What is Implanon?
Implanon is a birth control implant which is placed in woman’s’ body to avoid pregnancy. These implants have become widely known by the trade name Implanon. The implant looks like a flexible rod made up of plastic and is usually placed under the skin of the upper arm. It acts by releasing the hormone progesterone in the body so that the cervical secretion becomes thick making sperm penetration almost impossible. It also causes the inner lining of the uterus to become thick and the hormone suppresses ovum production to a certain extent.
Currently a new version of Implanon, known as Nexplanon, is available in the market. This implant is characteristically radio-opaque, making it clearly visible under X-ray. This makes it easier to check on the exact location of the device in the body. In the US, the only hormonal contraceptive implants approved are Implanon and Nexplanon.
Reasons for Implanon
There are number of benefits associated with Implanon use like:
- The implant can be removed quickly and the woman can fall pregnant without difficulty following removal of the implant provided that they do not have other fertility problems.
- Presence of the implant eliminates the need of interrupting sexual intercourse for contraception as in using condoms.
- No partner compliance is required.
- No risk of forgetting to take a pill as is the case with oral contraceptives (birth control pill).
- Provides additional benefit other than contraception by relieving pain during menstruation (dysmenorrhoea) and lower abdominal pain in endometriosis.
When Not To Use Implanon?
Despite the advantages Implanon is not suitable for everyone. Doctors discourage Implanon use in women :
- Who are allergic to any material used in its production,
- Who are obese or overweight women.
- With a past history of blood clots, heart attack or stroke, liver diseases like liver tumors, past history or suspected history of breast cancer,
- With bleeding from the vagina the cause of which is yet to be determined.
Despite the fact that the label on Implanon does say to avoid the implant in women with past history of blood clotting disorder, it is not clear whether the risk of blood clotting following use of Implanon is more greatly increased than with combined oral contraceptive pills. The implant is used with caution in patients suffering from an allergy to anesthetic agents or antiseptics, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney diseases, headache, high cholesterol level and epilepsy.
Implanon Insertion Procedure
Before implanting Implanon, the consulting doctor will perform a thorough clinical examination including a pelvic examination. Depending upon previous use of contraceptives and menstrual cycle of the patient, the exact time for inserting the implant under is determined. Also woman should have a pregnancy test to rule out pregnancy before insertion. The use of other backup contraceptive methods are recommended for 1 week after implantation.
Implanon is inserted at the doctor’s office and the whole procedure takes about 15 minutes to complete. The woman is asked to lie down and place her arm near head. The doctor then finds the groove between biceps and triceps muscles, injects local anesthetic agents at the siteand inserts the device using the applicator. Deep placement of the implant will result in difficulty in removing the implant. Sometimes an ultrasound is done to confirm its position in the arm. Some women may suffer from bruising, pain, scarring or bleeding where the Implanon has been inserted.