A transurethral prostatectomy (TURP) is an operation designed to remove the prostate through the urethra; no external incision is made. A TURP is performed using a resectoscope, which scrapes out the center of the prostate by using an electrical current to cut out the tissue with a loop. This procedure is ideal for men with small to moderate size prostate glands. It is difficult to perform in men with extremely large prostates, i.e. those 100 grams or larger, due to the duration of time that it takes to resect the prostate tissue and the risks incurred with the lengthy resection. Lengthy resections pose the risk of absorbing too much of the irrigation fluid and lowering the salt level in the blood stream (hyponatremia) In severe cases, hyponatremia can cause neurologic symptoms, including seizures. Fortunately, these complications occur vary rarely. TURPs are usually limited to prostate glands of 100 grams or smaller.
After the TURP has been completed, a urethral catheter is left to enable irrigation of the bladder with fluid to prevent blood clots from forming in the bladder, typically for 1 to 2 days. After that period of time, the catheter is removed, and the patient is given a voiding trial. Sometimes, a patient will have troubles urinating right after a TURP and if this is the case, then the catheter will be replaced and left in place for about a week and another trial of voiding will be performed.
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