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Clinical news alert from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Date:4/5/2012

Airport security screening has increased substantially during the past decade, while joint replacement procedures also continue to rise. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), in 2009, nearly 300,000 total hip replacements (THR) were performed in the United States. A new study, "Detection of Total Hip Prostheses at Airport Security Checkpoints: How Has Heightened Security Affected Patients," appearing in the April 4, 2012 issue of the JBJS, provides an analysis of current security measures on patients who have had a THR.

  • A consecutive series of 250 patients at the Sinai Hospital of Baltimore were surveyed and assessed about their THR. Of the 209 patients who returned the survey, 143 reported passing through airport security within the 12 months preceding the clinic visit. Travelers averaged 56 years of age.
  • 120 travelers, or 84 percent of survey respondents, reported triggering the alarm an average of four times. The patients who had a single hip implant had a significantly lower trigger rate, 80 percent, (66 of 82 patients) compared with those that had two hip implants, 95 percent (37 of 39 patients).
  • In addition to undergoing the mandatory inspection with a handheld metal detector, 25 patients reported having to undergo further inspection. 20 of these 25 extra measures were taken at airports within the US.
  • 128 patients, or 90 percent, reported having a card from either the manufacturer or surgeon identifying them as a recipient of a prosthetic joint.
  • 99 of the 143 patients, or 69 percent, indicated that the prosthetic joint caused an inconvenience while traveling by air.

The authors conclude that full body scanners, when available, offer a solution for some of these travelers. Patients should be counseled that they should expect delays and be prepared for such inconveniences, but know that these are often only momentary. This study aims to relieve some anxiety and
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Contact: Lauren Pearson
pearson@aaos.org
847-384-4031
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Source:Eurekalert

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