While the medical abortion has become increasingly popular, the surgical abortion is the procedure that often comes to mind. Surgical abortions can be performed up to the second trimester (24th week) of a pregnancy.
There are many reasons that women elect to move forward with an abortion procedure. These range from an unexpected pregnancy, to a lack of financial resources, to health complications.
At Stony Brook Women’s Health, we consider it our responsibility to educate all patients about the differences between a surgical and medical procedure before making a decision.
What is a Surgical Abortion?
Despite the misleading name, surgical abortions do not involve any surgery. There are no incisions or cutting involved in this abortion technique. Instead, the surgical abortion process is quick and limited in discomfort. The term surgical abortion is used to distinguish it from the medical abortion, which is not physical in nature at all, and involves only two pills.
Second Trimester Abortions
During the second trimester (13-24 weeks), the abortion process is not as easy to perform. The dilation process requires more care, as the pregnancy is significantly larger. This typically adds about 2 minutes to the procedure, and requires a larger plastic suction tip.
When the cervix is especially tight, we use a substance called laminaria. Also called “lam”, this substance absorbs moisture, and dilates the cervix prior to the surgery when inserted.
How Does the Surgical Abortion Process Work?
- 1. General Anaesthetic: While this is optional, many women prefer to be sedated for this procedure. Depending on this choice, the doctor may or may not apply a general anaesthetic.
- 2. Cervix Dilation: In order to provide better access to the uterus, the doctor will dilate the cervix.
- 3. Suction Cup: To begin removing the fetus from the uterus, the doctor will insert a suction cup.
- 4. Remove the Fetus: Using a suction device, the doctor will remove the pregnancy tissue.
- 5. Confirmation Sonogram: To ensure that the fetus has been completely removed, the doctor will perform a sonogram procedure.
- 6. Follow-Up: The doctor will schedule a follow-up appointment to prevent an infection, heavy bleeding or cramping.
Without any unforeseen circumstances, the abortion process generally takes less than 5 minutes.
What to Expect After a Surgical Abortion:
To minimize discomfort, we recommend all patients rest before leaving the facility.
Immediately following the Long Island abortion procedure, it’s common for patients to experience a cramping and light bleeding or spotting. A gynecologist will review how you should alter your hygiene and lifestyle habits to take care of yourself following the abortion. We also recommend that patients refrain from scheduling any activities, and focus instead on rest and recuperation.
During the period following an abortion, women may experience some slight changes. For example, many women do not receive their period until 4-7 weeks after the abortion procedure. To prevent an infection, we recommend that women refrain from sex and tampon use for 2-3 weeks. Instead, use sanitary pads.
Contrary to popular belief, it is entirely possible for women to become pregnant following an abortion procedure.
Long Island Abortions
At Stony Brook Women’s Health, we are committed to helping each patient make the right decision for her life. Our team will help you through this physically and emotionally difficult process toward a resolution.