Surgical vs. Medical Abortion


What is a Surgical Abortion?

Surgical abortion is better known as a “ Suction D and C”.  IT DOES NOT INVOLVE CUTTING or any actual surgery. The word “surgical” is used to explain that it is a procedure performed by a physician. It is used for pregnancies between 5 and 13 weeks.   A Suction D&C is performed by gently opening up the cervix (the mouth or opening of the uterus), inserting a special sterile plastic straw and suctioning the pregnancy out of the uterus.  Most Suction D&Cs take 1-3 minutes.  The physician examines the tissue to be sure the pregnancy was successfully terminated before the patient goes home.  The failure rate of a Suction D&C where the pregnancy continues is less than 1 in 10,000.  

What is a Medication Abortion?

Medical abortion is also known as “the pill abortion.”  It is used for between 5 and 10 weeks of pregnancy. You receive two different pills—the first--Mifiprex—blocks the action of progesterone and causes the pregnancy to die; the second—Cytotec—causes the uterus to cramp and expel the pregnancy.  This can take hours to several days.  The failure rate of a Medical Abortion where the pregnancy continues is 8% or 800 in 10,000.  The only way to be confident that a Medical Abortion has successfully terminated the pregnancy is to follow up with your provider at 2 weeks for an ultrasound of the uterus. 


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