Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP)
A transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is a surgical procedure that involves cutting away a section of the prostate.
The prostate is a small gland in the pelvis only found in men. It’s located between the penis and bladder, and surrounds the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis). If the prostate becomes enlarged, it can place pressure on the bladder and urethra. This can cause symptoms that affect urination.
TURP is often recommended when prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia) causes troublesome symptoms and fails to respond to treatment with medication. Symptoms that may improve after TURP include:
- problems starting to urinate
- a weak urine flow or stopping and starting
- having to strain to pass urine
- a frequent need to urinate
- waking up frequently during the night to urinate (nocturia)
- a sudden urge to urinate
- being unable to empty your bladder fully
TURP is carried out using a device called a resectoscope, which is a thin metal tube containing a light, camera and loop of wire. This is passed along your urethra until it reaches your prostate, which means no cuts (incisions) need to be made in your skin.
The loop of wire is then heated with an electric current and is used to cut away the section of your prostate that is causing your symptoms. A thin tube called a catheter is then inserted into your urethra to pump fluid into the bladder and flush away pieces of prostate that have been removed.
General or spinal anaesthesia is used during the procedure so you don’t feel any pain while it’s carried out.
You’ll usually need to stay in hospital for one to three days after your operation. The catheter used during the operation will be left in place while you’re in hospital because your urethra will be swollen and you may not be able to urinate normally at first. It’s common to feel tired and under the weather for a week or two after going home. Most men are up and about after this time, but you’ll need to take things easy for four to eight weeks. You’ll usually be advised to stay off work and avoid lifting heavy objects, doing strenuous exercise, driving and having sex for at least a few weeks. It’s normal to have some difficulties urinating and some blood in your urine for a few weeks. These problems should get better as you recover, but you should contact the hospital clinic or your GP if you’re concerned.