Kidney cysts are round pouches of fluid that form in the kidneys. Kidney cysts can be associated with serious disorders that may impair kidney function. But more commonly, kidney cysts are a type called simple kidney cysts — noncancerous cysts that rarely cause complications.
It's not clear what causes simple kidney cysts. Typically, only one cyst occurs on the surface of a kidney, but multiple cysts can affect one or both kidneys. However, simple kidney cysts aren't the same as the cysts that form with polycystic kidney disease.
Simple kidney cysts are often detected during an imaging test being done for another condition. Simple kidney cysts that don't cause signs or symptoms usually don't require treatment.
A kidney cyst is a round or oval fluid-filled pouch with a well-defined outline. Kidney cysts typically grow on the surface of a kidney, although some may develop inside your kidney. ...
Simple kidney cysts typically don't cause signs or symptoms. If a simple kidney cyst grows large enough, symptoms may include:
When to see a doctor
It's not clear what causes simple kidney cysts. One theory suggests that kidney cysts develop when the surface layer of the kidney weakens and forms a pouch (diverticulum). The pouch then fills with fluid, detaches and develops into a cyst.
The risk of having simple kidney cysts increases as you get older, though they can occur at any age.
Kidney cysts can occasionally cause complications, including:
Preparing for your appointment
A simple kidney cyst discovered during an imaging test for another disease or condition may cause concern about what it means for your health. Talking with your doctor about simple kidney cysts may put your mind at ease and help you feel more in control of your condition.
What you can do
Don't hesitate to ask other questions as they occur to you during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Tests and diagnosis
Tests and procedures used to diagnose simple kidney cysts include:
Treatments and drugs
Treatment may not be necessary
Treatments for cysts that cause signs and symptoms
Depending on the type of procedure your doctor recommends, treatment for your kidney cyst may require a brief hospital stay.
Last Updated: 2012-07-18
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