TURP (Prostate Surgery)

This webpage will give you information about a trans-urethral resection of the prostate (TURP). If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

What causes prostate trouble?

Prostate trouble is caused by the growth of the prostate gland (see figure 1). 

It is normal for the prostate gland to get bigger with age. However, if the gland tightens around the urethra it can interrupt the flow of urine from the bladder.

What are the benefits of surgery?

The benefits of surgery are a better flow of urine, improved bladder emptying and less need to get up at night.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

For most men an operation is not essential. There are medications available to treat the condition but this is rarely a permanent solution.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is performed under a general or spinal anaesthetic. A TURP usually takes less than half an hour. 

Your surgeon will insert a resectoscope (a small operating telescope) into the urethra and remove enough prostate tissue to relieve the pressure on your urethra.

What complications can happen?

1 General complications

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots

2 Specific complications

  • Impotence
  • Retention of urine
  • Incontinence
  • Reduction in fertility
  • Narrowing of the urethra

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home after three to four days. 

You will feel a stinging pain the first few times you pass urine. 

You should be able to return to work after four to six weeks. 

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, you should ask a member of the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Most men make a good recovery, with a big improvement in their symptoms. Occasionally the prostate gland grows bigger again.


Prostate trouble is common. If your medication does not help or symptoms are severe, prostate surgery should relieve your symptoms.


Author: Mr John Lemberger FRCS and Mr Scott Donnellan FRACS

Illustrations: LifeART image copyright 2011 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.-Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 

All rights reserved. This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace -advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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