The new full body scanning systems being deployed in airports across the country have touched off a variety of reactions from travelers. While many passengers feel grateful for the extra security, others are outraged that Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers see nude images of their body.
There’s an additional wrinkle in all this for cosmetic surgery patients—the scanners can reveal artificial devices in the body including breast implants. If you’re directed through one of the most sophisticated scanners this holiday season, be prepared for security personnel to discover your breast implants or any other implants you may have (cheek, chin, butt).
When you first consider that another person will be able to see your implants, you may find the whole idea a little unsettling. Plus, being human, not all TSA officers handle the situation with perfect sensitivity. One blog post on RealSelf (www.realself.com/blog/tsa-scanners-breast-implant) described the case of a mastectomy patient who was required to remove a prosthesis in order to do her job as a flight attendant.
So how can you make peace with this new airport security measure?
You might want to spend a few minutes on the TSA website, www.tsa.gov, and familiarize yourself with the new technology. One bit of information may be comforting—the TSA worker who views your image does not see you in person, and the worker who interacts with you in line does not see your image (they communicate through headsets). In other words, the viewing process is anonymous.
In addition, assuming no anomalies are found, your image is discarded right away. The TSA’s website asserts that “The image cannot be stored, transmitted or printed, and is deleted immediately once viewed.”
If you take a moment to browse www.tsa.gov, you can see some of the actual images TSA officers view with the new equipment. While they do reveal more than less advanced machines, the images produced by the two technologies in use today are at least somewhat fuzzy. “Pornographic” photos they are not.
You may wonder whether to inform a TSA worker that you have cosmetic implants prior to being scanned.