Difficult removal of subdermal contraceptive implants: a multidisciplinary approach involving a peripheral nerve expert

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Abstract

Objectives We aim to describe our experiences and identify patients who may benefit from referral to a peripheral nerve surgeon for removal of contraceptive subdermal implants in which neurovascular injury may occur, and describe a treatment pathway for optimal care. Study design We reviewed the charts of 22 patients who were referred to the Division of Family Planning for difficult removal of etonogestrel contraceptive implants between January 1, 2014, and April, 1 2016. Of these, five were referred to a peripheral nerve surgeon due to pain or location of the implant. We evaluated and described these cases and, from our findings, developed recommendations for care in a multidisciplinary team approach. Results Two patients reported pain, including one with four previous failed removal attempts. In the two patients with pain, the implants were adherent to a sensory nerve. In another, the implant was within the biceps muscle and difficult to locate. In all cases, ultrasound imaging, general anesthesia and a wide exposure allowed for safe removal and good outcomes. Our multidisciplinary care approach has elucidated important referral and technical considerations that improve patient care and safety. Conclusion When necessary, multidisciplinary care with a Family Planning expert and possibly a peripheral nerve surgeon may be beneficial in safely removing etonogestrel contraceptive implants that would be difficult or risky to remove in an ambulatory setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-95
Number of pages7
JournalContraception
Volume96
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2017

Keywords

  • Difficult implant removal
  • Etonogestrel contraceptive implant
  • Implanon
  • Multidisciplinary care
  • Nerve injury

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