Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)

This operation is carried out on a man's prostate to relieve his symptoms.

These can be:

  • slowness in starting
  • poor stream
  • dribbling at the end of passing urine
  • getting up at night to pass urine
  • blood in the urine
  • urinary leakage when coughing or sneezing
  • difficulty in getting to the toilet in time when the desire to go occurs
  • complete stoppage of urine

The procedure is usually carried out under general anaesthesia. That is, the patient is completely asleep. Sometimes the procedure may be carried out under regional anaesthesia. That is when the patient is usually given an injection into a vein to make him feel drowsy. Another injection is then placed in the patient's back so that he has no feeling of pain below the waist. The patient may be awake but should not feel any pain.

TURP is carried out with an endoscopic instrument passed up through the opening of the penis and the centre of the prostate gland is removed, rather like taking out an apple core.

It is important to note that the prostate is not completely removed and occasionally symptoms recur as the result of either scar tissue, regrowth of prostate tissue or the development of prostate cancer.

A complete removal of the prostate (Radical Prostatectomy) is an operation done with a cut on the abdomen and only done for certain men with certain types of prostate cancer.

Side Effects

  1. Approximately 80% if the men having this procedure will find that at the time of ejaculation no sperm comes out. They get much the same feeling but it is a so-called dry ejaculation. This is because a portion of the prostate has been removed and the muscle controlling ejaculation is affected by the surgery. The sperm usually passes out when the man empties his bladder. This is not harmful. It reduces his ability to become a father but is not a guaranteed method of contraception. If a patient wishes to become a father he may need to consider storage of sperm or alternative methods such as In Vitro Fertilisation. Such effects are often a consequence of any Medical or Surgical treatments in this part of the body.
  2. Generally a man's potency (ability to get and hold an erection) is the same after the operation as it was before. If he is having some troubles then the operation is unlikely to improve that. Some men may have more difficult getting erections after the operation. This is in the region of 5-10%. There are many treatments available for this and enquiries should be made with his surgeon.
  3. Occasionally after the operation urination may become urgent after catheter removal. this usually settles down within the first 24-48 hours. If it persists, it may be necessary to take 1-2 tablets a day to help it settle.
  4. In some patients, thickening of the healing occurs and that narrows the opening to the bladder. In that case, it may be necessary to make a further cut in that scar tissue at a later date (Bladder Neck Incision) to help the urine pass more easily. That occurs in approximately 3% of patients.


The patient must bring ALL his medications to hospital with him.

Before Theatre

Your admitting nurse will take down his history and prepare him for theatre. This may include:

  • Blood tests if ordered
  • MSU (mid stream urine sample) is collected as needed
  • A bladder scan may be taken after he has passed urine
  • Strict measuring of all fluid consumed and passed as urine
  • A shower with careful attention to the genital area
  • N.B. soap only, no powder or deodorant

It will include:

  • Dressed in theatre attire
  • Consultation by the Anaesthetist and pre-med given if ordered
  • Nursing staff will escort him to theatre
  • The patient continues to remain fasting until after the operation which means nothing to eat or drink, including lollies and chewing gum.
  • The patient should not smoke prior to his anaesthetic.

NOTE; 2 days prior to surgery taking Normacol Plus®, 2 heaped teaspoonfuls or 1 dessertspoon daily may be helpful to keep bowels regular. This can be continued for a week post-operatively as well to ensure continuation of regular bowel movements.

After the Operation

When the operation is over, the patient will spend a short time in the recovery room where the nurses will monitor him closely until he is ready to be transported back to the ward. When he returns to the ward, the staff will take his pulse, blood pressure and temperature regularly for the first couple of hours. This is routine.

He will have an I.V. (drip) . He will also have an irrigation system going through a catheter into his bladder, washing it out and then draining back into the catheter bag. The prostate area is very vascular, so do not be alarmed by the blood stained urine. This will clear in a few days.

Once awake the patient may eat and drink normally. Two-three (2-3) litres of fluid is encouraged each day to help clear blood stained urine. He may be given a course of seven (7) days antibiotics and Normacol® (a mild laxative).


Between midnight and 6.00am the next day, the nursing staff will remove the I.V., irrigation system and catheter, if all is well. From then he should use a bottle (urinal) for each time he passes urine. A clean bottle should be used each time and the nurse notified so it can be recorded. This is so the urine can be measured accurately.

Day Surgery

These patients may have the catheter removed 2-3 hours post-operatively if they meet the criteria for that. Generally, that means a pre-operative residual urine measurement of < 100ml, normal blood pressure, lighter than Rosé urine without irrigation, a good oral fluid intake, minimal discomfort and well-recovered from anaesthesia.Patients who require an Internal Urethrotomy (2mm cut in the opening of the urethra) to admit the instrument may require the catheter to be left in overnight to ease the discomfort.

Discharge with Catheter

Patients who have 200mL or more of urine in their bladder, measured by ultrasound before the operation, are unlikely to be able to empty their bladders completely when the catheter is removed immediately post-operatively. Those patients are likely to be sent home with a catheter in place draining into a bag attached to the leg, which can subsequently be emptied down the toilet. This is usually for a period of 4-6 weeks. This enables the bladder to regain its muscle power and improve the likelihood of emptying when the catheter is removed.

It will be necessary for you to drink 2-3 litres of water each day. That is, 1 glass every hour or a mouthful every 10 minutes. If you are passing urine well without any problems, you may be allowed to go home after review by Dr Gordon.

Discharge From Hospital

  • The patient should drink 2-3 litres of fluid daily. Most of this should be consumed during the day and tapered off towards the evening, so sleep is less interrupted. It is normal to get up 2-3 times per night to pass water for 4-6 weeks after the operation.
  • No more than 3 caffeine containing drinks such as tea, coffee, cola.
  • Avoid constipation. Keep bowels regular
  • Avoid alcohol for the first 2 weeks. Alcohol dilates your blood vessels and could result in further bleeding.
  • Do not drive for 3-4 weeks or as advised for individual circumstances.
  • Do not travel long distances for the first couple of weeks. On discharge if there is a long distance to travel, stop each 45 minutes to pass urine and have another drink.
  • Gentle exercise, but no heavy lifting or straining, no bowls, golf or lawn mowing.
  • The antibiotic Trimethoprim, if commenced in Hospital, needs to be taken one each night until finished.Occasionally other antibiotics are given depending on the circumstances and the course must be completed.
  • The patient should continue to take aspirin if it has been previously ordered for other medical conditions.The bleeding is unlikely to be significantly prolonged.In the last 15 years there have been no adverse results encountered under these circumstances when the Aspirin has been prescibed to reduce the likelihood of Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack) or Cerebro-Vascular Accident (Stroke). The patient may notice that the bleeding takes a little longer to settle, Please discuss medication with your Surgeon.
  • Some urgency to pass urine may persist. That will settle.
  • Some bleeding may occur in the urine after bowel actions. That is normal. Drinking and lying down helps the bleeding to settle.
  • Full benefits of the operation are not usually experienced until 8-12 weeks following the operation.
  • It takes approximately 6-12 weeks for the prostate cavity to heal.
  • If the patient is unable to pass urine, or experience difficulty, please seek medical advice.
  • No intercourse for 4 weeks following the operation.
  • Recovery will be aided by following the above instructions.