Surgical Abortion

Female Doctor and Patient Discussing Abortion

Types of Surgical Termination of Pregnancy

There are different surgical abortion procedures and the method used depends on how long you have been pregnant and your personal choice. Surgical abortions are performed as a day-care procedure so you will not have to stay in the clinic overnight. Discharge times differ depending on the length of the pregnancy and on the anaesthetic used.

Surgical abortion – local anaesthetic (MVA)

This procedure is known as a manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) and is recommended for women who prefer to be awake throughout the treatment and whose pregnancy is up to 10 weeks in gestation.

For the surgical termination of pregnancy, gel is applied to the cervix (neck of the uterus) to help numb the area before a local anaesthetic is injected.  The cervix is then gently stretched using dilators and the contents of the uterus are removed through a suction tube. The procedure takes approximately 10-15 minutes to perform and you are able to eat and drink as normal up until the time of treatment.

Surgical abortion – general anaesthetic

This method is ideal for women who prefer to ‘be asleep’ while the procedure takes place and whose pregnancy is up to 23 weeks 6 days in gestation. This procedure is carried out under a general anaesthetic, which involves an injection into the back of the hand that gently sends you off to sleep. The cervix (neck of the uterus) is gently stretched and the contents of the uterus are removed using a suction tube.

Should you choose to have a surgical termination of pregnancy under general anaesthetic, you will NOT be able to eat, drink, smoke, suck a sweet or chew gum from midnight prior to the operation.

Cervical priming

Depending on the stage of your pregnancy, you may need cervical priming.  Misoprostol tablets are given orally, prior to treatment. This will soften the cervix and help to minimise the risk of damage to the cervix.

Abortion Aftercare

Please see Aftercare page.