Implanon is a long-term progesterone-only contraceptive. It is a small, semi-rigid
rod made of ethylene vinylacetate copolymer and impregnated with 68mg of
The Implanon implant is 4cm long and 2mm in diameter, and is inserted under
the skin of the upper arm. Implanon works at full effectiveness for three years,
after which time it should be removed and, if desired, replaced.
Implanon is very inexpensive - for an Australian woman with a Health Care
Card the entire cost is $3.60, or $1.10 per year. It is also highly effective.
In the trials of Implanon so far carried out, there have been no reported
pregnancies at all. However, as the company itself will tell you,
"No contraception is 100% effective"
Implanon works by tricking your body into believing it is already pregnant.
The ovaries do not bring new eggs to ripeness, and do not release any. Implanon
also makes the lining of the uterus slightly hostile to implantation of a
zygote, and thickens the mucous plug in the cervix, making it unlikely that any
sperm can reach the uterus.
Before you make an appointment to have Implanon inserted, you should discuss
with your doctor whether she has had training in both insertion and removal of
it. She will discuss with you the best time for you to have Implanon inserted.
These times vary depending on from which form of contraceptive you are
You should also discuss with her the side effects of Implanon which can
- Most common side affects
- Menstrual Irregularities.
- Most women who use Implanon experience some sort of menstrual
irregularity. About 20% of women using Implanon cease menstruation
altogether, and 88% of women using Implanon have reported improvement
in menstrual pain.
- In clinical tests 14% of women developed acne while using Implanon. Of
the women who had already had an acne problem, in 59% of them it
improved while using Implanon, while in 10% the condition worsened.
- Less common Side Effects
- Rare Side Effects
Additionally, the insertion and removal of the Implanon device may cause
local irritation, soreness and itching.
Your doctor should explain to you that, if you suffer from any of these side
effects to a degree which is unacceptable to you, if you simply change your
mind or if you decide to try to become pregnant before the three years are up,
the implant can be easily and quickly removed. Once the Implanon is removed your
fertility will quickly begin to reestablish itself, returning fully within
Implanon is a prescription only medication, and is administered only by
doctors who have had special training in its insertion. First, the doctor
measures one hand span from the joint of the elbow and marks this place with texta or other marker. Then, getting the woman to pull against her, she marks
the position of the end of the bicep. A line is drawn between these two points,
giving the doctor a guide as to where the Implanon must be positioned. The skin
of the inner upper arm is then numbed with a local anesthetic injection and the
patient is left for five or ten minutes for this anesthetic to take effect.
When the skin of the inner upper arm is thoroughly numb the doctor will
introduce the Implanon into its correct position. She uses a very large and
frightening-looking needle which slides under the skin without pain. The doctor
then aligns the needle with the mark she has drawn earlier and presses the
plunger before slowly withdrawing the needle.
There will probably be a small bead of blood, but not nearly enough to look
The doctor or her assistant will then dress the wound and wrap the
implantation site in a pressure bandage. This bandage is to reduce the
possibility and severity of bruising.
The local anesthetic will wear off in about four hours. After this time your
arm will be achy and sore. You may not enjoy bending it a lot. Be sure to play
up to this by asking people who love you to make you cups of tea.
By the end of 48 hours after implantation your arm should feel normal,
although you may have a little bruising around the injection site. If you push
gently down on the area where the Implanon was inserted, you will be able to
feel it with your fingers, and to make it move gently up and down.
By a week after the implantation, you should have no visible signs of the
procedure, although you will still be able to feel the implant.