TURBT for bladder tumours

TURBT for bladder tumors

Transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT) – is a very important procedure to determine the type, stage, and grade of bladder cancer, as well as resection of the tumor. This procedure is performed to see inside the bladder, take a tumor sample, and resect the tumor from the bladder wall.

Resection of bladder tumor with a TURBT. This is done under anesthesia.


The procedure is done under anesthesia.

An instrument called a resectoscope is inserted through the tip of your penis and into the tube that carries urine from your bladder (urethra). The bladder is visualized and any bladder tumor identified. The tumor is resected and sent for pathological analysis.

During the procedure your surgeon cuts away any abnormal growths (tumors) in your bladder.

If the tumor is on the lining of your bladder and hasn’t grown into the surrounding muscle (superficial or non-muscle invasive), then TURBT can be an effective treatment.

About eight out of 10 people with bladder cancer have the superficial / non-muscle invasive type of cancer and so, may be offered TURBT as a treatment.

After the procedure, you’re likely to be given medicine that is instilled straight into your bladder. This is usually chemotherapy, which helps reduce the chance of the cancer coming back.

Complications of TURBT

Complications are when problems occur during or after your procedure. The possible complications or risks of any operation include an unexpected reaction to the anesthetic or developing a blood clot in your leg (deep vein thrombosis).

Possible complications of TURBT are:

  • Urine infection. Bacteria can get into your urethra and bladder (your urinary tract) and cause infection. This can happen either during the operation or afterwards when a catheter is put in. The symptoms of a urine infection include feeling like you need to pee urgently and often, pain or discomfort when you’re passing urine, and smelly and cloudy urine.
  • All of the cancer might not be removed, or the cancer might come back. You’ll have regular check-ups after your TURBT, and if there is any sign of cancer, you’ll be offered more treatment.
  • Sometimes the bleeding after your operation doesn’t stop naturally, and blood clots can form. You might need an operation to stop the bleeding and take out the blood clots. Large blood clots can stop you passing urine, so if this happens speak to your surgeon straightaway, or go to accident and emergency.
  • Small holes made in your bladder wall during the operation. This is called perforation. If this happens, your catheter might need to stay in for longer than usual. If the hole is large, you may need an operation to fix it.

The risks and complications of TURBT will be discussed in detail by your doctor.