Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP): Before Your Surgery

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What is transurethral resection of the prostate?

The prostate gland

Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is surgery to take out a part of your prostate gland. It is done when the prostate gets too large.

The prostate gland is a small organ just below a man's bladder. It makes most of the fluid in semen. It surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body through the penis.

Your doctor will give you medicine to make you sleep or feel relaxed. If you are awake during the surgery, you will get medicine to numb you from the chest down. You will not feel pain.

The doctor puts a thin, lighted tube into your urethra. This is called a resectoscope or scope. It goes in through the opening in your penis. Then the doctor puts small surgical tools through the scope. These are used to remove the part of the prostate that is blocking urine flow. When the doctor is finished, he or she takes out the scope.

This surgery may make it easier for you to urinate. You may have better control when you start and stop your urine stream. And you may feel like you get more relief when you urinate.

Most men go home from the hospital 1 or 2 days after surgery. You may be able to go back to work or most of your usual routine in 1 to 3 weeks. But for about 6 weeks, you will need to avoid heavy lifting and activities that might put extra pressure on your bladder.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

What happens before surgery?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell your doctors ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with anesthesia.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if you should stop taking these medicines before your surgery. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Your doctor will tell you which medicines to take or stop before your surgery. You may need to stop taking certain medicines a week or more before surgery. So talk to your doctor as soon as you can.
  • If you have an advance care plan, let your doctor know. Bring a copy to the hospital. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets your doctor and loved ones know your health care wishes. Doctors advise that everyone prepare these papers before any type of surgery or procedure.
  • You may need to empty your bowels with an enema or laxative. Your doctor will tell you how to do this.

What happens on the day of surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
  • Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make you sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.
  • The surgery will take 1 to 2 hours.

Going home

  • Be sure you have someone to drive you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine make it unsafe for you to drive.
  • You will be given more specific instructions about recovering from your surgery. They will cover things like diet, wound care, follow-up care, driving, and getting back to your normal routine.
  • You may go home with a urinary catheter in place. A urinary catheter is a flexible plastic tube used to drain urine from your bladder when you cannot urinate on your own. Your doctor will give you instructions on how to care for your catheter, and when it can be removed.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
  • You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.

Where can you learn more?

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Current as of: May 24, 2016