Transurethral Resection of the Prostate

Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is surgery to remove part of your prostate. TURP can relieve symptoms of enlarged prostate, such as difficulty urinating and frequent urination. This procedure involves inserting a tool in your urethra, so you don’t have any incisions. Usually, you stay in the hospital for one to two days after TURP.

Overview

What is transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP)?

Transurethral resection of the prostate, also called TURP, is surgery to remove part of your prostate gland. Your prostate gland is only found in men and people assigned male at birth (AMAB), and wraps around your urethra (tube where urine comes out). If your prostate gets too large, it can interfere with urination.

During TURP, your healthcare provider inserts a thin tool into your urethra. This tool has an electric current or laser that allows them to remove part of your prostate. Because the tool goes in through your urethra, you don’t have any incisions.

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Why is transurethral resection of the prostate done?

TURP treats benign prostatic enlargement/hyperplasia (BPE/BPH), a condition where your prostate grows too large. BPH isn’t cancer, and it happens to many men and people AMAB as they get older.

With BPH, your prostate may press on your urethra, which can make it difficult to urinate. Symptoms of BPH include:

  • Feeling a sudden need to urinate and being unable to wait.
  • Having frequent urges to urinate every one to two hours.
  • Kidney damage (in severe cases).
  • Nocturia, or waking up frequently at night to urinate.
  • Urinary retention, or an inability to completely empty your bladder.
  • Urine stream that starts and stops involuntarily.
  • Weak urine stream or trickling of urine.

How common is transurethral resection of the prostate?

About 150,000 men and people AMAB in the U.S. have TURP each year.

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Procedure Details

What happens before transurethral resection of the prostate?

Although TURP doesn’t use incisions, you need general anesthesia or spinal anesthesia during the procedure. Your healthcare provider will discuss which anesthesia option is best for you.

To prepare for anesthesia, you may need to stop eating and drinking several hours before your procedure. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medications and supplements you take, including blood thinners. Ask your healthcare provider whether you should stop taking any of them before your procedure.

What happens during transurethral resection of the prostate?

Your healthcare provider performs TURP in a hospital operating room or ambulatory surgery center (ASC). The procedure usually takes less than 90 minutes. You’ll receive anesthesia so you won’t feel any pain.

During your procedure, your healthcare provider:

  • Inserts a rectoscope (thin tool with a camera) into your urethra.
  • Examines your prostate and removes excess tissue with a laser or electrical current.
  • Uses fluid to temporarily flush the excess tissue into your bladder.
  • Drains any excess tissue out of your bladder through your urethra.
  • Removes the rectoscope.
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What happens after transurethral resection of the prostate?

After your procedure is done, you go to a recovery area. Some people stay in the hospital for one to two days after TURP, others might be discharged the same day.

During your hospital stay, you have a catheter (thin, flexible tube) in your urethra. The catheter helps ensure that urine flows freely after your surgery. Usually, your healthcare provider removes the catheter before you go home.

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Risks / Benefits

What are the advantages of transurethral resection of the prostate?

Benefits of TURP include:

  • Fast results: Most people notice an improvement in their urinary symptoms within a few days.
  • Treats severe BPH symptoms: TURP may be helpful if you have moderate to severe urinary problems from BPH and medications haven’t worked. Your healthcare provider may also recommend TURP if you have kidney stones, bladder stones or kidney damage from BPH.

What are the risks or complications of transurethral resection of the prostate?

Possible complications or side effects of TURP include:

Recovery and Outlook

What is the recovery time for TURP?

It takes four to six weeks to fully recover from TURP. Don’t lift heavy objects, do strenuous exercise or have sex until your healthcare provider says it’s safe to do so. Don’t drive or operate machinery if you’re taking prescription pain medications.

If your job doesn’t require physical exertion, you may be able to return to work after two to three weeks. Ask your healthcare provider what they recommend for your time off work.

When To Call the Doctor

When should I see my healthcare provider?

Contact your healthcare provider if you notice:

  • Fever.
  • New urinary symptoms, such as a weak stream or frequent urination.
  • Urine that’s bright red or has clots in it.
  • You’re unable to urinate.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

TURP is a safe and effective procedure to treat urinary problems from BPH. However, this procedure may not be your only option. New advances in BPH treatment include nonsurgical, minimally invasive procedures that have a shorter recovery than TURP.

Your healthcare provider may recommend a BPH medication first. If medications don’t work well, or if you have side effects to medications, you and your healthcare provider may discuss procedures like TURP to remove excess prostate tissue. The treatment you choose depends on your individual health history and your preferences. Together, you can create a BPH treatment plan that works for your needs and lifestyle.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/15/2022.

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