Elective surgical abortion can be performed between the sixth and twenty-fourth week of pregnancy. Please see our pregnancy calculator to estimate the gestation of your pregnancy.
Early Surgical abortion between 4-14 weeks:
Surgical abortions done in the first trimester are safe, quick, and highly effective. A dilation and aspiration curettage procedure will be performed early in pregnancy to empty your uterus.The procedure takes only a couple of minutes to complete and afterwards you will relax in our monitored recovery area for approximately one hour. You will return to the office for your follow-up appointment two weeks after your abortion to make sure that the procedure was successful and that you are healing well.
Before your procedure, the doctor will perform a pelvic exam to evaluate the size and orientation of your uterus. The physician will then insert a speculum into the vagina to prepare for the procedure. This is used to allow the physician to see inside the vagina to the cervix. The cervix will then be numbed with a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort. The procedure begins with the gradual and gentle opening of the cervix by a series of narrow, tapered rods called dilators. The doctor will then insert into the uterus a small plastic tube that is attached to a suction machine, similar to the one dentists use to clear the mouth of saliva. The tube is moved within the uterus for a minute or two to remove all of the pregnancy tissue by gentle suction. During the aspiration, you may experience cramping that is similar to heavy menstrual cramps. The surgical abortion procedure generally takes about five to ten minutes to complete.
We offer different levels of analgesia or anesthesia in our different offices. In New Jersey, we offer two forms of local anesthesia: plain local anesthesia or local anesthesia with "Oral Pre-Medication" (OPM). OPM is sometimes referred to as "Twilight" in lay terms. Twilight is local anesthesia with the use of oral medications, such as tranquilizers and pain medications, to attempt to alleviate all pain and anxiety from the procedure. Even though you're not sedated and you will still be awake, nevertheless, hopefully, you will not feel any pain and you will be calm and relaxed. This relaxation may even cause you to experience a slight, temporary, pleasant feeling of happiness. These oral drugs are also known to block memory formation, so you may not remember anything about the procedure. This is also the safest method of surgical abortion. It is the safest because, not only may you feel comfortable and happy, and not only may you forget everything about the procedure, but you will also benefit in that you will not be exposed to higher levels of anesthesia, which inherently carry a higher level of anesthesia risk. Not everyone is the same, but most patients who undergo a surgical procedure with Twilight are generally very happy and satisfied. Many are surprised at how comfortable and even happy they feel, and how easy the procedure was with the Twilight local anesthesia.
The other level of anesthesia that we offer is Intravenous Conscious Sedation (IVCS). This is also called Twilight Sleep (as opposed to just Twilight). Unlike plain Twilight, with Twilight Sleep, you are sedated. You are in a "Twilight Zone" between asleep and awake. You are not totally unconscious, but you are also not really awake either. Many patients report that they enjoy being in the state of Twilight Sleep, and even experience a feeling of euphoria. These drugs also block memory, so you may not remember anything. All patients having procedures under Twilight Sleep are continuously monitored by a licensed registered nurse during and after the procedure, utilizing continuous pulse oximetry, vital sign monitoring, visual observation, and oral checks of levels of consciousness. Patients undergoing Twilight Sleep are expected to remain in the Recovery Room for one full hour before leaving with a designated driver. We offer Twilight Sleep anesthesia in our state-licensed facilities in Virginia Beach, Virginia and in Fairfax, Virginia.