Ask Dr. Wickum: Will my hip implant delay me at the airport?

Airport metal detectors are sensitive to metals, and will detect metal hip implants. Dr. Wickum has tips to insure that your airport security screening goes smoothly.

Hip implant device materials include both plastic and metal. Metals commonly used as orthopedic materials include stainless steel, cobalt chrome, and titanium. Typically, airport screening detectors will identify patients with these metal implants.

There’s nothing you can do to prevent setting off an airport metal detector, but Dr. Wickum does have some tips to make the security screening process a smooth one that doesn’t delay you on your way to your flight.

“The transportation safety administration is aware that implants will set off the metal detector,” he says. “There’s no need to carry a doctor’s note or official card stating that you’ve had a joint replacement, but do tell security personnel that you have an implant, and tell them where it is, before you go through the detector. Typically, security will pass you through, and use their wand over your hip, knee or shoulder. Newer scanners may even eliminate the need to wand you as an extra security measure, because they can actually see the artificial joint on their screens.”

“I tell my patients to give themselves an extra 10 to 15 minutes the first time they try out their new hip at the airport.  So far, all of my patients have reported that it was no big deal at all.”

Follow Dr. Wickum’s tips, and you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your trip with minimal security delays. Happy travels!

When to seek treatment for your arthritis

Arthritis doesn’t have to spell the end of an active life. If you are experiencing worrisome symptoms or persistent pain, the renowned arthritis specialists at Summit Orthopedics can help. We work with you to confirm a diagnosis and develop an appropriate conservative treatment plan. If nonsurgical treatments fail to support your lifestyle goals, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons will consult with you and discuss appropriate surgical options. Summit is home to innovative joint replacement options. Our Vadnais Heights Surgery Center is one of only two surgery centers nationally to receive The Joint Commission’s Advanced Certification for Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement.

Start your journey to healthier joints. Find your arthritis expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a consultation.

Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MNPlymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.

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