Contraceptive Implant

Contraceptive Implant

The implant is sometimes called 'Rod'

How do they work?

  • The main way the implant works is by stopping the ovaries releasing an egg (ovulation) each month. It also:
    • Thickens the mucus in the cervix, making it difficult for sperm to travel to reach an egg.
    • Makes the lining of the womb thinner so it's less likely to accept a fertilised egg.

How long do they last?

  • It works for three years.

How effective is it?

  • The contraceptive implant is more than 99 per cent effective.
  • This means that using this method, fewer than one woman in 100 will get pregnant in a year.

How is it fitted?

  • A trained doctor or nurse will fit the implant by inserting it under the skin in the inner upper arm. The process feels a bit like an injection.Whoever fits the implant will offer you local anaesthetic to stop it hurting.
  • Your arm may be a little sore or bruised for a few days after it's fitted.

How is it removed?

  • An implant is removed through a tiny cut which a trainied doctor or nurse will make in your skin. They will use local anaesthetic to stop it hurting.


  • It can be used by women who cannot use the combined pill.
  • It doesn't need an internal examination.
  • Your normal fertility returns as soon as soon as it's removed.

Possible drawbacks

  • Your periods may become irregular.
  • Some women report having headaches, acne, mood changes and breast tenderness.
  • The implant can be less effective if you are using certain prescribed or bought medications - discuss this with your doctor or nurse.


Image of woman's upper arm with implant just visible under the skin

The implant is a small, flexible tube about the size of a hairgrip. It's inserted under the skin in the inner upper arm. It slowly releases the hormone progestogen


Listen to Rhian's experience of having an implant:

> Contraception: Which LARC?

LARCs prevent pregnancy.
Condom use is essential to prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).



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