Birth Control in your Arm!

Nexplanon – A new method of birth control in your arm!

Nexplanon is a small, sNexplanonoft, flexible birth control implant, 4 centimeters (1.6”) in length that we place just under the skin of your upper, inner arm. This location, hidden from view, provides up to 3 years of continuous prevention against pregnancy.

Once inserted, it is over 99% effective for birth control but, unlike the pill, you do not need to remember to take it every day. This ease of use with reversibility makes it a superior birth control method.

The insertion procedure is simple. Local anesthesia is used to numb a small area in your upper left arm (if you are right handed, and the opposite arm if you are left handed). There is a small device we use to insert it with the goal of a very small cut to put the implant in its correct position, just below the skin. Here, you can feel it to confirm it is in its proper place. A steri strip is placed that stays on for a week, with a bandage that you keep on over night. This tends to minimize any bruising and helps prevent a scar.Nexplanon in arm

The implant contains a form of progesterone called etonogestrel. This progestin hormone prevents you from ovulating, similar to the effect of the birth control pill. Unlike the pill, it does not contain estrogen, so it can be used while breast feeding.

Progesterone may increase your risk of blood clots, especially if you have other risk factors such as smoking, similar to birth control pills. Nexplanon may change your menstrual bleeding patterns or make menstrual periods lighter or stop. Other side effects can include headaches, nausea, weight gain, and pain at the insertion site. You should also inform your doctor if you need to have surgery or lengthy bed rest as this could increase the risk of a blood clot.

Nexplanon also does not prevent sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, warts, HPV or HIV. It is strongly recommended that you practice safe sex.

If you change your mind about using Nexplanon after it is inserted, or if it is approaching 3 years, we can remove the implant at any time, and your fertility would be expected to return quickly. Removal of the implant is similar to insertion, in that it is usually a simple procedure done in the office with local anesthesia, and the incision used to remove it is very small. Rarely, removing the implant may be difficult if the implant is not where it should be. Special procedures including surgery may be needed if the removal is not easily accomplished.

If you want birth control more than 3 years we can remove the old device and insert a new one, usually at the same location in your arm, and at the same office visit.

All things considered, this new birth control method is highly safe, effective and dependable. It is very low maintenance, and does not require frequent visits to your pharmacy and remembering to take it every day at the same time. If you are a busy person, and want to use a safe, convenient method, you should consider it.

About Mark Seigel, MD

I'm an ObGyn with offices in Rockville and Germantown, Maryland. Our modern practice includes electronic medical records, advanced ultrasound, and in-office procedures. We offer gynecologic services, as well as normal and high risk obstetrics. I have three great partners, Drs Emily Gottlieb, Jennifer Jagoe and Supriya Mishra. We are part of George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates. I enjoy reading, swimming, and blogging.
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