What Are the Potential Complications of TURBT? | LifestyleDietBlog.com

One popular surgical procedure for bladder cancer is transurethral resection of bladder tumours or TURBT. The most frequent postoperative side effect is blood in the urine. Rarely do side effects get worse.

One of the most popular treatments for bladder cancer is TURBT. A tiny device known as a resectoscope is inserted into your urethra by the surgeon during the surgery. Without making an incision, they can use this tool to remove the tumour and some surrounding tissue.

While TURBT is a potentially useful treatment for bladder cancer, there is a chance that it will have adverse consequences. We look at the possible side effects and how frequently they occur in this post.

TUBRT complications while in hospital

The mucosa, the bladder's outermost layer, is where about 70–75% of patients with bladder cancer have a tumour. The most popular treatment for these malignancies is TURBT.

Researchers in Poland published the complication rates of 983 patients treated at six academic hospitals using the most popular kind of TURBT in 2020.

The following list of surgical complications, ranked by frequency:
  • bladder rupture or perforation (in 4.7% of cases)
  • electrical activation of the obturator nerve, which may result in bladder perforation and leg spasms (2%)
  • burst of gas during surgery (0.4%)
  • damage to the urinary tract (0.4%)
Urine with blood was the most frequent adverse effect during a hospital stay following surgery, occurring in approximately 1 in 7 cases. Less frequent adverse effects included bleeding that required additional surgery in roughly 1 in 60 cases and lower urinary tract symptoms, such as blockages, in roughly 1 in 40 cases.

During hospitalisation, uncommon side effects that happened to 1% or less of patients included:
  • urinary retention
  • bleeding requiring transfusion
  • catheter self-extraction
  • urinary tract infection
  • fever
  • death from a heart attack or pulmonary embolism
  • acute coronary syndrome or heart blockage caused by blood flow
  • renal colic, or obstruction of the urine tract by bladder stones
  • bladder tamponade, or blockage brought on by a significant blood clot development

TURBT complications during at-home recovery

Even after leaving the hospital, some patients continue to have after-effects from TURBT surgery. In the aforementioned study, the following were the most frequent side effects within 30 days of hospital discharge:
  • urinary tract infections
  • blood in urine
  • other lower urinary tract symptoms
Less than 1% of patients experienced the following side effects throughout that time:
  • urinary retention
  • urinary incontinence
  • bleeding requiring surgery
  • difficulties walking
  • tamponade of the bladder (blockage due to an excessive number of blood clots)
  • failure to achieve an erection or impotence
  • retrograde ejaculation, or the bladder's backflow of semen

How common are complications after TURBT?

Research has indicated that complication rates following TURBT range from 5% to 20%. Among the most frequent adverse effects are blood in your urine and a mild burning sensation in your urinary tract.

When to contact a doctor

You must get in touch with a physician if you experience any unsettling aftereffects following your treatment, such as increased pain or fever. It's also critical that you show up for any planned follow-ups so your medical staff can assess the efficacy of your surgery.

Are there alternatives to TURBT?

The stage of your bladder cancer will determine your treatment options. For every step, there are options such as:

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Stage 0
  • TURBT with chemotherapy
  • intravesical bacillus Calmette-GuĂ©rin (BCG), a type of immunotherapy
Stage 1
  • TURBT, often more than once, followed by intravesical BCG
  • cystectomy (bladder removal)
  • radiation therapy, often with chemotherapy
Stage 2
  • cystectomy
  • radiation therapy
  • immunotherapy drug nivolumab (Opdivo)
  • a second TURBT followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy
Stage 3
  • cystectomy
  • chemotherapy before surgery, with or without radiation
  • a second TURBT followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy
  • nivolumab
Stage 4
  • immunotherapy
  • cystectomy
  • urinary
  • chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy
  •  diversion without cystectomy to prevent or treat a blockage

How can I prevent the serious side effects of TURBT?

After your operation, it's crucial to rest so that your body has time to heal. Getting enough clear fluids to drink can also aid in the healing process.

Until your doctor gives the all-clear, it is advisable to refrain from heavy lifting and intense activities for around two weeks.


The most popular treatment for bladder cancer that has spread to the bladder's outermost layer is called TURBT. Urinary tract infections, pain during urination, and blood in the urine are just a few of the numerous side effects that may occur.

Although rare, serious adverse effects such as bladder perforation or severe cardiovascular events are possible.

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