plate etc. I asked my orthopedic surgeon about setting off airport alarms...he told me it wouldn't happen and not to worry about it. I flew a couple of times with that ankle hardware and never set off anything and was never questioned. All that metal has since been removed and ankle is doing great. Hoping you heal up as quickly as I did. Good Luck!

NorbertsNiece
January 14th, 2013, 05:12 AM
Don't bother with a letter, TSA isn't interested. I have a hip replacement and set off the alarm every now and then. I tell them about the metal in my hip and stand patiently while I get wanded. It's all you can do.

Ditto.
A letter can be fabricated.

Freckles_51
January 14th, 2013, 07:23 AM
Thanks all for responding. I will not bother with the letter then, judging from others experiences it isn't worth the hassle of trying to get to the surgeon's office (cannot drive right now) or paying for his time to write a letter.

trev71
January 14th, 2013, 07:55 AM
i have metal rods in my spine of my back since 1988 and they never ever set off the metal dector. But how when they do the body scan on me usualy i get a extra special pat down. :rolleyes:

Laurie S.
January 14th, 2013, 12:34 PM
Shortly after my operation, a TSA supervisor told me it's all based on how quickly you walk through the scanner. He said if you go slowly, it gives the detector time to focus on the metal and beep. You can't run, obviously, but walk through at a steady, not slow, speed. Once I was able to do that after my leg healed, it rarely set off the alarm. He showed me that they're watching a screen and when metal is detected, the alert level escalates on it. If you go slowly, it will peak and alert, if you go faster and steadily, it won't go off.

Of course, all bets are off with the new technology. On my last flight out of DFW, the agents saw the metal in my leg and asked what was in my right pocket. I looked at the screen, said it's not in my pocket and it's my LEFT side. They couldn't even read their own screen properly.

waterbug123
January 14th, 2013, 04:19 PM
or,
if you fly often enough you can join the Trusted Traveller program. Google GOES

You still have to go through a metal detector at security.

FlyerTalker
January 14th, 2013, 06:09 PM
From the post title, I was wondering if you were stuffing Motley Crue and Iron Maiden CDs into your boot. :D

kardut
January 14th, 2013, 08:17 PM
I'm an orthopedic nurse and can tell you that, like others have sais, TSA will just laugh at the letter. We used to give patients who had joint replacements a card, but since 9-11 that's a no-go.

When you get to security, just tell them what you had done and request to go through the new body scanner. You'd be surprised how many people have metal in their body -- they're used to it!

Hope you fell better!

Azulann
January 15th, 2013, 01:37 AM
My friend has had two hip replacements, one knee and one shoulder replacment. When she get to the TSA screen , she just say she is full of metal parts. She sometimes gets get wanded, or the full body screen and is on her way.

Gunner22aa
January 15th, 2013, 08:17 AM
I have carried a plate for over 20 years thanks to a multiple fracture incured on a military parachute jump. It has set metal detectors off in the past but only about once out of four scans. It always sets off the wand. 99% of the time they feel the ankle, find nothing and I'm on my way. Only once was I asked to remove my sock for a closer look and that was at YYZ. Once they saw the scar I was on my way. I would think that half the travellers over 60 are sporting some bionic part. It really isn't an issue at all.

ducklite
January 15th, 2013, 11:08 AM
or,
if you fly often enough you can join the Trusted Traveller program. Google GOES

And what?

Yo still have to go through security and you still will get wanded/hand searched if you set off the detectors.

Grammyluvs
January 15th, 2013, 12:30 PM
I also broke my ankle and have plate, screws and pins on out side and just pins on the inside. I have never set off an alarm. Dr said he would give me a card verifying it if I wanted it but they didn't pay any attention to them. When you think about it, how easy would they be to counterfeit.

Freckles_51
January 15th, 2013, 12:59 PM
From the post title, I was wondering if you were stuffing Motley Crue and Iron Maiden CDs into your boot. :D

Sorry yes it was a little play on words, I maybe should've put "heavy metal" in quotes or added a wink ;)

fabnfortysomething
January 15th, 2013, 03:42 PM
it seems to depend on how much metal is in your body
after husbands first hip replacement he didnt set off the detectors
after the second he sets them off without fail

he just explains the situation and they check him with the wand-not a problem and in these days we prefer the extra security