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What is a TURBT?

A TURBT is a procedure that is used to remove tumors from the bladder wall (also known as the bladder lining). This procedure can be used as a biopsy to make a definitive cancer diagnosis. Depending on biopsy results, the TURBT may need to be followed by additional surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy to ensure that the tumor and residual cancerous cells have been destroyed.

How is this procedure performed?

A TURBT is routinely performed as an outpatient procedure at a surgical center or hospital while the patient is under general anesthesia. It’s called ‘transurethral’ because a resectoscope is inserted through the urethra into the bladder in order to reach the tumor. This eliminates the need to use an incision to reach and remove the cancer.

A TURBT is used as a biopsy and as a treatment option for low-grade lesions. It is not a definitive treatment for high-grade lesions. After the procedure, the patient may need a foley catheter.

Possible risks and complications

The TURBT procedure is minimally invasive so generally has mild aftereffects. Patients may experience pain or notice blood in their urine after the surgery. Because the surgery is performed through the urethra, patients may also notice a difference in urination. Under no circumstances should patients experience an inability to urinate (retention). If this occurs, they should contact our office immediately.

Typically, patients will be permitted to return home after the procedure, and can usually return to their daily activities within a few days (the surgeon will give patients specific instructions). As with any surgery, infections may occur. If you are experiencing infection related symptoms, such as fever, ongoing pain or tenderness, a burning sensation while urinating, or a discharge of pus, contact our office as soon as possible. Blood in the urine is much expected.

Prior to the procedure

A TURBT is a minimally-invasive procedure that requires little to no preparation from the patient. However, the patient should review their current medication list with the surgeon. The surgeon will advise individual patients if there are any preparation prior to having their surgery, including the discontinuation of blood-thinning medicines.

If you have been diagnosed with bladder cancer and would like to learn more about TURBT, contact Urology Austin to schedule a consultation.

Related link

TURBT surgery