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TSA Travel Tips for O&P Users  
O&P Almanac

Airport security screenings can be trying for all travelers, but recent media headlines have raised alarming concerns particularly among the O&P community regarding mandatory device removal, invasive pat downs, and more.

To separate fact from fiction about what’s required during airport security screenings, O&P Almanac spoke with the TSA, which provided the following information practitioners can share with their patients to help them navigate the security screening process:

  • Prosthetic device wearers should arrive at the airport well in advance of their flights because they may have to undergo additional screening procedures, even if they do not alarm the primary screening equipment.
  • Prosthetic device wearers should inform Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) that they are wearing a prosthetic device and of its location.  Although they do not need to remove prostheses during the screening process, they still may request private screenings.
  • Where available, CastScope technology–which produces an X-ray image of casts, braces, heavy bandages, and/or prostheses to determined if the device is concealing a threat–is used to screen amputees.  Passengers should inform the TSO operating the CastScope if they have any mobility restrictions or require assistance during the screening process.  Each scan takes three seconds, and multiple scans may be necessary depending on type, location, size, and number of devices worn by the passenger.
  • TSA may use explosive trace detection (ETD) technology to screen prosthetic devices for traces of explosive material.  If so, officers may swab a device for the presence of explosive residue.
  • Passengers wearing orthoses or support braces may be asked to remove them during the screening process.  They may request a private screening to do so.
  • TSA recommends visiting here for general traveling tips.  Passengers who encounter problems at the security gate should ask to speak to a Supervisory TSO.  They also may lodge a complaint on the TSA Web site.  General inquiries should be emailed to TSA-ContactCenter®dhs.gov.

Resources
Precision Prosthetics and Orthotics is affiliated with;

the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA),

the Limbs for Life Foundation,

the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics (ABC),

and the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA).