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What is the TURP procedure?

Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is a surgical procedure to treat urinary problems caused by an enlarged prostate gland. It is one of the most common surgeries for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and is performed under general or spinal anaesthesia.

What happens in a TURP procedure?

During the TURP procedure, the surgeon inserts a small, lighted instrument called a cystoscope through the urethra and into the prostate gland. The cystoscope has a wire loop that is used to remove the excess tissue that is causing urinary problems. The removed tissue is then sent to a lab for examination.

What are the benefits of a TURP?

TURP is an effective procedure for reducing urinary problems caused by BPH. It is also a minimally invasive procedure, requiring no incision, and typically has a short recovery time.

The benefits of a TURP may include:

Improved Urinary Function: TURP can improve urinary symptoms, such as a weak urine stream, frequent urination, and difficulty urinating.

Relief from Urinary Retention: TURP can relieve urinary retention, a condition where the bladder does not completely empty during urination.

Reduced Risk of Complications: TURP can reduce the risk of complications associated with an enlarged prostate, such as urinary tract infections, bladder stones, and kidney damage.

Improved Quality of Life: TURP can enhance quality of life by reducing urinary symptoms and allowing patients to participate in activities they may have avoided due to their condition.

Long-term Efficacy: TURP has been shown to provide long-term relief from urinary symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate, with most patients experiencing significant improvement for many years after the procedure.

What are the risks or potential complications of the TURP?

While the procedure is generally safe, there are potential risks and complications that patients should be aware of before undergoing surgery.

  1. Bleeding: One of the most common risks associated with TURP is bleeding. This can occur during the surgery or after the procedure. In some cases, a blood transfusion may be necessary.
  2. Infection: There is a risk of infection associated with any surgical procedure, including TURP. Signs of infection may include fever, chills, redness, and swelling around the surgical site.
  3. Bladder injury: In rare cases, the bladder may be injured during the surgery. This can result in difficulty urinating, urinary incontinence, or other complications.
  4. Urinary incontinence: TURP can sometimes cause temporary or permanent urinary incontinence, which is the inability to control urine flow.
  5. Erectile dysfunction: TURP can sometimes lead to temporary or permanent erectile dysfunction, which is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection.
  6. Retrograde ejaculation: In some cases, TURP can cause retrograde ejaculation, which is when semen is redirected into the bladder during ejaculation instead of being expelled through the penis.
  7. Urethral stricture: TURP can sometimes cause a narrowing of the urethra, which can make it difficult to urinate.
  8. Bladder neck contracture: In rare cases, TURP can cause scar tissue to form around the bladder neck, which can lead to difficulty urinating.

How long does it take to recover from a TURP?

The recovery time after a TURP (Transurethral Resection of the Prostate) procedure can vary from person to person and depends on the extent of the surgery, the patient’s age, and overall health.

Generally, patients are required to stay in the hospital for one to two days with a urinary catheter after the procedure, during which time they will be closely monitored for any potential complications. Once discharged, patients may experience some discomfort and pain in the bladder and urinary tract, which can be managed with pain medications.

Most patients can resume their normal daily activities within one to two weeks after the procedure, but it may take several weeks for the bladder to fully heal and for urinary function to return to normal. It is not unusual to pass blood in the urine on and off for a few weeks after the procedure. During the recovery period, patients may need to avoid strenuous physical activity and sexual intercourse.

Conclusion: TURP is a safe and effective procedure for treating urinary problems caused by BPH. Discussing the risks and benefits of the surgery with your surgeon before undergoing the procedure is important. With proper care and follow-up, most patients can expect to see a significant improvement in their urinary symptoms after the surgery.

Author: Mr Neil Haldar MBBS MD FRCS

Consultant Urological Surgeon

The Pelvic Specialists

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