Key Points for Providers and Clients
  • Implants are small flexible rods or capsules that are placed just under the skin of the upper arm.
  • Provide long-term pregnancy protection. Very effective for up to 5 years, depending on the type of implant. Immediately reversible.
  • Require specifically trained provider to insert and remove. A woman cannot start or stop implants on her own.
  • Little required of the client once implants are in place. Avoids user errors and problems with resupply.
  • Bleeding changes are common but not harmful. Typically, prolonged irregular bleeding over the first year, and then lighter, more regular bleeding, infrequent bleeding, or no bleeding.

What Are Implants?

  • Small plastic rods or capsules, each about the size of a matchstick, that release a progestin like the natural hormone progesterone in a woman's body.
  • A specifically trained provider performs a minor surgical procedure to place one or 2 rods under the skin on the inside of a woman’s upper arm.
  • Do not contain estrogen, and so can be used throughout breastfeeding and by women who cannot use methods with estrogen.
  • Many types of implants:
    • Jadelle: 2 rods containing levonorgestrel, highly effective for 5 years
    • Implanon NXT (Nexplanon): 1 rod containing etonogestrel, labeled for up to 3 years of use (a recent study shows it may be highly effective for 5 years). Replaces Implanon; Implanon NXT can be seen on X-ray and has an improved insertion device.
    • Levoplant (Sino-Implant (II)): 2 rods containing levonorgestrel. Labeled for up to 4 years of use. 
    • Norplant, which consisted of 6 capsules and was effective for 5−7 years, was discontinued in 2008 and is no longer available for insertion. A small number of women, however, may still need Norplant capsules removed. 
  • Work primarily by:
    • Preventing the release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation)
    • Thickening cervical mucus (this blocks sperm from meeting an egg)