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Abortion - Choices: Surgical Abortion

A surgical abortion ends a pregnancy by surgically removing the contents of the uterus. Different procedures are used for surgical abortion, depending on how many weeks of pregnancy have passed.

Care before and after a surgical abortion includes a physical exam and lab tests, education about what to expect, self-care instructions, symptoms that mean you should call your doctor, and birth control planning.

Surgical methods in the first trimester (5 to 12 weeks)

Surgical method in the second trimester

A D&E is most commonly used during the second trimester because it has a lower complication risk than induction abortion.

Nonsurgical method in the second trimester

  • Induction abortion ends a second-trimester pregnancy by using medicines to start (induce) contractions, which expel (push) the fetus from the uterus. If the fetus has severe medical problems, a woman may choose to have an induction abortion.

See the What to Think About section of this topic for a comparison between medical abortion and surgical abortion.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 05, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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