Aspiration Abortion or D&C
Uterine aspiration, D&C, and D&E are some of the most common procedures in Canada. The rate of complications is less than 2% and most complications are minor and easily treated. If compared to pregnancy and childbirth, these procedures have fewer complications. However, like any procedure there are risks you should be aware of.
- Infection in the uterus occurs in 0.1 to 2% of aspiration procedures. You will be given one dose of antibiotics before your procedure to help prevent this from happening.
- Retained tissue (some pregnancy tissue is left in the uterus). This occurs in 0.5 to 1% of aspiration procedures. Further medical care may be necessary.
- Continued pregnancy or failed abortion. This is rare with aspiration abortions and more likely if the uterus has an unusual shape, if the pregnancy is very early (less than 6 weeks), or if the pregnancy is not in the uterus. You may have to return for another visit or be referred to another physician. With a normal pregnancy in a normal uterus, there is less than a 0.1% chance of this occurring.
- Post-abortion hematometra. This is a rare condition where blood builds up more quickly than it can come out. It is unpleasant but is not dangerous, and is treated by repeating the uterine aspiration procedure. This condition occurs in about o.1% of procedures.
- Excessive bleeding or hemorrhage. Occurs in about 0.1% of procedures. It is sometimes caused by failure of the uterus to contract or by retained tissue. Usually this can be controlled by medications in the clinic. If heavy bleeding cannot be controlled in the clinic, transfer to hospital would be required.
- Injury to the uterus or other internal organs occurs in less than 0.1% of procedures. Transfer to a hospital and surgery to repair the injury may be required. Removal of the uterus is required in approximately 1 in 10,000 procedures.
- Allergic reaction to any of the medications given to you, or to latex or other materials in the clinic. Most reactions can be treated in the clinic. A very severe reaction would require transfer to a hospital.
- The risk of death related to surgical abortion is about 1 in 1,000,000. Most deaths are related to general anaesthesia or other medical circumstances. The risk of death during pregnancy and childbirth is ten times greater.
- Retained tissue (some pregnancy tissue is left in the uterus). This occurs more frequently in medication abortions. Sometimes the uterus is unable to expel the tissue and further medical care is necessary.
- Continued pregnancy or failed abortion. There is a 2-5% failure rate with these medications and if they have failed to induce an abortion the doctor will discuss a treatment plan with you.
- Excessive bleeding or hemorrhage. It is sometimes caused by failure of the uterus to contract or by retained tissue. As this will be happening outside the clinic, you should contact the clinic if you are experiencing hemorrhage, and you may need to proceed to the hospital for medical care.
- Infection in the uterus occurs rarely. You may need antibiotics to manage the infection.
- Allergic reaction to any of the medications given to you can rarely occur. A very severe reaction would require visit to a hospital.
- The risk of death related to abortion is about 1 in 1,000,000. Most deaths are related to excessive bleeding. The risk of death during pregnancy and childbirth is ten times greater.