Are you thinking about having a surgical abortion? Are you 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 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 embryo and pregnancy tissue from the uterus. 

How Long Does Surgical Abortion Last?

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

1. Aspiration Abortion

Most of the time, an aspiration abortion is performed for women in their first trimester (12 weeks pregnant or fewer). An aspiration abortion normally takes fewer 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 notes that there are 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)
  • 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)
  • 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 confirm your pregnancy, learn more about your options, and understand the risks.

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