Birth Control: Nexplanon® Implant

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The Nexplanon® contraceptive implant (Picture 1) is a thin, matchstick-sized, flexible rod. It is inserted under the skin of your upper arm by your healthcare provider. The implant has a small amount of progestin, which is like the hormone made naturally in your 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

Nexplanon Implant
  • more than 99% effective
  • lasts up to 3 years
  • completely reversible once removed
  • some people may stop having periods completely
  • you can get the implant right after giving birth
  • safe with breastfeeding

Disadvantages of the Implant

  • irregular bleeding and spotting (common)
  • pain or scarring at the insertion site
  • possible weight gain, headache, acne, or mood change
  • small chance of cysts on the ovaries

How It Is Put In

  • Your upper, inner arm will be injected with a numbing medicine. Then, the implant will be inserted just under the skin. You should feel the implant after it has been put in.
  • Keep the implant area covered with a bandage 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, the provider will make a small cut in the skin and remove the implant. If they cannot feel the implant under the skin, you will have tests to find it so it can be removed safely.


  • infection – It is rare, but possible, to get an infection from the implant.
  • deep insertion or movement of the implant – This is very rare.

Who Cannot Use It

The implant should not be used by people who have:

  • an allergy to the hormone etonogestrel
  • unexplained vaginal bleeding that they have not discussed with their health care provider
  • 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 Health Care Provider

If you have an implant that has been in place for more than 3 years, it may not work anymore. If so, avoid sex or use a condom until your provider can replace the device.

Call the health care provider right away if you:

  • have unusual or heavy vaginal bleeding
  • cannot feel the implant
  • think you may be pregnant
  • think you have a sexually transmitted infection
  • notice redness, swelling, or pain at insertion site

When to Call 911

Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if you have problems breathing or speaking.

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 ©2013, revised 2022, Nationwide Children’s Hospital