What is transurethral incision of the prostate?

Marc B. Garnick, MD
Hematology & Oncology
In the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP) involves inserting an instrument into the prostate via the penis. But rather than cutting away excess tissue, the surgeon makes one or more deep lengthwise incisions in the prostate at the site of the urethral constriction. This opens the urethral passage, relieving pressure on the urethra and improving urine flow. Spinal or general anesthesia is generally used for TUIP, which can be performed on an outpatient basis or during a one-day hospital stay. Recovery usually takes five to seven days.

TUIP is not an option for every patient. Men with small prostates are the usual candidates for this procedure. The benefits appear to last. Over a five-year period, the chance of needing further surgery is 8% to 10%.

Transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP) has been used for 30 years and is simpler, safer, and less expensive than transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). As with TURP, TUIP is done through the urethra, so there is no incision through the skin. But instead of removing tissue, as with TURP, or destroying the tissue with heat as with the newer technologies, the surgeon widens the urethra and relaxes the constriction of the urethra by making several small incisions in the neck of the bladder down to the prostate capsule. A knife, a laser, or an electrode is used to make the incision, and the instrument of choice is inserted through a resectoscope, as with TURP. TUIP can be performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia or as an overnight hospitalization procedure done under spinal or general anesthesia.

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