Women desiring a long-term, reversible birth control method may consider Nexplanon, a small, flexible progestin implant placed under the skin. The implant offers a continuous release of progestin hormone to prevent pregnancy.
Typically, Nexplanon is placed under the skin on the inner arm. The minor procedure is performed using an injection of a local anesthetic at the implant site to numb the skin. A gynecologist trained in the procedure can perform the insertion in approximately 2 -3 minutes. Minor bruising at the site is normal.
In most cases, the implant can be easily felt, confirming placement. If Nexplanon cannot be felt, a non-hormonal form of birth control should be used until your OB/GYN confirms Nexplanon is in place. A back-up method of birth control may be recommended for a period of 7 days following all insertions.
The implant is effective for up three years, but can be removed sooner, if desired.
Who is a Candidate for Nexplanon?
Nexplanon is suitable for most healthy women who are not pregnant. Like all hormonal contraceptives, the device is not recommended for women with the following conditions:
- History of blood clots or blood clotting disorders
- Liver tumors or current liver disease
- Genital bleeding that has not been diagnosed
- Breast cancer or history of breast cancer
- Allergy to any component of the device or insertion method
Nexplanon may not be as effective in women who are overweight. These patients may be advised to replace the implant sooner.
How Effective is Nexplanon?
Nexplanon is considered the most effective form of birth control currently on the market. Made with etonogestrel, a synthetic form of the progestin hormone, pregnancy rates with the implant are confirmed to be less than one percent.
Side Effects of Nexplanon
Common side effects include:
- Changes in menstrual bleeding, including longer or shorter periods
- Weight gain
- Breast tenderness
- Stomach pain
- Mood swings
Regular menstrual periods typically resume within 3 to 4 weeks after removal.