Bladder lesions are abnormal growths or tumours on the bladder lining.
They can be removed by having an operation called a transurethral resection of bladder tumour (TURBT), although treatment options depend on the size of the tumour, where it is located and how far the cancer may have spread.
Consultant Urological Surgeon, Specialist Laparoscopic Oncologic Surgeon
Consultant Urological Surgeon
You’ll meet your Consultant Urological surgeon in one of our private consultation rooms. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests such as scans or blood tests are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
On the day of your operation, our ward staff will show you to your own private room. Your private room will have an en-suite bathroom and TV and Wi-Fi facilities.
Once you’re ready, our nurses will help you prepare for your procedure, you will also see your consultant surgeon.
TURBT is usually done under general anaesthesia. This means you will be asleep during the operation and will feel no pain.
Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, a thin rod-like instrument with a tiny light and lens on the tip, called a cystoscope, will be carefully inserted into the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body). Saline solution (salt water) will be passed through the cystoscope to fill the bladder up and to make the whole of the lining visible.
Your surgeon will find the lesion and insert a special wire loop through the cystoscope. An electric current is passed down the wire loop and used to cut or burn off the lesion. This also seals the wound to stop any bleeding. Some healthy tissue around the lesion may also be removed.
At the end of the procedure, the cystoscope is taken out and a catheter (a thin flexible tube) is passed into the urethra and left in place for about 24 hours. The catheter will drain urine from your bladder into a bag. The catheter may also be connected to a system which washes any blood and blood clots out of your bladder. This is called bladder irrigation.
The procedure usually lasts 30 minutes, slightly longer if more than one lesion is present.
You should plan on spending the night in hospital with us. After your procedure, you will be taken to your room where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home.
To ensure any remaining abnormal cells are killed and to help lower the chance of new lesions or tumours forming, you may be given anti-cancer drugs through the catheter. Giving drugs directly into the bladder means very little is absorbed into the rest of the body and so there are fewer side-effects.
The catheter will be removed before you go home.
As you’ll have had a general anaesthetic you’ll need to have arranged for a friend or relative to take you home.
For guidance on pain relief and your recovery time, please see our patient information sections below.
If you are sore you may require painkillers and you may be given antibiotics to help prevent infection.
We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you’ve left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.
Follow your surgeon’s advice about driving, returning to work, heavy lifting, sport and sexual activity. You should not drive until you feel you could do an emergency stop without discomfort. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruit and high fibre foods such as brown rice and wholemeal bread and pasta. This helps to avoid constipation, which may increase bleeding in the bladder. Your surgeon may prescribe a mild laxative for a few days.
Try to drink fluids regularly for a few weeks afterwards to help flush out any possible infection.
As with all medical treatments, complications following TURBT can occur but most people are unaffected. Your consultant will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure. If you experience any of these symptoms don’t hesitate to call us:
Your consultant will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
After you’ve left hospital, we’re still here when you need us.
If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery you can call and speak to a member of the nursing team at any time, please call 01424 757459.
Bladder cancer develops when there is a growth of abnormal tissue in the lining of the bladder (the organ that stores urine in the body). Sometimes the abnormal tissue, known as a tumour, can spread into the muscles surrounding the bladder.
The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine, however an urgent and frequent need to urinate and a burning sensation when passing water are also symptoms of bladder cancer. It is important to see your GP if you experience any of these symptoms, which can also be related to more common conditions including cystitis, kidney stones or an enlarged prostate (in men).
TURBT (together with chemotherapy or immunotherapy) is the main treatment option for early bladder cancer that hasn’t spread. Surgical removal of the bladder may be required for later stage (and more invasive) bladder cancer.