TURP – Trans-Urethral Resection of the Prostate

This document will give you information about a trans-urethral resection of the prostate (TURP) procedure. If you have any questions, you should ask your consultant.

Why are you experiencing problems with your prostate?

Your prostate gland is an organ that is positioned under your bladder and surrounds the tube that carries urine and semen to the tip of your penis, known as the urethra (see figure 1). Prostate trouble is common in men and can become more likely with age. It is caused by the growth of your prostate gland, which can narrow your urethra and make it more difficult for you to pass urine.

What are the signs of prostate trouble?

If the prostate gland tightens begins to tighten around your urethra, it can hinder the flow of urine from your bladder. Symptoms include:

  • The need to pass urine more frequently
  • Slow flow of urine, with dribbling
  • Needing to wait a long time before passing urine
  • Feeling like you have not completely emptied your bladder
  • Sudden urges to pass urine

What are the advantages of having the TURP procedure?

After the operation, you should experience better flow of urine and improved bladder emptying. You may also find that you do not need to pass urine as often during the night.

What are the alternatives?

For most men, an operation is not essential. There are medications available to treat the condition but this is rarely a permanent solution. If your symptoms worsen, this may lead to urinary infections or bladder stones.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is usually performed under a general or spinal anaesthetic and takes less than an hour. Your surgeon will insert a resectoscope (a small operating telescope) into your urethra and will use it to remove enough prostate tissue to relieve the pressure on your urethra. Occasionally, prostate tissue is treated with laser energy passed through the resectoscope.

What are the risks?

As with any medical procedure, there is the possibility for complications. Some of these can be serious. General issues include:

  • Pain
  • Blood in your urine. If the bleeding is heavy, you may need a blood transfusion
  • Infection
  • Blood clots in your leg (deep-vein thrombosis, DVT)
  • Blood clots in your lung (pulmonary embolus)

Complications specific to this operation include:

  • Impotence (problems having an erection)
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Incontinence (temporary and permanent)
  • Needing to pass urine more often and sudden urges to pass urine
  • Reduction in fertility
  • Narrowing of your urethra (stricture) caused by scar tissue forming

How long will it take for me to recover?

You should be able to go home after three to four days after the operation. You will feel a stinging pain the first few times you pass urine. Any pain usually settles within two weeks. It is normal to pass blood and small clots when you pass urine for up to four weeks after the procedure. You should be able to return to work after four to six weeks, depending on your type of work. Most men make a good recovery, with significant improvements to their symptoms. However, your prostate gland will continue to grow, which could lead to issues again in the future.

References: EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this page is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.

This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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