WellCat Health Center

Nexplanon FAQ

Family Pact Logo

Updated 4/18/2012

What is Nexplanon?

Nexplanon is a form of birth control, the size of a matchstick, inserted under the skin of the upper arm and can protect against pregnancy for up to three years.  It can also be called an implant.

How does Nexplanon work?

Similar to other birth control methods, Nexplanon prevents pregnancy by releasing the hormone progestin.  This prevents the ovaries from releasing eggs, thickens the cervical mucus and thins the lining of the uterus, all of which prevent fertilization. 

How long does Nexplanon last?

Nexplanon lasts up to three years without any maintenance or checkups.  This could mean you never have to worry about birth control for most of your college career!

How is Nexplanon inserted and removed?

Once your provider deems you eligible for an implant by taking your medical history and a physical exam, they will numb a small area of your arm.  The implant is then inserted under your skin.  This process should only take a of couple minutes.

The implant can be removed at any time.  Your healthcare provider will again numb the area and make one small cut to remove the implant.  A new implant can be inserted at this time, and this process generally only takes a few minutes longer than when it’s inserted.

What can I expect after Nexplanon’s inserted?

The injection site might have slight pain, swelling, and/or bruising for up to a month.  It is recommended you see your physician if symptoms persist.  Most women don’t have these problems and hardly know the implant is there after insertion.

How effective is Nexplanon?

Nexplanon is VERY effective.  The rate of pregnancy in 100 women is less than 1 in a year, and it lasts up to three years with no maintenance or hassle required.

Will it leave a scar?

After removal, there is a chance the small cut to remove it will turn into a scar, but most have no trace after it’s healed.  If you use antiseptics and healthy healing methods, there shouldn’t be a problem.

What are the possible side effects of Nexplanon?

Every medicine has risks, and the implant is no different.  There can be some swelling or bruising after insertion.  Irregular bleeding in the first 6 months of use is the most common side effect.  The good news is if any of the side effects become too uncomfortable, the implant can be removed at any time.

When should Nexplanon be removed?

The implant should be removed after three years but can be replaced with a new one at that time.  It can also be removed if any of the side effects are severe enough that you would not want to continue with this method of birth control.  If this is the case, it can be removed at any time; but once it is removed, another birth control method needs to be used, because you will no longer be protected.  

How will Nexplanon affect my menstrual cycle?

Your menstrual cycle might change after insertion.  Some women have noted heavier periods or some spotting in between their normal cycle.  This is not a sign of pregnancy but just your body adjusting to the new method.  For most women it evens out after a couple months, and your period will go back to normal.

Does Nexplanon protect from STIs?

NO.  Like all other hormonal birth control methods, the implant does nothing to protect you from STIs.  If you do not know your partner’s status, it is important to use a condom to keep yourself protected.