What is transurethral resection of the prostate?

Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is a surgical procedure performed to alleviate urinary symptoms caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is characterised by an enlargement of the prostate gland. The prostate gland envelops the urethra, which serves as the conduit responsible for conveying urine from the bladder out of the body. As BPH advances, the prostate gland enlarges, exerting pressure on the urethra and impeding the regular urine flow, leading to bothersome urinary symptoms.

TURP is considered the gold-standard surgical treatment for BPH. During the procedure, a surgeon removes excess prostate tissue to relieve the urinary obstruction and improve urinary flow. During a TURP procedure, a slender instrument called a resectoscope is commonly employed. The resectoscope is inserted through the urethra to access the prostate gland.

When is transurethral resection of the prostate performed?

TURP is recommended when conservative treatments, such as medication or lifestyle changes, fail to alleviate the symptoms of BPH. The procedure is indicated for patients who experience:

  • Frequent or urgent need to urinate.
  • Weak urinary stream or difficulty initiating urination.
  • Incomplete emptying of the bladder.
  • Nocturia (frequent urination at night).
  • Urinary retention (inability to urinate).
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections.

Prior to suggesting TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate), the healthcare provider will evaluate the patient's overall well-being and take into account various factors, including the size of the prostate gland, the intensity of symptoms, and the patient's personal preferences.

How is transurethral resection of the prostate performed?

Prior to the surgery, patients are usually given general or spinal anaesthesia to ensure comfort during the procedure. TURP is typically performed using the following steps:

  • Insertion of the resectoscope: The surgeon inserts a resectoscope into the urethra and advances it towards the prostate The resectoscope is equipped with a light, camera, and surgical instruments.
  • Removal of excess prostate tissue: The surgeon uses the resectoscope's wire loop to remove excess prostate The loop is carefully guided around the prostate, cutting and coagulating tissue to create a wide channel for urine flow.
  • Irrigation and monitoring: During the procedure, sterile fluid is continuously irrigated into the bladder to maintain visibility and wash away the removed tissue. The surgeon monitors the progress using the camera attached to the resectoscope.
  • Completion and catheter placement: Once the surgeon has removed sufficient prostate tissue, the resectoscope is withdrawn, and a catheter will be inserted into the bladder to help drain urine. The catheter is typically removed within a few days after the surgery.

After the procedure, patients may experience temporary urinary symptoms, such as mild burning or urgency. Most individuals are able to leave the hospital within one to three days and can resume normal activities within a few weeks.

TURP has proven to be an effective and reliable treatment for relieving urinary symptoms associated with BPH. Nevertheless, it is crucial to have a thorough discussion with your healthcare provider regarding the potential risks and complications associated with TURP, as is the case with any surgical procedure.



What are the potential risks and complications of TURP?

While TURP is generally considered safe, there are potential risks and complications, including bleeding, infection, urinary incontinence (temporary or permanent), retrograde ejaculation (semen flowing backwards into the bladder), erectile dysfunction (rare), and bladder or urethral injury. Prior to undergoing the procedure, it is crucial to have a thorough discussion about these potential risks with your surgeon.

Can TURP cause sexual dysfunction?

Retrograde ejaculation is a potential risk associated with TURP, wherein semen reverses its normal course and enters the bladder instead of being ejaculated through the penis. As a consequence, dry orgasms may occur. Nevertheless, TURP typically does not cause erectile dysfunction. If you have sexual function concerns, it is essential to discuss these with your urologist.

Is TURP a permanent solution for an enlarged prostate?

TURP provides long-lasting relief from urinary symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate. However, it does not prevent the prostate from continuing to grow. In some cases, the prostate may gradually enlarge again over time, requiring further treatment or management.


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