Getting through airport security smoothly with a Hip or Knee Implant

When travelling having had a hip or knee replacement, the implant is likely to set off airport detectors.  This is not usually problematic as airport security staff are accustomed to such situations, but it is best to be prepared:

Advise security officers about your implant. 

Let the security officer know that you have a replacement and where it is located. The security officer should offer you a private screening consisting of a hand held detector sweep and a pat-down inspection. You will not need to show your surgical scar or remove any clothing, but feel free to ask to be screened in a private area.

Carry a joint replacement ID card

These cards identify the holder of the card as a joint replacement patient. They are not essential, but can be helpful.  They confirm that the implant may activate metal-detectors.   At Specialist Hip & Knee Surgery we have now introduced the “Joint Replacement Passport” to help identify our patients as having an implant in place.  All new hip and knee replacement clients will be issued with a card, and we are also sending cards to our past clients.

Please find here some further general  information from the TSA that might also be of some help.

Pacemakers, Defibrillators, Other Implanted Medical Devices, & Metal Implants

Source: TSA website

    • If you have implanted medical device, that you would like to remain private and confidential, ask the Security Officer to please be discreet when assisting you through the screening process.
    • It is recommended (but not required) that individuals with a pacemaker carry a Pacemaker Identification Card (ID) when going through airport security. Show the Security Officer your pacemaker ID, if you have one, and ask the Security Officer to conduct a pat-down inspection rather than having you walk-through the metal detector or be handwanded
    • It is recommended (but not required) that you advise the Security Officer that you have an implanted pacemaker, other implanted medical device, or metal implant and where that implant is located
    • Security Officer will offer you a private screening once it becomes known that you have a metal implant or implanted medical device
    • If your Doctor has indicated that you should not go through the metal detector or be handwanded because it could affect the functionality of your device or the magnetic calibration of your device, or if you are concerned, ask the Security Officer for a pat-down inspection instead.
    • Security Officers will need to resolve all alarms associated with metal implants. Most alarms will be able to be resolved during a pat-down, therefore clothing will not be required to be removed or lifted as part of the inspection process.