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A troubling trend found on social media lately has been the at-home removal of Nexplanon – the contraceptive implant made of a small flexible plastic rod.

Due to the cost of the procedure, instead of having a medical professional remove the implant, some patients are taking matters into their own hands.

The implant is placed under the skin of a woman’s upper and releases progesterone that prevents ovulation. Once implanted, the rod can stay in the arm for up to three years.

Just as the insertion is a minor surgical procedure, so is the removal. Despite what may be trending on social media, there is a reason the implant requires the oversight of a medical professional.

“As a provider I have spent up to 40 minutes removing a Nexplanon due to weight gain or movement of the rod, it can be extremely difficult even to a trained professional,” said
Sonia Tavaska, APRN of Brevard Health Alliance’s Sarno clinic. “Also, we have to be certified by the company to insert and remove to make sure we can safely overcome these obstacles in the office.”

Dr. Sonia Tavaska

To start, knowing the exact location is critical. Medical professionals are trained to locate the implant using palpation, X-rays, ultrasound scanning, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and other medical devices.

Home removal is not safe. Performing a surgical procedure in a non-medical environment creates greater risk of infection. Untrained persons attempting to perform surgical procedures also run the risk of damaging blood vessels and nerves within the arm, causing permanent damage.

According to an article from Radiology Case Reports, there are rare occurrences where complications include the rods inserted too deeply into the arm or have migrated from their original insertion point.

If you are nearing the date of removal for your implant and are concerned about associated costs of the procedure, BHA strongly encourages you reach to out to your medical office to discuss payment options.

“Although, even I enjoy watching a good TikTok, we should all remember that we should only seek medical advice from a trained professional,” stressed Tavaska. “And since we at BHA can do this within a reasonable price, come see us!”

The mission of Brevard Health Alliance (BHA) is to provide high-quality medical care to Brevard County residents regardless of their ability to pay.

With or without insurance, by offering services on a sliding-fee scale (where medical visit fees start at only $10 per visit), BHA is able to work with patients who are economically disadvantaged.

“I have worked for this company for over five years, the mission and dedication of our providers to assist with any and all care is amazing,” she said. “We have providers in practically every clinic or within reach of each area that can assist with the procedure and not break the bank. We service our community, regardless of ability to pay.”

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