The implant is a small, flexible plastic tube that sits under the skin of your upper arm and releases the progestogen hormone. It is long-acting and reversible, so you can take it out if you want to get pregnant.
It is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
A specially trained clinician will apply a local anaesthetic and then insert the implant under the skin of your upper arm.
Once the implant is in place, you don't have to think about contraception. It won't interrupt sex and you won’t see it.
It can be removed at any time by a trained doctor or nurse. It only takes a few minutes to remove, using a local anaesthetic.
The hormones released by the implant prevent pregnancy by:
When correctly inserted, the implant lies in the tissue just below the surface of the skin. This holds it in position and it should not get lost. Because the implant is made of a flexible plastic, it is unlikely to break inside the user’s arm.
Implants will no longer be effective after three years and they should be removed at this point. However, they will not cause any immediate harm if left place longer than three years.
If the implant is fitted during the first five days of your menstrual cycle, you will be immediately protected against becoming pregnant. If it is fitted on any other day of your menstrual cycle, you will not be protected against pregnancy for up to seven days, and should use another method, such as condoms.
A local anaesthetic is used to numb the area so it won’t hurt.
The small wound made in your arm is closed with a dressing and does not need stitches. There may be some bruising, tenderness and swelling for a couple of days afterwards.
The hormone progesterone in the implant has important contraceptive effects but also is associated with irregular bleeding. Your periods may become irregular, prolongued or stop altogether.
You can have the implant removed at any time.
If you're 45 or older when you have the implant fitted, it can be left until you reach menopause or you no longer need contraception.
Your fertility should return to normal as soon as the implant is removed.
Yes, the implant can be fitted after having a baby and whilst breastfeeding.
No. However, there may be some visible bruising for a couple of days after having the implant fitted.
Some medicines make the implant less effective (including those used to treat epilepsy, HIV and TB, and the herbal medicine St John’s Wort). Ask your GP, clinician or pharmacist and read the information that comes with your medicine.
Always tell your doctor that you have an implant if you are prescribed any medicines.
You may not be able to use the implant if you have or have had any of the following:
Speak to your GP about whether it is suitable for you.