Air travel with your breast prosthesis

If you’re going on a flight and choose to pack your breast prosthesis in your luggage, it’s not unusual for some small air bubbles to appear in the back of your prosthesis. This is because the luggage hold is not pressurised. It will only happen if your prosthesis has a clear back. These small bubbles will disappear shortly after you have landed and will cause no harm to your prosthesis. If you have a lightweight prosthesis, the bubbles will appear as black dots. Again, these cause no harm and will disappear soon after you land.

What will happen if I’m body scanned wearing a breast prosthesis?

Body scanners are now in place at most airports. People are randomly picked for a body scan or may be scanned if the metal detectors are activated. External breast prostheses will show up on body scanners.

You may be worried about what this means for your privacy and feel anxious at the idea of someone noticing your prosthesis. If selected for a scan you might want to tell the security staff that you are wearing a breast prosthesis before being scanned. It may also be helpful for you to carry a letter from your GP or specialist team, confirming your situation.

If you are picked to be body scanned, the scan will take place in a security area with a member of airport staff present. It only takes a few seconds.

The images are viewed remotely from the machine and cannot be seen by the public. You can ask for a female screener (the security officer analysing the images). The screener will not see you or be able to recognise you. The images don’t show facial features, hair or skin tone, and are deleted immediately after analysis.

If you’d like more information, read the government’s Code of Practice for the Acceptable Use of Security Scanners in an Aviation Security Environment.

Find out more about travelling abroad if you've had a breast cancer diagnosis.

Last reviewed: October 2017
Next planned review begins 2020

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