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Surgical vs Medical Abortions
Mile High OB Gyn - In Denver and Englewood, CO



The expert team of board-certified gynecologists at Mile High OB-GYN offer both medical and in-office surgical abortions. As a full-service OB-GYN and private office, the Mile High offices are a protester-free, comfortable environment for all patients. You’ll be able to choose between male and female doctors, some of whom have been performing safe, effective abortions for nearly 40 years.

The decision between a surgical or medical abortion is largely determined by the length of gestation. Patients with fewer than 10-weeks gestation will be able to choose between the two, while those over 10 weeks will need to undergo the surgical procedure. Both treatments are minimally-invasive, with little recovery time. The team at Mile High will offer counseling and guidance before the procedure, so you’ll be informed and confident in your decision moving forward.

While surgical abortion is still the most common (with 75% of patients receiving surgical abortions and 25% receiving medical), you’ll be able to discuss your preferences at length with your doctor at Mile High before making any decisions. At Mile High, their goal is always to work with your comfort and safety in mind. They’ll never push any treatments. The team at Mile High is there for you. They’re there to offer guidance, education, and support while you make your decision.

Common Questions on Surgical vs Medical Abortion

What is a medical abortion?

A medical abortion is commonly known as the Abortion Pill. It’s a safe and effective way of ending an early pregnancy. With medical abortions, there’s no instrumentation involved, and it’s a process the patient will do at home.

You can expect to have some or all of the following symptoms after taking the pill: nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, heavy bleeding, and strong cramping. Usually these symptoms go away after one to two days, but some women experience bleeding for one to two weeks.

It is important to be honest about what you can handle. At Mile High, they talk with each woman individually to provide realistic and accurate information, so each patient can decide for herself. Two weeks after the procedure, you’ll do a post-op visit with your physician, consisting of a second ultrasound and physical exam.

What is the recovery time for medical?

Medical abortions are an extremely safe method of ending a pregnancy. As far as side effects go, the following are common symptoms: nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, heavy bleeding, and strong cramping. These tend to go away after one to two days, although some women experience bleeding for one to two weeks. You’ll be asked to schedule a post-op visit at Mile High after two weeks, and at this appointment you’ll undergo a second ultrasound and a brief exam.

What is a surgical abortion? What is the process?

Surgical abortions are offered in the Mile High offices for patients up to 16-weeks gestation. Patients who are ready for the procedure will be scheduled to come in within 48 hours of their first call. On the day of your procedure, you’ll receive two prescriptions: one for pain medication and one for antibiotics. You’ll go over the procedure in detail with your physician upon arrival. After that, patients are sedated, while their doctor uses a speculum and suction apparatus to terminate the pregnancy. The process takes about five minutes, from sedation to completion.

Your appointment should last less an hour all-told, including paperwork beforehand, review of the procedure with your doctor, and a ten minute recovery period afterward. You’re welcome to bring a significant other into the room during your procedure, should you so choose. This is an added comfort not offered by all offices.

What is the recovery time for surgical?

Surgical abortions are a safe, minimally-invasive procedure for ending a pregnancy. The appointment will take less an honor, with roughly five minutes committed to the procedure itself. Patients will be able to walk out of the office on their own, and are typically fully recovered by the end of the day.

What’s the more common procedure of the two (medical and surgical abortions)? And why do patients seek one over the other?

Surgical abortions are more common than medical, with 75% of patients undergoing the procedure. However, this is mostly an issue of timing. For patients with over 10-weeks gestation, the medical abortion is no longer an option. Patients with less than 10-weeks gestation can choose between the two.

For patients who are uncomfortable with needles or medical instruments, or who would prefer to terminate the pregnancy at home, the pill is a good option. It’s taken at home and requires only a quick post-op visit two weeks afterward, for an ultrasound.

Patients who don’t want to terminate the pregnancy at home might prefer the surgical abortion. It’s an in-office procedure that lasts roughly an hour and requires no post-op visit.

Why are some abortions performed in the hospital instead of the Mile High office?

Mile High OB-GYN performs in-office surgical abortions for patients with up to 16-weeks gestation, in the Denver and Englewood locations. After 16-weeks, the procedure will need to be done in a hospital. Your doctor from Mile High can accompany you to the hospital and perform the procedure there at your request.

Are both procedures covered by insurance?

Many insurance providers do cover an abortion. A list of insurance providers accepted by Mile High is available here. The team at Mile High is glad to confirm coverage for you prior to your visit. Some HMOs require a referral from a primary physician, so be sure to call the office in advance to prevent unnecessary delays.