Terminology

Medical Terms Explained

Dilation: means expanding. In an abortion, the first step is for the doctor to expand the cervix (the opening to the womb) by using metal dilators. When the cervix has been sufficiently opened, the doctor can then reach the fœtus with forceps, or a vacuum tube.

Curette: a surgical instrument shaped like a scoop or spoon. It is used to remove tissues or growth from a body cavity. In abortion, the curette is used to remove the remains of the fœtus from the womb.

Curettage: the technique of removing the severed fœtal remains from the womb.

Uterus: a medical term for the womb.

Vacuum aspiration (or curettage): a tube, or catheter, attached to a suction machine.