Transurethral resection of bladder tumour (TURBT) is used to diagnose bladder cancer and remove growths, tumours and lesions from the bladder wall which are non-muscle invasive.   

The TURBT procedure involves a micro-telescope, a cystoscope, being inserted into the bladder through the urethra, the tube that carries fluid from the bladder out of the body, to locate the tumours or lesions. The surgeon will then ‘shave’ or cut the tumours/ lesions from the inside of the bladder wall using a special wire loop attached to the end of the cystoscope, and then seal the wounds.  

As part of the treatment for bladder cancer, the surgeon may also use chemotherapy. 

The procedure is carried out under general anaesthetic and takes on average between fifteen and forty minutes. Patients will be required to stay in hospital one or two nights following the procedure.


A catheter will have been left in after the procedure to help drain away excess blood and fluid from the bladder, and this will be removed before the patient leaves hospital. Patients should expect a two week recovery to resume to normal physical activity.

The side effects associated with this procedure include pain and discomfort in the bladder, blood in the urine, a burning sensation when passing urine and unpleasant smelling urine. These side-effects should settle within a fortnight of the operation. Complications of the procedure include a urinary tract or bladder infection, damage to the urethra or bladder or difficulty passing urine. TURBT is generally considered to be a safe operation, and for most patients the benefits outweigh the disadvantages of not being treated. However, all medical procedures carry an element of risk and the consultant will discuss this in detail with the patient.