Transurethral resection of the prostate

Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is still regarded as the gold standard surgical treatment for BPH. No other treatment yet has been shown to result in such good results in terms of improved symptoms and flow. TURP does require a short period of hospitalisation and a light anaesthetic. A catheter (a tube which drains the bladder) is also needed for 1-2 days until the urine clears. Patients are advised to take life quietly and to avoid straining or heavy lifting for 10 days or so after the surgery.

Who is it suitable for?

TURP can be performed on men of any age with urinary outflow obstruction caused by an enlarged prostate.

How does it work?

The aim of TURP is to relieve pressure on the tube which the urine passes through (urethra) by cutting away some of the excess prostate tissue. This is done under a light general anaesthetic and with the help of a telescopic camera inserted through the penis. The pieces of prostate that have been removed are then flushed from the bladder and sent for laboratory analysis just in case they might be found to be cancerous. A catheter is placed into the bladder to drain the urine while the raw patches heal, then left in place for around 48 hours before being removed one day before discharge from hospital. Sterile water is also irrigated into the bladder through the catheter to dilute any blood in the urine and prevent clots from forming.

It is normal to have blood in the urine after this operation, so it is advisable to drink plenty of water for a few days while it clears. Clots are sometimes passed 10-14 days afterwards; again, this is part of the healing process.

Apart from this and the risk of infection that accompanies any operation or invasive procedure, the only significant side-effect is the near certainty that normal ejaculation will cease. This is because the contraction that occurs during orgasm may not completely block the entrance to the bladder once some tissue has been removed, and the semen will flow back into the bladder (“retrograde” or “dry” ejaculation) rather than out through the penis. This is not harmful, but it does mean that future fertility is greatly reduced.

Where is it done?

Our surgeons perform this operation at The Princess Grace, The London Bridge Hospital or the King Edward VII’s Hospital Sister Agnes.

How much does it cost?

If you are paying for your treatment yourself, the cost of the procedure will be in the region of £8-10,000. If you have health insurance, you can expect this operation to be covered although some companies/policies do not pay the full amount of the surgeon’s or anaesthetist’s fees. We recommend that you discuss the potential shortfall with us before deciding to go ahead.