Surgical Abortion:

Suction Aspiration (Surgical Aspiration, Vacuum Abortion, Suction Dilation and Curettage D&C)

Suction aspiration was the method used for approximately 90% of all abortions reported in Canada in 2004, and is generally used between six and 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Suction curettage can be done under general anesthetic, but is usually done in a clinic or hospital with local anesthetic injected into the cervix to control pain.  The cervix is forced open with a compressed seaweed preparation called laminaria that swells as moisture is absorbed, or a series of rigid rods.  Sometimes the prostaglandin Misoprostol is used to soften the cervix and make it easier to dilate. A hollow plastic tube is inserted into the uterus through the cervix and attached to a suction machine.  The suction tears the fetus into small parts, which are sucked through the tube into a collection bottle.  Often a sharp loop-shaped knife called a curette is then inserted into the uterus to loosen any remaining tissue so that it can be suctioned out.  When the suctioning is finished, the abortionist must examine the fetal parts and tissue to see if the abortion is complete.

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All information provided regarding medical and surgical abortions in Canada has provided by:, (2014). Methods | Abortion in Canada. [online] Available at:

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