Medical corner: Many contraception choices available

  • Published
  • By Dr. William F. Price
  • 71st Medical Group
(Dr. William F. Price has been a family physician at the 71st Medical Group clinic since September 2007. A 1991 graduate of the University Of Oklahoma College Of Medicine, Dr. Price completed a three-year residency in family medicine, several years of private practice, followed by training family practice residents before coming to Vance.)
Female health has always been an interest of mine. My practice of medicine has included the ability to offer women the latest up-to-date care available in obstetrics and gynecology services outside the specialists' office. 

Since coming to Vance, I had to give up the obstetrical part of my medical career but continue to provide a wide variety of women's health care. Part of that care involves contraception. 

Women have the unique advantage in having many choices when it comes to contraception, some of which are offered here at Vance. Up until recently, these choices included birth control pills, patches, injections, Nuva Ring, and intrauterine device placement. Since the beginning of this year the Vance Clinic offers another choice -- Implanon. 

Implanon is a hormonal form of birth control that is effective for three years. Made of soft medical polymer, an Implanon implant is just 1.5 inches long and 0.08 inches wide -- about the size of a small match stick. The device contains no latex. 

Implanon is placed underneath the surface of the skin so the body receives a steady dose of progestin, specifically etonogestrel. This helps to make the contraception much more effective by preventing missed doses. While this type of birth control is long term, fertility will return once the implants are removed. 

Although Implanon has only been available in the United States since Nov. 17, 2006, about 2.5 million women have used it worldwide since 1998. 

Insertion of Implanon is a fairly simple and straightforward procedure that takes just a few minutes. It may only be performed by a physician who has undergone the training program developed by the manufacturer, which I have. 

First, the area on the underside of the upper arm will be sterilized and a local anesthetic may be used to numb the area. Using a special applicator, the Implanon rod is inserted just under the skin. 

Once the rod has been implanted, it should be invisible. The timing of insertion will depend on what type of contraception is currently in use. A pregnancy test may need to be done. This will be discussed at the consultation visit. 

Implanon is over 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. It becomes effective immediately, so no back up form of contraception is needed when it is first placed. Removal is simple and fertility returns quickly. 

The side effects are similar to any form of hormonal contraception. The rate they occur varies. The most common side effects reported during studies of Implanon included weight gain, acne, menstrual disturbances, depression, mood swings and headaches. 

To discuss this or any other form of contraception, call the appointment line, 213-7416, to set up a consultation visit. Patients interested in Implanon should ask for me when making an appointment.