Transurethral resection of bladder tumor, commonly known as TURBT, defines a surgical procedure that removes tumors or cancerous tumors from the surface or superficial lining of the bladder. The bladder is an organ that collects urine in both men and women, fed by the ureters, or tubes that extend from each kidney into the bladder. The urethra is a tube that extends from the bladder to the outside of the body to facilitate urination.
While nearly 80% of all bladder cancers are diagnosed as superficial, immediate treatment is recommended to prevent further complications or spread of the cancer. The most commonly performed surgical procedure for the removal of bladder cancer tumors is the TURBT procedure, considered the most conservative and effective today.
Who Benefits From TURBT Surgery?
Any individual who has been diagnosed with a bladder tumor or suspected cancerous tumor growths in the lining of the bladder may benefit from the TURBT procedure. Surgery to remove such tumors may help prevent the spread of metastatic bladder cancer, while invasive forms of bladder cancer may require the removal of the bladder in a procedure called a cystectomy. Therefore, the TURBT procedures are often suggested in the treatment of individuals with low-risk cancers. This is why TURBT surgery is known as a superficial bladder treatment.
TURBT Procedure Description
The TURBT procedure utilizes an instrument called a cystoscope. This scope is a very small illuminated camera on a device inserted up the urethra and into the bladder organ. A very small device with a wire loop at one end is inserted through the cystoscope. Following insertion, high frequency electro-currents are passed through the wire, effectively burning and removing cancerous cell growth. This particular process is called fulguration. In some cases, this is all that's necessary to treat the tumor, but in some cases, it's not.
The TURBT procedure for the treatment of superficial bladder cancers is then followed by laser therapy when indicated. Laser therapies and surgeries often damage or destroy tissues surrounding the treated area, so it is only utilized in as-needed cases.
The TURBT procedure is often coupled with other procedures, which may include chemotherapy. Patients are generally advised to undergo a cystoscopy evaluation within three months following the TURBT procedure and every six months for a year after that.
In the event that cancerous cells have penetrated deeper into the muscle tissues of the bladder, individuals may need to undergo removal of the bladder in the procedure called the cystectomy. Such cancers are known as invasive, and are not treated with TURBT techniques.
How Much Does TURBT Cost?
In the United States, a TURBT procedure may cost between $5,000 to $8,000 or more in the United States depending on geographical location, surgeons fees and hospital fees. However, travelers visiting countries such as Mexico may experience the same high quality procedure for $4,000, while those visiting Poland, South Korea or Singapore may spend between $2,000 and $4,000. Chemotherapy medication treatments in the United States can run anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 a month depending on the drug and intake method. In Thailand, monthly costs run from $1,000 a month, while in India, costs average about $1,200 per month.
Who Performs TURBT Procedures?
The TURBT procedure may be performed by a trained and qualified urologist, general surgeon, often accompanied by a cancer specialist or oncologist specializing in bladder cancers. An urologist is a doctor who has specialized in training in branches of surgery to the kidneys, bladder, or urethra, male reproductive organs or pelvic surgery. Choose a surgeon who has undergone basic and comprehensive education in general surgery, who then undergoes additional training in urology, a surgical subspecialty. He or she should be approved to practice in accredited healthcare facilities or hospitals. Specialists should be experienced and knowledgeable regarding specific conditions.
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