Nexplanon (birth control)
What is Nexplanon?
Nexplanon is a form of contraception, or birth control. It is a small, plastic rod about the size of a matchstick that is inserted under the skin of your upper arm. The implant releases a hormone called progestin, which prevents ovulation, or the release of an egg from your ovaries. It also thickens the mucus in your vagina to prevent sperm from entering your uterus.
What is Nexplanon used for?
Nexplanon is a contraceptive that protects against pregnancy for up to 3 years. Another Nexplanon can be inserted when you get a previous one removed. It is possible for you to get pregnant very soon after Nexplanon is removed.
What happens during the procedure?
You may be asked to take a pregnancy test before the procedure to make sure you are not pregnant. Your provider will clean your arm with antiseptic solution and then inject some numbing medicine. He or she will then use an applicator to insert the Nexplanon under your skin on the inside of your upper arm. You may feel some pressure and discomfort during the procedure. Your provider will then cover the area where the implant was placed with bandages. The procedure only takes about 10 minutes.
A similar procedure will take place for removal of Nexplanon. The provider will clean and numb your arm. He or she will then use a scalpel to make a small incision near the site of the implant. Procedural instruments are then used to locate and remove the implant. A new Nexplanon can be inserted at this time if you want to continue using this form of contraception. Nexplanon must be removed on or before the 3-year mark.
What are the risks?
- Bruising and swelling where the Nexplanon was placed
- Pain or discomfort at the site of placement
- Scarring of the skin
- A small risk of infection
- Difficulty retrieving the Nexplanon at time of removal
What should I do to prepare for the procedure?
- Do not have unprotected sex for 2 weeks before you get the Nexplanon placed as we will not be able to confirm a negative pregnancy test and will be unable to perform the procedure.
- If you are using a different type of contraception, like the Pill or Nuva Ring, continue to use it as prescribed by your doctor for one week after the Nexplanon has been placed.
- Come to your appointment with a full bladder so you can take a pregnancy test before the procedure
What should I expect after the procedure?
You will be able to drive yourself home after this procedure. You may bring someone to drive you if you would like.
Your provider will place a bandage over the insertion site, which may be removed at the end of the day.
You may experience pain, irritation, or bruising at the injection site. You may take an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever, like Advil or Tylenol.
You will need to abstain from sex or use a back-up method, like a condom, for 7 days after the procedure. This gives the implant time to start working properly.
- If you were taking a different form of birth control before getting Nexplanon you can continue to take it for the 7 days or as recommended by your doctor.
- Nexplanon, and other contraceptives, do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Only condoms can protect against STIs.
You may experience irregular menstrual bleeding, especially for the first few months after insertion. Some patients eventually have no menstrual bleeding
Call your provider if you experience:
- Bleeding that fills a pad or more in an hour
- Pain that is not relieved with an OTC pain reliever
- Redness or a large amount of swelling at the injection site
- Fever greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
- Any signs of pregnancy
Office number: (404) 778-3401, Monday – Friday 8:00AM – 5:00PM
- For emergencies after hours, calling this number will connect you to the operator, who will page the OBGYN physician on call.
If your pain becomes severe, or your fever rises above 102oF in the 3 days following the procedure you should go to the emergency room.