What are the possible complications of contraceptive implants?

Updated: Jan 29, 2018
  • Author: Megan Brady Shannon, MD; Chief Editor: Michel E Rivlin, MD  more...
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The most common procedural complication is pain at the insertion site, which occurs in less than 3% of users, according to one study. [7] Pain is usually transient and resolves with time. Other uncommon complications include the implant being retained in the needle applicator, bleeding or redness at the insertion site, and hematoma formation. [7, 6] Bruising after insertion is possible and should resolve within a few days.

Side effects of the etonorgestrel implant, unrelated to implant insertion, have been reviewed in an analysis of 11 major international clinic trials that include 942 subjects. The most common reason (13.6%) for a woman to discontinue use of the implant was an adverse side effect such as headache, weight gain, acne, breast pain, emotional lability, and abdominal pain. Another 11% of women cite undesirable bleeding irregularities as their reason for discontinuation. The most common irregularity was infrequent bleeding (33.3%), followed by amenorrhea (21.4%), prolonged bleeding, and frequent bleeding. [7]

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