D&E (dilation and evacuation) is a minor surgical procedure which involves mechanically opening (dilating) the cervix and cleaning out (evacuating) the uterus. It may be performed after a missed abortion (the embryo or fetus dies, but no bleeding or cervical opening occurs) or inevitable abortion (the embryo or fetus dies, and painful or heavy bleeding occurs). If tissue from the pregnancy remains in the womb after miscarriage, it can cause heavy bleeding or infection — a D&E aims to avoid this.