What is transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT)?

Updated: Aug 03, 2019
  • Author: Gary David Steinberg, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS  more...
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Transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT), performed endoscopically, is the first-line procedure for diagnosis, staging, and treatment of visible tumors. In select patients, office-based fulguration of small tumors allows control of low-risk bladder lesions without incurring the cost and inefficiencies of the operating room. [1]

More than 70% of bladder tumors are non–muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). TURBT is the main procedure for the diagnosis and treatment of NMIBC, yielding 62% long-term overall survival in patients with well-differentiated (G1) and moderately well differentiated (G2) grade Ta tumors. [2]

TURBT is not effective for carcinoma in situ (CIS) because the disease is often so diffuse and difficult to visualize that surgical removal is not feasible. Therefore, the role of cystoscopy in these cases is to establish the diagnosis so that therapy can be instituted. Obvious areas of CIS may also be fulgurated, but the benefits of this have not been proven. When a combination of papillary tumor and CIS is present, the papillary tumor is removed before treatment of the CIS is initiated.

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