Treatment may not be necessary
If your simple kidney cyst causes no signs or symptoms and doesn't interfere with your kidney function, you may not need treatment. Instead, your doctor may recommend that you have an imaging test, such as ultrasound, periodically to see whether your kidney cyst has enlarged. If your kidney cyst changes and causes signs and symptoms, you may choose to have treatment at that time. Sometimes a simple kidney cyst goes away on its own.
Treatments for cysts that cause signs and symptoms
If your simple kidney cyst is causing signs and symptoms, your doctor may recommend treatment. Options include:
- Puncturing and draining the cyst, then filling it with alcohol. Rarely, to shrink the cyst, your doctor inserts a long, thin needle through your skin and through the wall of the kidney cyst. Then the fluid is drained from the cyst. Your doctor may fill the cyst with an alcohol solution to prevent it from reforming. The cysts generally return after this type of procedure, so it's reserved for certain situations.
- Surgery to remove the cyst. A large or symptomatic cyst may require surgery to drain and remove it. To access the cyst, the surgeon makes several small incisions in your skin and inserts special tools and a small video camera. While watching a video monitor in the operating room, the surgeon guides the tools to the kidney and uses them to drain the fluid from the cyst. Then the walls of the cyst are cut or burned away.
Depending on the type of procedure your doctor recommends, treatment for your kidney cyst may require a brief hospital stay.
July 18, 2012
- Taal MW, et al. Brenner & Rector's The Kidney. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6193-9..C2010-1-67932-1--TOP&isbn=978-1-4160-6193-9&uniqId=321553651-265. Accessed June 7, 2012.
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- Simple kidney cysts. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/cysts/index.htm. Accessed June 7, 2012.
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- Tanagho EA, et al. Smith's General Urology. 17th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=21. Accessed June 7, 2012.
- Skolarikos A, et al. Conservative and radiological management of simple renal cysts: A comprehensive review. British Journal of Urology International. In press. Accessed June 13, 2012.
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