Contraception Hormonal Methods Implanon Implant

An Implanon implant (also known as an Etonogestrel implant) is a type of contraceptive that is implanted under the skin. The implant prevents ovulation by altering the uterine lining and the cervical mucus. For birth control, Implanon is usually highly effective, although the Implanon implant won’t protect against sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV). Implanon costs may be high, so make sure to thoroughly consider alternative contraception methods.

How does the Implanon Implant Work?

Once an Implanon implant has been inserted into the skin, small doses of etonogestrel are released into the body continuously. This type of implant can stay inside of the body for up to three years, and Implanon removal must happen once you reach this time limit.

Implanon Implant - Hormonal Birth Control

How is an Implanon Implant Inserted?

Using a small needle, a medical doctor will insert an Implanon implant into the upper arm, just above the elbow area. If you choose this method of birth control, Implanon surgery requires a local anesthetic, though the procedure isn’t considered highly invasive.

Following this Implanon implant procedure, the arm that contains the implant will be bandaged for up to one day. Once the bandages have been removed, a patient should not be able to feel the Implanon implant underneath the skin.

This procedure should only be done by a trained medical professional who has been taught how to insert an Implanon implant properly. If birth control Implanon is inserted incorrectly, it may not stay underneath the skin, possibly leading to infection or pregnancy.

What is the Implanon Removal Procedure?

After three years, an Implanon implant is no longer effective and must be removed. During the Implanon removal procedure, a doctor makes an incision into the area where the Implanon implant was originally placed. By coaxing the implant towards the incision and using forceps, the implant can be safely removed. Implanon removal is a relatively simple and safe procedure.

Side Effects: Implanon Implant Risks

As with any other kind of contraception, there are certain side effects. Implanon side effects include:

  • Acne
  • Allergic reactions
  • Depression
  • Emotional instability
  • Frequent headaches
  • Irregular, unusual or missed periods
  • Weight gain.

During the clinical trials, five percent of subjects also reported:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Breast soreness
  • Dysmenorrhoea
  • Nervousness
  • Respiratory tract infections.

Before deciding on this type of contraceptive, speak with your doctor to determine whether an Implanon implant is a good fit for you.

Effectiveness of Implanon Implants

Clinical research has shown that Implanon implants are effective 99 percent of the time. The main reason why Implanon implants work better than most other contraceptives is that women don’t have to follow a dosing schedule (as with pills) or specific procedure (as with many barrier and behavioral methods of birth control). Instead, etonogestrel is simply released into the body without any human interaction.

Are Etonogestrel Implants Right for Me?

While etonogestrel implants work well for most women, some women should avoid them, including women who have:

  • A history of blood clots or stroke
  • Experienced any form of cancer
  • Experienced irregular vaginal bleeding in the past.

As always, talk to your doctor if you have any questions or problems about birth control methods.


BBC Staff. (2009). Sexual health: Contraceptive implant. Retrieved February 10, 2010, from the BBC Web site: Staff. (n.d.) Etonogestrel implant. Retrieved February 10, 2010, from the Web site:

Rx List Staff. (n.d.). Implanon. Retrieved February 10, 2010, from the RxList Web site: