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Transurethral Resection of the Prostate

What is the prostate gland and how does benign prostatic hypertrophy develop?

The prostate gland is an organ found in men, surrounding the neck of the urinary bladder. The gland grows with age, but if it grows too big, it can exert pressure on the urethra (tube that drains urine), and may obstruct the flow of urine. This condition is called benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) and causes urinary problems, such as difficulty in emptying the bladder and frequent urinary infections.

What is transurethral resection of the prostate?

Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is a procedure that involves the surgical removal of a section of an enlarged prostate gland. TURP uses a surgical instrument called a resectoscope (thin metal tube with light source, camera and cutting tool) to excise the enlarged region of the prostate and improve the flow of urine. It is performed through the penis without any external incision.

How is transurethral resection of the prostate performed?

TURP is performed under general or spinal anaesthesia. Your surgeon inserts the resectoscope into your penis, and advances it through the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body). The cutting tool is guided through the resectoscope and is heated with the help of an electric current. The heated wire is used to cut and remove the excess tissue. At the end of the procedure, the blood vessels are sealed carefully and the bladder is irrigated to flush out pieces of the resected tissue. The complete surgery takes about 1 hour and you may have to stay in hospital for 2 to 3 days after the procedure.

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

As with all surgical procedures, TURP may be associated with certain complications including:

  • Retrograde ejaculation (semen does not ejaculate from the penis, but instead flows into the bladder)
  • Infertility
  • Urinary incontinence – 1%
  • Erection weakening (10%)
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • TURP syndrome (rare disorder associated with fluid build-up in blood)