What is Nexplanon?

Nexplanon is a type of contraceptive implant that is a flexible plastic rod about the size of a matchstick that is placed under the skin of the upper arm. The implant releases a hormone called progesterone which prevents pregnancy by suppressing ovulation, or preventing the release of an egg each month. The implant thickens the mucus in your cervix to prevent sperm from entering your uterus. It also thins the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting.This may lead to infrequent, erratic, or absent menstruation.

How is Nexplanon placed?

The procedure is performed at your doctor’s office in less than a minute. Your doctor injects local anesthesia on your upper arm where the implant is inserted. A device is used to insert the implant beneath your skin. You may feel a pinching sensation during insertion. You will be able to feel the implant but won’t be able to see it after insertion.

Nexplanon is kept in place for up to three years and then must be removed and replaced in order to continue to prevent pregnancy. Removal takes around 20 minutes. Your doctor numbs your skin with local anesthesia and makes a small incision near the tip of the implant and pulls it out. An X-ray can help locate the device if your doctor can’t feel it.

Advantages of Nexplanon

Advantages of Nexplanon include, but are not limited to:

  • It is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy
  • Easy and comfortable to use. There is no risk of incorrect use or overuse.
  • It is long-lasting but reversible
  • Menstrual pain is lessened with the use of the implant.
  • You can become pregnant immediately after removal.

Disadvantages of Nexplanon

Potential disadvantages of Nexplanon include, but are not limited to:

  • No protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Bruising, swelling, pain or redness at the insertion site
  • Infection and scarring
  • Irregular periods
  • Mood changes
  • Pain in the abdomen or nausea
  • Weight gain changes
  • Skin changes
  • Breast cancer risk (as with any hormonal treatments)
  • ACOG
  • AIUM
  • American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists
  • NYU langone Medical center
  • American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities
  • UpToDate