Transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP, is a surgical procedure during which part of the prostate gland is removed.

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland in men that is located at the base of the bladder where it wraps around the urethra.

A TURP is often performed for a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia. In this non-cancerous condition, the prostate enlarges to the point of causing difficulty with urination.

A TURP may also be performed in patients with prostate cancer to relieve bladder obstruction.

When you arrive at the hospital for your surgery, an intravenous line will be started. You may be given antibiotics to decrease your chance of infection.

A TURP may be performed under general or spinal anesthesia.

If you are given general anesthesia, you will be unconscious and a breathing tube will be inserted into your throat to help you breathe for the duration of the operation.

If you receive spinal anesthesia, you will remain conscious and the lower half of your body will be numb during the operation.

You'll be given sedation to help you relax. An uncomplicated TURP usually takes about an hour to perform.

Your surgeon will begin by slipping a small, lighted instrument called a cystoscope through the opening of your penis.

After instilling sterile solution through the cystoscope for better visibility your surgeon will carefully examine the inside of your urethra, prostate, and bladder.

He or she will then pass a resectoscope which essentially consists of a small wire loop carrying an electric current through the cystoscope and use it to shave off layers of prostate tissue.

These bits will be washed into the bladder and out through a special port in the cystoscope.

When an optimal amount of prostate tissue has been excised, your surgeon will remove the cystoscope and place a catheter into your bladder to keep it draining for up to two days after the surgery.

Following the procedure, you will be taken to the recovery area for monitoring and given pain medication as needed.

You may continue to receive antibiotics through your intravenous line, and a sterile solution may be flushed intermittently through the catheter tube to washout accumulated blood and clots.

Most patients are released from the hospital within two days of the procedure.