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Implanon Insertions and Removal

Implanon (implanted contraceptive device) is a birth control implant used by many women as a method of contraception. The implant is a flexible plastic rod, around 4cm long and 2mm in diameter, that is inserted under the skin of the inner side of the upper arm. It provides contraception for 3 years unless removed earlier. The implant contains a progesterone hormone called etonogestrel, that is slowly released into the body. This prevents pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation (releasing of an egg from the ovary) and promoting the mucus in the cervix to thicken, thus preventing sperm from entering the uterus. The advantages of using the Implanon as your primary method of contraception include: 

  • Is 99.9% effective

  • It lasts up to 3 years

  • Reduces period pain, and for  around 20% of women, stops periods altogether

  • It is a progesterone only contraceptive and is therefore suitable for women who are unable to take medication containing oestrogen hormone 

  • Safe to use while breast feeding

  • Fertility returns to normal quickly after removal. Women usually start ovulating again within 3 weeks of having the implant removed. 

  • Most importantly, unlike "the pill", you don't have to remember anything except the 3 year expiry date for this method to be effective.

When considering getting an Implanon as your primary form of birth control, consider the following:

  • Insertion and removal of the Implanon requires a minor surgical procedure and may leave a small scar on the inside of your arm. The rod may be visible under the skin in thin women.

  • Bruising and tenderness around the site of the implant may take  a few weeks to settle.

  • There is a small risk of infection and bleeding at the site of the incision and implant.

  • Side effects may include headaches, breast tenderness, acne, increased appetite, weight gain and irregular bleeding / spotting and altered moods.

  • The Implanon can have negative effects when taken with some medications (e.g. some epilepsy medications, St Johns Wort.)

  • Implanon does not protect against STIs, therefore additional protection such as condoms should be use during sexual intercourse. 

Other hormonal contraception options include the three-monthly contraceptive injection, daily oral contraceptive pill, the monthly vaginal ring and 5 yearly Mirena intra-uterine device (IUD). Hormonal contraception is very effective when used correctly and continuously. To find out more about the best contraceptive choice for you, speak to your GP.

Implanon Insertion / Removal Procedure

Both the insertion and removal of an Implanon requires a small surgical procedure performed under local anaesthetic. As an incision is made in the skin, you may end up with a small scar at the site of the implant. Very occasionally, it may be difficult to find and remove an implant after 3 years. In these rare cases ultrasound images are used to locate the rod.

Your doctor may wish to see you for a follow up appointment a few weeks following the insertion procedure. This is to assess that whether you are experiencing any negative side effects from the implant and to check the incision is healing properly.

How We Care

Globe Medical is fortunate to have a number of doctors and nurses trained and accredited in Implanon insertion. While all of our male and female doctors are happy to discuss contraceptive options with you, the insertion procedure can only be undertaken by a doctor or nurse who has undergone specific training.  

An initial appointment with your doctor should be made to discuss all contraceptive options available to you before undertaking a procedure such as Implanon insertion. Should you and your doctor decide that Implanon is the most appropriate form of contraception for you, your doctor will write you a prescription for the Implanon device. You will then need to collect the Implanon from your local pharmacy. When making an appointment for the Implanon insertion procedure, please request an extended (30 minute) appointment to ensure sufficient time is allocated for the procedure. It is also important to note that Implanon should be inserted during the first 5 days of your period to ensure that you are not pregnant.

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