Contraceptive implant lodged in woman’s lung for six years – and removing it could destroy artery

By Staff 9 Min Read

Doctors couldn’t locate Rebecca Hardy’s contraceptive implant when she went to have it taken out and her ordeal has left Rebecca, of Nottinghamshire, “emotionally broken”

Video Loading

Video Unavailable

A contraceptive implant has been lodged in woman’s lung for six years – and it may leave her unable to have children again.

Rebecca Hardy, 29, says she is “emotionally broken” having been told removing the implant could tear the artery in which it is stuck. The mum-of-two, from Nottinghamshire, went to get her contraceptive implant out in March 2021, after having it in for the maximum amount of time – three years – but doctors were unable to locate it.

Numerous other medics also struggled to find the implant and, when they eventually did, it was in one of Rebecca’s pulmonary arteries – blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs. It confirmed Rebecca’s concerns after getting the implant fitted in her upper arm in March 2018.

She said: “I could never feel it in my left arm. 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.”

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

But by the time she went to get it removed in March 2021, it was clear the implant was not where it should be. The mum said: “I started to cry with worry. Not only was I panicking but then I had to wait weeks for the CT scan and X-rays, and then even longer for the results. I didn’t find out until a year later where my implant was.”

She was sent for a chest X-ray to locate it on July 7, but claims that after months of waiting, she didn’t get her results until she was booked into a face-to-face appointment at the radiology department of Queen’s Medical Centre on February 4, 2022.

There, they told her the implant had travelled to her pulmonary artery and warned of the potential dangers posed by trying to remove it.

She said: “I was given the option to try and attempt removal but was advised it’s a very dangerous procedure as there wasn’t a 100 per cent chance of it going right, or it even being possible for it to be removed. Plus, it could make things worse for myself and tear my artery.

“Because I had no signs of problems or difficulty over the years, I had agreed to leave it where it is and not take any risk as it’s a big procedure. I have two children to think about.

“On the pregnancy side of things, I have been told I will still be able to conceive but it might be roughly eight years for the hormones to fully finish. I have been offered support if I ever want to try for more children.”

A letter from her doctor confirms the implant has “come to rest in a branch of the pulmonary artery” of her left lung. The letter says it is likely that at the time of insertion or shortly afterwards, the implant passed through her blood vessels, the right side of her heart, and into the artery.

The doctor calls it an “extremely rare but recognised complications with the implant fit” and says it was “extremely unfortunate”. Rebecca also shared her story to TikTok, where the clip has so far garnered over 1.2 million views.

She writes over the top: “I had the implant in 2018, and was due to come out in 2021, but they couldn’t find it!” The second picture she reveals a series of letters about her CT scans and X-rays, revealing that they had found it in her artery.

In the last picture, she posts the X-ray image, showing the implant lodged in the middle of her body, saying: “Now after nearly seven [six] years, it’s still there as it’s too dangerous to be removed.”

While she is trying to move on, Rebecca has been left feeling upset by the situation and its lasting effects. She said: “I currently feel very depressed from the whole situation over the years and knowing it’s inside me forever. 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.”

A spokesperson for Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We have offered Ms Hardy an appointment to enable us to advise on her ongoing assessment and treatment as required.

“Unfortunately, implant migration is a known, rare complication (1 in 1.3 million); the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued a safety alert about the risk in 2016.”

Dr Ruth Taylor, Head of Service for Integrated Sexual Health Services and HIV at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Unfortunately, contraceptive implant migration to the blood vessels is a known, rare complication affecting around one in 1.3 million implant users. We have offered Ms Hardy a further appointment to enable us to advise on ongoing assessment and treatment as required.”

Share This Article
Leave a comment