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Will A Metal Implant Set Off Metal Detectors?

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Updated May 27, 2014

Knee Replacement Surgery

A Knee Replacement Metal Implant

Multimedia Medical Group
Question: Will A Metal Implant Set Off Metal Detectors?
Answer: Airport metal detectors are quite sensitive to metals, this includes metal implants that may have been placed inside your body.

Belt buckles, key chains, and steel toed shoes may set off these sensitive metal detectors. Many commonly used orthopedic implants may also set off the metal detectors.

The most commonly implanted orthopedic materials include stainless steel, cobalt chrome, and titanium. Different types of metal detectors work in different ways, but the newer airport screening detectors will identify patients with these metal implants.

Obviously, there is nothing you can do to change this. If you have a hip replacement, knee replacement, a metal plate and screws, a metal rod inside your bone, or one of many other type of orthopedic implants, you too may set off the airport metal detector. We used to give patients a card to carry to inform the security staff of your implanted device, however, there is no need to continue to use these cards.

Whether or not you have a card to alert the security personnel, they will have you step aside for further screening. To help you on your way, wear clothes that allow you to easily reveal your surgical scar (such as sweat pants, short sleeve shirts, etc.). Alert the security staff that you have a metal implant, and let them know where it is in your body. You will likely be screened with a metal detecting wand, but security sees many patients with these types of implants, and you shouldn't be delayed.

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  7. Will a Metal Implant Set Off Metal Detectors?

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