How is a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) performed?

Marc B. Garnick, MD
Hematology & Oncology
Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), used in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is an incision-free surgical procedure that cuts away excess prostate tissue with an electrical loop.

An hour-long TURP takes place in an operating room under general or spinal anesthesia, given just before the operation begins. Typically, you will have an enema the preceding night and will be told not to eat or drink for eight hours before the anesthesia. During the procedure, the surgeon uses an instrument called a resectoscope to view the prostate. The surgeon threads the resectoscope through the penis to the prostate, and uses the electrical loop to cut away the overgrown tissue that's pressing against the urethra. You may spend one to two days recovering in the hospital. While recovering, you urinate through a thin tube, or catheter, inserted into the bladder through the penis. Once home, you may have to restrict heavy physical activity for two weeks or more to prevent bleeding.

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