Examining the 'gold standard': a comparative critical analysis of three consecutive decades of monopolar transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) outcomes

BJU Int. 2012 Dec;110(11):1595-601. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2012.11119.x. Epub 2012 Apr 30.


What's known on the subject? and What does the study add? Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) remains the dominant and definitive treatment for lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (LUTS-BPH), but the widespread use of medical therapies (particularly monotherapies) for rapid symptom improvement has meant that the most common indication for TURP has shifted to moderate-severe medical therapy refractory LUTS to, coupled with abnormal objective parameters, or when complications arise. Patients undergoing TURP as part of contemporary randomised controlled trials are not older but have a larger preoperative prostate volume and reduced major morbidity compared with large cohort studies from successive past eras. Delayed surgery because of prolonged medical monotherapy may explain a higher reported failure to void rate, possibly because of negative impact on detrusor function from unrelieved obstruction. This study examined contemporary TURP for significant changes, specifically regarding prostate size, operative parameters, and outcomes, compared with two preceding decades. Electronic databases PubMed, EMBASE & Cochrane collaboration were searched for English literature on prospective randomized controlled trials, published between 1997 and 2007 using keywords "transurethral resection" and "prostate". Monopolar TURP (M-TURP) cohort data of each study were selectively pooled for analysis, weighting studies according to patient numbers. Where possible, pooled post-operative outcomes data were compared with two large cohort landmark studies of successive preceding decades. A total of 3470 patients from 67 studies were included. Mean patient age (67 years) was unchanged, while mean pre-operative prostate volume of 47.6 g was greater than previously reported. Mean resected prostate tissue (25.8 g) with a resection time of 38.5 minutes suggested improved resection efficiency. A statistically significantly reduced transfusion rate and increased urinary tract infection (UTI) rate were reported. Hospital stay (3.6 days) and initial catheterisation duration (2.5 days) were similar, but post-operative urinary retention rate was slightly higher (6.8%). Contemporary RCTs of M-TURP showed larger prostate volume, and reduced major morbidity, compared with large cohort studies from successive past eras. The higher reported failure to void rate, may possibly reflect worse detrusor function at time of TURP. Delaying surgery by prolonged medical monotherapy may compound this. Trials methodology in this area requires quality improvement and standardisation in future.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Blood Transfusion / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / surgery*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Transurethral Resection of Prostate / methods
  • Transurethral Resection of Prostate / trends*
  • Treatment Outcome