Insertion and removal of Implanon: practical considerations

Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2000 Sep;5 Suppl 2:29-34.


Implanon, a novel contraceptive implant containing the progestogen, etonogestrel (68 mg), provides highly effective, well-tolerated contraception for up to 3 years. Its single-rod design, semi-rigid polymer base and convenient pre-loaded presentation mean that Implanon has potential insertion and removal advantages over the six-capsule Norplant implant. Insertion of Implanon is simple: the applicator needle is positioned subdermally and the cannula is withdrawn, leaving the implant rod in place. Implanon is removed using the 'pop out' technique, involving a 2-mm incision. A meta-analysis of data from seven open-label, randomized studies in 1,378 women compared the ease of insertion and removal of the Implanon and Norplant implants and the frequency of associated complications. It was approximately four times quicker to insert and remove Implanon than Norplant (mean insertion times 1.1 vs. 4.3 min, respectively; mean removal times 2.6 vs.10.2 min, respectively). Insertion complications were very rare with both Implanon (0.3%) and Norplant (0.0%). However, Implanon was associated with a significantly lower frequency of removal complications (0.2 vs. 4.8% with Norplant; p < 0.001). Implant site abnormalities were uncommon. The simplicity of the insertion and removal procedures with Implanon may have significant implications for contraceptive implant training programs and user counselling.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / administration & dosage*
  • Desogestrel*
  • Device Removal
  • Drug Implants / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Progesterone Congeners / administration & dosage*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Vinyl Compounds / administration & dosage*


  • Contraceptive Agents, Female
  • Drug Implants
  • Progesterone Congeners
  • Vinyl Compounds
  • etonogestrel
  • Desogestrel