Background: By law, elective terminations of pregnancy are not performed in U.S. military institutions. However, in the civilian sector, more than a million abortions are performed each year, some of which are on military beneficiaries. Although complications are relatively rare, patients not uncommonly present for follow-up care to their military installation. We report the case of a patient who presented after a second-trimester elective abortion and was found to have suffered uterine perforation with mesenteric and bowel injury that required bowel resection. Case: An 18-year-old gravida 1 para 0 female presented from an outlying facility i week after elective termination at 18 weeks of gestation with complaints of severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Exploratory laparotomy for presumed bowel obstruction revealed uterine perforation and bowel devitalization and necrosis, which required small bowel resection. Fetal bones were discovered within the surgical specimen. Conclusion: Morbid, even potentially fatal, complications can occur as a result of pregnancy termination. With second- trimester procedures, perforation can result in injury to abdominal viscera from the perforating instruments or even from sharp fetal bony structures. Military gynecologic surgeons, who are not in abortion practice, must nevertheless be cognizant of the potential for perforation leading to serious visceral injury.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health