Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumors
A tumor can be defined as an uncontrolled growth of cells which can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). If a person has been diagnosed with early stage of bladder cancer, the healthcare specialist removes the cancerous cells from the lining of the bladder by performing cystoscopy under the influence of a general anesthetic. This procedure of removing cancerous cells from the bladder by using a thin tube or cystoscope, is known as Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumor or TURBT. During this procedure, the tumor or tumors present in the bladder are cut away from the wall of the bladder, removed, and then sent to the pathology for further examination. After the laboratory examination, the specialist will be able to tell you whether the cells removed were cancerous. The pathology tests will also be able to tell the grade and stage of cancer.
What to Expect During Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumors?
The patients are expected to reach the hospital either the previous day or in the morning of the surgery. The patients are normally discharged from the hospital within 48 hours of the surgery. Patients are not allowed to eat or drink anything for at least 6 hours before the surgery. The TURBT is normally performed under a general or a spinal anesthetic. It is an incision-less surgery. During the procedure, a rigid cystoscope, called the resectoscope is put inside the bladder through the urethra. The resectoscope allows the doctor to see the bladder lining. The resectoscope has a wire loop attached to one of its ends for removing the abnormal tissues. Once the tumor has been removed, a mild electric current might be used for cauterizing the area where the tumor was. In some patients, the doctor might instill a chemotherapy drug into the bladder to reduce the chances of developing any further tumors. The removed cells are then further analyzed in a pathology. The procedure typically lasts for 15 minutes to an hour.
What to expect after TURBT?
After the TURBT, the patient is allowed to go home within 48 hours. If there is persistent bleeding, patients might be sent home with a catheter. It might take a couple of days to a few weeks for the patient to completely recover. During the initial few days after the procedure, the patient might observe blood or blood clots in the urine. Some patients might even observe painful urination and bladder irritation. The future line of treatment will depend upon the pathology reports, which normally come within 1-2 weeks.
Risks Associated with TURBT
Every surgical procedure has certain risks associated with it. The specific risks of TURBT are listed below:
- Presence of blood in the urine: It is quite common to observe blood in the urine for a couple of days post the surgery. Patients can also feel a mild burning sensation while passing urine.
- Infection: Some patients might develop a mild infection after the surgery. The doctor will prescribe an antibiotic to treat the infection.
- Perforation of the bladder: Although this is extremely rare, there is a risk of the bladder getting perforated during the operation. A repair surgery is required in such cases.
- Deep vein thrombosis: Some patients might develop a blood clot in the veins of the legs after the surgery.
- “The value of extended transurethral resection of bladder tumour (TURBT) in the treatment of bladder cancer” by Mario Richterstetter, et al. Published in Volume 110, Issue 2b, July 2012 edition of BJU International, accessed on 8 June 2015. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1464-410X.2011.10904.x