Abortion Procedures
First Trimester Surgical Abortion

Manual Vacuum Aspiration

This procedure is used around 5 to 12 weeks after the last menstrual period.  It involves the use of a specially designed syringe to apply suction.  This method is not available everywhere.  For this procedure, the physician will:

  • Perform laboratory tests to confirm the pregnancy, test for Rh status, and test for anemia and red blood cell count.
  • Take a medical and obstetrical history, including a history of allergies and all current medications.
  • Examine the uterus and perform an ultrasound to confirm how far along the pregnancy is.
  • Educate the patient about the abortion process, side effects, and clear instructions for assessing emergency services.
  • Insert a speculum into the vagina, to hold it open.  The physician cleans the vagina and cervix with an antiseptic solution.  At this time, a numbing agent (local anesthetic) may be injected in the cervix. 
  • Dilate (open) the cervix with a series of dilators inserted into and withdrawn from the cervix to gradually increase the size of the opening.
  • Insert a thin tube (cannula) through the cervix into the uterus. A specially designed syringe is attached and used to suction the fetus, placenta, and uterine contents out of the uterus.  

Common side effects of Suction Aspiration and Manual Vacuum Aspiration include:

  • Bleeding
  • Cramping
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Feeling faint

Less frequent complications can include:

  • Heavy or prolonged bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Damage to the cervix
  • Infection due to remaining tissue or infection caused by an STD or bacteria being introduced to the uterus can cause fever, pain, abdominal tenderness and possibly scar tissue

Rare complications can include:

  • Perforation of the uterus
  • Tissue remaining in the uterus (incomplete abortion)
  • Ongoing undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy)
  • Injury to the bowl or bladder
  • Scar tissue in uterus or cervix
  • Infertility due to the consequences of infection
  • Death




The content on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Use of this website signifies your understanding of and your agreement to these terms.
Privacy Policy | Disclaimer