Vacuum aspiration is a surgical method of abortion. The muscle surrounding the neck of the cervix are relaxed and stretched open a number of millimeters to allow the insertion of a small plastic tube. The contents of the uterus are then suctioned out. In the earlier stages of pregnancy (i.e. less than seven weeks) dilation may not be required. A loop-shaped instrument called a curette may be used afterwards to scrape the inside of the uterus, ensuring it is completely empty.

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