Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2013 Apr;18(2):120-6. doi: 10.3109/13625187.2013.770834. Epub 2013 Mar 6

Early surgical abortion: safe and effective

Kara F, Dogan NU, Bati S, Demir S, Durduran Y, Celik C
Department of Public Health, Selcuklu Faculty of Medicine, Selcuk University, Konya, Turkey

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate patients' characteristics and complications of surgical abortion performed at an early gestation, compared to later gestations.

METHODS: A total of 4310 women with unintended pregnancies attending the family planning unit of a government maternity hospital in Konya, Turkey, were included retrospectively. Abortions were carried out from 6 weeks' up to 10 weeks gestation.

RESULTS: The gestational age in 62% of the cases was between 6 weeks and 6 weeks + 6 days. Only 8.5% of the 4310 women had used a modern contraceptive method, and 16% had had a surgical abortion for an unplanned pregnancy previously. These women were younger, had more siblings, and a shorter time had elapsed since their last pregnancy when compared to women who never had an abortion. There were four failures (0.09%). The rate of retained products of conception (RPCs) was 1.9% in women aborted between six and six (+ 6) weeks' gestation, and 6.2% (p < 0.001) in those aborted later. Women who had had a surgical abortion previously more often had RPCs than those who never had (16% vs. 1%, respectively, p < 0.001). Of the 151 women with RPCs, 65 (43%) had been using an intrauterine device prior to surgical abortion.

CONCLUSION: Early surgical abortion (at six-six(+ 6) weeks' gestation) generates few complications. Delaying surgical abortion until a somewhat later gestation causes complication rates (particularly RPCs) to increase.