TURBT    Information for patients

This is an operation to remove an area of suspicious tissue on the lining of the bladder. It is done under a general anaesthetic (when you are asleep) or a spinal anaesthetic (the body below the waist is numbed). Any planned treatment will have been discussed with you before your operation and your written consent obtained.

Firstly, the doctor will perform a rigid cystoscopy. This is an examination of the bladder and ‘urine pipe’ (urethra) using a fine telescope called a cystoscope.
Then the area of suspicious tissue is scraped off, usually using a ‘hot wire’.
Sometimes there may be many small areas of tissue which need removing. Some of the bladder tissue which has been removed may be sent for examination under a microscope in the laboratory (biopsy).
Oftentimes, the surgeon, after the TURBT, will recommend coating the inside of the bladder with a chemical (one being Mitomycin C) via a catheter, as this has been shown to reduce the likelihood of tumour recurrence.  This treatment is called intravesical chemotherapy.
You will usually have an appointment to return to the urology outpatients department a few weeks after this operation in order for results to be discussed. After a TURBT most patients have an uneventful recovery but usually stay in hospital for 2-3 days. This is because it may be necessary to insert a catheter into your bladder during your operation to drain the urine and blood. This will be removed before you are discharged home. However it is important to remember that you should not drive a car, drink alcohol or handle machinery for at least 24 hours after a general anaesthetic or sedation. You should therefore arrange for someone to collect you from hospital.

The internal wound(s) will heal rapidly but you may experience some
lower abdominal discomfort for a couple of weeks. For about 72 hours after the operation you may pass urine frequently, experience a mild burning sensation on passing urine, and have some blood in the urine, which is normal. Drinking about 2 litres (4 pints) of fluid, preferably water, per 24 hours will aid your comfort, as will resting as much as possible.

If these uncomfortable symptoms persist and you notice that your urine is cloudy and/or has an offensive smell, please contact your GP so that a urinary infection may be ruled out. If you were discharged from hospital with antibiotics, it is important that you complete the course as instructed.

If a bladder cancer is confirmed from your biopsy result, it is important that someone examines inside your bladder two to four times a year for the next five years. If you are at all concerned about your recovery at home and require further information please contact the office.