• A single-rod hormonal contraceptive implant that is inserted just under the skin of a woman’s upper arm.
  • It can stay in place for 3 years, but can easily be removed before 3 years if needed.
  • It is the most effective form of birth control.


  • An experienced clinician must insert Nexplanon.
  • Before insertion, the arm is washed with a cleaning solution and a local anesthetic is applied to the upper arm around the insertion area.
  • A needle-like applicator is used to insert the rod under the skin into the subdermal tissue on the inner side of the arm between the biceps and triceps muscles.
  • The average time for the insertion process is 10-15 minutes.
  • A bandage should be kept on the insertion site for 24 hours afterwards.
  • Bruising and mild discomfort are common after insertion.
  • Serious insertion site complications such as infection can occur very rarely, in less than 1% of patients.


  • Nexplanon should be removed after three years; however, it can easily be removed sooner if desired.
  • The rod must also be removed by an experienced clinician using forceps.
  • The removal procedure lasts, on average, 10-15 minutes.

Fertility After Removal

  • Within a week of removal, the hormones from the device leave the body and are undetectable in most users.
  • Most women will begin to ovulate within six weeks of removal.
  • Fertility levels will return to what they were before Nexplanon insertion.


  • Nexplanon is the most effective form of birth control available.
  • The failure rate of Nexplanon is .05% for both perfect use and typical use because the method requires no user action after insertion.
  • These statistics suggest that Nexplanon is almost ten times more effective at preventing pregnancy than tubal sterilization.
  • Also, tubal sterilization is permanent, whereas the implant must be replaced every three years.


Women should not use Nexplanon if they:

  • Are, or think they are, pregnant
  • Are allergic to etonorgestrel (the hormone in Nexplanon)
  • Have a history of breast cancer
  • Have vaginal bleeding that has not been explained
  • Are breastfeeding in the first 6 weeks postpartum
  • Have severe liver disease


  • One time insertion that lasts 3 years
  • Most effective form of birth control
  • Does not contain estrogen
  • Works quickly after insertion
  • Nothing to do right before sex to make it work
  • Fertility returns quickly after removal
  • 20% women have no more periods while using


  • Irregular menstrual bleeding or spotting may occur when first inserted
  • Pain at insertion site
  • Possible small increase in weight
  • Headache, acne, ovarian cysts, or change in mood can possibly occur

More information on the birth control implant

Adapted from:

Sexual Health Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) Contraception