Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)

What is a Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)?

Transurethral resection of the prostate is a surgery that treats urinary blockage caused by an enlarged prostate. Difficulty with urination caused by an enlarged prostate is referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

TURP is a minimally invasive surgery option to treat BPH. During a TURP prostate surgery, your doctor uses a medical instrument called a resectoscope to remove surplus prostate tissue that blocks your urine flow.

Why Your Doctor Might Recommend TURP

TURP is used to reduce the symptoms of BPH and remove obstructions to your urine flow.

TURP surgery helps with the following symptoms:

  • Trouble starting urination
  • Slow urination
  • Urination that stops and starts
  • Urinating more at night
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Strong urge to urinate
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Full feeling in your bladder
  • Kidney stones
  • Kidney damage
  • Blood in your urine
  • Bladder injury
  • Lack of urination control
  • Lack of ability to urinate 

Potential Risks

There are several potential risks with transurethral resection of the prostate. TURP is generally considered a minimally invasive and safe procedure that causes few complications.

Potential TURP complications:

  • Infection — Prostate procedures can result in urinary tract infections.Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics before and after your procedure to help prevent infection.
  • Urination issues — Temporary complications with urination can occur. You may need to use a catheter until your urination issues resolve.
  • Erectile dysfunction — This is a rare side effect of TURP surgery.
  • Sperm fertility — You may experience a reduction in sperm fertility.
  • Bleeding — Men with larger prostates have greater risk of heavy bleeding after TURP.
  • Low sodium — TURP syndrome is a rare but life-threatening risk. TURP syndrome happens with your body absorbs excess amounts of the fluid used to clean the surgery area.
  • Loss of bladder control — Incontinence is a rare long-term side effect of TURP.
  • Internal damage — Unintended damage to internal organs is possible.
  • Re-treatment — You may need retreatment if TURP does not resolve your symptoms.

How to Prepare for a Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)

Your doctor will help you prepare for your TURP surgery.

Common preparations include:

  • Medications — Your doctor may ask you to stop certain medications, such as blood thinners and nonprescription pain medicine, that might interfere with the TURP procedure.
  • Transportation — Your doctor will likely ask you to arrange transportation to and from the hospital for your surgery.
  • Diet — Your doctor will likely advise you what to eat and drink in the 24 hours leading up to your procedure. Typically, your doctor will recommend “nothing by mouth.” This means no food or drink after midnight the night before your procedure.
  • Restrictions — Your doctor will inform you how long to avoid strenuous activity after your surgery. You may be asked to refrain from strenuous activity for up to 6 weeks.

What to Expect During a Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)

Before TURP surgery, your doctor may give you general anesthesia. You may also receive spinal anesthesia. Either way, you should expect to feel no pain during the procedure. TURP is usually completed in approximately 60 to 90 minutes.

Once the anesthetic has activated in your system, your doctor will insert a tool called a resectoscope into your penis and trim excess tissue from your prostate. Your doctor will also irrigate the area using the resectoscope.

Near the end of the procedure, your doctor will insert a temporary catheter to help you urinate.

What to Expect After a Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)

After your surgery, you will be moved to a recovery room. Your doctor may release you the same day or ask you to stay overnight in the hospital for monitoring.

You can expect:

  • Blood in your urine for a few days.
  • Urination to feel painful or difficult for up to a few weeks.
  • Your catheter to remain in place for a few days or longer.
  • A return to regular physical and sexual activity after a few weeks.

What you can do at home to help your recovery:

  • Follow your doctor’s recommendations to avoid strenuous activity.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid blood-thinning medication.
  • Eat food that is high in fiber.
  • Avoid driving while your catheter is in place.

Let your doctor know if you notice any worsening symptoms, such as a high fever, inability to urinate, or more clots in your urine.

Results and Outcomes

Full TURP surgery recovery usually takes a few weeks. However, you may experience a noticeable reduction in symptoms within days. The results of your TURP procedure may last for many years. In other cases, some men may require additional treatment.

Next Steps with MyChart

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