Contraceptive implant insertion

The contraceptive implant is about the size of a matchstick and is placed under the skin of the inner side of your upper arm.

Please read the information on this page carefully: it's important you understand both the benefits and risks.

Read about the contraceptive implant via Sexwise

Or watch a short video about the implant on Vimeo from our friends at CNWL

Your first appointment

You will have an appointment, usually by telephone, to discuss your medical history, method options, and to assess your suitability before your visit to the clinic for the procedure.

You'll discuss the benefits and risks of alternative methods of contraception, and the clinician will explain what the procedure involves.

Your consent

Before the procedure starts, you’ll be asked to give your consent.

Your clinician will talk to you about:

  • what the procedure involves
  • the intended benefits
  • serious or frequently occurring risks.

Finally, your clinician will answer any questions you have.

Find out more about the implant at Sexwise.

How the implant is inserted

  • A specially trained doctor or nurse will insert the implant.
  • An injection of local anaesthetic is used to numb the skin
  • A special device is used to place the implant under the skin. The wound is dressed and will soon heal just like any other small cut. 
  • The dressing needs to stay in place (and dry) for 48 hours.

After implant insertion

  • You may experience a little discomfort once the local anaesthetic wears off. Please take pain relief e,g, Paracetamol as required. You can carry out all normal activities.
  • The area around the implant may be bruised and tender for up to a week. Once it has healed, knocking the implant will not do it, or you, any harm.
  • Itching over the site of insertion can occur. This usually settles within a couple of months of insertion. 
  • You can try antihistamines such as Cetrizine or Piriton, available over the counter at a pharmacy, for itching.
  • If you find pus or bleeding or have intense pain at the insertion site, you could have a skin infection and may need antibiotics. This is very rare. 
  • Please call the clinic where the implant was fitted if you're worried about anything

Call us if you have:

  • Pus / bleeding at the insertion site
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding
  • Delayed period after long intervals of normal periods
  • Severe lower abdominal pain (ovarian cysts are uncommon)
  • Expulsion of the implant (very rare)

Your clinic appointment

Your appointment has been made for an appropriate time in your menstrual cycle. If your period has not started at the time of your appointment, call us to arrange an alternative date. If you're using a method which stops periods you will have been given advice about timing.

It is really important that you continue to use a reliable method of contraception until your appointment.

We will send a text reminder about your appointment asking you to confirm your attendance.

We will follow this with other attempts to reach you (call, text, email), but if you have not confirmed your attendance or re-arranged your time 24 hours prior to the clinic we will give your appointment to someone else.