Leading edge contemporary birth control

What is Nexplanon®?

Nexplanon ® is a birth control implant that is placed under the skin on the inside of your non-dominant upper arm.  The implant is a small, soft, flexible rod that’s about the size of a matchstick.

It is a long active reversible contraceptive which means that it can provide birth control for up to 3 years. 

Reversible means that if you want to stop using the Nexplanon implant it can be removed at any time and you may be able to get pregnant as early as 1 week after the implant is removed.

How Does Nexplanon® work?

Nexplanon contains a hormone called etonogestrel which is a type of progesterone. It does not contain estrogen. The implant continuously releases a small amount of etonogestrel into your blood.

It works in two ways to prevent pregnancy:

  • It stops the release of an egg from your ovaries (ovulation).
  • It causes changes in your cervical mucus, making it hard for sperm to enter your uterus.

Will My Menstrual Bleeding Pattern Change on Nexplanon®?

Your period may change after Nexplanon® insertion.

It may stop altogether or it could become more frequent, less frequent, lighter or heavier than normal, shorter or longer than normal.

If your bleeding pattern changes, it does not mean that Nexplanon® does not suit you or is not working. Generally speaking, the bleeding pattern that you have at the end of 3 months may give you an idea of your future bleeding pattern with Nexplanon®. Everyone is different.

What are The Possible Risks with Nexplanon® Insertion and Removal?

Infection: You may experience bruising, pain, numbness, bleeding, infection or scarring at the site after insertion/removal.

  • Migrated implant: It is possible that the Nexplanon® implant could move from the original insertion site in your arm. This might happen if it is not inserted correctly or it is dislodged as a result of extreme force, like during contact sports. If the implant moves you may need a bigger incision or surgery to remove it. In most cases, migrated implants have been reported to be found in a blood vessel or in the lung. If your implant cannot be found in the arm, your doctor may use x-ray or other imaging methods to find it.
  • Broken or bent implant: The implant could break or bend while in your arm. This should not affect how the implant works.

What are Possible Side Effects Of Nexplanon®?

Besides changes in your menstrual bleeding patterns, other side effects may occur while on Nexplanon ®. It is helpful to know what may possibly happen and what to look out for.

Side effects can include mood swings, depression, anxiety, weight gain, acne, oily skin, rash, hives, hair loss, excessive hair growth, dandruff, fluid retention, stuffy or runny nose, painful or difficult urination, increased blood pressure, headache, migraine, dizziness, flu like symptoms, breast pain, tenderness or enlargement, milky nipple discharge, low libido, ovarian cyst, vaginal discharge or pain.

Remember everyone is different. Be sure to tell your doctor about any side effects that you are concerned about.

When Should Nexplanon ® be Inserted?

The timing of insertion is important and will depend on:

  • Your menstrual cycle
  • Whether you are using other types of birth control
  • If you have recently had a baby, miscarriage or abortion

We are here to help you determine the best timing.

Before insertion, tell your doctor If you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant (e.g.  You had unprotected sex during the current menstrual cycle).

Unless you are switching from another type of birth control Nexplanon® is usually placed between Day 1 and Day 5 of your menstrual cycle. This is to avoid the chance that you will be pregnant. If it cannot be inserted until after the 5th day of your cycle, use another form of birth control for the first 7 days that you have Nexplanon® in place.

How is Nexplanon ® Inserted?

Nexplanon® will be placed and removed in the clinic by Dr. Michelle Gerber who is trained in performing this procedure.

The insertion of Nexplanon® will require a small surgical procedure in our clinic which usually lasts 5-10 minutes. The implant will be inserted under the skin on the inside of your non-dominant upper arm. This is the arm that you don’t write with.

Once the correct spot is marked on your arm, the area is cleaned and then injected with anesthetic medication to numb your arm. The Nexplanon® applicator has a small needle which will puncture your skin. The implant is placed by sliding the needle under the skin leaving the tiny, plastic device behind.

Immediately after insertion, you will be shown how to feel for the implant in your arm. You should be able to feel both ends between your thumb and finger. 

The insertion area will be covered by 2 bandages.

  • A small bandage over the insertion site should be left on for 5 days and the arm should be kept out of water (consider only bathing or wrapping the arm in plastic wrap or a small towel).
  • A pressure bandage which is applied to help minimize bruising is left on for 24 hours post insertion.

What Happens Next?

Once the bandages are removed do not be alarmed if the insertion site is slightly irritated.

Keep an eye on how it’s healing and if you have any concerns please contact us or your local health care provider.

Occasionally, feel for your implant and if at any time you cannot feel your implant, use a non-hormonal backup method of contraception (condoms) and see a health care provider as soon as possible.  

Remember Nexplanon® does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV/ AIDS.

Medications That Can Interfere with Nexplanon®

Certain medications, vitamins, herbal supplements as well as grapefruit may affect how Nexplanon® works. These medications are prescribed for epilepsy, tuberculosis, HIV, Hepatitis C virus or other infectious disease, organ transplants. Anti-emetics used for chemotherapy and St John’s wort which is a herbal supplement used to treat depressive mood disorder. 

While you are using another medication, it is advisable to use an extra birth control method (condoms) and to continue for 28 days after your last dose.

Ready for an IUD or the Nexplanon ® Subdermal Implant?

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