Transurethral Resection of Your Prostate (TURP)

This information explains your transurethral resection of your prostate surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK).

Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is used to treat enlargement of the prostate gland (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH) when medication does not work. With BPH, your prostate is pressing down on your urethra. This makes urination difficult. During the TURP, your surgeon will trim part of your prostate tissue away. This will make it easier to urinate.

Before Your Surgery

Before your surgery, you will have an appointment for presurgical testing (PST). The date, time, and location of your PST appointment will be printed on the appointment reminder from your surgeon’s office.

You can eat and take your usual medications the day of your PST appointment. During your appointment, you will meet with a nurse practitioner who works closely with anesthesiology staff (doctors and specialized nurses who will be giving you medication to put you to sleep during your surgery). He or she will review your medical and surgical history with you. You will have tests, including an electrocardiogram (EKG) to check your heart rhythm, a chest x-ray, blood tests, and any other tests necessary to plan your care. Your nurse practitioner may also recommend you see other healthcare providers.

Your nurse practitioner will talk with you about which medications you should take the morning of your surgery.


It is very helpful if you bring the following with you to your PST appointment:

  • A list of all the medications you are taking.
  • Results of any tests done outside of MSK, such as a cardiac stress test, echocardiogram, or carotid doppler study.
  • The name(s) and telephone number(s) of your doctor(s).

Your nurse will give you the handout Getting Ready for Surgery. This explains what you need to do to prepare for your surgery. Your nurse will also give you any additional instructions you need. Please read them carefully.

Instructions for eating and drinking before your surgery

12 ounces of water
  • Do not eat anything after midnight the night before your surgery. This includes hard candy and gum.
  • Between midnight and up until 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time, you may drink a total of 12 ounces of water (see figure).
  • Starting 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time, do not eat or drink anything. This includes water.
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The Day of Your Surgery

  • You will be admitted to the Pre-Surgical Center (PSC). From there you will be taken to the operating room. The whole process takes 3 to 4 hours.
  • You will be asleep during the procedure, which takes about 15 to 30 minutes. You will be in the operating room longer than that while your surgical team prepares you for your surgery.
  • Your nurse will let your friends and family who are with you know how your surgery is progressing.
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After Your Surgery

  • After your surgery you will be taken to the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Two of your family and friends may visit you in the PACU.
  • You will be taken to your hospital room when the doctors and nurses believe you are awake enough. You will be in the hospital overnight.
  • If you experience any pain or discomfort, your nurse will give you acetaminophen (Tylenol®).
  • You will have a urinary (Foley®) catheter in overnight. This is a thin tube that will drain urine from the bladder into a bag. Fluid may be used to continuously flush your bladder through this catheter to lower the risk of blood clots forming. The catheter will be removed before you go home.
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Recovering at Home

  • You might see tiny particles floating in your urine. This is normal. These are pieces of prostate tissue and tiny blood clots. This gets better by drinking more fluids.
  • You may need to urinate more frequently or more urgently. This is often temporary.
  • Depending on your bladder function before having the procedure, you might be incontinent (not able to control your urination). This is usually temporary. If you are still incontinent a few weeks after your surgery, your surgeon may order tests to determine whether anything can be done to make it better.
  • You may feel discomfort or pain. Drinking liquids will help, and you may also take acetaminophen.
  • You will be given an antibiotic to take when you go home. Take all of the pills as prescribed.
  • Once your urine is clear yellow you may go back to doing your normal activities. This usually takes 1 to 2 days.
  • A dry orgasm (retrograde ejaculation) is very common. You will have normal sensation of orgasms, but there will be much less semen. This is not dangerous. Your semen will go into your bladder and will come out with the urine the next time you urinate.

  • Have a temperature of 101° F (38.3° C) or higher
  • Have pain that is not relieved by pain medication
  • Cannot urinate
  • Have any unexpected problems
  • Have any questions or concerns

Call to make an appointment to see the doctor 2 to 3 months after your surgery.

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