What is TURP for BPH?

TURP stands for transurethral resection for the prostate and BPH stands for benign prostatic hyperplasia. TURP is considered the “gold standard” for treating BPH, which is an enlargement of the prostate gland. Benign prostatic hyperplasia, as the name suggests, is a noncancerous condition but it can cause uncomfortable urinary symptoms. An enlarged prostate can block the flow of urine out of the bladder, as well as cause urinary tract or kidney problems. TURP aims to remove the overgrowth of prostate tissue by electrocautery (tissue destruction using a heated electrode).

What are the causes and symptoms of BPH?

The prostate is located beneath the bladder, and urine passes through the center of it on its way out of the body. When the prostate enlarges, it begins to block urine flow. Most men have continued prostate growth throughout their lifetimes, due to length of time of exposure to the male hormone testosterone. Family history, a lack of exercise, diabetes and heart disease are all considered risk factors for BPH.

The symptoms of BPH include:

  • An inability to completely empty the bladder
  • Frequent, urgent needs to urinate
  • Difficulty starting urination
  • A weak urine stream that may also stop and start
  • Dribbling at the end of urination
  • Increased frequency of urination at night

You may also experience urinary tract infections, blood in your urine, kidney blockage, kidney failure, and/or an inability to urinate. The severity of these symptoms will vary, but they tend to increase and get worse over time. The size of your prostate does not necessarily determine the severity of your symptoms.

What can I expect during the TURP procedure?

The procedure is performed at the outpatient surgical center or hospital, where you will be given general or spinal anesthesia. Once the anesthetic has taken effect, a metal tube is inserted into the penis and is passed through the urethra. The tube will reach the prostate and allow us to see inside the prostate gland. The tube has a wire loop at the end, which is electrified by a current. The electrified loop will cut away excess prostate tissue, especially the tissue that is causing a blockage. By re-opening the channel in the prostatic urethra, urine will be able to pass more easily again. The procedure is usually completed within 1 hour. Most people can go home the same day of surgery.

What can I expect after the procedure?

After the surgery, a catheter will be left inside the penis. The catheter will allow blood and urine to drain out of your body as it heals. It will also allow fluid to reach the prostate area if blood accumulates and needs to be washed out. After the catheter is removed, patients usually report immediate improvement and relief of their symptoms. Since the surgery does not rely on any incisions, you can quickly resume most of your daily activities. It is best to avoid intense exercise for several weeks, as bleeding can occur until the affected area fully heals.

The risk of erectile dysfunction after TURP is very rare, <0.1%. However, the chance of retrograde ejaculation, which is sperm going into the bladder rather than out the penis with orgasm, is very common >98%. While this is not harmful from a medical standpoint, it can be unfavorable for some patients. Ejaculation preserving TURP (epTURP) can be performed with >90% success in preserving at least 60% of the ejaculate volume.

Schedule an appointment in Southern California

If you suffer from the symptoms associated with BPH, schedule an appointment at South Bay Urology. We will assess your symptoms and create a treatment plan for you. If TURP is needed, our surgeons can perform the procedure. Request an appointment online or give us a call at (310) 542-0199 to get started.


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