Over the past decade, it has become increasingly annoying, stressful, and humiliating for most of us to pass through airport security. Passengers with orthopedic implants can expect airline travel to be even more of a pain since they are likely to trigger the metal detector. If you have had a hip replacement or knee replacement, you should allow an extra 5 to 15 minutes to pass through airport security. You should devise a plan to manage your stress and increase your sense of personal control of the situation such as being prepared to calmly answer questions and having any medical documentation handy.
In order to pass through security more smoothly, you should advise the security officers of any orthopedic implants before screening begins. Inform them of the location of your implant. The security officers should offer you a private screening which may include a pat-down inspection and a screening using a handheld wand. You may want to carry a joint replacement ID card with you when you travel in the event you need to show proof of your implant. Your surgeon can provide you with this ID card. However, presenting this card to the security officers will not exempt you from additional screening.
Some additional tips for traveling by air with orthopedic implants:
– Consult your doctor before your first post-surgery trip.
– Taking two aspirin before boarding the plane may help relieve minor discomfort during the flight.
– Get up and walk around the plane every 15 to 30 minutes in order to reduce the risk of swelling due to pressure changes and immobility.
– Perform some seated stretches throughout the flight.
– Whenever possible, purchase a first-class ticket or business-class ticket as they provide more room to stretch out.
Knowing what to expect and devising a plan will relieve some of your anxiety and is also a responsible, proactive way of handling the extra hassle of traveling with orthopedic implants.