Dear Ask The Doctor: Hello, My name is Kim and I'm one of many women who chose the Norplant System back in the 90's as birth control. I have actually gotten two of the Norplant since that time, so I am currently on my second system. My question is this: What are the risks involved with the effectiveness and removal of the Norplant if the user hasn't had the device removed after the five years suggested for the length of use? I am planing to have the Norplant removed but I would like an idea of what I can expect. I should have probably had the Norplant removed at least 4 years ago, so I'm concerned about what sort of problems I may face as a result of having waited too long to have it removed. Thank you for your time, Kim
Dear Kim: I have to admit I am not very familiar with the Norplant system but from my basic understanding I think there are 2 items of concern.
Firstly, after the 5 year mark, Norplant would not be considered an effective hormonal contraceptive. I think after the 5 year mark, there would not be any hormonal release from the Norplant system. I assume after the 5 year mark, you were using other forms of pregnancy prevention such as condoms.
Secondly, the only problem I see you encountering is a slightly more difficult removal as the extra years have allowed scar tissue to form. This would not make it impossible to remove, just slightly more difficult.
there is a theoretical risk of infection with any foreign body but if that was to have occurred, you would have experienced symptoms of pain, fever and redness in the area.
For further information, most pharmaceutical manufactures have toll free help lines set up to answer these types of questions.
I hope this helps