Implanon is a small flexible rod, which is inserted under the skin of the upper arm. It slowly releases progestogen (a hormone similar to the hormone progesterone, which is naturally produced by the female body) into the blood stream to prevent pregnancy for up to three years.
The implant works by:
Implanon is at least 99.9% effective. This means that if 1,000 women use Implanon for a year it is possible that 1 woman could become pregnant.
Some medications can reduce the effectiveness of Implanon. It is important to inform doctors you have an Implanon when other medication is prescribed.
Implanon changes bleeding/period patterns. These changes are a result of the hormonal effect to the lining of the uterus.
It is not possible to predict which changes will occur, but they can include:
The type of bleeding pattern experienced in the first 4 months of use may predict the ongoing pattern.
For women experiencing continued bleeding problems, a change of contraceptive method may need to be considered.
Side effects could include:
The risks associated with insertion and removal include:
Most women can safely use Implanon.
Our doctor will review the suitability of the method with you prior to insertion.
In assessing your suitability, consideration is given to a number of important factors:
The doctor will also review any medications that may interfere with the implant working effectively.
If your general health changes, the suitability of this method should be reassessed.
Insertion and removal involves a small surgical procedure with local anaesthetic. This should be done by a doctor trained in this procedure.
Prior to insertion, an assessment of your medical history and suitability for this method will happen.
This assessment enables you to ask any questions you may have and be certain that it is the most suitable method for you.
It also ensures that insertion happens at the right time of your menstrual cycle.
Implanon is usually inserted during the first 5 days of the menstrual period to ensure the woman is not pregnant.
It is very important that there is no chance of an early pregnancy at the time of insertion as the changes in bleeding patterns caused by Implanon may delay diagnosis of pregnancy.
Sometimes condoms or abstaining from sex will then need to be used for a further 7 days after insertion, before the implant can be relied on to prevent pregnancy.
The Implanon implant needs to be replaced ever 3 years.
After 3 years, the effectiveness reduces and if a pregnancy occurs there is a small increase in the risk of this pregnancy implanting in the Fallopian tube (ectopic pregnancy). This is a serious condition and can lead to reduced fertility.
It is very important to keep a record of the date that replacement is due and to arrange for replacement no later than this date. A single procedure can be used to remove an old implant and put in a new one.
Implanon can easily be removed at any time. As fertility can return immediately after removal, it is important to consider alternative methods of contraception before the implant is removed, if trying to avoid pregnancy.
To make sure you are protected against both pregnancy and STIs, use Implanon, plus a condom, for best protection.