After surgery

After your operation

The nurses will encourage you to get out of bed and walk around once you feel well enough. This helps to prevent complications, such as chest infections or blood clots forming in your legs. You are usually given stockings to wear to help prevent blood clots.

Most people are given chemotherapy into the bladder immediately after surgery.

You will have a tube (catheter) in your bladder to drain your urine into a bag, but you can walk around with this.

There will be blood in your urine at first. You will be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids to help flush out your bladder and reduce the risk of developing a urine infection.

Sometimes, large bags of fluid are connected to the catheter to flush out the bladder until the bleeding clears. This helps prevents blood clots from forming and blocking the urethra. If you feel your bladder is full or the catheter is not draining, tell the nurses straight away.

When your urine looks clear, a nurse will remove your catheter. This may feel a little uncomfortable but isn’t painful. If your urine is no longer bloodstained and you can pass urine, you can usually go home. This may be one to three days after the operation.

After the nurse removes the catheter, you may need to pass urine more often or more urgently. Sometimes you may leak urine. You may also have some blood in your urine. These symptoms usually settle down in a day or two but may continue for several weeks. Tell your doctor if they continue. Drinking at least two litres (three and a half pints) of fluids every day can help to reduce the symptoms.

We have more information about looking after your bladder and what you can do to help.

Possible risks of surgery

Removing non-invasive bladder cancers is generally a safe procedure. However there are some possible risks.

Urine infection

Some people may get a urine infection while they are in hospital or after they go home. Signs of an infection include:

  • feeling cold, shivery, hot or sweaty
  • feeling generally unwell
  • your urine getting smelly or cloudy.

If you think you have an infection, you can take a urine sample to your doctor for testing.

Bleeding

Some people may have bleeding for about 10–14 days after the TURBT. Tell your doctor or specialist nurse straight away if:

  • the bleeding becomes heavier
  • you see any blood clots
  • you have difficulty passing urine or have severe tummy pain.

If the bleeding continues, you may need another operation under general anaesthetic to stop it. About 2 in 100 people may need a blood transfusion.

Damage to the bladder

There is a small risk of a hole (perforation) being made in the bladder during surgery. If this happens, the catheter is left in the bladder for about 3–10 days. This allows the hole to heal. Rarely, you may have an operation to seal the hole.

Recovering is an individual thing, but you have to listen to your body and not overdo things.

Christine

Going home

Your urologist or nurse will explain when you can safely start doing normal activities such as driving, going back to work and carrying shopping. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or nurse.

Back to Surgery explained

Who might I meet?

A team of specialists will plan your surgery. This will include a surgeon who specialises in your type of cancer.