Birth Control: Nexplanon® Implant

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The Nexplanon® contraceptive implant (Picture 1) is a thin, matchstick-sized, flexible rod inserted under the skin of your upper arm by your healthcare provider.  The implant has a small amount of progestin similar to the hormones that are naturally made in a woman’s body.  This hormone keeps the egg from being released from the ovary.  The implant also thickens cervical mucus to keep sperm from reaching an egg.

Advantages of the implant

  • More than 99 percent effectiveNexplanon Implant
  • Lasts up to 3 years
  • Completely reversible once removed
  • Some women may stop having periods completely.
  • You can get the implant immediately after giving birth.
  • Safe with breastfeeding

Disadvantages of the implant

  • Irregular bleeding and spotting are common
  • Pain or scarring at the insertion site
  • Possible side effects, including weight gain, headache, acne or change in mood
  • Small increased risk of developing cysts on the ovaries

How it is put in

  • Your upper, inner arm will be cleaned and injected with a numbing medicine. The implant will then be inserted just under the skin by your health care provider.  Both you and your health care provider should be able to feel the implant after it has been put in.
  • A bandage should cover the implant area for at least 5 days
  • Bruising and mild discomfort are common after the implant is put in. 

How it is taken out

The implant is removed at your health care provider’s office.  After injecting the area with numbing medicine, a small cut will be made and the implant will be removed.  If your health care provider cannot feel the implant under your skin, you will have tests to locate it before it can be removed safely.

Risks

  • Infection: It is possible, but rare, to get an infection from insertion of the implant.
  • Deep Insertion and/or Migration of the Implant:This is very rare.

Who cannot use it

The implant should not be used by women who have:

  • An allergy to the hormone etonogestrel
  • Have unexplained vaginal bleeding that they have not discussed with their health care provider
  • Have certain types of liver disease

Tell your health care provider if you have any of these risk factors or conditions, or any other medical concerns.

When to call the doctor

Call the doctor or health care provider right away if you:

  • Notice redness, swelling, or unusual pain at the insertion site
  • Think you might be pregnant
  • Think you might have a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • Have unusual or very heavy vaginal bleeding
  • Are unable to feel your implant

Preventing STIs

The implant does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).  Condoms are the best way for sexually active people to reduce the risk of infection.  Always use a condom when you have sex.  Get yearly health check-ups, including testing for STIs.

Birth Control: Nexplanon® Implant (PDF)

HH-IV-107 10/13, Revised 12/17 Copyright 2013 Nationwide Children’s Hospital