Implanon is a small, thin, implantable hormonal contraceptive. It is a flexible plastic rod the size of a matchstick that is put under the skin of your arm and is effective for up to three years.
Implanon is a progestin-only method of birth control. Because it does not contain estrogen, your healthcare provider may recommend it even if you cannot use estrogen.
Implanon must be replaced every three years. Your healthcare provider can remove the implant at any time. If you want to become pregnant after removal, your ability to get pregnant may return quickly. If you don't want to get pregnant, you should begin another birth control method right away.
Implanon prevents pregnancy in several ways. The most important way is by stopping release of an egg from your ovary. It also changes the mucus in your cervix, which acts as a barrier to sperm reaching and fertilizing an egg. In addition, it changes the lining of your uterus. It is important that you continue your routine annual exams and Pap smears.
Implanon insertion is a minor procedure using a local anesthetic. It usually takes just a few minutes, and is performed during a normal office visit. During the procedure, you may feel a pinching sensation, similar to receiving a shot or injection.
Most women are not able to see Implanon after it has been inserted. You should be able to feel where the implant is by gently pressing on your skin in the area where it was inserted. To reduce the risk of infection, it is advised to avoid touching the site of insertion until it has healed
Implanon must be removed by the end of the third year. It is removed by making a small incision in your arm after numbing the area with local anesthetic.
If you wish to continue using Implanon at the end of three years, a new Implanon can be inserted in the same place as the old one during the same procedure. Implanon can be removed sooner if pregnancy is desired.
There is a slight risk that you will get a scar from insertion or removal of Implanon. Women with a family history of developing keloids (raised, thickened scars) are more likely to scar.
Implanon is more than 99% effective: the chance of getting pregnant is less than 1 pregnancy per 100 women.
The effectiveness of Implanon may be decreased for overweight women or women who are taking certain medications.
Implanon does not protect against infection from HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases.
The most common side effect of Implanon is a change in your menstrual periods. Your menstrual period may be irregular and unpredictable while using Implanon. Other side effects may include:
Potential risks include:
Tell your clinician if you have ever had any of the conditions just listed and to determine if Implanon is an appropriate form of contraception for you.
Call for an appointment with the family planning counselor at 206-616-2495.
The timing of insertion is important and quite exact:
Where can I learn more about Implanon?
For detailed information about Implanon, visit http://www.implanon.com/.
Your clinician can also answer questions you may have about the contraceptive.
If you have any questions, you may call the consulting nurse service for further information.
Authored by: Ingrid Helsel, RN, Heather Larson, and Charles Petty, MD