Early surgical abortion: Efficacy and safety

Maureen E. Paul, Caroline M. Mitchell, Angela J. Rogers, Michelle C. Fox, Elyse G. Lackie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Because of concern over the higher rates of failed abortion, many clinicians defer surgical abortion until 7 menstrual weeks or later. We conducted this study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of early surgical abortions that are performed by numerous physicians in a community-based setting. STUDY DESIGN: We prospectively gathered data on all eligible patients who had surgical abortions at <6 weeks of gestation at 3 Planned Parenthood clinics from January 1, 1998, to August 31, 2000. Outcomes were evaluated with the use of proportions with 95% CI and χ2 analysis. RESULTS: A total of 1132 women had early surgical abortions during the study interval, and follow-up was available for 750 of those women (66%). Seventeen women (2.3%; 95% CI, 1.4%, 3.7%) had failed attempted abortions. Other complications occurred in 13 women. CONCLUSION: Early surgical abortion is safe and effective. In this series, the frequency of complications that required curettage was similar to that reported with mifepristone and vaginal misoprostol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-411
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2002


  • Abortion
  • Complications
  • Early surgical abortion
  • Failed abortion
  • Vacumn aspiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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