Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) Abortion

  • Justine Wu


Traditionally, “surgical” abortions referred to dilation and curettage (D&C), or to sharp curettage performed in the operating room under general or regional anesthesia or moderate sedation. Surgical abortion can also occur via vacuum aspiration with an electric pump machine or manually with a 60 cc handheld syringe (a manual vacuum aspirator). These methods are commonly referred to as “aspiration abortion” and can be performed safely and effectively in the outpatient setting [1], with local anesthesia alone or combined with light to moderate sedation. Aspiration abortion is associated with lower rates of complications, including infection and perforation, compared to sharp curettage. According to the World Health Organization [2], aspiration abortion and medication abortion are preferred over sharp curettage whenever possible.


Ectopic Pregnancy Emergency Contraception Medication Abortion Moderate Sedation Last Menstrual Period 
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Additional Resources Websites

  1. For patient and clinician resources regarding early abortion care, visit The Reproductive Health Access Project:
  2. For information regarding abortion training in family medicine residencies, visit The Center for Reproductive Health Education in Family Medicine
  3. For educational resources and a clinical curriculum regarding medication abortion, visit The National Abortion Federation:
  4. For information regarding state laws on abortion, visit The Center for Reproductive Rights:
  5. For information regarding MVA aspirators and supplies:

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Family MedicineUniversity of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical SchoolNew BrunswickUSA

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