Mightier than a Matchstick: The Implant

By Candice

Are you tired of taking a daily pill as your method of birth control? Are you interested in a longer term, cost-effective method? Well look no further than Nexplanon, known to most as “The Implant”. The implant is a small plastic tube about the size of a match stick (40 mm x 2 mm) that goes just under the skin in the upper arm between the bicep and tricep muscles. It releases Etonogestrel, a type of hormone, which

  • thickens the cervical mucus and prevents sperm from reaching the uterus
  • stops ovulation (release of an egg from the ovary)1

implant words

Since 2012, Nexplanon has been the primary implant method in US markets. The implant process is simple: A health care professional uses a local anesthetic to numb a small space on the arm where insertion happens. Then they will make a small cut and insert the implant just under the skin on the inside of your upper arm. They finish the procedure with a small bandage and dressing and the best part of it is that it all takes place at your doctor’s office and doesn’t require any sort of surgery.


The implant has a high effectiveness rate, with less than 1 in 100 users becoming pregnant within one year1. Another benefit of the implant is how long it lasts. The implant is good for up to three years at a time and for anyone interested in becoming pregnant, fertility (the ability to become pregnant) returns quickly after removal. Like many other contraceptive options, some users experience irregular bleeding and spotting within their first year of usage and/or nausea. With the wide variety of long acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), the most important thing is finding what works best with your body and its needs.  If a person is being treated for breast cancer, has had liver diseases or is pregnant, the Implant is not a recommended method2. However, there are other forms of contraception for interested people to look in to. If the Implant sounds like a method you’re interested in, contact a Planned Parenthood health center today to get started.


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