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Thread: What is required to pass an airport inspection? Haven't flown yet since surgery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    177

    What is required to pass an airport inspection? Haven't flown yet since surgery

    Anyone know what is required to get thru airline search inspections with hardware in your body?
    Pam, age 49
    Thoracolumbar curves 80 and 40 corrected to 20 degrees
    April 20, 2012 surgery with Dr. Lenke
    T-3 to sacrum

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
    Posts
    1,573
    In the United States: I understand that Titanium is not detected in the airport metal screen ( that's the hand held wand). I have gone through numerous airport scans in the standup scan that envelops your body and you place your hands over your head). They can see your hardware via their scanner. Sometimes the scanner says, " you have a lot of hardware", but most of the time, they say nothing.

    I am unsure what happens in scanners in other countries, but the hand scanner in Mumbai, India found my ankle titanium hardware (I had not had my back surgery at that point).....the scanner lady did not speak much English. She kept scanning my naked leg, somehow thinking that she would find something different. I showed her the scar, which had pretty much faded and she finally figured that I was OK.

    Susan
    Last edited by susancook; 12-10-2014 at 10:32 PM.
    Adult Onset Degenerative Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Severe disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal Spinal Cord Injury T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Revision Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone
    2018: Removal L4,5 screw

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    177

    As I understood, some type of documentation is required?

    Somebody a while back mentioned some documentation that is required.
    Pam, age 49
    Thoracolumbar curves 80 and 40 corrected to 20 degrees
    April 20, 2012 surgery with Dr. Lenke
    T-3 to sacrum

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Warsaw, MO
    Posts
    373
    I have flown quite a few times since my full fusion and nothing was needed. In fact I never set any alarms at the airport off, but did at the Empire State Building. I then explained my rods, showed my scar and was passed through. You should be okay at the airports though.

    Tamena
    Diagnosed at age 12 with a double major curve

    Braced till age 15

    SSBOB T12-L2 Anterior age 34. (October 22,2012) Dr. Robert Gaines Jr. ( Columbia, MO)

    Revision Surgery T2-Sacrum with Pelvic Fixation Prosterior age 35 (November 13,2013) Dr. Michael Kelly (St. Louis, MO)

    Revision Surgery L4/L5 due to BMP Complication age 36 (November 20,2014) Dr. Michael Kelly (St. Louis, Mo)

    Revision Surgery due to broken rod scheduled for October 19, 2016 with Dr. Michael Kelly (St. Louis, MO)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    807
    Documentation is not needed or used as the agents say it can be falsified. Body scanner if available and then they still wand you or do a pat down. Just allow extra time for this.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,163
    I flew to SF and back last spring…first time since surgery. I set off the alarm in the phone-booth type scanner, and they briefly patted down my back. I offered to show my scar and they were quick to say that wouldn't be necessary. Coming home, in SF, I sailed through security no problem.

    Don't worry, it will not be a problem. You do not need any type of documentation.
    Gayle, age 50
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
    Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
    Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1


    mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
    2010 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    2017 curves stable/skeletely mature

    also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    535
    Hi Pam,

    How are you doing? I've set off airport scanners and then I haven't. I carry a TSA Hidden Disability card and that makes things SO much easier in regards to agents attitude toward me. They are very helpful every time I show my card. The times I didn't have my card, I experience nasty attitudes from the agents. When we flew to Paris, I reprinted a second card in French and I was whisked through very quickly.

    Warmly,
    Doreen
    44 years old at time of surgery, Atlanta GA

    Pre-Surgery Thorasic: 70 degrees, Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 68 degrees, lost 4 inches of height in 2011
    Post-Surgery curves ~10 degrees, regained 4 inches of height

    Posterior T3-sacrum & TLIF surgeries on Nov 28, 2011 with Dr. Lenke, St. Louis
    2 rods, 33 screws, 2 cages, 2 connectors, living a new life I never dreamed of!

    http://thebionicachronicles.blogspot.com/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,936
    I have both anterior and posterior stainless steel implants. Most of the time I do not set off any sensors. Sometimes I do, and believe it's got nothing to do with the implants. The times I've set off the sensors, they simply wand me down and ask if I have any implants. It probably helps that I'm 65, and don't look like much of a threat.

    At work, if a patient asks, we give out a card that states that they have spinal implants, but as pointed out previously, that could very easily be faked.

    --Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    San Francicsco Bay Area
    Posts
    127
    How does one get a TSA disability card? I didn't know there was such a thing. Is there some online form for this that I can get my doctor to sign? It would be good to have for traveling. Thanks,

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    807
    I do not think there is a disability card.I do think you can get a fast pass through the TSA. I think you pay a fee and they take an application. Anything the Dr can give you will not be hooked at as it can be falsified. It really isn't hard, just takes longer. My implants are titanium and I set off the alarm. You can also use a wheelchair and they will take you to a specific line. I have gone through the body scanner and still wander. I do not like the body search but just go with it. With the body search I tell them my spine hurts and do not push on it.New York was the worst because they were very rude. I feel they can do there job without attitude. I have not committed a crime so I do not have to be treated as if I had. The biggest delay was san diego. But I had allowed extra time. The only time I disclosed the metal ahead of time was on a cruise. But it was not a problem .

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,978
    I've never set off an alarm. There's no point worrying about things ahead of time. As Linda said, it's usually no big deal.
    67 and plugging along...
    2007 52° w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15°
    CMT (type 2) DX in 2014, progressing
    NEW 10/2018 x-rays show spondylolisthesis at L4/L5 - Dr. DeWald is monitoring

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

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