What is it?

The contraceptive implant (Nexplanon) is a small flexible plastic rod that's placed under the skin in your upper arm by health care professional. A local anaesthetic is used to numb the area. The small wound made in your arm is closed with a dressing and doesn't need stitches.

It releases the hormone progestogen into your bloodstream to prevent pregnancy and lasts for three years.

The implant steadily releases the hormone progestogen into your bloodstream, which prevents the release of an egg each month (ovulation). It also thickens the cervical mucus, which makes it more difficult for sperm to move through the cervix and thins the lining of the womb so a fertilised egg is less likely to implant itself.

To compare contraception methods and what will work best for you, use the Contraception Choices Tool 

The implant is a good option for most women, however may not be suitable if you:

  • Think you might be pregnant 

  • Want to keep having regular period 

  • Have inconsistent bleeding between periods

  • Have previously had breast cancer

  • have arterial disease or a history of heart disease or stroke

  • have liver disease

  • Have cirrhosis or liver tumours.

  • Are at risk of osteoporosis.

  • Works for three years

  • Does not interrupt sex

  • It can be useful for women who can't use contraception that contains oestrogen. It's also very useful for women who find it difficult to remember to take a pill at the same time every day.

  • Your fertility will return to normal immediately after the implant is taken out

  • It's safe to use while breastfeeding

  • It may reduce painful or heavy periods

  • You should be able to carry out normal activities after the contraceptive implant has been inserted.

  • In rare cases, the area of skin where the implant has been fitted may become infected. If this happens, the area will be cleaned and may be treated with antibiotics.

  • Side effects from the implant may include headaches, acne, nausea, breast tenderness, changed in mood and loss of sex drive. These side effects are usually temporary.

  • Some medicines can reduce the implant’s effectiveness including some anti-HIV medications, medication for epilepsy, complementary remedies such as St John’s Wort, rifabutin (an antibiotic used to treat TB) and rifampicin (an antibiotic used to treat several conditions including TB and meningitis).

Make an appointment at one of our clinics to speak with a nurse or clinician to talk through your options and best suitable method of contraception for you.