Surgical abortion

Today in Italy abortion is regulated by Law 194/78. The woman can request the voluntary interruption of pregnancy within the first 90 days of gestation for health, economic, social or family reasons.

There are 2 types of abortion:

  • medical abortion, which consists of taking medication to end pregnancy
  • surgical abortion, which involves a surgical procedure to terminate the pregnancy

In this article we see how surgical abortion is carried out and what it consists of. We wrote about medical abortion here.

Surgical abortion involves an operation of aspiration of ovular material from the uterine cavity. It can be done with:

  • local anesthetic (infiltration of local anesthetic in the cervix)
  • conscious sedation
  • General anesthesia

What kind of anesthetic or sedation you have depends on your circumstances, how many weeks you are pregnant, and your preferences.

In all three cases the intervention is carried out in day surgery with only one day of overnight stay in the hospital.

In case of general anesthesia before surgery you will be asked to perform blood tests, a visit to the anesthesiologist and an electrocardiogram. In addition, before a surgical abortion, a pharmacological preparation may be necessary to modify the cervix and make surgery easier.

There are 2 methods of surgical abortion.

Surgical abortion by aspiration

This can be used until the 14th week of pregnancy.

A tube is inserted into the uterus through the cervix and the fetus is removed by aspiration. Your doctor may need to use special tools to help remove your pregnancy, depending on how many weeks you’re pregnant.

Suction takes 5 to 10 minutes.

Surgical abortion for dilation and expulsion

This type of surgery is performed after the 14th week of pregnancy. It involves the insertion of a forceps for dilation of the cervix and a suction tube with which the fetus is removed.

Abortion by dilation and expulsion is usually performed under sedation or general anesthesia and generally takes 10 to 20 minutes.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform,

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