Home>>Family Medicine>>Adult Health: Birth Control: Progestin Implant

The Progestin Implant

What is it?

The progestin implant is a thin plastic tube about the size of a paper matchstick. It is inserted under the skin of your upper arm.

The implant is safe, effective, and easy to use. Once you have it, it works on its own – you don’t have to do anything. You can use it while breastfeeding. It’s great for many women who can’t use birth control pills, patch, or ring.

How does it work?

It prevents pregnancy by releasing a small amount of progestin (a hormone). It works for 3 years. After 3 years, you can get a new implant if you want one.

The implant works better than the pill, the patch, the ring, and the shot. It prevents pregnancy in 99% of women who use it.

How is it inserted?

After numbing your skin, a medical provider inserts the implant under the skin of your upper arm. This takes a few minutes. It is done in the office or clinic.

How is it removed?

A medical provider numbs your skin and makes a small cut to remove the implant. This takes a few minutes. The implant can be removed at any time. It is removed in the office or clinic.

What are the side effects?

The implant causes periods to change. Most women have off-and-on spotting. Spotting may last until the implant is removed. A few women have: mood changes, weight gain, headache, acne, and/or skin changes in the upper arm. Most side effects go away when the implant is removed.

Does it protect against sexually transmitted infections?

No, it does NOT protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Unless you and your partner have sex only with each other, you should use a condom every time you have sex (even with the implant in place).