Birth Control Implant
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Feb 4, 2024.
What do I need to know about a birth control implant?
A birth control implant is a small device that releases hormones to prevent ovulation and pregnancy. The device is inserted under the skin on the inside of your non-dominant upper arm. It can be in place for up to 3 years before it needs to be removed or replaced.
How do I prepare for a birth control implant?
Tell your healthcare provider about any medical condition you have. Also tell him or her if you are currently breastfeeding. Your provider will talk to you about how to prepare for your procedure. You will need to have a test to make sure you are not pregnant. Your provider will tell you when to come in to have the implant placed.
What happens during the birth control implant procedure?
- You will lie on your back with your non-dominant arm out and bent up so your hand is near your head. Your healthcare provider will mark the area on your arm where the implant will be inserted. A spray may be used to numb the skin where the implant will be placed. You may also be given a shot of local anesthesia to numb the procedure area.
- Your healthcare provider will gently stretch the skin area where the implant will go. The applicator will be placed against your arm and the needle inserted under your skin. The applicator is then used to insert the implant in your arm through the needle. Your healthcare provider will feel the area to make sure the implant is in the proper place. A bandage will be placed over the area and covered with another bandage that applies pressure.
What happens after the implant is inserted?
You will be able to remove the top bandage 24 hours after your procedure. The second bandage may need to stay on for 3 to 5 days. Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed. You will need to keep yearly appointments to have your blood pressure checked while the implant is in place.
What are the risks of a birth control implant?
You may have an allergic reaction to the implant. The implant may be inserted in the wrong area or too deep and may need to be removed. You may become pregnant if the implant is not placed correctly. You may have pain, numbness, bruising, or bleeding at the site. You may get an infection. You may have changes to your monthly period, such as how long and how much you bleed. Your period may stop. You may have headaches, mood changes, acne, breast pain, abdominal discomfort, and some weight gain. You may also be at increased risk for a blood clot. A birth control implant does not protect against sexually transmitted infections. Certain medicines can prevent the implant from working correctly.
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