Woman, 24, says operation to remove implant left her paralysed

Woman, 24, claims she’s lost the use of her left arm due to surgery to remove her contraceptive implant after it got STUCK so deep doctors can’t get it out

  • Danielle Jarrett, 24, from Kent, had the contraceptive implant inserted in 2016
  • Doctors were unable to remove implant and she underwent operation in 2020
  • After two-hour procedure at St Thomas’ arm went ‘numb’ due to nerve damage
  • Two years on from the operation Danielle is yet to regain movement or feeling 

A woman has claimed an operation to remove the contraceptive implant left her   with nerve damage that paralysed her arm. 

Danielle Jarrett, 24, from Dartford, Kent, had a 4cm Nexplanon implant inserted and had no issues until visiting her GP to get the device replaced after the recommended three years.  

After her doctor was unable to remove the implant, Danielle was sent to a specialist who said she would require an operation to remove the device, which had sunk too far into her arm to retrieve.

However after a two-hour surgery her arm went ‘numb’, and when Danielle went to her local A&E, she was tol she’d suffered nerve damage but would regain movement after 12 weeks with regular physio appointments. 

But two years on from the operation, the insurance worker hasn’t regained any movement or feeling in her left arm and has to rely on mum Alison, 53, to complete everyday tasks. 

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Danielle Jarrett, 24, from Dartford, Kent, has claimed an operation to remove the contraceptive implant in January 2020 left her with nerve damage so bad she was paralysed in one arm 

After a two-hour operation her arm went ‘numb’ and was put into a support by her local A&E who said she had suffered nerve damage but would regain movement after 12 weeks with regular physio appointments 

There is anecdotal evidence of other women experiencing a ‘lost’ contraceptive implant, and according to Nexplanon: ‘A deep insertion may cause problems with locating and removing the implant.’ 

The implant can continue to be effective for up to two years after the three year lifespan.  

‘It’s ruined my life,’ Danielle said. ‘I don’t wish to be dramatic but it kinda has. I’ve completely lost my left arm. I can’t use it, I can’t feel it, nothing. 

‘I have a disability now, but you wouldn’t think to look at me. I really took for granted what I could do before. Now I can’t use a knife and fork. I have to get someone else to cut up my food.

The implant remains in Danielle’s arm (pictured) and she underwent an MRI scan last year to monitor the effect the overdue implant is having on her body but the lasting damage and if her fertility has been affected is unclear 

Danielle, pictured at home in Dartford, Kent, says that her ‘life has been ruined’ after the operation and that she relies on her mum to perform everyday tasks 

‘One time I was out with my friends for a meal and they had to do it for me and I just looked like a lazy diva.

‘I can’t wash my hair. Zips are a no-no. Forget me trying to put a bra on by myself. It’s just really changed my life when I was doing something responsible.

‘I’m worried now that when I go out shopping and I’m taking a long time at the till people are going to be getting annoyed with me.

‘I don’t know what this is doing to my body or whether or not I’m able to have kids. I just really regret it.’  

Danielle visited her GP in May 2019 to the implant removed but was told it had sunk too deep into her arm and would need to see a specialist.

She was referred to a sexual health clinic to have it removed but again, was told it was too deep and had to be booked in for a hospital operation in January 2020.

After two hours of attempting to remove the implant, doctors at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, told Danielle they would have to leave the implant inside her left arm because it was impossible to get out. 

Danielle Jarrett’s arm following surgery after a contraceptive implant got stuck too deep to remove

Danielle was  sent home in a sling after the two-hour operation at St Thomas’ hospital, where they were unable to remove the contraceptive device 

Danielle said: ‘When I had the first one taken out it was a quick 5-10 minute job. I was expecting exactly the same this time. 

‘When I was told to go to the sexual health clinic they said they couldn’t find it in my arm which was a bit worrying.

‘She said she didn’t feel comfortable enough to start cutting.

‘It was coming up on the ultrasound but it was in too deep. So they told me I had to go to hospital for an operation which was my worst nightmare.

‘I went along with it but they were digging around and trying to get it out for two hours but still couldn’t get to it.

But soon after going home, Danielle realised she had lost feeling in her ring finger, which progressively got worse and spread to the rest of her arm 

Danielle, pictured visiting her local A&E after the procedure, said her arm ‘was exactly like that scene in Harry Potter when his bones are taken out of his arm and it’s all floppy’

‘I was sent home in a sling but when I was going home I realised I couldn’t feel my ring finger.

‘Then it started to get worse. I really don’t know how to describe it. It was exactly like that scene in Harry Potter when his bones are taken out of his arm and it’s all floppy.

The three year contraceptive that releases hormones into your body: How does the implant work? 

The contraceptive implants are matchstick-sized tubes which are inserted under the skin of the arm.

They last for three years and work by releasing a steady dose of the hormone progesterone. This prevents ovaries from releasing an egg every month and also thickens the lining of the cervix – preventing sperm from entering.

In addition, it thins the lining of the womb, making it less likely that a fertilised egg can implant.

Side effects include mood swings, disrupted or constant periods, headaches, pain and weight gain.

In rare cases the implants have been inserted incorrectly and travelled to the lungs or major veins.

Experts say they are 99 per cent effective and far more reliable than remembering to take the Pill or using a condom. They take only a few minutes to be fitted and girls are given a local anaesthetic.

‘That’s what my arm was doing but I thought it would wear off. I went to bed and thought all would be better in the morning.

‘But when I woke up I just couldn’t feel my forearm and was unable to move my hand apart from the little finger.

‘I went to A&E and they told me I had nerve damage but said it would be better in 12 weeks and was told I needed a bit of physiotherapy

‘But after the 12 weeks it didn’t get any better. No one really knows what has happened or taken any responsibility.

‘It would just be nice to know what has gone wrong. It’ll also be nice to have it taken out as it’s still in me.’

For the past two years, Danielle has been adjusting to living to life with the use of just her right hand.

She says she now depends on her mum Alison to help her with everyday tasks such as having her food chopped up, bathing and getting changed.

Danielle said: ‘I’m lucky I have them, but I can see they get frustrated at times.

‘I would love to be able to do everything for myself again. It’s not a case of me being lazy or not wanting to do it.’

She added that one consolation is that it’s not her righ arm, because she is right-handed. 

Danielle underwent an MRI scan last year to monitor the effect the overdue implant is having on her body but it’s unlcear if her fertility has been affected is unclear.

Doctors have been unable to figure out why the implant sunk so deep, but Danielle believes it was not inserted properly, having already had an implant inserted and taken out three years earlier.

She said: ‘I just want to warn other women about it. It’s one of those things you don’t really think about. I’ve had friends of friends hear about what’s happened to me and it’s put them off.

‘I would just really hate to see anyone else go what I’m going through. I had no problems when I was on it, it was taking it out that was the issue.

‘I just regret it. If I went on the pill I wouldn’t have lost an arm. Everything just is a real struggle.

Danielle, pictured at home in Kent with partner Adam Casey, says she wants to ‘warn other women’ about the dangers of having the contraceptive implant 

‘I used to volunteer at an animal rescue centre but I’m unable to do that because I don’t have the use of two arms.

‘I’m not pointing blame at the hospital but if someone had told me this could happen, I wouldn’t have had the implant.

‘But I’m trying to keep as positive as I can about it.The doctors thought thought this was temporary, but nothing is getting any better.

‘They’ve been hinting this will be something I will have to live with for the rest of my life.

‘At 23 years of age you don’t expect to be told you’ve lost the use of an arm.It’s just devastating.’

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