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Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumour (TURBT)

Why is this operation performed?

If a growth in the bladder has been identified, TURBT is the operation that is performed to treat it.

How is the operation done?

This operation is performed under general or spinal anaesthetic. Operating time varies according to the size and number of the tumours.

The procedure involves passing a telescope into the bladder via the urethra, and ‘resecting’ chips of bladder tumour tissue. This treats the bladder tumour and allows for samples to be removed and to be sent to laboratory for analysis.

A catheter (soft plastic tube) is inserted in theatre afterwards, to wash the bladder with fluid for 1-2 days afterwards. Once the urine is a clear colour, the catheter is removed, and if you are passing urine well you can go home.

Potential side effects and complications

All procedures have the potential for side effects. Although these complications are well recognised, the majority of patients do not have problems after a procedure.

Risks of the anaesthetic need to be discussed with the anaesthetist who will be looking after you during the operation, and who will visit you beforehand. 

There are specific risks with this surgical procedure, and these will be discussed with you before your procedure. As a guide to complement that one-on-one discussion with your surgeon, these include:


  • Infection in the urine
  • A small amount of bleeding
  • Discomfort after the catheter is removed


  • A scar in the urethra requiring another telescope operation
  • Heavy bleeding requiring blood transfusion or washout out of blood clots
  • Failure to remove all of the tumour at the first TURBT, requiring a further procedure
  • Perforation of the bladder requiring a prolonged (10-14 day) period of catheterisation

Very uncommon

  • Severe infection requiring a prolonged course of antibiotics and a longer hospital stay
  • Perforation of the bladder requiring an open operation to repair the bladder and inspect the abdomen

If you would like more information about this or other procedures, Nick would be pleased to talk to you in more detail.


This information is intended as an educational guide only, and is here to help you as an additional source of information, along with a consultation from your urologist. The information does not apply to all patients.

Not all potential complications are listed, and you must talk to your urologist about the complications specific to your situation.


Urology Affiliations

Contact Us

  • QE Specialist Centre,
    35 Woodville Road
    Woodville South,
    SA 5011
  • Tel: 8244 4105
  • Mobile: 0439 080 899
  • Fax: 8243 2766