by Carmack A

Click here to view an animated version of this procedure.


Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is a surgery to remove part of the prostate gland.

The prostate gland sits below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It also wraps around a tube called the urethra. The urethra allows urine to flow out of the body.

Reasons for Procedure

A TURP is done to remove part of the prostate. It is done to ease pressure on the urethra caused by extra prostate tissue. Less tissue will make it easier for urine to pass out of the bladder. TURP should ease urination problems such as:

  • Having a hard time starting
  • Frequent urge to go, often waking at night
  • Passing small amounts of urine or passing slowly
  • Feel like bladder doesn't empty fully

TURP is most often done as part of treatment for:

Possible Complications

Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will talk about possible problems, like:

Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Your doctor may do the following:

  • Physical exam
  • Review of medications and supplements
  • Blood tests, urine tests, and a urine culture
  • Prostate ultrasound with or without biopsy—to determine the size of the prostate and evaluate for cancer if PSA is elevated or a nodule is felt
  • Renal ultrasound —a test that uses sound waves to visualize the kidney, bladder, and/or prostate
  • Urine flow studies
  • X-rays

Leading up to your procedure:

  • Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to 1 week before the procedure.
  • The night before, eat a light dinner. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.


TURP surgery requires general or spinal anesthesia . You will sleep through the surgery with general anesthesia. Spinal anesthesia will make your lower body numb, but you may be awake.

Description of Procedure

A special scope that looks like a thin tube with a light on the end will be used. The scope will be passed through the hole at the tip of the penis and moved up to the bladder. The bladder will then be flushed with a solution. The solution will let the doctor see the inside of your body better.

The prostate gland is examined through the scope. A small surgical tool will be inserted through the scope. This tool will be used to remove a part of the enlarged prostate. Once the tissue taken out, the scope will be removed.

A catheter will be placed in the bladder. It will help urine will flow out and give the area time to heal. The catheter may also be used to flush the bladder and to remove blood clots.

Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)
Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)
Copyright © 2002 Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

Immediately After Procedure

Removed tissue will be sent to a lab for testing.

How Long Will It Take?

About 60 to 90 minutes

Will It Hurt?

Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medicine.

Average Hospital Stay

An overnight stay is typically planned for a TURP. In some cases, the stay can be up to 2 days.

Post-procedure Care

At the Hospital

You will be taken to the recovery room where your breathing, pulse, and heart rate will be monitored. You will be given pain medication.

  • There will be a catheter in your bladder to drain urine. The catheter may be left in place overnight or longer. Water may be flushed through the catheter into your bladder to wash out blood and clots.
  • The catheter drainage bag will be kept below the level of your bladder.
At Home

Recovery can take up to 3 weeks. Activities may be restricted for a few days.

Call Your Doctor

It is important for you to monitor your recovery after you leave the hospital. Alert your doctor to any problems right away. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:

  • Difficulty or inability to urinate
  • Pain, burning, urgency or frequency of urination, or persistent blood in the urine that persists more than a few days
  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Pain that you cannot control with the medications you were given
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • Impotence for longer than 3 months after surgery

If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.


American Cancer Society 

National Cancer Institute 


Men's Health Centre 

The Prostate Centre at The Princess Margaret 


Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:  . Accessed September 18, 2020.

How is BPH treated? Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: Accessed September 18, 2020.

Leocádio DE, Frenkl TL, Stein BS. Office based transurethral needle ablation of the prostate with analgesia and local anesthesia. J Urol. 2007;178(5):2052-2054.

Prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: Accessed September 18, 2020.

Tan A, Liao C, Mo Z, Cao Y. Meta-analysis of holmium laser enucleation versus transurethral resection of the prostate for symptomatic prostatic obstruction. Br J Surg. 2007;94(10):1201-1208.

Wendt-Nordahl G, Bucher B, Hacker A, Knoll T, Alken P, Michel MS. Improvement in mortality and morbidity in transurethral resection of the prostate over 17 years in a single center. J Endourol. 2007 Sep;21(9):1081-1087.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
  • Review Date: 09/2020
  • Update Date: 00/91/2020