Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Birth Control Health Center

Font Size

Birth Control Implants: Are They Right for Me?

Birth control implants are devices that go under a woman's skin. They release a hormone that prevents pregnancy.

Two similar implants available in the U.S. are Implanon and Nexplanon, which is gradually replacing Implanon.

Recommended Related to Birth Control

Birth Control Pills and Weight

Q: Is it true you’re likely to gain weight after going on birth control pills? A: Sorry, but if the numbers on the scale are higher than you’d like, you probably can’t blame that little blister pack. "On average, for women on birth control pills, as many will lose weight as will gain weight," says Vanessa Dalton, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan Health System. Although some women gain weight while on the pill, it’s hard to say...

Read the Birth Control Pills and Weight article > >

Each implant is a plastic rod about the size of a matchstick. The rods contain a form of the hormone progesterone called etonogestrel.

What to Expect at the Doctor's Office

Your doctor or another health care provider will inject medicine to numb your skin on your upper arm, where you'll get the implant. That may sting a bit.

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.

Today on WebMD

Here's what to expect.
man opening condom wrapper
Do you know the right way to use them?
birth control pills
Here's what to do next.
doctor and patient
His and her options.
Concerned teenage girl
hospital gown
Birth Control Pills Weight Gain
Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch
contraceptive pills
Young couple looking at each other, serious
woman reading pregnancy test result