Surgery Overview

Transurethral resection (TUR) of the bladder is a surgical
procedure that is used both to diagnose
bladder cancer and to remove cancerous tissue from the
bladder. This procedure is also called a TURBT (transurethral resection for
bladder tumor).
General anesthesia or spinal anesthesia is often
used. During TUR surgery, a
cystoscope is passed into the bladder through the
urethra. A tool called a resectoscope is used to
remove the cancer for
biopsy and to burn away any remaining cancer

Bladder cancer can come back after this surgery, so repeat TURs
are sometimes needed.

What To Expect After Surgery

Following surgery, a
catheter may be placed in the
urethra to help stop bleeding and to prevent blockage
of the urethra. When the bleeding has stopped, the catheter is removed. You may
need to stay in the hospital 1 to 4 days.

You may feel the need to urinate frequently for a while after the
surgery, but this should improve over time. You may have blood in your urine
for up to 2 to 3 weeks following surgery.

You may be instructed to avoid strenuous activity for about 3 weeks
following TUR.

Why It Is Done

TUR can be used to diagnose, stage, and treat bladder

  • Diagnosis. TUR is used to examine the inside of
    the bladder to see whether there are cancer cells in the
  • Staging. TUR can determine whether cancers are growing
    into the bladder wall.
  • Treatment. One or more small tumors can be
    removed from inside the bladder during TUR.

How Well It Works

TUR 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 cells


The risks of TUR include:

  • Bleeding.
  • Bladder infection (cystitis).
  • Perforation of the wall of the
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria).
  • Blockage of
    the urethra by blood clots in the bladder.

What To Think About

Treatment with TUR may be followed by
chemotherapy or

Complete the surgery information form (PDF) (What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS – Urology, Oncology

Current as ofMay 3, 2017