Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumor (TURBT)

Transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT) is performed to help diagnose bladder cancer, as well as being a common part of bladder cancer treatment. The procedure is done using a type of thin, rigid cystoscope called a resectoscope to remove the tumor in the bladder through the urethra.


The procedure is used both to diagnose and/or stage bladder cancer and to remove cancerous tissue from the bladder. In the case of early-stage or non-muscle invasive cancer, the tumors can be removed from inside the bladder during the procedure.

Preparation for the procedure will depend on the type of anesthesia that is used. In many cases, you will need to undergo a health screening as well as blood tests, chest x-ray, and an electrocardiogram (EKG). Please let the doctor know about all medication that you are taking as some may need to be stopped before the procedure. You may need to avoid all food and water for six to eight hours before the procedure or as recommended by the doctor.

Transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT) may be done with regional anesthesia, which numbs the lower part of the body, but does not put you to sleep, or general anesthesia. A cystoscope, which is a hollow tube with a lens, that is equipped with a resectoscope, an instrument with an electrically activated wire loop, is inserted through your urethra into your bladder. The doctor will first examine the bladder for signs of cancer.

If tumors are found, the resectoscope will be used to remove a sample of tissue to be examined in the laboratory. The rest of the cancer will either be removed by the resectoscope or burned away with laser equipment that can be introduced through the cystoscope.

A catheter may be placed in your urethra after surgery to control bleeding and prevent blockage of the urethra, and it will be removed once bleeding has stopped. You may stay in the hospital for 1-4 days after the procedure. You may feel the urge to urinate frequently for a while and you may have some blood in your urine for 2-3 weeks after the procedure. You should be able to return to normal activities after a week or so, but avoid strenuous activity for at least 3 weeks after the procedure.

Bladder cancer often recurs in other parts of the bladder so the doctor will monitor you regularly during follow-ups for signs and symptoms that your cancer may have recurred. The transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT) may need to be repeated. In some cases, patients still need to undergo chemotherapy or immunotherapy after the surgery.

  • Bleeding.
  • Bladder infection.
  • Perforation of the wall of the bladder.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Blockage of the urethra by blood clots in the bladder.
  • Reaction to anesthesia.
  • If you are taking any blood-thinning medication/anticoagulant, please let your doctor know as some may need to be stopped before you travel for the procedure.
  • Travelers to Thailand should plan to stay in the country for at least 3 days or for the entire duration of treatment.
  • If you plan to return home after the procedure, please speak to your doctor before making travel arrangements.
  • During your follow-up appointment your medical team will assess your health and your incision and you will receive documents detailing your medical and treatment history and your "Fit to Fly" certificate (if needed).

The success of the procedure depends on a number of factors. Please discuss the likelihood of success with your doctor before the procedure.

What if this procedure is not performed?

Cancer, if untreated, will metastasize to other parts of the body, becoming more difficult to treat and leading to life-threatening complications.

Treatment for bladder cancer depends on the progression of the disease. Immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy may all be options, but are often used after transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT). While transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT) removes the tumors within the bladder, another option may be to remove the tumors as well as part of the bladder (segmental cystectomy or partial cystectomy). For more invasive bladder cancer, surgery may be required to remove the entire bladder (radical cystectomy) while creating another way for urine to leave your body.

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