Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumor (TURBT)

A transurethral resection of bladder tumor, abbreviated as TURBT, is a surgical procedure used to treat bladder cancer by removing potentially cancerous tissue.

TURBT surgeries are often done in the early stages of bladder cancer. This procedure is also an excellent way to confirm how far the cancer has spread within the bladder, and whether or not it has managed to invade the muscular wall of the bladder.

If the cancerous tissue is removable, a TURBT is typically able to separate it and resect the cancer from the bladder entirely. However, if the cancer has spread into the wall of the bladder, then it may be best to consider a cystectomy, or the removal of the bladder. This will often depend on how quickly the cancer is detected.

What to Expect

During a transurethral resection of bladder tumor, a resectoscope will be placed into the patient’s bladder via the urethra. The resectoscope is equipped with a wire loop, which the surgeon will use to scrape away any cancerous tissue or tumors.

It can be difficult to resect every bit of cancer during the first TURBT surgery, which is why some patients will also need to undergo a second TURBT, or be treated using fulguration. Fulguration is another procedure in which the base of the tumor is burned to keep the tumor from growing back.

TURBT Side Effects

There are very few serious side effects associated with the TURBT procedure. Many patients who undergo a transurethral resection of bladder tumor will experience mild discomfort such as pain during urination or blood within the urine.

Bladder cancer is often recurring, which means that multiple TURBT procedures may need to be performed on a single patient. The more times a TURBT is used to treat the bladder cancer, the more scarring that the bladder will develop. Such scarring can lead to increased frequency of urination, or it may even lead to some form of urinary incontinence.

TURBT Recovery

Because many of the possible side effects for a transurethral resection of bladder tumor are considerably mild, most patients are able to return home within the same day as their surgery. After 1-2 weeks, they may also begin engaging in all of their regular activities.