Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Continuing need for and provision of a service for non-standard implant removal
  1. Mary Pillai1,
  2. A Caroline Gazet2,
  3. Megan Griffiths3
  1. 1Consultant in Community Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, Sexual Health Service, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Gloucester, UK
  2. 2Associate Specialist in Sexual & Reproductive Health, Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, Sexual Health Service, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Gloucester, UK
  3. 3ST4 in Community Sexual & Reproductive Health, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Trust, Contraception and Sexual Health Clinic, Norwich, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mary Pillai, Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, Sexual Health Service, Hope House, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Great Western Road, Gloucester GL1 3NN, UK; mary.pillai{at}


Background and methodology Information is presented on the management of women referred to a sexual health service during a 1-year period for management of a non-palpable contraceptive implant or of a palpable implant considered unsuitable for routine removal.

Results Fifty-two women were referred. Thirty-four implants were non-palpable and their depth on ultrasound ranged from 2.7 to 12 mm. Seventeen were fully or partly palpable and their depth ranged from 3 mm or less (16 cases) to 5.6 mm (one case). Nine had had previous failed attempts at removal, including three with two previous failed attempts. Three implants were located at sites other than the medial aspect of the arm, and were associated with long localisation times. Forty-seven implants were removed at a one-stop clinic appointment through a 2–3 mm incision using ring forceps. The mean time for removal from making the incision to complete extraction was 4.8 minutes. Three cases judged to be of higher risk were removed under local anaesthesia in theatre through a 15 mm incision. These included the only case where removal was attempted unsuccessfully in the outpatient clinic. Seven of the implants were Nexplanon®, including four cases seen during the last month of data collection.

Conclusions Removal with the technique described is rapid, with an average time of 4–5 minutes, and less than 10 minutes in >90% of cases. Preliminary indications suggest that the introduction of Nexplanon has not resolved the problem of deep implant insertion. Based on our experience we suggest criteria for centres providing removal of deep implants.

  • Implants
  • Family Planning Service Provision

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles

  • Highlights from this issue
    British Medical Journal Publishing Group