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Thursday, May 6, 2010


I'm going to tell you a secret. OK, I'm not, actually, but I got your attention. But there is a little-known, seldom-advertised device that we Abortioneers know about called the Ipas manual vacuum aspirator. In my completely non-scientific experience, the women who request it are Abortioneers or clinicians or those who are In the Know or women who live or lived abroad where the use is a bit more common.

Without getting into a whole med-school lecture that I am not quite qualified to give, a first trimester abortion involves dilating the cervix to a (small) amount that corresponds with the number of weeks that the pregnancy measures, then inserting a same-sized tube that passes through the cervix and into the uterus. The aspirator then suctions out the contents, and voila, not pregnant. The aspirator is a large but simple machine that takes up room and electricity and hums in a way that isn't entirely unpleasant, but yeah, it hums. And so, the Ipas is the same idea, but it's manual and portable and according to anecdotal evidence, is a bit more gentle (it is generally used when a woman requests local anesthesia rather than full sedation) and more quiet, and therefore, more comfortable for some women. It's not a new device, but I've only seen it used a handful of times at my clinic.

It really ISN'T a closely-guarded secret, and it probably is more time-consuming for physicians who have so many patients to see (If only there were more abortion doctors! If only our field were less controversial and more loved in med schools! But that's another post for another day.), and most women do opt for general anesthesia, anyway, and the Ipas is a bit more expensive, at least at my clinic, since it's less in-demand. But I'm curious what YOUR Ipas experiences are. Have any of our readers had a manual vacuum aspiration? What was the experience like? Were you aware of this option? Does it pique your interest?

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