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Thread: Airport Metal Dectectors

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Question Airport Metal Dectectors

    I wonder why my stainless steel rod doesn’t activate the metal detectors at the airport?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    metal detectors

    The same with me and others. I surmise that they changed the sensitivity because so many people have artificial hips, knees, spinal instrumentation that it would drive them crazy for no reason.
    A hand held wand over my back went off once and the lady felt my back.
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    east coast
    I once had my bra set off the metal detecter at the UN visitor center in NYC (super sensative :-x). The cute security guard who wanded me said "What do you have here? Oh--"

    Hasn't happened again but that was pretty embarassing

    Maybe your body generates enough disturbance so that the machine can't detect metal w/in the body... or they just set it up so that metal used in surgeries won't set off the alarm.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Some people set it off at times, as I have read on this site(David K. Wolpert).

    Don't know why it happens at certain times and not on others.

    I still have a paper from my GP saying I had Titanium rods just in case.
    35 y/old female from Montreal, Canada
    Diagnosed with scoliosis(double major) at age 12, wore Boston brace 4 years at least 23 hours a day-curve progressed
    Surgery age 26 for 60 degree curve in Oct. 1997 by Dr.Max Aebi-fused T5 to L2
    Surgery age 28 for a hook removal in Feb. 1999 by Dr.Max Aebi-pain free for 5 years
    Surgery age 34 in Dec.2005 for broken rod replacement, bigger screws and crosslinks added and pseudarthrosis(non union) by Dr. Jean Ouellet

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    As much hardware as I have I set off the alarms before I even walk threw the thingie-lol. I carry a card but sometimes I still get strip searched. You would think when they see a scar from my butt to my neck?
    March 23, 2006 Anterior/posterior Ileum-T2
    15 1/2 Hours
    Dr. Tom Lowe R.I.P.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Columbus, Ohio
    I didn't have any problems when I went through the security checkpoint last summer. I did give the TSA agents a fair warning before I went through about the rods in my back just in case. My mom, on the other hand, still has to get wanded even if she has the total knee replacement scars on both knees. It must be a different type of steel or the fact that my rods have been inside for just over 20 years.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    I asked that question to Dr. Dickson when I was scheduled to have my surgery back in 1984. He said that it more than likely wouldn't set it off.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    I am flying next month for the first time since my surgery and wonder if I should bring up the topic with my surgeon just in case. I know that I technically have not set off metal detectors, but have set off some of those anti theft alarms at retail stores. I walk out without any bags or anything except for a small (almost change size) purse, and the darn alarm goes off. I mention rods and the people just laugh. Anyways, maybe I should give his office a ring.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    My surgeon also told me that I wouldn't set off the detectors, but I've traveled 3 times in the past 18 months and I've set off every airport detector from airports in Boston, Orlando, Oregon, London & Shannon, Ireland. After my first trip, I had an appt. w/my surgeon and told him about it, he was amazed....he really didn't think it would be an issue. He gave me a note to carry with me, but it hasn't done me any good, I still get the wand and pat down. I also give the TSA agents warning before I walk through that it might go off and sure always does! I've heard many of the agents comment on the large number of people they have to search due to all of the medical procedures w/hardware that are done these days. I've come to realize that it's just part of my travel life now and plan for the extra time that it takes to get through security.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Houston, Texas now live in Colorado Springs, CO
    For about the first year after my surgery, I set the alarms off. Now I don't. My thinking behind the whole issue of whether or not you set off the alarm is that when you first have the surgery, that possiblly the metal is still so "exposed". Over time, as muscle and bone regrow it covers the metal so it is not as likely to set off the alarms. This whole past year, I have not set off one alarm, I still warn them though just in case.

    April 8 & 12, 2004 - Anterior/Posterior surgery 15 hours & 7 hours
    Thorasic - 79 degree down to 22
    Lumbar - 44 degree down to 18
    Fused T2 to sacrum
    June 2, 2005 - Pedicle subtraction osteotomy @L3 7 hours
    MAY 21, 2007 - Pedicle subtraction osteotomy @ L2, extended the fusion to S2 and added pelvic instrumentation 9 hours


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Air Port Metal Detector

    Neither do I have any problem the past 16 years with Harington rodding. Have been travelling frequently every year...Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, Australia, London, Belgium and Paris. So far so good, not a single metal detector ever activated by me!
    Midnite Midnite

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    I've heard that the sensitivity of the metal detectors can be turned up or down. With recent terrorist attempts I would guess that they have now been turned up.


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