Surgery and Medical Treatments
Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)
Medically reviewed by Dr. Paul Song M.D
A transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is a surgical procedure that removes portions of the prostate gland through the penis. This procedure is considered a last resort treatment for men who have not found success in treating chronic bacterial prostatitis or infected prostate stones, also called prostatic calculi.
If you have prostatic calculi or a case of chronic bacterial prostatitis that has not responded to long-term antibiotic treatment and causes you to get repeated urinary tract infections, your doctor may suggest the TURP surgery for prostatitis to remove part of your prostate.
Keep in mind that surgery does not always cure your infection, and it can even make your symptoms worse. The TURP procedure can also cause side effects such as urinary incontinence and/or erectile dysfunction.
The TURP surgery is more commonly performed for men with enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). These patients have active, recurring, or chronic urinary retention that has not responded to other less-invasive treatments. Some men who have TURP for BPH have prostates of an unusual size or shape or more severe symptoms. TURP has been used as the “gold standard” for urinary problems due to BPH for decades, but due to many other treatment options becoming available TURP is not performed as often as it used to be.
What Does Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP) Involve?
TURP is considered a serious operation that is done in a hospital operating room, usually under spinal or epidural anesthesia. Sometimes general anesthesia is used. The doctor will position you so that your buttocks are flush with the end of the cystoscopy table.
When performing TURP, the doctor will remove part of the prostate gland through the urethra. To do this, the doctor will place a long, thin metal tube into the penis toward the prostate gland in order to see the prostate. The operation is done through instruments that are passed through this tube.
A wire loop that is on the end of this tube is electrified by current or a laser. This is used to cut away prostate tissue that is causing the problem. Removing the excess tissue allows urine to pass more easily.
The procedure is usually completed in an hour, and you will stay in the hospital for one to three nights. The doctor will leave a catheter in place to allow blood and urine to drain while the area heals. There are no surgical incisions, and you should be able to resume normal activities quickly. You need to avoid rigorous exercise for several weeks.
What Are the Side Effects of TURP?
There are some side effects of TURP and it can take up to several months to recover. Side effects may include bleeding, infection, impotence, and incontinence, which cannot affect your quality of life. Another side effect is dry orgasm, or retrograde ejaculation. When this occurs, no semen will come out of your penis when you have an orgasm. It instead goes into the bladder, and later it will leave your body through urination.
It is possible that your surgeon may not remove the part of the prostate that is causing your symptoms. Keep in mind that surgery does not always cure your infection, and the procedure can even make your symptoms worse. There are cases in which men have undergone TURP for their enlarged prostate, and the prostate inflammation from the procedure caused them to get prostatitis.