What is transurethral resection of
the prostate (TURP)?
If your prostate becomes too large, your doctor may recommend a surgical
procedure known as transurethral resection of
the prostate (TURP). It can help relieve the uncomfortable or
painful symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate.
The prostate is a
walnut-sized gland that produces seminal fluid in men. It surrounds your urethra, a tube that connects your bladder to the
outside of your body. As you age, your prostate may become enlarged and squeeze
your urethra, making urination more difficult. This is a condition known as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), or enlarged
prostate. It’s common among older men.
Who is a candidate
for the procedure?
It’s normal for your prostate to become enlarged as you age. According
to the National
Institutes of Health (NIH), BPH affects one in five men between the ages
of 50 and 60. It’s even more common among older men. An estimated 70 percent of
men over the age of 70 have prostate problems.
If you have symptoms of an enlarged prostate, your doctor may
prescribe medication or other treatments. If those treatments don’t work, they
may recommend surgery. The TURP procedure may be necessary if:
- you have
bladder never feels empty
feel an increased need to urinate at night
experience frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
experience bleeding from your prostate
have a history of bladder stones
develop kidney damage
If you experience these symptoms, your doctor will evaluate your
overall health, medical history, and the size and shape of your prostate gland.
This will help them determine if the TURP procedure may be a good option for
What are the
risks of the procedure?
According to the Mayo Clinic, the TURP procedure
is one of the most effective treatments for relieving urinary symptoms of BPH. But
since it’s an invasive surgical procedure that requires anesthesia, it also
Potential complications of surgery include:
attack or stroke
You may also experience other complications following the TURP
controlling your urine stream
of your urethra, which can limit your urine flow
maintaining or achieving an erection
ejaculation, in which semen flows backwards into your bladder
In a small number of cases, people experience a rare condition known
as TURP syndrome, or TUR syndrome. The symptoms usually occur within 24 hours after
surgery and can include:
in your blood pressure
Before you undergo the TURP
procedure, ask your doctor about the potential risks. If you undergo the
surgery, watch for signs of TURP syndrome and other complications. If you
notice signs of potential problems, call your doctor right away.
What does the procedure involve?
During the TURP procedure, your surgeon will remove a portion of your
prostate. You will likely be placed under general anesthesia, so you’ll be unconscious
and unable to feel pain. Or you may receive spinal anesthesia, which numbs the
nerves in your lower body so you won’t feel pain.
Your surgeon will use a long thin scope, called a resectoscope, which will allow them to see your
prostate gland. They will insert it through the end of your penis. Then they
will insert a surgical tool through the scope to remove a portion of your
prostate. The amount removed will depend on the shape and size of your
Once your surgeon removes the scope, they will insert a catheter into
your penis to allow urine to flow following surgery. It will also help remove
any blood clots that may form.
The entire procedure typically lasts one hour.
What does the recovery
Your surgeon will likely advise you to stay in the hospital for one to
three days following your surgery. During this time, you will be given
intravenous (IV) fluids to promote urine flow. And you can expect some blood
and blood clots to appear in your urine.
It usually takes three to six weeks to recover. During this time, you
should refrain from strenuous activity. And notify your physician if you
- persistent bleeding
- signs of TURP syndrome
- fever or other symptoms of infection
- impotence that lasts longer than three months
- pain that can’t be controlled with medication
Your doctor can help you learn what to expect following TURP surgery.
Ask them about your condition, risks of complications, and long-term outlook.