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Types of Surgical Abortion

If you are considering an abortion, it is important to know the risks, side effects, and elements of the procedure itself. Not sure what to do? You can chat with us below, or set up an appointment to get the support you need.

 

A surgical abortion is performed at a clinic or hospital. There are three types of surgical abortion:

  • Suction or vacuum aspiration abortion

  • Dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion

  • Dilation and extraction (D&X) or late-term abortion

Vacuum Aspiration Abortion

Suction or vacuum aspiration abortions typically are done in the first 12-13 weeks of pregnancy. Most abortions take place at this stage. The baby could be as long as 3 inches and weigh up to 0.81 ounces.

 

Procedure Steps

  • The patient lies on an exam table with her feet in stirrups

  • A medical tool called a speculum is inserted into the vagina to keep it open (may also need to open the cervix in order to get to the uterus)

  • The vagina and cervix are swabbed with an antiseptic

  • An anesthetic is injected into the cervix to numb it

  • The cervix is held in place with a grasping instrument

  • A small tube is inserted into the uterus (attached either to a hand-held syringe or a suction machine)

  • The baby and other contents are then sucked out of the uterus

  • The baby’s tissue is examined to ensure all his or her body parts have been removed

Procedure Risks

  • Damage to the womb or cervix

  • Uterine perforation (accidentally putting a hole in uterus with a surgical instrument)

  • Excessive bleeding

  • Infection of the uterus or fallopian tubes

  • Scarring of the inside of the uterus

  • Reaction to the medicines or anesthesia, such as problems breathing

  • Not removing all of the baby/pregnancy tissue, requiring another procedure

 

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) Abortion

D&E abortions are typically done in the second trimester of pregnancy. Laws vary by state on how late you can receive a D&E abortion. Often restrictions are placed at 20 weeks of pregnancy. A 20-week old baby can be 6.5 inches long and weigh 10.2 ounces.

 

Procedure Steps

A D&E abortion is similar to a vacuum aspiration abortion, with several extra steps:

  • Since pregnancies are further along, the cervix will need to be softened and opened wider; this is often initiated a couple days before the procedure with misoprostol (a drug used in medical abortions) and osmotic dilators (short rods made of seaweed or synthetic material)

  • The patient lies on an exam table with her feet in stirrups

  • A medical tool called a speculum is inserted into the vagina to keep it open

  • The vagina and cervix are swabbed with an antiseptic

  • An anesthetic is injected into the cervix to numb it

  • The cervix is held in place with a grasping instrument

  • Some providers may put a shot in the woman’s abdomen to stop the baby’s heartbeat before removing the baby

  • A small tube is inserted into the uterus (attached either to a hand-held syringe or a suction machine)

  • The baby is dismembered and along with other contents are sucked out of the uterus

  • Forceps are then used to scrape the inside of the uterus

  • The baby’s tissue is examined to ensure all his or her body parts have been removed

Procedure Risks

  • Puncture of the uterus

  • Scarring of the uterine lining (Asherman syndrome, may lead to infertility later)

  • Tear of the cervix

  • Damage to the womb

  • Excessive bleeding

  • Infection of the uterus or fallopian tubes

  • Reaction to the medicines or anesthesia, such as problems breathing

  • Not removing all of the baby/pregnancy tissue, requiring another procedure

Dilation and Extraction (D&X) or Late-Term Abortion

A D&X abortion is the same procedure as a D&E abortion, only it is done later in pregnancy. Laws vary by state for how late in pregnancy you can obtain an abortion. Most states that allow late-term abortions restrict abortions by 22- 24 weeks, although some allow abortion until the third trimester (28 weeks).

 

Procedure Steps

  • The cervix will need to be softened and opened wider; this is often initiated a couple days before the procedure with misoprostol (a drug used in medical abortions) and osmotic dilators (short rods made of seaweed or synthetic material)

  • The patient lies on an exam table with her feet in stirrups

  • A medical tool called a speculum is inserted into the vagina to keep it open

  • The vagina and cervix are swabbed with an antiseptic

  • An anesthetic is injected into the cervix to numb it

  • The cervix is held in place with a grasping instrument

  • Some providers may put a shot in the woman’s abdomen to stop the baby’s heartbeat before removing the baby

  • A small tube is inserted into the uterus (attached either to a hand-held syringe or a suction machine)

  • The baby is dismembered and along with other contents are sucked out of the uterus

  • Forceps are then used to scrape the inside of the uterus

  • The baby’s tissue is examined to ensure all his or her body parts have been removed

Procedure Risks

  • Puncture of the uterus

  • Scarring of the uterine lining (Asherman syndrome, may lead to infertility later)

  • Tear of the cervix

  • Damage to the womb

  • Excessive bleeding

  • Infection of the uterus or Fallopian tubes

  • Reaction to the medicines or anesthesia, such as problems breathing

  • Not removing all of the baby/pregnancy tissue, requiring another procedure

 

You deserve to know the whole truth about abortion, fetal development, and maternal health.  Chat with us or call us at (877) 306-8170 for more information.