What is contraceptive implant?
Contraceptive implant (Nexplanon), or birth control implant, is a small flexible plastic rod that is placed right under your skin in your upper arm and prevents pregnancy. It releases the hormone progesterone and prevents ovulation, and is considered one of the most effective contraceptive methods. The rod is about 4 cm in length and 2 mm diameter. You will be given local anesthetic, and the doctor will make a small incision and implant the rod right below the skin. The procedure is usually painless and does usually not require sutures.
Benefits and disadvantages
The implant does not contain estrogen, so it does not increase the risk for blood clots or cardiovascular diseases. However, one of the disadvantages is that you do not know how your bleeding pattern will turn out, as opposed to contraceptive pills containing estrogen. If the doctor has done a thorough assessment and may rule out other causes of the bleeding, e.g. sexually transmitted diseases, you may for a period use a contraceptive pill, in addition to the implant, to control the bleeding.
Good to know about the contraceptive implant
It is important to rule out pregnancy before the rod is implanted. If you are already on for example oral contraceptives, this can be continued until Nexplanon has been implanted. If you do not use contraceptives, it should be implanted during the first 5 days of your menstrual cycle or condoms are recommended the first 7 days after implantation. You may have the implant for up to three years. If you wish to continue with birth control implants, a new implant may be inserted in the same place and at the same time as the old one is removed. Both our general practitioners and gynecologist are trained in these procedures. It may happen that the implant is hard to localize for removal, and if so, our doctors will refer you to the hospital for removal.
Written by: General Practitioner Anne Marte Ladim
Last updated: 24. March 2020
Est. reading time: 1-2 minutes