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Thread: Set off the metal detectors!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Near Houston, TX
    Posts
    495

    Set off the metal detectors!

    Well, as you can see, Sheena set off the metal detectors, they took her to a private room and had to look at her back after patting her down. The securety lady said she thought she felt "something" under her shirt, that "something" was her shoulder blade that still sticks out slightly, I don't know what she thought it could be, a bomb?

    Anyways, on top of that, our flight was cancelled due to bad weather in St. Louis, just as well, I was up 1/2 the night worried about the weather there and here in Houston. We're now one month overdue for her appt., that's the hazards of travelling for surgery, thank goodness Sheena's not having any problems.

    What a fun day!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    254
    Hi Sheri,

    Do you know what type of rods they used on Sheena? I also set off the metal detectors every time i go through. I hope she handled it well, and it dosent happen every time she goes through. Best of luck in her recovery.
    Patty 51 years old
    Surgery May 23, 2007(43 Birthday)
    Posterior T3- L4
    Pre surgery curves
    T-53degrees
    L-38degrees
    and a severe side shift to the right.
    Post surgery curves
    Less than 10 degrees
    Surgery April, 2006
    C4 - C6

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Near Houston, TX
    Posts
    495
    Hi Patty

    She has 2 stainless steel rods. She was ok, it's more of an inconvenience.
    She even has a card issued by Dr. Lenke showing her xray but we forgot it, next time. I'm curious to see if the card will do any good. We're rescheduled for March 6.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
    Posts
    285
    Some of us on this forum made pocket-size copies of our xrays to carry with us. Also, my doctor gave me a card to carry that explained the hardware in my back. I only set off the alarms twice, and I did a lot of traveling back in 2000-2002.
    FeliciaFeliciaFelicia
    10/24/00 posterior fusion T4-L4 at age 57
    8/5/05 posterior surgery for spinal stenosis at L4-L5; laminectomy and fusion
    5/14/07 posterior revision with fusion to sacrum
    2/11/08 anterior discectomy L5-S1, and reinforcement of fusion with plate attached to L5-S1
    3/9/2011 and 3/11/2011 revision surgery with Dr. Lenke, St. Louis - complete revision and fusion with instrumentation from T1 to sacrum, one lumbar osteotomy.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Nampa, Idaho
    Posts
    29
    oh wow! Does anyone know if titanium rods can also set off a metal detector?? And will I need to carry a card that explains my hardware around at airports??
    [[hailey]]

    16 years old
    Had spinal fusion surgery on Jan. 30th, 2008 with Dr. Howard King at St. Luke's Children's Hospital in Boise
    Pre surgery: 52 Lumbar curve and 25 Thoracic curve


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    254
    Thanks Sheri,

    I also went with the stainless steel. I asked the Dr. about a card to carry he said it would do no good. My cousin works for Airport security and we talked about it. her advice was to let them know as I enter I have metal implants down my spine...which I do tell them. I also asked if a copy of the x-rays would help and she said NO. They have no way of knowing there yours. So my next question was will I need to show the scar as thats what my Dr. recammended if there was a problem she laughed and said she didn't think they would want to see it. I'v been stopped every time I go through the airport and they are very nice about it, it can just take time. At one airport we were delayed about an hour. Were going on a cruise in June, I was told everytime we get back on the ship we will go through metal detectors I hope they'll remember me and it will be quick.
    Patty 51 years old
    Surgery May 23, 2007(43 Birthday)
    Posterior T3- L4
    Pre surgery curves
    T-53degrees
    L-38degrees
    and a severe side shift to the right.
    Post surgery curves
    Less than 10 degrees
    Surgery April, 2006
    C4 - C6

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    1,757
    Hailey,

    Titanium and Vitallium hardware doesn't normally set off detectors, although any material that's an electrical conductor *can*.

    Many people with 316 SS rods don't set off detectors (but it seems to do so more often).

    In cases like Sheena (she's very petite), the metal is closer to the surface of the skin, and more likely to disrupt the field of the scan.

    And, Sherie, that's just retarded they held y'all up. How frustrating!
    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
    AIDS Walk Houston 2008 5K @ 33 days post op!


    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
    Pre-op 53, Post-op < 20
    Fused 2/5/08, T4-L1 ... Darrell S. Hanson, Houston


    VIEW MY X-RAYS
    EMAIL ME

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    385
    Alexander has stainless steel rods and is small and thin but he has not set off any metal detectors yet. We've flown back East from Seattle twice since his surgery and both times were very uneventful. The doctor told us not to worry about it and we didn't expect anything to happen so were not surprised. I wonder if different airports have stronger/weaker metal detector machines?

    Sherie, I'm sorry you and Sheena had to be stressed out by that - how annoying! It did happen to us too when Alexander had his brace - they made him take it off and they scanned him and the brace and held us up for a while.

    It all seems so arbitrary and makes me question what good all that scanning does anyway.
    Laurie

    Mother of Alexander & Zachary:
    Alex is 16 years old and in the 11th grade. He has congenital scoliosis due to a hemivertebrae at T10. Wore a TLSO brace for 3 1/2 years. Pre-op curves were T45 & L65; curves post-op are approx. T31 & L34. Had a posterior spinal fusion from T8 to L3 on 7/12/07 at age 12. Doing great now in so many ways, but still working on improving posture.
    Zach is 13 years old and very energetic.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Near Houston, TX
    Posts
    495
    Patty

    That's exactly what we had to do, I lifted up her shirt and showed her the scar and she still said, "I felt something up here" touching her shoulder, at which point I'm getting a little frustrated, wishing I could say "It's a bomb molded into the shape of a shoulder blade, don't make any false moves!" C'mon, she's a kid with her 2 parents! The other security woman was very nice and asked how she was doing and about the surgery. At least you know if you come through Houston Hobby, they will check you carefully.

    I had a feeling the card wouldn't be much use, but we'll try to remember next time just to see what happens. And here we thought we're doing so good with our slip off shoes, no belts, no jewelry, no liquids.........I guess we'll have to start travelling in our undies just to get on the plane.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Near Houston, TX
    Posts
    495
    Hi Laurie

    It is an inconvenience, we just have to make sure we arrive extra early. I don't know enough wether it's the airport, the amount of metal or the persons build (probably all 3). Sheena is thin and petite like Pam said and her rods are probably 16-18" long with 24 screws, that's a LOT of metal. Sheena also set them off in her Spinecor brace and had to be taken to a private room to be wanded, at least she didn't have to remove it.

    How's Alexander doing by the way?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    269
    Sherie,
    Maybe next time you could have Sheena wear a camisole just in case it happens again. That way if she has to lift her shirt all the way to her bra/shoulderblade she has an undershirt and won't be so "exposed". I know when I was her age that would have been DEVISTATING!!! Then if they want to see the scar or something she can just lift the bottom of the cami and not have to be so exposed the whole time.
    Hopefully though she will get a diff person who won't feel the "wing bomb" and have her go back to be examined separatly.
    Good luck on the 6th.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    183

    Titanium

    Hailey - I have titanium rods and am fairly small and have not set off metal detectors (I've flown twice and been in and out of a court house).

    Sherie - Sorry you had to deal with this - I was so nervous that would happen to me. I'm impressed with Sheena's maturity... I probably would have panicked!
    2000 34*L/39*T
    2007 44*L/53*T

    12.3.07 Posterior Spinal Fusion T4-T12
    (initially planned T4-L1)
    12.18.07 11*L/10*T

    23 years old

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    52
    Thought I might add my experience.

    I have titanium rods. I flew to Virginia 3 weeks ago. When I was at the Detroit Metro Airport (fairly large) I set off the metal detectors. When I showed them the card that my doctor had given me, they really didn't care. I had to go in a special area for them to use the wand and they searched my bags. Flying back I didn't set the detectors off, but the airport had one terminal, so I wonder if maybe their detectors weren't as good.

    Christine
    Surgery completed July, 2007
    Fused from T4-T12
    23years old

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    385
    Hi Sherie,

    Thanks for asking about Alexander. I've been meaning to write about him. Mostly he's doing well - he is pain-free, reportedly and back to full activities. He is swimming 3-4 mornings a week before school and is building up lots of strength (16-32) laps, depending upon time.

    But his posture has not improved as much as I'd like it to have by now. His shoulders are definitely more even but he still leans forward a little and rounds his shoulders inward. His back looks much better but he tends to lean on his right hip sort of and bends his right knee most of the time while he stands up. He also tends to lean onto things, rather than standing up straight.

    We are finally getting him some physical therapy, per the orthopedic surgeon who has decided Alexander's posture issues are caused by his inflexibility, esp. in his legs. Alexander is to be taught a stretching program that will hopefully help him straighten up and hold himself big and tall. I find myself reminding him about standing up straight way too often - I thought the surgery would put an end to the poor posture issue. But apparently, Alexander's muscles need to relearn how to stand properly after so many years of leaning more to one side. He definitely needs an outside teacher for this because it's hard for him to listen to me about it. He is just not a very physically self-aware kid, for better or worse.

    I'm glad Sheena is doing well after her surgery. It's been hard for me to get on the forum much lately and write but I've been reading posts now and then and was glad to read that her surgery went so well.
    Laurie

    Mother of Alexander & Zachary:
    Alex is 16 years old and in the 11th grade. He has congenital scoliosis due to a hemivertebrae at T10. Wore a TLSO brace for 3 1/2 years. Pre-op curves were T45 & L65; curves post-op are approx. T31 & L34. Had a posterior spinal fusion from T8 to L3 on 7/12/07 at age 12. Doing great now in so many ways, but still working on improving posture.
    Zach is 13 years old and very energetic.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    269

    Have You Considered Leg Length?

    Laurie,
    Has Alex ever been checked for a leg length discrepancy? When I was doing physical therapy after one of my surgeries my PT always got on my case for standing on one leg (just kinda bending my right knee and putting all my pressure on the left leg). When I did that I felt even, but if I stood "straight" on both legs I felt uneven. My physical therapist noticed that I had a leg length discrepancy and measured it at 4cm (1.5 inches).
    With a little shoe lift it allows me to approximate the length of my legs better and put pressure on both of my legs more evenly. Now I am able to stand on both legs and i'm not tilted to one side just b/c my leg is longer.

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