Risks can include:

  • Heavy bleeding. Some men lose enough blood during TURP to require a blood transfusion. This is rare. Men with larger prostates appear to be at higher risk of significant blood loss.
  • Low sodium in the blood. This rare complication is called TURP syndrome or transurethral resection (TUR) syndrome. It occurs when the body absorbs too much of the fluid used to wash (irrigate) the surgical area during the procedure. TURP syndrome can be life-threatening if it isn't treated. A technique called bipolar TURP allows the use of a salt (saline) solution for irrigation, which lessens the risk of TURP syndrome.
  • Temporary difficulty urinating. You may have trouble urinating (urinary retention) for a few days after the procedure. Until you can urinate on your own, you will need to have a tube inserted through your penis to carry urine out of your bladder (urinary catheter).
  • Urinary tract infection. Urinary tract infections are a possible complication after any enlarged prostate procedure. An infection is increasingly likely to occur the longer you have a catheter in place and may require antibiotics or other treatment. In some cases, men who have TURP have recurring urinary tract infections.
  • Difficulty holding urine. Rarely, loss of bladder control (incontinence) is a long-term complication of TURP.
  • Dry orgasm. TURP can cause retrograde ejaculation, which means semen released during sexual climax (ejaculation) enters your bladder rather than exiting the penis. Retrograde ejaculation isn't harmful and generally doesn't affect sexual pleasure. But it can interfere with your ability to father a child. This long-term side effect occurs in about 75 percent of men who have TURP.
  • Erectile dysfunction. The inability to keep or maintain an erection is a possible long-term side effect of TURP. While this isn't common with TURP, it can occur.
  • Need for re-treatment. Some men require follow-up treatment after TURP, either because symptoms return over time or because they never adequately improve. This is less common with TURP than with less invasive office-based prostate treatments. In some cases, further treatment is needed because TURP causes narrowing (stricture) of the urethra or the bladder neck.
July 23, 2013