Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumour (TURBT)

Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumour (TURBT)

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Transurethral resection of bladder tumour (TURBT) is the endoscopic removal of tumours in the bladder. A resectoscope (a loop-cutting instrument) is passed through the urethra to cut the whole tumour down to its base. Biopsies are then taken from the base to see if it has invaded into the bladder muscle. Accurate sampling is important as the subsequent treatment depends on the staging.

The operation takes up to 1 hour. General or spinal anaesthesia is given and hospital stay is 3 to 4 days. A catheter is inserted into the bladder after the surgery for irrigation and to prevent blood clots from forming. As bleeding can be excessive, any blood-thinning medication, such as aspirin or Plavix must be stopped 1 week beforehand.

Complications include:

  • excess bleeding. Even after the catheter is removed, bloody urine is still expected to last up to 2 weeks.
  • perforation of the bladder during resection. If this happens, urine leaks out of the bladder and can lead to fever and pain. If this perforation occurs into the abdomen cavity, emergency repair of the bladder hole is needed.

Desired outcomes:

  • no blood transfusion ( < 3% chance )
  • no bladder perforation ( < 1% risk )