Transurethral Resection of the Bladder

Surgery Overview

Transurethral resection of the bladder is a surgery to remove abnormal tissue (tumor) from the bladder through the urethra. It is also called transurethral resection of bladder tumor, or TURBT.

A tumor in the bladder may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). This surgery uses a special tool to find and remove a tumor from the bladder. A small sample (biopsy) of the lining of the bladder may also be taken. Any removed tissue will be checked for cancer cells.

The doctor will put a thin, lighted tool into your urethra. This tool is called a cystoscope or scope. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. The doctor will gently guide the scope into your bladder. Your bladder will then be filled with fluid. This stretches the bladder so that your doctor can clearly see the inside of your bladder. Your doctor will use small tools through the scope to take out and/or burn away any abnormal tissue.

What To Expect

You may go home the same day as your surgery or stay in the hospital for an extra day or so. Your doctor may leave a small tube called a catheter in the urethra to help prevent blockage of the urethra. It's often removed before you go home. If not, you'll get instructions on how to care for the catheter.

You may feel the need to urinate often for a while after the surgery. But this should improve with time. It may burn when you urinate. Drink lots of fluids to help with the burning. Your urine also may look pink for up to 2 to 3 weeks after surgery. This is because there may be blood in it.

You may have to avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting for about 3 weeks after your surgery.

If cancer is found in your bladder, your doctor will talk with you about what will happen next.

Why It Is Done

This surgery can be used to diagnose, stage, and treat bladder cancer.

  • Diagnosis. It is used to examine the inside of the bladder to see if abnormal tissue (tumors) in the bladder are cancer.
  • Staging. This surgery can find out if cancer is growing into the bladder wall.
  • Treatment. One or more small tumors can be removed from inside the bladder during this surgery.

How Well It Works

This surgery may be done to find out if a bladder tumor is cancer. If the tumor is cancer, removing it is the most common and effective treatment for early-stage bladder cancer. It may also be effective for more advanced cancer if all the cancer is removed and biopsies show that no cancer remains.


The risks of this surgery include:


Current as of: October 18, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Christopher G. Wood MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology

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