General Health

Mum’s Urgent Warning: “My Contraceptive Implant Was Found in my Lungs!”


Contraceptive implants seem like a great option for long term birth control or for treating excessive bleeding or endometriosis. It’s a popular set-and-forget solution for many women around the world.

Birth control is meant to be something you can rely on with manageable side effects, right? Well, as some Nexplanon users are finding out, the implant can sometimes go on a little adventure inside your body. Yep, that tiny, T-shaped device might not stay where it’s meant to, causing everything from mild discomfort to outright pain.

Nexplanon Contraceptive Implant
The Nexplanon contraceptive implant. Source: Bigstock

One Mum Left Broken By Shocking Discovery

Might Not Conceive Again

UK mum of two, Rebecca Hardy was in for a shock when she went to have her Nexplanon implant removed. The 29-year-old had the IMPLANT put in her arm in 2018 and was worried because she couldn’t feel it. After getting checked, she was told it was just a deep implant. But she still worried about it over the years.

“I could never feel it in my left arm,” Rebecca, mum to Lexxie (6) and Dexter (7) said.

“I rang up the clinic the next day after having it fitted to say I couldn’t feel it in my arm, and they told me to wait and call back if I still continued to not feel it.”

Rebecca Hardy and children
Source: Rebecca Hardy

She visited the clinic later that month for a check-up, and claims she was told not to worry and that it was “just a deep implant”.

“It just got left, but over the years I have continued to worry and worry about it.”

Three years later (the maximum amount of time) she went to get it removed only to discover it wasn’t where it was meant to be. This confirmed the fears she had after implantation. But it might have been too late.

The young mum was panicking. All she could do was cry from worry. This isn’t something you hear about every day, and she was terrified. Doctors ordered tests including an Xray and CT Scan, both of which she had to wait weeks to have done. Then she had to wait months for the results. It ended up being a year before Rebecca got answers.

The IMPLANT had travelled and was sitting in one of her pulmonary arteries; the vessel that moves blood between the heart and lungs.

Nexplanon Contraceptive Implant
Source: Rebecca Hardy

A Risky Procedure

Rebecca was warned of the potential dangers of removing the implant. There wasn’t a guarantee they could even remove it and they could tear the artery on the way out.

Already mum to Lexxie, six, and Dexter, seven, and because she’d had no problems with the implant (besides its location), she decided not to take the risk of removing it. It also means she might have to wait eight years for the hormones to fully finish if she wants to conceive another baby. She has been offered support if she wants to try for more children.

She received a letter from her doctor confirming the implant likely travelled through the blood into the artery of her left lung. It’s suspected this happened shortly after it was put in.

One has to wonder if her concerns would have been taken more seriously if this would have been discovered earlier.

The doctor also said this was an extremely rare but recognised complication. Which isn’t exactly a mind-pleasing statement.

Six years after she got the implant, Rebecca is trying to move on but has been left feeling depressed over her situation.

“I’m emotionally broken thinking it will take a long time for me to fall pregnant again but I’m just trying to think positively,” she says.

Nexplanon incident not a one off

Rebecca isn’t the only woman to experience an implant moving.

  • A 31-year-old woman from Portugal had used this method of contraception for eight years straight, but in 2019, her most recent implant, couldn’t be found. One ultrasound later revealed it had moved to her left lung. Doctors used video-assisted surgery to remove the rod and she suffered no complications.
  • A 17-year-old in the UK requested the removal of her implant due to problematic bleeding patterns. It wasn’t at the implant site and was later found in her lower left lung.
  • 22-year-old Aussie woman Chloe Westerway had Implanon inserted into her arm. After the procedure, she began exhibiting symptoms like palpitations, excessive sweating, and heartburn. After ten scans and bloodwork being sent to the USA, and a fluoro X-ray, the implant was found in her pulmonary artery. She is now expecting to have lung surgery and possibly open-heart surgery along with six to eight weeks off work to recover.

There are less than twenty published reports of this happening worldwide.


How can you tell if your contraceptive implant has moved?

It’s rare, but possible, for your implant to move into your blood vessels or chest, as the women above discovered. Some signs your implant might have moved are chest pain, spitting up blood, difficulty breathing, heartburn, excessive sweating, palpitations, and a cough.

If you experience any of these symptoms or have doubts and think your implant has moved, see your doctor and have them check it out thoroughly.

Birth control is meant to be something we can trust. It affects our bodies and hormones. It’s an important, personal choice and we should have all the research side effects, including the rare ones, for any method of contraception made available to us. I can’t begin to imagine what these women went through. I used Depo-Provera one time, and my biggest concern was weight gain.

Women who experience implant migration are not only affected by the rod’s new location. They experience emotional or physical changes, possible long-term fertility issues, and other serious health implications. Women’s health concerns are often overlooked or brushed aside, and unfortunately, we need to advocate for ourselves, and others, loudly.

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Avatar of Tina Evans

Tina Evans is a complete introvert, an avid reader of romance novels, horror novels and psychological thrillers. She’s a writer, movie viewer, and manager of the house menagerie: three kelpies, one cat, a fish, and a snake. She loves baking and cooking and using her kids as guinea pigs. She was a teenage parent and has learned a lot in twenty-three years of parenting. Tina loves Christmas and would love to experience a white Christmas once in her life. Aside from writing romance novels, she is passionate about feminism, equality, sci-fi, action movies and doing her part to help the planet.

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