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TURBT (Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumour)

Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumour is a relatively straightforward operation to remove a tumour from the bladder. It is done using a telescope that is passed along the urethra (water pipe), so there are no incisions or cuts on the body.

How is a TURBT done?

This operation is done under anaesthetic, so you will either go to sleep or have an injection in the back to make the lower half of the body numb. A instrument called a cystoscope (a long, thin metal tube) is passed along the urethra (water pipe) which allows the surgeon to look at the inside of the bladder. This instrument is then used to remove the tumour.

Afterwards, a catheter tube is left in the water pipe. There is always some blood in the urine afterwards, but most times this settles within a day or so. Sometimes, your doctor will give a chemical wash of the bladder after the operation to help prevent further tumours. The catheter is usually removed the day after the operation (but sometimes it might need to stay a little longer).

Are there any possible complications?

It is common to get some blood in the urine after the operation, but this usually settles quickly. Urinary infections are uncommon, but antibiotics are occasionally required. Rarely, the bladder can be damaged during the procedure, but usually this will heal up if a catheter tube is left inside for a few days.

A TURBT operation removes the tumour from the bladder, but the tumours can grow back over time. About half of patients will have further tumours treated over the years. You will need further examinations of the bladder (cystoscopies) on a regular basis to look for new growths.

If the tumour is more advanced ("muscle-invasive"), then further treatments will be needed, such as cystectomy, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.