Transurethral resection of the prostate

How it is performed

Preparing for surgery

If you need to have a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), before the procedure you should try to ensure that you are as fit as possible.

If you do not usually exercise regularly, you should aim to exercise for at least half an hour every day. Walking, swimming, or even activities such as gardening are all good forms of exercise.

If you smoke, cutting down or giving up completely will help to reduce your risk of developing any heart and chest complications following the operation.

You may be sent an appointment for a pre-assessment of your health a few days before the operation date. This may involve having some blood tests and a general health check-up in order to make sure that you are fit for surgery. If you have a pre-assessment appointment, you can use it as an opportunity to discuss any concerns that you have with your surgeon.

If you are currently taking medication to prevent blood clots, you may be asked to stop taking it at a certain time before having a TURP. This is because this type of medication thins the blood, which could lead to excessive bleeding during surgery.

If you are taking warfarin, you will usually be asked to stop taking it three to four days before having surgery. If you are taking clopidogrel and/or aspirin, you will usually be asked to stop taking them 10-14 days before surgery


A transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is usually performed using an epidural. An epidural is an injection of anaesthetic into your spinal column.

Once you have been given an epidural, you will temporarily lose all feeling from below your waist, which means that you will not feel any pain during the procedure.

If you would prefer that the TURP be performed under a general anaesthetic (where you will be unconscious throughout the procedure) you should let your surgical team know as it may be possible in certain circumstances.

A TURP is usually carried out using a device called a resectoscope. A resectoscope is a thin metal tube that contains:

  • a light
  • a camera, and
  • a loop of wire

The surgeon will insert the resectoscope into your urethra (the tube that carries urine from your bladder to your penis) before guiding it to the site of your prostate with the help of the light and the camera.

An electric current is used to heat the loop of wire, and the heated wire is used to cut away the section of your prostate that is causing your symptoms. During the procedure, water is pumped through the resectoscope to flush away the pieces of prostate that have been removed.

A TURP usually takes between 30-60 minutes to perform, depending on how much of your prostate needs to be removed.

Once the TURP has been completed, you will be moved back to your hospital ward so that you can recover from the procedure.

Last updated: 18 July 2012

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