A surgical abortion is a procedure that ends a pregnancy by removing the fetus and placenta from the mother's womb (uterus).
There are different types of surgical abortion.
Sometimes the woman needs the procedure for a health reason. This is called a therapeutic abortion.
Other times, she chooses (elects) to end the pregnancy. This is called an elective abortion.
Suction curettage; Surgical abortion; Elective abortion - surgical; Therapeutic abortion - surgical
A surgical abortion uses a vacuum to remove the fetus and related material from a woman's uterus (womb). The procedure is usually done 6 weeks after the woman's last menstrual period
You may receive medicine (sedative) to help you relax and feel sleepy. The doctor may numb the
If the surgical abortion is done after 12 weeks of pregnancy, the doctor must first open (dilate) the cervical canal. Small sticks called laminaria are placed into the cervix to help it open. Sometimes, this is done a day or two before the actual abortion procedure. Next, the doctor inserts a hollow tube into the womb before using the vacuum to remove the pregnancy-related tissues from the womb.
Medicines may be given to help the uterine muscles contract. This reduces bleeding.
Review Date: 11/21/2010
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.