What medical devices will set off airport metal detectors?

If a patient is traveling and has medical devices, there is a chance that they could set off airport metal detectors, or even that the medical device could be damaged going through security!

Pacemakers and defibrillators;  These should not go through the metal detector as they may be damaged.   Patients with pacemakers or defibrillators should notify airport security, and ask for alternative screening method.  Some types of heart devices can go through the whole body scanner, but check with the device manufacturer and doctor prior to proceeding.   If possible, the patient should carry their Medical Device ID card.

Surgical joint replacements (artificial hips, knees,  etc), or implanted devices such as aneurysm clips or surgical clips:  These may set off metal detectors.  The patient can request alternative screening method rather than going through the metal detector. If possible, the patient should carry their Medical Device ID card.

Hearing aids:  Hearing aids do not have to be removed at security.

Cochlear implants (implanted hearing aids):  Check with the patient’s doctor to be sure, but in general it is okay to go through airport security with these devices.  The patient may hear buzzing when walking through and that is normal. If possible, the patient should carry their Medical Device ID card.

Wheelchairs or walkers:   These are routinely screened.  Tell security the patient’s ability to walk (if any), so that they can appropriately search the wheelchair or walker without unduly disturbing the patient.  Assume that any bags on the wheelchair or walker will be screened.

Insulin pump:  Check with the patient’s doctor to be sure, but in general, the insulin pump can be worn through the metal detector.  Notify the security personnel that the patient has an insulin pump.  If possible, the patient should carry their Medical Device ID card.

Other diabetes supplies:  Check with the airline ahead of time to establish their process for carrying on diabetes supplies such as syringes, needles, and insulin.  The airline should provide their policy.  All medications should be clearly labelled.

Oxygen and respiratory devices (nebulizers, CPAP, etc):  These will be screened.  Notify airport personnel for inspection.  Let airport personnel know if the device cannot be removed from the patient (such as a patient who cannot come off of oxygen for any length of time).

Colostomy or urostomy bags:  In general, these can go through security, though check with the patient’s doctor prior to travel.  If the patient has a concern that the bag could be dislodged or damaged with a pat down, the patient should notify security and ask for alternative screening method.

Joint replacement metal may set off the metal detector:

hip xray

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