Transurethral resection of the bladder (TURB) is the removal of tumors within the bladder, this allows tissue to be analyzed to confirm or rule out the presence of cancer.

The indications to perform a TURB resection are the following:

  • Suspected bladder cancer visualized in an imaging study such as ultrasound, tomography or cystogram
  • Suspected bladder cancer visualized by cystoscopy
  • Recurrence of cancer in the bladder in patients previously submitted to TURB

Benefits of TURB

When a TURB is performed, tumors can be eliminated from the bladder to be analyzed under a microscope and to know the grade of the cancer (i.e. aggressiveness) and to know if the patient requires additional treatment. Also, in many cases, the TURB alone allows to remove all the bladder cancer, which permits the organ to be preserved if the tumor has not invaded the deep layers of the bladder wall (detrusor muscle), when this occurs, it is necessary to remove the bladder completely.

The procedure is endoscopic, which helps the recovery to be quick and with little pain.

Risks and complications of TURB

The possible complications that may occur when performing the TURP are the same as can occur in any surgical procedure and these are: hemorrhage, damage to nearby organs, reactions to anesthesia, etc. However, these complications occur infrequently and can be resolved mostly during the same surgery.

Bladder cancer tends to recur despite having been completely removed, especially in high-grade tumors (i.e more aggressive), so in many cases chemotherapy treatment is applied inside the bladder to prevent the cancer to return, if the tumor recurs several times, it is recommended to completely remove the bladder.

Alternatives to TURB

There are few alternatives to TURB, since it is a very important tool in the initial treatment of bladder cancer. Some patients in addition to TURB may require complete removal of the bladder, intravesical chemotherapy, intravenous chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy

What to expect from TURB?

Day of surgery:

The day of the operation will arrive in the morning to the hospital in fasting

The surgery takes approximately 1-2 hours to be done, however, the time is variable.

Anesthesia for this procedure is spinal block (in the back) and sedation so you will not feel pain and will be relaxed during the procedure.

Pain after TURB is minimal and can be effectively controlled with intravenous analgesics.
Food: on the day of surgery you can eat in the afternoon, there are no food restrictions, however, a balanced diet is recommended.

Physical activity: the next day of surgery you can walk. It is expected to feel a bit fatigued after any surgery, this problem resolves spontaneously within a few weeks after the procedure.

Hospital stay: most patients operated of TURB stay 2 days in the hospital.

Bladder catheter: after TURB, a bladder catheter is placed through the urethra, this facilitate the exit of the urine from the bladder and helps to irrigate the bladder with water to prevent obstruction by the clots. At 48-72 hours after surgery, this catheter is removed.
Wounds: this procedure leaves no scars on the skin because its endoscopic (through the urethra).