A contraceptive implant, implanon NXT to be precise, dislodged into the left lung of a woman in a very rare complication
Woman underwent surgery to remove it
Doctors blame it on rigorous exercise
Few cases of implanon migration recorded in history
Doctors have described the rare case of a woman who underwent surgery after a contraceptive implant moved from her arm to her lung.
An unnamed woman visited her doctor because she had experienced abnormal bleeding from her vagina for three months, according to the case report published in The BMJ.
The 31-year-old was otherwise healthy, had never had surgery, and had no family history of a condition that might explain her condition. She had also had regular menstrual cycles, and had used the Implanon NXT contraceptive for eight years. Doctors inserted an implant into her arm in 2010, then again in 2013, and once again in 2017.
She was referred to a gynecologist to take out the implant in the hope it would fix her bleeding. But when staff examined her arm, they realized it wasn’t there.
The woman then underwent an ultrasound. The image showed the implant was sitting to the left of her chest. An x-ray revealed more: the piece of plastic had become lodged in the lower lobe of her left lung. Doctors next had to work out whether it was in one of her vessels, or in the lung tissue. A CT scan confirmed the object was in the lower left vessel of her lung.
Doctors decided the woman needed surgery to remove the dislodged implant.
Surgeons carried out video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS), a minimally invasive procedure where a small hole is made in the chest wall. A camera and surgical instruments are inserted into the opening, and medics can see inside the body using a video monitor.
The woman’s surgery went smoothly, and she didn’t suffer any complications. After four days in hospital, she was sent home. Doctors gave her the all-clear at a check-up, as her wounds were healing well and her lungs were functioning normally.
“Migration of an Implanon to the lung is very rare, with few cases described in literature,” wrote the doctors who treated the woman.
If the implant is inserted deeply, it can enter the venous system and then the pulmonary arterial system, warned the doctors. Exercising vigorously appears to increase the risk of vascular migration, they said.
Contraceptive implants are made up of two small rods the size of a match stick. The rods are put under the skin in the inside of the arm in order to prevent pregnancy. They include implanon, Jadelle, Nexplanon and Norplant.
They slowly release a hormone called progestogen (levonogestrel/etonogestrel). They work for up to 5 years.
You can have them taken out whenever you want and your ovulation will return almost immediately.