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Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)

Transurethral Resection of the Prostate or TURP can be used for patients for whom benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) effects everyday life. TURP is a commonly used surgical treatment during which a surgeon inserts a resectoscope into the urethra. The resectoscope is a tool that allows a surgeon to see the enlarged prostate gland. The surgeon will place a cutting loop through the resectoscope to remove a small piece of the prostate gland tissue. The surgeon then runs an electrical current through the cutting loop and cuts off small pieces of the prostate gland in "chips." After finishing cutting away chips, the surgeon will flush the urethra and the bladder to remove the tissue that has been extracted from the prostate.

Finally, the surgeon inserts a catheter to allow the passage of urine out of the body. When the catheter is removed a few weeks later, the body has a wider channel to pass urine out of the body. This wider passage alleviates severe symptoms of BPH.

Transurethral resection of the prostate is a one-day surgery, though some patients will require an overnight stay depending on their health. Patients undergoing the transurethral resection are placed under general anesthesia. Some complications have been associated with TURP. Patients opting to undergo the transurethral resection of their prostate gland may experience hematuria, and, in some cases, urinary tract infections. Side effects after TURP include retrograde ejaculation which occurs during ejaculation when sperm enter the body rather than exit through the urethra. After sex or masturbation, patients who experience retrograde ejaculation may find that their urine is cloudy.

Not all patients who suffer from severe BPH symptoms, however, are eligible for transurethral resection of the prostate gland. In these patients, the prostate gland has enlarged to the point where more invasive procedures are necessary to alleviate symptoms. These other procedures include the removal of a small part of the prostate gland through an incision or use radiation therapy or cryotherapy to alleviate symptoms.

Patients who have the transurethral resection of the prostate and who later develop prostate cancer, may not be eligible for certain treatments such as brachytherapy or cryotherapy. Both brachytherapy and cryotherapy require sufficient tissue to hold either the radioactive seeds used in permanent LDR brachytherapy or the ice balls used in cryotherapy.

TURP Procedure Precautions
Although a transurethral resection is a minimally invasive procedure, leaving you with no scar and little pain, recovery should still be taken seriously. Patients shouldn’t rush back into normal activities, and all post-surgical activities should be discussed with your doctor.

According to the doctors of Cedars-Sinai Medical Centeri, the following guidelines will help you have a smoother recovery:

  • Eat a balanced, high fiber diet to prevent constipation. If constipation does occur, ask your doctor if you can take a laxative.
  • Avoid straining, sudden movements, and any heavy lifting.
  • Drink up to eight cups of water a day to flush the bladder and help prevent infection.
  • Don't drive or operate machinery.

Regular rectal exams should be scheduled once a year, and any abnormal symptoms should be brought to your doctor's attention immediately.



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