Transurethral Resection (TUR)

When bladder cancer is in an early stage and growing slowly, it can often be removed using cystoscopy. This procedure, known as a transurethral resection, is often one of the first steps in bladder cancer treatment and can help manage low grade bladder tumors.

A transurethral resection (TUR) is a specialized procedure used to diagnose, stage and treat bladder cancer. It uses a cystoscope to examine the bladder and remove cancerous tissue for treatment and analysis.

A transurethral resection is typically performed in the hospital as an outpatient procedure.  You will be sedated with either general anesthesia or regional anesthesia that numbs the lower half of your body.

During the procedure, a cystoscope containing a camera and a cutting tool is gently inserted into your bladder through your urethra. As your doctor examines your bladder, cancerous tissue will be removed wherever possible.

To ensure that as many cancer cells are removed as possible, a laser may be used to burn away residual cancerous tissue.

A sample of normal tissue may also be removed. These samples are examined under a microscope for cancer cells.

Depending on the size of the removed tumor, you may stay in the hospital overnight.

Afterwards, a catheter (flexible tube) helps drain your bladder for a few days. Your procedure may also be followed by other types of treatment, including intravesical therapy.

The possible risks to undergoing a transurethral resection include:

  • Infection 
  • Bladder scarring/perforation 
  • Urinary bleeding 
  • Postoperative pain