Implanon is a small plastic rod containing the hormone progestogen that is inserted just under the skin of the upper inner arm and provides protection against pregnancy for the three years it is left in place.
It is very important to have the Implanon removed after three years, as leaving it in place longer than this may increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy in the tube).
If inserted correctly, most Implanon devices can be felt just under the skin surface and are easily removed by the gynaecologist or GP in their practice rooms. Occasionally the implant will have been inadvertently inserted deeper into the tissues of the upper arm, or is no longer palpable. In these circumstances, an ultrasound-guided technique is necessary for removal.
To remove the implant, a small amount of local anaesthetic is inserted just underneath the end of the implant and a small nick is made in the skin. The end of the implant is then pushed through this nick in the skin or grabbed with a small instrument and removed. This leaves a small mark on the skin. A dressing is then applied for 24 hours.
The contraceptive effect wears off very quickly when the Implanon is removed, with most women returning to a normal menstrual cycle within a month.