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How Long Does a Surgical Abortion Last?

Topic: Abortion

Are you thinking about having a surgical abortion? Maybe you are wondering how long the procedure will last?

While every woman’s experience is different, typically a surgical abortion can last about 10-15 minutes, not including the time needed before and after the procedure. It’s important to consider the serious physical risks of this medical procedure. 

What is Surgical Abortion?

Surgical abortion is a medical procedure that terminates an existing pregnancy by removing the pregnancy contents from the uterus. 

How Long Does Surgical Abortion Last?

The length of the surgical abortion procedure depends on the type of abortion procedure. Here is an estimated amount of time for the two main types of surgical procedures.

1. Aspiration Abortion

Most times, an aspiration abortion is performed for women in their first trimester (12 weeks pregnant or less). An aspiration abortion normally takes less than 15 minutes.

2. Dilation & Curettage (D&C)

During a D&C abortion, the cervix is dilated and a sharp instrument or suction device, called a curette, is used to remove the pregnancy tissue. This type of abortion procedure could take up to 10 minutes or longer. 

Surgical Abortion Risks

Kaiser Permanente shares possible risks, including:

  • Injury to the uterine lining or cervix
  • A hole in the wall of the uterus (uterine perforation)
  • Infection. Bacteria can enter the uterus during the procedure and cause an infection
  • Moderate to severe bleeding (hemorrhage), which can be caused by
    • Injury to the uterine lining or cervix
    • Perforation of the uterus
    • The uterus not contracting (atony)
    • Uterine rupture. In rare cases, a uterine incision scar tears open when a medicine is used to induce contractions
    • Tissue remaining in the uterus (retained products of conception)
    • Other rare complications include:
  • Tissue remaining in the uterus from conception
  • Blood clots

Before an Abortion

When considering an abortion procedure, be sure to first consult with a medical provider or pregnancy resource center. 

When talking with a professional to understand all risks, complications, and impacts, it is important to:

  • Have a complete physical exam
  • Provide a list of currently used medications
  • Communicate any current or past medical conditions/history
  • Confirm pregnancy with quality pregnancy test and ultrasound

Schedule a free and confidential appointment at our center to learn more about all your pregnancy options, the risks, and to confirm your pregnancy details.