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 chi(2) 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.