Arm implant icon

Arm implant 

  • 99% effective
  • Lasts 3 to 5 years
  • Inserted and removed by a provider
  • Contains hormones
  • No STI/STD protection
  • Decreases period cramps


What is it?
  • The birth control implant is a small, flexible plastic rod that is placed just under the skin of the upper arm.

  • A health care provider inserts the implant into your arm during a simple procedure.

  • The implant is one of the most effective birth control methods available — it’s 99% effective in preventing pregnancy,1  and it works for up to 3 to 5 years.

  • The implant is low maintenance. There’s no chance of forgetting to take it or using it incorrectly.

  • If you decide you want to get pregnant, a health care provider can remove the implant and you can try to get pregnant right away.

  • A common implant brand is Nexplanon.
How it works
  • The implant releases the hormone progestin to stop you from getting pregnant.

  • The progestin works by:

    • Stopping your ovaries from releasing eggs. When eggs aren’t released, you can’t get pregnant.

    • Making the mucus in your cervix too thick for sperm to pass through. This prevents sperm from meeting an egg.
How to get it
  • You can get a birth control implant at your medical facility.
  • Because of the Affordable Care Act, Kaiser Permanente members can get certain types of birth control methods at low or no cost. Check with Member Services or your provider for details.
What to expect
  • The implant must be inserted by a health care provider.

  • The one-time procedure only takes a few minutes. There is minimal or no discomfort.

  • The provider gives you a shot to numb your arm. They use a special tool to slide the implant under the skin on your arm.

  • Once it’s inserted, there’s no daily maintenance. It lasts up to 3 to 5 years.

  • You’ll need to get the implant removed by a provider after 3 to 5 years, when it expires.
  • The implant is safe and 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.

  • It’s a long-term birth control method, lasting up to 3 to 5 years.

  • There’s no daily or regular maintenance, and you don’t need to go to the pharmacy for refills. It works until it expires or you have it taken out.

  • Once the implant is inserted and the initial bruising subsides, you can’t see it. You'll be able to feel the implant if you touch your arm.

  • It can be used immediately after you have a baby and while you’re breastfeeding.

  • The implant won’t affect your fertility.2 You can try to get pregnant once you take it out.

  • Periods may be lighter, less painful, or absent completely.

  • It may help cut down on period cramps.
  • The implant doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs/STDs), including HIV. Even if you have an implant, you should use a condom every time you have sex to reduce your chances of getting or spreading STIs.

  • After you get an implant, you may have irregular bleeding during the first 3 to 6 months. For some people it may last longer than 12 months.

  • You may experience some temporary pain or swelling when the implant is inserted.

  • If you're unable to feel the implant under your skin, please see your provider.

  • Serious side effects and complications are uncommon. These may include frequent bleeding, headaches, infection at insertion site, or the implant moving.
  • Until it expires, you can have the implant taken out whenever you want. You must get it taken out of your arm after 3 to 5 years, when the implant expires.

  • A provider must do the implant removal for you.

  • The provider gives you a shot to numb a small area of your arm. They make a small cut and remove the implant. You’ll feel minimal or no discomfort.


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© 2020 Kaiser Permanente

1“Contraceptive Fact Sheets,” Adolescent ACCESS Project, Indiana University School of Medicine & Purdue University College of Pharmacy,, July 14, 2018.  

2“Birth control implant,” Planned Parenthood,, accessed August 13, 2019.