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Contraceptive Implant


What do I need to know about a contraceptive implant?

A contraceptive 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. A contraceptive implant does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

How do I prepare for a contraceptive implant?

Your healthcare 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. If you have been taking birth control, your healthcare provider will talk with you about when the best time for your procedure is. If you have not been taking birth control, the implant should be placed on the first through fifth day of your period. Doing so means you should not have to take other forms of birth control for a short time after the procedure.

What happens during the contraceptive 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. Once the implant is in place, the needle is removed. 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 contraceptive 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. Improper placement may not prevent pregnancy. 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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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