Prostate surgery and laser prostate surgery

We offer some of the latest techniques for prostate surgery to relieve urinary problems caused by an enlarged prostate gland in men.

Sometimes also called

  • Transurethral prostatic resection
  • TURP procedure or TURP surgery
  • Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP)
  • Laser prostate surgery (HoLEP or GreenLight)
  • UroLift®

At a glance

  • Typical hospital stay
    1–3 nights

  • Procedure duration
    45–120 minutes

  • Type of anaesthetic
    General, spinal, epidural or local

  • Available to self-pay?

  • Covered by health insurance?

Why Spire?

  • Fast access to treatment when you need it
  • Internationally and nationally renowned consultants
  • Clear, inclusive pricing
  • 98% of our patients are likely to recommend us to their family and friends

What is prostate surgery?

During surgery, your surgeon will remove part of your prostate – a small gland that sits at the base of the bladder in men. The gland surrounds your urethra – the tube that carries urine from your bladder to your penis.

If you have an enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, it can press on your bladder and urethra, interrupting urine flow and causing these symptoms:

  • Difficulty starting to pass water
  • Feeling that you haven’t emptied your bladder properly
  • A weak flow of urine that stops and starts
  • Needing to strain to pass water
  • Needing to go to the loo a lot, especially at night
  • Getting sudden urges to pass water

Your doctor may recommend treatment if your symptoms haven’t improved with:

  • Lifestyle changes to manage urine flow
  • Medication to shrink your prostate, relax your prostate or bladder muscles, or to manage urine flow

The treatment will trim away or destroy the obstructive prostate tissue that’s pressing on your bladder and urethra, easing symptoms.

Your consultant will diagnose a prostate enlargement by asking about your symptoms and carrying out tests, which may include:

  • A physical examination of your back passage, stomach and genitals
  • Blood and urine tests to rule out other causes such as infections, kidney disease or prostate cancer

Find your nearest Spire hospital

Almost all of our hospitals offer prostate surgery and have teams of urologists who specialise in this procedure.

Spire Nottingham Hospital

How prostate surgery works

There are a number of methods available for prostate surgery.


The standard method is transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). During a TURP procedure, which is usually performed under general anaesthetic, your surgeon will:

  • Insert a resectoscope (a long, thin, metal tube with a camera and light) through your penis into your urethra and bladder
  • Pass a small, electrically-heated wire loop through the resectoscope
  • Trim small pieces of prostate tissue using the wire loop, and extract them by suction
  • Insert a thin tube called a catheter through your penis and into your urethra
  • Use the catheter to flush out any blood clots, urine or remaining prostate tissue from your bladder using a salt water solution
  • The catheter will remain in place for around one to three days after the operation

Laser prostate surgery

With laser prostate surgery, your surgeon will follow the same steps as TURP, but instead of using a resectoscope with an electrically-heated wire to cut away your prostate, they’ll use a scope which has a special laser (eg a HoLEP Holmium laser or GreenLight laser). The laser generates precise and intense heat to cut away sections of your enlarged prostate.


UroLift is a procedure where instead of removing prostate tissue, implants are positioned to hold your prostate out of the way and increase the width of your urethra. This procedure can be performed under general or local anaesthetic and usually a urinary catheter is not required.

Prostrate artery embolisation (PAE)

PAE shrinks the size of your prostate by blocking the arteries that feed it. It’s a minimally invasive technique which is performed using local anaesthetic. A urinary catheter is not usually required.

While TURP is still the gold standard for prostate surgery, these less invasive or non-surgical methods can provide benefits to some patients. These may include:

  • Fewer side effects such as a lower risk of bleeding
  • A shorter hospital stay
  • A quicker recovery
  • A catheter is needed for less time or not at all

Your operation: what to expect

How long does the procedure take?

It’s usually between 45 minutes and two hours, depending on the size of your prostate and the technique used.

Anaesthetic choices

Your consultant will advise on what’s best for you, based on your health and personal preferences. It will either be:

  • A general anaesthetic, when you’re asleep
  • A spinal or epidural anaesthetic, when you’re awake but can’t feel anything below your waist
  • A local anaesthetic so the treatment area will be numb

Pain after surgery

It’s normal to feel some discomfort afterwards. Everyone experiences pain differently but you’ll be given medication to help you manage this.

Your hospital stay

For a TURP procedure, you’ll need to stay in hospital for between one and three nights. For laser prostate surgery, you may be able to go home on the same day, though many people stay in hospital for the night. For UroLift or PAE you can usually go home on the same day.

Q & A

Sandy Gujral, Consultant Urologist Surgeon

Talking about prostate surgery

Your recovery: what to expect

Recovery timeline

We aim to get you back to everyday life as quickly as possible, although everyone’s different and your treatment and recovery will be personal to you.

Your lifestyle after treatment

For TURP and laser prostate surgery, you’ll have a catheter which will be left in place for one to three days until swelling in your urethra has gone down. Once you can pass water normally, you can go home.

When you're ready to leave hospital, you’ll need to arrange for someone to collect you and to stay with you for the first 24 hours. After treatment, it’s normal to experience these temporary symptoms:

  • Mild burning and discomfort on passing water
  • Needing to pass water frequently or urgently
  • Occasional blood in your urine for the first couple of weeks
  • Tiredness
  • Constipation

You can do gentle exercise such as walking when you feel up to it, but you shouldn’t lift heavy objects, including shopping, for the first three to four weeks. You may want to arrange help with everyday tasks.

Check with your consultant before going back to work or driving. It’s also advisable to check with your motor insurance company.

Most people can get back to all normal activities by eight weeks.

The recovery time for laser prostate surgery, UroLift or PAE may be quicker than for TURP.

Risks and complications

Most people have prostate surgery without complications, but all surgery carries some risks. Your consultant will explain them to you before you go ahead.

Although rare, prostate surgery complications can include:

  • Retrograde ejaculation, when you don’t produce semen when you orgasm – it’s not harmful but may affect fertility
  • Needing the loo urgently
  • Difficulty getting and maintaining an erection
  • Narrowed urethra, causing urinary problems
  • Bleeding
  • Urinary tract infection

With TURP, there is also a risk of TURP syndrome, associated with the irrigation fluid required to flush out the cut-away parts of your prostate. TURP syndrome needs urgent medical treatment. Symptoms include:

  • Nausea and sickness
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Swollen abdomen

At Spire hospitals, your safety is our top priority. We have high standards of quality control, equipment and cleanliness and an ongoing system of review and training for our medical teams.

Treatment and recovery timeline

As a guide, here’s a typical recovery timeline for TURP prostate resection – the most common procedure:

View interactive timeline View full timeline

1-3 days

Catheter is removed and you can leave hospital

1-3 weeks

Driving and gentle walking

3-4 weeks

Back to desk-based job and sex if you’re comfortable enough

4-8 weeks

Full recovery

  • 1-3 days

    Catheter is removed and you can leave hospital

  • 1-3 weeks

    Driving and gentle walking

  • 3-4 weeks

    Back to desk-based job and sex if you’re comfortable enough

  • 4-8 weeks

    Full recovery

The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.

Get in touch


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