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Birth Control Options: Implanon

Birth Control Options: Implanon

Implanon is a single flexible plastic rod containing progestin that provides birth control for up to 3 years.   It is 99% effective.   The road is the size of a match stick.

 It is placed by your health care provider in the inner part of your upper arm. 

How Does Implanon Work?

Implanon works by preventing ovulation or the release of eggs of the ovaries.  Implanon also creates a barrier to sperm by thickening the mucus at the cervix or opening of the uterus.  Implanon also thins the lining of the uterus.

Who Should Use Implanon?

Women who want effective birth control and do not have immediate plans for pregnancy should use Implanon. 

Who Should Not Use Implanon?

You should not use Implanon if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant.  If you have a history of blood clots, have unexplained vaginal bleeding, have liver disease, have a history of or currently have breast cancer or if you are allergic to Implanon, you should not use Implanon.  Discuss all medications you are taking with your health care provider since some medicine may make Implanon less effective.

How is Implanon Placed?

The area for insertion is located and a local anesthetic is placed to numb the area.  Implanon is then inserted just under the skin.   A band aid or steristrip is used to cover the insertion point and a pressure wrap is placed around the arm.  You will be asked to feel your arm and confirm that the Implanon is placed.  The pressure bandage should stay in place for 24 hours to prevent bruising.  The small band aid or steristrip can be removed after 3 to 5 days. 

How is Implanon Removed?

The area around the Implanon is numbed with a local anesthetic.  A small incision is made at the tip of the rod.  The rod is gently pulled through the incision.  A band aid or steristrip is used to cover the incision.  A pressure wrap can be placed around the arm to prevent bruising. 

What Steps Do I Need to Take to Have Implanon Placed?

·         Make an appointment with your health care provider to discuss Implanon and review all the side effects, risk and benefits of Implanon.  You can also review other birth control options. 

·         If you decide you want Implanon, we will check your insurance benefits and let you know what your cost (if any) will be. 

·         Make an appointment to Implanon inserted while you are on your period (Cycle Day 1 to 5 is best).  If you are nursing or not currently having periods, you can schedule insertion if you completely abstain from sex for 2 weeks.

·         On the day of insertion, you may take an over-the-counter pain medication if you desire (Tylenol or Ibuprofen).  Be sure to eat breakfast.  We will perform a pregnancy test prior to insertion.  The appointment may last 30 minutes but insertion of Implanon only takes a few minutes.

How Soon is Implanon Effective?

·         If Implanon is inserted within the 1st five days of your cycle (within 5 days of the start of your period), you will not need a back-up form of birth control.

·         If Implanon is placed at 4 weeks postpartum, you will not need another form of birth control.

·         If you are switching from another form of birth control, timing may vary.  Discuss with your health care provider if you should use a backup form of birth control (i.e. condoms, abstinence) for the first week after insertion.

How Long Quickly Does Fertility Return After Removal?

If you wish to become pregnant sooner than 3 years, Implanon can be removed early.  Once Implanon is removed, the level of hormone falls quickly and will be undetectable in your blood after 4 days.  You quickly return to fertility.

What Are the Possible Side Effects of Implanon?

Implanon can cause irregular bleeding pattern.  Your periods may be unpredictable.  You may have more or less bleeding, spotting between periods or possibly stop having periods.  You will need to be prepared for bleeding at any time.

Other side effects may include mood swings, weight gain, headache, acne, or depression.  In studies, some women reported breast pain, vaginitis, painful periods, mood swings, back pain, nausea, dizziness or pain. 

If pregnancy does occur with Implanon, there is a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy.  You should report a suspected pregnancy immediately to your health care provider.

What Are the Risks of Insertion and Removal?

Risks at insertion include pain, irritation, swelling, bruising, infection, scarring, and rarely failed insertion and expulsion of Implanon.

Risks for removal include pain, irritation, swelling, bruising, infection, scarring, and breakage of the rod.  Rarely, surgery may be required to remove Implanon.  This is usually due to deep placement of the rod.  Removal of these implants may cause nerve or blood vessel damage and scarring.

It is important that you have Implanon removed after 3 years, even if you desire to become pregnant or want to start another form of birth control.



99% effective

Does not prevent STDs

No need for daily or weekly or monthly birth control

May cause irregular periods, spotting between periods or stop periods completely.

No Estrogen

Other side effects may include mood swings, weight gain, headache, acne or depression.


Requires insertion and removal procedure

Fertility returns quickly after removal

Risks of procedure include: pain, irritation, swelling, bruising, scarring, infection, difficult removal

Can be inserted 4 weeks postpartum

Rarely, improper insertion may require surgery for removal of the implant.

Does not effect breastfeeding


For additional information you can visit: http://www.implanon-usa.com/en/consumer/index.asp