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Transurethral Resection (TUR) for Bladder Cancer

Surgery Overview

Transurethral resection (TUR) of the bladder is a surgical procedure that is used both to diagnose bladder cancer and to remove cancerous tissue from the bladder. This procedure is also called a TURBT (transurethral resection for bladder tumor). General anesthesia or spinal anesthesia is often used. During TUR surgery, a cystoscope is passed into the bladder through the urethra. A tool called a resectoscope is used to remove the cancer for biopsy and to burn away any remaining cancer cells.

Bladder cancer can come back after this surgery, so repeat TURs are sometimes needed.

What To Expect After Surgery

Following surgery, a catheter may be placed in the urethra to help stop bleeding and to prevent blockage of the urethra. When the bleeding has stopped, the catheter is removed. You may need to stay in the hospital 1 to 4 days.

You may feel the need to urinate frequently for a while after the surgery, but this should improve over time. You may have blood in your urine for up to 2 to 3 weeks following surgery.

You may be instructed to avoid strenuous activity for about 3 weeks following TUR.

Why It Is Done

TUR can be used to diagnose, stage, and treat bladder cancer.

  • Diagnosis. TUR is used to examine the inside of the bladder to see whether there are cancer cells in the bladder.
  • Staging. TUR can determine whether cancers are growing into the bladder wall.
  • Treatment. One or more small tumors can be removed from inside the bladder during TUR.

How Well It Works

TUR is the most common and effective treatment for early-stage bladder cancer. It may also be effective for more advanced cancer if all the cancer is removed and biopsies show that no cancer cells remain.

Risks

The risks of TUR include:

  • Bleeding.
  • Bladder infection (cystitis).
  • Perforation of the wall of the bladder.
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria).
  • Blockage of the urethra by blood clots in the bladder.

What To Think About

Treatment with TUR may be followed by chemotherapy or immunotherapy.

Complete the surgery information form (PDF)surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology
Current as of April 30, 2013

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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