Thumbnail image of: Urinary System: Illustration

Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumor

What is a transurethral resection?

A transurethral resection of a bladder tumor (TURBT) is surgery done to remove a tumor from your bladder. The bladder holds your urine until you urinate, and the urethra is the tube that drains urine from the bladder.

When is it used?

TURBT may be done to:

  • Check if a tumor is cancer
  • Remove a tumor that is causing pain, bleeding, or blockage in your bladder
  • Remove a tumor so that cancer does not spread to other parts of the body

Ask your healthcare provider about your choices for treatment and the risks.

How do I prepare for this procedure?

  • Make plans for your care and recovery after you have the procedure. Find someone to give you a ride home after the procedure. Allow for time to rest and try to find other people to help with your day-to-day tasks while you recover.
  • Follow your provider’s instructions about not smoking before and after the procedure. Smokers may have more breathing problems during the procedure and heal more slowly. It is best to quit 6 to 8 weeks before surgery.
  • You may or may not need to take your regular medicines the day of the procedure. Some medicines (like aspirin) may increase your risk of bleeding during or after the procedure. Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines and supplements that you take. Ask your provider if you need to avoid taking any medicine or supplements before the procedure.
  • Your provider will tell you when to stop eating and drinking before the procedure. This helps to keep you from vomiting during the procedure.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you have any food or medicine allergies.
  • Follow any other instructions your healthcare provider gives you.
  • Ask any questions you have before the procedure. You should understand what your healthcare provider is going to do. You have the right to make decisions about your healthcare and to give permission for tests or procedures.

What happens during the procedure?

This procedure is usually done in a surgical center or at the hospital.

You will be given a regional or general anesthetic to keep you from feeling pain. Regional anesthesia numbs part of your body while you stay awake. If you have regional anesthesia, you may also be given medicine to help you relax. The medicine can make you drowsy or you may fall asleep before the procedure. General anesthesia relaxes your muscles and you will be asleep.

Your healthcare provider will insert a thin, lighted tube through the urethra into your bladder. Water will flow through the tube and into the bladder to fill and stretch the bladder so that your provider can see. Your provider will use a heated wire or a laser to shave the tumor down a piece at a time. The pieces of tumor will be flushed out of the bladder with water. Pieces of the tumor will be sent to the lab for tests.

The procedure may last 15 to 90 minutes.

What happens after the procedure?

You may go home the same day as your surgery, or you may need to stay in the hospital for a few days. You will have a catheter, or tube, in the bladder to help drain urine and to flush out any remaining pieces of tumor and any blood clots that have formed. Your healthcare provider will remove the catheter when there is no more bleeding.

After the catheter is removed, you may have trouble controlling your bladder for a few days while you recover from the surgery.

Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. Ask your provider:

  • How long it will take to recover
  • If there are activities you should avoid and when you can return to your normal activities
  • How to take care of yourself at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if you have them

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.

What are the risks of this procedure?

Every procedure or treatment has risks. Some possible risks of this procedure include:

  • You may have problems with anesthesia.
  • You may have infection, bleeding, or blood clots.
  • The bladder could be damaged and need to be repaired with more surgery.
  • Rarely, a scar may form inside the urethra and cause it to get too narrow. As a result, you may need to have the urethra stretched to widen the passage.

Ask your healthcare provider how these risks apply to you. Be sure to discuss any other questions or concerns that you may have.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-08-25
Last reviewed: 2014-08-25
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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