Contraceptive Implants are little plastic rods containing hormones. They are inserted under the skin of the arm, slightly above the elbow. The implants release hormones at regular intervals to prevent ovulation and pregnancy. Implanon and Nexplanon are two widely used brands of contraceptive implants.

The hormones that are released by implants prevent pregnancy by:

  • Thinning the uterine lining to stop fertilized egg implantation
  • Thickening the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering

Insertion and Removal Techniques

Local anesthetic is injected into the skin of the arm, and using a special needle designed for the implant, the tiny rod is pushed into place. Typically the left arm is used and the designated site is the inner part of the left arm, approximately 4-5 inches above the elbow. Most doctors like to insert the rods in the first five days after a period starts.

Implant removal is done by injecting a local anesthetic and then making a small incision. The implant is then removed through the incision.

Side Effects of Contraceptive Implants

Adverse reactions from contraceptive implant insertion include:

  • Redness or soreness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Possible increase in risk of thrombosis (blood clots)

Benefits of Contraceptive Implants

Contraceptive implants provide many advantages including:

  • 99.9% effective
  • Can be inserted three weeks after delivering a baby
  • Can be inserted after abortions or miscarriages
  • Does not interfere with breastfeeding
  • Allows for spontaneity of sexual intercourse

Doctors Who Insert Contraceptive Implants

There are several types of physicians that may offer contraceptive implants, including:

  • Gynecologists: Concentrates on the health of the female reproductive system. They are directly involved with contraceptive techniques for women.
  • Nurse practitioner: Focuses on prevention, wellness and patient education. There are nurse practitioners that specialize in gynecology and are trained in contraceptive techniques.
  • Family physician/general practitioner: Deals with prevention, discovery and treatment of illnesses in all age categories. Some of these doctors include contraception as part of their regimen and are trained in insertions.