Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumour (TURBT)

TURBT is an operation for removing tumours from the bladder. Under a general or spinal anaesthetic a telescope is passed up the urethra. The tumour is cut away with a “resetoscope” and the defect sealed diathermy.

Afterwards a catheter (a soft tube) may be left in the bladder for 1-2 days. This catheter is usually an irrigation catheter – that is fluid is regularly cycled through the bladder to keep the urine clear. The removed tumour is sent to pathology for analysis to provide information to plan for ongoing management of the bladder tumour.

Side Effects

Most procedures are straightforward; however as with any surgical procedure there is a chance of side effects or complications.


  • Temporary mild burning, bleeding or frequency of urination after the procedure.

  • Irritation from the catheter.


  • Urine infection requiring antibiotics.

  • Recurrence of bladder tumour and / or incomplete removal.


  • Delayed bleeding requiring removal of clots or further surgery – may occur a few weeks after the original surgery.

  • Damage to drainage tubes from kidneys (ureters) requiring additional therapy.

  • Injury to urethra causing delayed scar formation.

  • Perforation of the bladder requiring temporary insertion of a catheter or open surgical repair.

Ongoing Care

Once the pathology has determined the exact nature of the bladder tumour a number of alternative management plans will be discussed with you.

If the bladder cancer is superficial (for further information see “Bladder Cancer” in the condition section) then the following are options:

  • Surveillance – regular bladder checks via cystoscopy to remove any recurrent tumours.

  • The first check usually occurs 6-12 weeks after the initial diagnosis – depending on the pathology.

  • Intra-vesical chemotherapy – drugs instilled directly into the bladder to decrease the chance of further tumour recurrence.

If the tumour has invaded the bladder muscle other alternatives will need to be considered – including:

  • Cystectomy – surgical removal of the bladder.

  • Radiotherapy.

  • Chemotherapy.