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Airport Screening
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Airport Screening

This is not a question or even a strictly medical issue, but I thought I would share my experience,so you are prepared in case it happens to any of you.  I traveled recently and went through an airport that has the new full body screening machines.  Since I have had a mastectomy and use a pocketed bra with prostheses, I was pulled aside as a possible terrorist.  After pulling me aside and taking me to a private screening room, my clothes were tested for explosives and I was patted down.  Of course, none were found, so I was immediately allowed to proceed to the boarding gate.  You should know that silicone scans the same as plastic explosives. I don't know how silicone implants are handled, but anyone who has had reconstructive surgery may also be pulled aside.  There is probably not much that can be done about it, so I didn't get too upset, but it was embarrassing.  I was traveling with a co-worker whom I had not told of my health issues.  She wondered what the problem was.  
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8 Comments
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1119363_tn?1330359040
Thank you for sharing.  I had no idea.  Hopefully, this will get the word out and others will at least be prepared for the possibility.  I am sorry that you had the experience, but thank you for using it to help others.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Just want to say "thank you" also for sharing this information. I haven't heard women who just have breast augmentation talking about this issue. I wonder if others have had the same experience? Is it only the new "whole body" scanners? It's definitely good to know in advance.
As for your coworker, I might have just said, "You didn't know I had a boob job?"!!
I wish you all the best and future good health,
nc
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172023_tn?1334675884
You can always opt out of the scanner, before you even go through, just so you know for the future.  All you have to do is to tell them you are opting out.

I also use silicon bra prosthetics.  Good information to have...I've never been asked to go through the scanner, but I will refuse after hearing of your issue.  

Thanks!
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492898_tn?1222247198
Louise, did you have to tell them about the prosthetics, or take off any clothes, or anything like that?

Peekawho, what do you mean when you say one can just opt out/refuse the scanner. Without explanation, and/or with one? Katrin

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Avatar_n_tn
No, I thought I would have to disrobe, but they just tested the outside of my clothing. When I realized I was being singled out,  I did tell them I had had a mastectomy, and when I was taken to the screening room, I started to lift my shirt to show them, but they seemed very concerned about what I did with my hands, and told me to put them at my side, so I did.  I have heard that you can decline to go through the scanners and have just a pat down.  I think I will do that next time.  I don't think you need to explain in order to do that.  My guess is that the vast majority of people who are singled out are breast cancer survivors.  I don't know who else would be wearing silicone.
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962875_tn?1314213636
One breast cancer survivor who was put through a vigorous "patdown" not long after a  mastectomy has joined a lawsuit against the TSA:

http://www.fox5sandiego.com/kswb-cancer-survivor-sues-tsa-over-121510,0,2556041.story
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492898_tn?1222247198
I read the link you provided, and it appears that as a result if the lawsuit, the rules have been changed? (at least that is what I think it says in a follow up article on the same site?)

You  may want to check for accuracy?

KAT
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962875_tn?1314213636
Kat,

I'd  be surprised if the lawsuit has had any impact yet, since it was only filed on 12/6/10, and the article I cited was just published on 12/15/10.

I couldn't  find the follow-up article you mentioned, but if you'll give me a link to it, I'll be happy to check for accuracy...

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