What is a transurethral resection (TURP)?

A transurethral resection, also referred to as TURP, is a surgery that involves removing parts of the prostate gland through the penis. TURP is a minimally invasive technique that does not require incisions and is used to treat patients who have an enlarged prostate.

During the procedure, a surgical instrument called a resectoscope is inserted in the penis through the urethra and threaded to the prostate. Once in position, the resectoscope trims excess prostate tissue that could be blocking the flow of urine out the urethra.

Who is a candidate for a TURP?

A transurethral resection is most commonly performed on men to relieve the symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate. TURP is typically an option after more conservative treatments have failed.

In some cases, your doctor may recommend a TURP if you are not able to urinate due to prostate cancer and you are unable to have prostate cancer surgery. In these patients, a TURP will provide symptom relief but will not cure the underlying condition.

TURP may also be recommended for patients who have conditions that block the flow of urine out of the urethra including:

Risks of a transurethral resection (TURP)

Complications associated with TURP may include:

  • Bleeding - this is a greater concern for patients on blood-thinning medications
  • Bladder injury
  • Blood in the urine
  • Infection
  • Inability to achieve and sustain an erection
  • Pain while urinating
  • Ejaculation that goes into the bladder instead of out the penis

Your Mercy Health doctor will outline all the risks and any other risks that may be specific to your condition before the procedure.

What to expect during a transurethral resection (TURP)

A transurethral resection is a minimally invasive surgery that takes 60 to 90 minutes to perform. It is typically performed under general anesthesia, where you will be asleep, or spinal anesthesia, where you will be awake.

During the procedure, your doctor will insert a resectoscope into the penis through the urethra and into the prostate. The resectoscope will trim small pieces of prostate tissue inside the prostate and send them via irrigating fluid to the bladder. At the end of the surgery, these pieces are drained out via the urethra. A catheter will be inserted to drain urine.

Recovery from a transurethral resection (TURP)

After the procedure, you will be transferred to a recovery room and monitored closely. Once your vital signs are stable, you will be moved to a hospital room. While in the hospital, you may need pain medication, and you will slowly begin to eat solid foods. You will likely be in the hospital one to two days until you are discharged.

At discharge, your doctor will give you detailed instructions such as:

  • Catheter - you may still need the catheter in place to allow the prostate to heal.
  • Blood in urine - you may find blood in your urine after surgery, but it will gradually stop over a few days.
  • Drink plenty of water to flush the bladder out
  • Eat high-fiber foods
  • Get your doctors approval before taking blood-thinning medications
  • Avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activity
  • Do not drive until you are not taking pain medications

If you notice any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor:

  • Difficulty or inability to urinate
  • Bright red blood in the urine after a few days post-surgery
  • Fever over 100.4 degrees F

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