Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)
What is a transurethral resection of the prostate or TURP?
A transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is a surgical procedure that removes portions of the prostate gland through the penis. A TURP requires no external incision.
The surgeon reaches the prostate by inserting an instrument through the urethra (the narrow channel through which urine passes from the bladder out of the body). This instrument, called a resectoscope, is about 12 inches long and one-half inch in diameter. It contains a light, valves that control irrigating fluid, and an electrical loop that cuts tissue and seals blood vessels. It’s inserted through the penis and the wire loop is guided by the surgeon so it can remove the obstructing tissue one piece at a time. The pieces of tissue are carried by fluid into the bladder and flushed out at the end of the procedure.
What is the prostate gland?
The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut and surrounds the neck of a man’s bladder and urethra—the tube that carries urine from the bladder. It’s partly muscular and partly glandular, with ducts opening into the prostatic portion of the urethra. It’s made up of three lobes, a center lobe with one lobe on each side.
As part of the male reproductive system, the prostate gland’s primary function is to secrete a slightly alkaline fluid that forms part of the seminal fluid (semen), a fluid that carries sperm. During male climax (orgasm), the muscular glands of the prostate help to propel the prostate fluid, in addition to sperm that was produced in the testicles, into the urethra. The semen then travels through the tip of the penis during ejaculation.
Researchers don’t know all the functions of the prostate gland. However, the prostate gland plays an important role in both sexual and urinary function. It’s common for the prostate gland to become enlarged as a man ages, and it’s also likely for a man to encounter some type of prostate problem in his lifetime.