Explaining the Insertion Procedure

A woman who has chosen implants needs to know what will happen during insertion. The following description can help explain the procedure to her. Learning to insert and remove implants requires training and practice under direct supervision. Therefore, this description is a summary and not detailed instructions.

Inserting implants usually takes only a few minutes but can sometimes take longer, depending on the skill of the provider. Related complications are rare. How often complications occur also depends on the skill of the provider.

1. The provider uses proper infection-prevention procedures.

2. The provider marks the skin where the implant will be inserted on  the inner side of the woman’s upper arm (usually the arm she uses less often).  

3. The woman receives an injection of local anesthetic under the skin of her arm to prevent pain while the implant is being inserted. This injection may sting, but she should not feel any pain when the implant is inserted. She stays fully awake throughout the procedure.

4. The provider uses a specially designed applicator to make an incision and insert the implant under the skin. 

5. After the implant is inserted, the provider closes the incision with surgical tape and an adhesive bandage. Stitches are not needed. The incision is covered with a dry piece of gauze (a pressure dressing) and the arm is wrapped snugly with gauze.