The contraceptive implant, Implanon, has just been replaced by a new implant called Nexplanon. For those of you who have Implanon, have no fear. Your Implanon is still working and is still safe. Two things have changed about the implant. The changes do not effect how well the implant works or how long it lasts.
The first difference is the inserter. The insertion procedure is still very fast, with minimal discomfort to the patient. The new design of the applicator is to increase the ease of insertion and to decrease the chance of an incorrect insertion.
This first picture is the old Implanon: packaging, inserter and implant. It comes courtesy of http://persephonemagazine.com.
This picture is of the new Nexplanon, with thanks to http://nexplanon.se.
The only other difference between Implanon and Nexplanon is the addition of barium sulfate to Nexplanon. Barium sulfate is a metal used during x-ray studies. The reason it was added to Nexplanon is to help locate the implant if it can’t be easily felt. The need for x-ray studies to locate Nexplanon should be rare. Barium sulfate, however, allows location of the rod by a much simpler and cheaper test than was required to locate an Implanon that could not be easily felt. Barium sulfate has been used for ages in medical testing and is not toxic to humans because it can’t be absorbed by them.
Virtually all patients at Aurora Medical Services will be receiving Nexplanon from now on.
Deborah Oyer, MD