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Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Birth Control Hormones: The Implant
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The implant is used to prevent pregnancy. It's a thin rod about the size of a matchstick that is inserted under the skin (subdermal) on the inside of your arm.
The implant releases the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy. Progestin prevents pregnancy in these ways: It thickens the mucus in the cervix. This makes it hard for sperm to travel into the uterus. It also thins the lining of the uterus, which makes it harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus. Progestin can sometimes stop the ovaries from releasing an egg each month (ovulation).
The implant prevents pregnancy for 3 years. After it is put in, you don't have to do anything else to prevent pregnancy.
The implant can only be inserted and removed by your doctor or another trained health professional. These procedures can be done in your doctor's office and only take a few minutes.
Your doctor numbs the area and "injects" the implant under your skin. No cuts are made in your skin. To remove the implant, your doctor numbs the area, makes a small cut in the skin, and pulls the implant out.
The implant works very well. Fewer than 1 woman out of 100 has an unplanned pregnancy.footnote 1
Be sure to tell your doctor about any health problems you have or medicines you take. He or she can help you choose the birth control method that is right for you.
Trussell J, Guthrie KA (2011). Choosing a contraceptive: Efficacy, safety, and personal considerations. In RA Hatcher et al., eds., Contraceptive Technology, 20th ed., pp. 45–74. Atlanta: Ardent Media.
Current as of:
October 8, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineRSURemoved
Current as of: October 8, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & RSURemoved
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