Popular implant prevents pregnancy for years but could go missing in your body
WASHINGTON (Circa) — A Circa investigation uncovered unsettling complications related to a popular birth control implant that's designed to prevent pregnancy for years. Nexplanon, a matchstick-sized implant, is placed in a woman's body and releases hormones that keep her from getting pregnant. But Circa discovered the product has the potential to migrate, or move. And in some women the implant has ended up in dangerous places including their lungs, chest and vital arteries.
Tenayah Dawson is a mother of three. After her last son was born, she wanted lasting birth control and opted for Nexplanon. But just two months after getting the implant placed in her arm, she could no longer feel it. Medical records show two doctors tried to locate and remove it, but were unable, eventually sending her for an MRI.
"I was angry," Dawson explained. "I was like, what do you mean it moved? I was really concerned. It moved? How can it move?"
The device, according to Dawson's medical records, had migrated from where it was placed. On a third attempt, captured by a family member on video, the implant was successfully located and removed. But not until after what Dawson described as a fishing expedition that lasted almost 90 minutes.
"She was just digging, digging, digging," Dawson said. "She was fishing for a long time."
Nexplanon is a popular device. It gets plenty of women talking on the internet, sharing their experiences on YouTube. Vlogger Emily Freybler detailed her experience of getting the implant online, saying, "They put this little rod that’s flexible into your arm. And it distributes hormones so you don’t get pregnant basically."
Destiny Jay told her followers, "It just stays in your arm and it stays three years. I was like, wow, that seems easy." And Bridgette Berena actually videotaped her physician placing the implant in her arm so people could see the process.