Surgical Abortion

 Surgical Abortion

A medical technique that terminates a pregnancy is a surgical abortion. Despite the fact that the word "surgery" is frequently used, the majority of abortions are minimally invasive and don't call for general anesthesia. For those who choose to have their abortion performed in a clinic or hospital environment, surgical abortions are a suitable alternative.

The majority of medical abortions, which are also a choice for most individuals, happen at home.

Vacuum aspiration, a gentle suctioning method, is used to carry out the majority of surgical abortions. Even though you could spend many hours at the clinic, the operation itself usually only takes 5 to 10 minutes to finish.

Further into a pregnancy than medical abortion, or "the abortion pill," surgical abortion is frequently a possibility. However, the rules in your state and the regulations of the clinic or hospital you visit determine how late into pregnancy you can receive an abortion.

If fewer than 14 weeks have gone by since the first day of your last period, a surgical abortion, sometimes referred to as a vacuum aspiration abortion, can be carried out in a single day. The treatment is carried out in the doctor's office under local anesthetic and with the help of oral painkillers.

Your examination, procedure, and recuperation will all take place in a private room. If you are less than twelve weeks pregnant, the entire appointment will take about three hours. It will take five to six hours to see you if you are between 12 and 14 weeks pregnant. You will need to make arrangements for a ride home following the treatment in either scenario.

Surgical Abortion Risks

The risk of complications is generally minimal with all surgical procedures. Typically, surgical abortions are highly safe. In actuality, having an abortion has a lower risk than carrying the pregnancy to term and giving birth. Even so, there is a remote possibility that you could have issues following a surgical termination. The following issues might arise:

Heavy bleeding during or after the surgery: to find and stop the bleeding, you may require a blood transfusion or a technique like a laparoscopy.

Infection: Signs of an infection may include symptoms like excruciating pain, a fever, or an odd discharge. Antibiotics can often be used to treat the infection.

Damage to the cervix, womb, or other organs: The tools used to extract the womb's contents can cause organ perforation or damage. You could require surgery to fix them if this occurs.

Negative drug responses, such as those caused by an anesthetic, may necessitate emergency medical care if they are severe in order to prevent breathing difficulties.

Retained products of conception: If any material is unintentionally left behind in the womb, further treatment may be required to remove it.

After an abortion, you could also have psychological side effects, although this is extremely individual to you and the risk isn't any larger than it is for women who choose to carry their pregnancy to term.

You could experience a variety of feelings, including relief, sadness, regret, guilt, and anger. Although it is uncommon, some women may experience more severe mental health problems as a result of an abortion. You should see your doctor or a specialist if you need help coping.

Anesthetic for surgical abortion

The abortion clinic will inform you of the anesthetic options available to you and how you should be ready for it. Options for anesthesia include:

General anesthetic: Using a general anesthetic renders you unconscious. There is danger involved with every procedure requiring a general anesthetic. If sufficient preparation for fasting is not made beforehand, there is a risk of choking.

Nitrous oxide gas: The gas nitrous oxide, or a comparable gas. You enter a state of "twilight slumber" as a result. Though medicated and relaxed, you are awake.

Local anesthetic: Your cervix is given a local anesthetic injection to make the region numb so that you won't feel anything during the procedure (this is known as a paracervical block).

Local anesthetic with intravenous sedation: Combining local anesthetic with intravenous sedation involves injecting a local anesthetic into your cervix and administering sedative drugs through an intravenous line into your vein.

Preparing for abortion through surgery

Always double-check with your clinic, but a few common guidelines before getting an abortion are as follows:

About six hours before the procedure, refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking (not even water).

Be prepared to spend at least two hours at the clinic.

Bring your referral letter, blood group card, Medicare card, and any other health cards you may have, as well as sanitary pads.

Make arrangements for a ride home.

The procedure of surgical abortion

The doctor, health educator, or doctor-in-training will ask you to take off your clothes below the waist and put on a patient gown once you are completely at ease. You can complete the process with your support person standing close to you.

During the operation, the doctor will: 

Look inside your vagina using a speculum.

Use gauze soaked in soap to cleanse your cervix and vagina.

Use analgesics to numb your cervix.

Use small metal rods to expand your cervix, the narrow access to your uterus.

Insert into your uterus a thin, flexible tube.

To completely remove the pregnant tissue, gently suction the tube's opposite end.

Your uterus may experience a cramp at the conclusion of the surgery when it returns to its regular size, akin to a monthly cramp.

The majority of the procedure's time is spent getting your body ready. The suction part of the treatment just takes a minute or so, and the whole thing takes 15 to 20 minutes.

After a surgical abortion

Follow the instructions provided by your clinic for self-care and to lower your risk of infection following a surgical abortion. For two weeks following your surgery, or a few days after the bleeding has ceased, the following recommendations often apply:

  • Instead of a bath, take a shower.
  • Stay away from sexual activity.
  • Replace tampons with sanitary pads.
  • Don't go swimming.


You need to rest for a few minutes after the treatment. Most likely, you will experience some cramps and spotting. Along with drinks and crackers, we'll give you a warming pack and a menstruation pad. You can put on clothes when you feel ready.

Then, your health educator will advise you on how to care for your body. If you request it, the doctor will also write you a prescription for birth control. You'll have made arrangements in advance for a ride home. You need to rest and allow the effects of the drug to take effect at home right away. The next day, you should be able to resume your regular activities like work and school.

Follow-up Visits

You don't need to return to the clinic unless there are difficulties relating to the operation. it is advised to schedule an appointment with your usual physician for a yearly pap smear, physical or gynecologic checkup, and requests for birth control refills.

When to consult a doctor after a surgical abortion

Consult your doctor, a clinic, or an emergency room at a hospital right away if:

Your bleeding intensifies, 

you get a fever, 

and you endure excruciating cramping or stomach discomfort.

These signs of an infection may be present.

Surgical versus medical abortion

In the past, there were a few choices available to Americans who wanted to abort their pregnancy. Pregnant women have seen these alternatives disappear in numerous states when Roe v. Wade was reversed in June 2022. You might need to fly to receive a surgical abortion because certain states no longer allow them.

Abortions performed medically and surgically are both safe and efficient medical procedures. Additionally, a lot of people now have easier access to medical abortion. However, there are a number of reasons why some people prefer surgical abortion to medicinal abortion. These consist of: 

Age of pregnancy: Medical abortion won't be as successful if it has been more than 11 weeks since the start of your last menstruation.

Procedure duration: Medical abortions can last up to 24 hours, whereas surgical abortions are completed in the clinic after a few hours.

Medical staff: Some women choose to get an abortion in a hospital setting where they may be closely monitored by physicians and nurses.

Confirmation: Your doctor will check your uterus after a surgical abortion to be sure the surgery was successful.

Medical history: Patients with certain medical issues, such as bleeding disorders, could feel safer in a hospital.

A safe and efficient method of terminating a pregnancy is through surgery. People choose for surgical abortion for a variety of reasons, such as personal preferences and the interval since their previous period.

The pregnant tissue is often removed from the uterus during surgical abortions using a suction method. Before the treatment, a sedative will be administered to you to lessen any discomfort, although you could suffer cramping while it is being done. Although cramping might linger for a few days, most people can resume their normal activities after a day or two.

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