|Patient Information on Surgical Abortion | REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT ONLINE
(5-14 weeks LMP)
What is Surgical Abortion?
Surgical abortion is the most commonly used method for terminating a pregnancy in the U.S. The procedure is known as a dilation and evacuation (D&E) and can be performed by a physician in the office under either local or general anesthesia.
Do I qualify for a surgical abortion?
In order to have a surgical abortion at the South Jersey Women's Center, a woman must be between 5 and 14 weeks from the first day of her last normal menstrual period or 3 to 12 weeks from conception. Our physician will perform an ultrasound evaluation to confirm how far into the pregnancy you are. The medical staff will also confirm through your medical history and through blood and urine testing that you are eligible to have an in-office abortion.
How is the procedure performed?
After completing paper work, a brief informational counseling session, lab work, and ultrasound, she will have the abortion procedure. The D&E procedure is performed through the vagina and involves gently dilating or opening the woman's cervix, which is the small opening at the top of the vagina and then using an instrument that applies a suction to remove the contents of her uterus. No cutting or incision is necessary and the procedure takes only 5 to 7 minutes. A woman can opt for intravenous sedation where she is either very sleepy or asleep during the abortion, or a local anesthesia where a drug called Lidocaine is used to numb her cervix and Ibuprofen and Valium are given to make the procedure more comfortable. With the local anesthesia, she is awake and may feel some cramping similar to heavy menstrual cramps.
Is surgical abortion safe?
Early abortion procedures are considered very safe. In fact, it is more likely that a woman will experience complications from giving birth than from having an abortion in the first three months. Although complications are rare and unlikely, the staff at the Center will review with each patient what the possible risks of abortion are and will also give her post-operative medications and instructions to help prevent problems. The physician and medical staff make every effort to assure that each patient receives top quality medical care and are also highly trained and equipped to deal with medical emergencies, should one arise.
How do I choose between a Surgical and Medical Abortion?
The physician and staff of the South Jersey Women's Center are here to answer your questions. Please feel free to discuss with them any questions or concerns you have in deciding whether to choose medical abortion or surgical abortion.