How Dangerous Are the Side Effects of TURP Surgery?

The side effects of TURP, or transurethral resection of the prostate, have the possibility of being fairly dangerous, according to Mayo Clinic. They include bleeding heavy enough for the patient to need a blood transfusion, and a rare risk called TURP syndrome lowers sodium in the blood to life-threatening levels.

In TURP syndrome, the patient’s body absorbs too much of the irrigation fluid used to wash the surgical site, says Mayo Clinic. Using a saline solution as irrigation lowers the risk of this complication. Other side effects include incontinence and temporary urinary retention. This condition usually lasts for a few days after the surgery, and the patient uses a catheter until he can urinate on his own.

Other side effects of TURP are urinary tract infection, which is a risk of having the catheter in place for too long, claims Mayo Clinic. Though urinary tract infections clear with antibiotics, some men have them repeatedly. The patient may also have problems with sexual functioning, and some patients need a repeat TURP procedure if the first procedure doesn’t ease their symptoms or the symptoms return. The patient may also need a repeat procedure if his urethra or the neck of his bladder is too narrow as a result of the first procedure.