Woman's Right to Know - Abortion Procedures - Dilatation and Curettage (D&C) with Vacuum Aspiration


Medical (Nonsurgical) Abortion
Dilatation and Curettage (D&C) with Vacuum Aspiration
Dilatation and Evacuation (D&E)
Abortion by Labor Induction (Medical Induction)
Dilatation and Extraction (D&X)

Dilatation and Curettage (D&C) with Vacuum Aspiration

This is a surgical procedure generally used in the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy. Unless there are unusual problems, this procedure may be done in a doctor’s office or a clinic.

The doctor first opens (dilates) the cervix and then empties the uterus with suction. After suctioning, the doctor may scrape the walls of the uterus to make sure the unborn child, placenta, and contents of the uterus have been completely removed.

Possible side effects and risks

  • Cramping of the uterus or pelvic pain.
  • A hole in the uterus (uterine perforation) or other damage to the uterus.
  • Injury to the bowel or the bladder.
  • A cut or torn cervix (cervical laceration).
  • Incomplete removal of the unborn child, placenta, or contents of the uterus requiring an additional operation.
  • Infection.
  • Complications from anesthesia such as respiratory problems, nausea and vomiting, headaches, or drug reactions.
  • Inability to get pregnant due to infection or complication from an operation.
  • A possible hysterectomy as a result of complication or injury during the procedure.
  • Hemorrhage (heavy bleeding).
  • Emergency treatment for any of the above problems, including possible need to treat with an operation, medicines, or a blood transfusion.
  • Rarely, death.

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Last updated December 5, 2012