Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumor (TURBT)

What is a TURBT?

A TURBT is a procedure in which bladder tumors can be removed from the bladder wall. This is a procedure performed completely with a scope that is inserted through the urethra into the bladder. It is generally performed in the hospital setting as an outpatient with the patient anesthetized. During the procedure, a scope with a special cutting instrument is inserted through the natural channel into the bladder and then the tumor is removed. The resulting area of resection can then also be cauterized by specialized instruments.

What is the purpose of a TURBT?

A TURBT allows your urologist to both diagnose and potentially treat various bladder disorders. The most common indication for a TURBT is bladder cancer. 75% of bladder cancers that are discovered are superficial in nature. In other words, most bladder cancers grow only on the surface of the bladder wall and not deep into the bladder wall. This allows a surgeon to remove the bladder tumor down to the level of the bladder wall without damaging the deeper layers of the bladder.

The information that is gained from this procedure will inform your surgeon as to the type of tumor or abnormality that is in the bladder, as well as how extensive it is. This can then guide your physician in determining whether or not additional treatment will be required for your condition.

What are the common symptoms following my TURBT?

As with most procedures that require endoscopy of the urinary tract, there is often burning and some mild discomfort when urinating for several days. It is also common to have a change in the force of the urinary stream for several days and perhaps even 1-2 weeks.

Bleeding is also very common after this procedure. In the immediate hours after the procedure, there is often blood left over from the procedure that inevitably will color the urine bright red. Also, small clots may be produced and evacuated in this time period. Usually this bleeding will clear in 1-2 days.

It is also very common for a patient to experience a small episode of repeat bleeding 1-2 weeks following his/her procedure. Typically, this is a small healing scab that is released from the urinary tract 1-2 weeks after the healing process has begun. This may be associated with a small amount of bleeding that should be self-limited.

When should I seek advice from my physician?

A patient should contact their physician if they run a 101 degree or greater fever or if they begin passing clots that are larger than 1 inch in diameter. As mentioned above, many people will have cherry colored urine, but may also experience darker burgundy colored urine and at times brown colored urine. The color of urine typically is determined by how long a time has passed since the bleeding began. Significant bleeding requiring further evaluation usually is associated with passage of large clots as above.

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