What to Expect at the Doctor's Office
Then they'll use a device that pushes the rod through a needle. That won’t hurt. It feels like a little bit of tugging. The insertion process may take less than a minute.
Afterward, you should be able to feel the implant under your skin, but not see it.
How Long Does It Work?
You can use a birth control implant for up to 3 years. Then you need to get it replaced.
Removing it can take only a few minutes or 20 minutes, depending on how much scar tissue has formed. Your health care provider numbs your skin and makes a tiny cut near the tip of the implant, then pulls it out.
Implanon vs. Nexplanon
The implant maker, Merck, is phasing out Implanon and replacing it with Nexplanon.
The two implants are nearly identical, but the insertion device for Nexplanon is simpler and avoids placing the implant too deep under your skin.
Also, the Nexplanon rod was designed to be located using X-rays. If you doctor can't feel it under the skin, the X-ray can show if it's in the right place.
What Are the Benefits?
As with any type of birth control method, implants have both pros and cons.
Effective. Fewer than 1 in 100 women using an implant will become pregnant each year.
Easy to use. Unlike some other birth control options -- such as condoms, patches, shots, rings, and pills -- the implant works no matter what. You don't have to worry about using it incorrectly or remembering to replace or take it often.
Fast reversal. If you want to get pregnant, you can get started on that right after you get the implant taken out.
Less painful periods. In studies of women using implants, painful periods got better.
What Are the Drawbacks?
Potential disadvantages of birth control implants include:
Cost. You may have to pay about $600 or more for an exam and the implant, and $100 or more to have it removed.
What Are the Risks of Birth Control Implants?
Possible side effects include problems from the insertion procedure, such as:
- Bruising or swelling
With Implanon, there’s a chance that it may be harder to remove if it was placed too deep. Nexplanon’s newer insertion device is designed to lower this risk.
Other possible side effects include:
- Irregular menstrual bleeding
- Depression and other mood changes
- Weight gain
- Abdominal pain or nausea
- Breast pain, back pain, or headache
Can Any Woman Use This Method of Birth Control?
Some women shouldn't use birth control implants, including women who may already be pregnant and those with:
- Sensitivity to any part of the implant
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Breast cancer (now or in the past)
- Liver disease or liver tumors
- History of blood clots (deep vein thrombosis)
Use with caution if you have:
Also, it’s not clear if the implants are as effective if you're obese.