Kidney cysts are round pouches of fluid that form on or 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 performed for another condition. Simple kidney cysts that don't cause signs or symptoms usually don't require treatment.
June 30, 2015
- Bennett WM, et al. Simple and complex renal cysts in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 15, 2015.
- Wein AJ, et al., eds. Benign renal tumors. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 15, 2015.
- Simple kidney cysts. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/kidney-disease/kidney-cysts/Pages/facts.aspx. Accessed May 15, 2015.
- Bas O, et al. Management of renal cysts. Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons. 2015;19:e2014.00097.
- AskMayoExpert. Renal cysts. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- Simple kidney cysts. National Kidney Foundation. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/Simple-Kidney-Cysts. Accessed May 15, 2015.
- Albright RC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 26, 2015.