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TURP is an operation to remove some of the enlarged prostate gland to relieve pressure on the urethra and allow the urine to drain more easily.

As men get older, the prostate gland enlarges, and may press on the urethra (the tube that passes from the bladder and down the penis). The common symptoms are a difficulty starting to pass urine, a slow flow and often the stream can dribble towards the end. Some men may have to pass urine more often in the day and get up at night on several occasions because the obstructed bladder is not able to hold as much urine.

The operation to relieve urinary symptoms is often performed using the green light laser. For some patients, however, a TURP might be a better way of removing a larger amount of tissue and give a better resolution of symptoms in men with bigger prostates and those with significant urinary retention. The operation is performed under a spinal or a general anaesthetic and a telescope is passed into the bladder via the urethra. The obstructing part of the prostate is then removed by cutting away pieces of the prostate using a heated wire loop.

Patients have a catheter in place for 1-2 days and are usually discharged on the day of removal. It may take up to 3 months before all the irritation associated with the operation settles although the majority of patients will feel the benefit as soon as the catheter is removed.
Side effects include a greater chance of blood loss than the green light laser but transfusion of blood is very rare. There is a chance of erectile problems in the order of 5-10% following the TURP.