Manual and Vacuum Aspiration for Abortion
The risk of complications is low. Some minor complications include:
- Injury to the uterine lining or cervix.
- Infection. Bacteria can enter the uterus during the procedure and cause an infection. This is more likely if an untreated infection, such as a Reference sexually transmitted infection (STI) Opens New Window, is present before the procedure. Symptoms of fever, pain, and abdominal (belly) tenderness will usually start within 3 days of the procedure. Antibiotics given during or after the procedure reduce the risk of infection.
Rare complications include:
- A hole in the wall of the uterus (uterine perforation). This is rare. This most commonly happens during cervical dilation. Bleeding is usually minimal, and no repair is needed. If bleeding is a concern, a Reference laparoscopy Opens New Window (a procedure that uses a lighted viewing instrument) can be used to see whether it has stopped.
- Tissue remaining in the uterus (retained products of conception). This usually causes recurring cramping belly pain and bleeding within a week of the procedure. Sometimes prolonged bleeding does not develop until several weeks later.
- Blood clots. If the uterus doesn't contract to pass all of the tissue, the cervical opening can become blocked, preventing blood from leaving the uterus. The uterus becomes enlarged and tender, often causing belly pain, cramping, and nausea.
A repeat Reference vacuum aspiration Opens New Window and medicine to stop bleeding are used to treat retained products of conception or blood clots.
Undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy after manual or machine vacuum aspiration
It is possible to have an undiagnosed Reference ectopic (tubal) pregnancy Opens New Window that isn't discovered until after an abortion procedure. Although the pregnancy test before the procedure is positive, the pregnancy is not in the uterus. So the abortion method does not end the pregnancy. Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy that occur after an abortion procedure can include:
- Belly or pelvic pain that gets worse.
- Pain with intercourse.
- Vaginal bleeding.
- Lightheadedness or fainting caused by blood loss.
Ectopic pregnancy requires urgent medical care. Call your doctor immediately if you have symptoms of a possible ectopic pregnancy. For more information, see the topic Reference Ectopic Pregnancy.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: August 31, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Rebecca H. Allen, MD, MPH - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Reference Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology