There are two ways to perform an early abortion procedure. The first is with an electric suction machine that uses electricity to gently empty the uterus. The second is with a hand held device called a manual vacuum aspiration, or MVA. These look like a large hand held syringe and don’t require any electricity or other power source. These were originally developed for use in countries where the electric machines are not readily available and they actually produce the same amount of suction force as the electric machines.
Because they are handheld, they are much quieter than the electric machines, and provide an alternative option for pregnancy termination, especially for patients who choose to stay awake for the procedure.
Both the electric and handheld devices are safe and gentle and do not require the use of any sharp curettage, or scraping.
The aspiration procedure is available for patients who request it and who are not later than twelve weeks pregnant. Patients can choose to be awake or asleep for the aspiration procedure.
If you choose to be awake, you will be given an injection of local anesthesia to numb the cervix, but you should expect to still feel some cramping and discomfort during the procedure. The procedure itself takes 2-3 minutes and generally well tolerated. Patients generally experience some cramping and light bleeding for a few days afterwards.
It is important to know that the electric suction procedure and the manual aspiration procedure are both surgical procedures. Some physicians in the area market the aspiration procedure as a non-surgical procedure. However, this is untrue. Both procedures are, however, safe, gentle, and effective for pregnancy termination with minimal risk for future health and fertility. Both are available as either awake or asleep procedures. Please see our anesthesia section for more information about asleep procedures.