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Is A Cyst On Kidney Serious

Kidney Cysts Topic Overview

Are Cysts on the Kidneys Serious?

They could be associated with some disorders that eventually impair the function of the kidneys. But again more commonly, they are a type called simple kidney cysts that rarely cause serious complications. And this type is what were talking about in this section.


Its not fully known yet what causes these cysts. Currently, research suggests that they develop when the kidneys surface layer weakens and forms diverticulum which then fills with fluid, disengages, and develops into a cyst.

As noted before, age is often to blame the risk of having the condition increases with age. Furthermore, gender may also have an effect. Its relatively more common in men than in women.


The cyst looks like an oval or round fluid-filled pouch that typically has a well-defined outline. It usually develops in the surface of the kidney. However sometime it may also form inside the kidney.

*Image credit to Mayo

Most of the time, kidney cysts dont cause any symptoms. However, this doesnt mean that you can ignore them. Its still important to keep monitoring them!

How is kidney cyst diagnosed?

It is rarely to be concerned, and even it is often accidentally diagnosed. Many times it is discovered through an imaging test for another condition.

Standard procedures and tests to diagnose cysts in the kidneys include:

  • Blood tests to help evaluate your kidneys health. If kidney function is impaired, enlarged kidney cyst is one of possible answers.
  • Complications

    Causes Of Complex Kidney Cysts

    A complex kidney cyst can develop as a secondary manifestation of a simple cyst. Such relapse occurs as a result of complications such as infection or bleeding, and also as a result of the proliferative process .

    As is the case with simple kidney cyst formation, different types of complex kidney cyst can give similar pictures on medical ultrasound diagnosis. Therefore, it is not possible to make an accurate diagnosis without additional examinations.

    However, the timely detection of a complex kidney cyst with using ultrasound is already important in the successful treatment. Features indicating the presence of cystic formation during ultrasound diagnostics:

    thickening and irregular contour of the cyst wall

    presence of partitions

    the presence of seals or solid elements in the tissues present in the plural

    distinct vascularization .

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    Early Warning Signs Of Kidney Cancer

    Before symptoms of kidney cancer are noticeable, a laboratory test or an imaging study may reveal a possible diagnosis.

    For example, a routine urine test may find traces of blood that the naked eye cant see. Signs of kidney cancer also may be detected during a computed tomography scan, which consists of X-rays taken at different angles and processed by a computer into 3D images. This imaging test may show a growth in the kidneyand may even be able to tell a noncancerous cyst from a solid cancer tumor if dye is injected into a vein beforehand.

    Magnetic resonance imaging produces detailed images of the kidneys using a computer and magnetic fields in place of X-rays. During an MRI, a dye called gadolinium may be used to increase tumor visibility.

    Finally, an ultrasound uses sound waves to look for signs of a kidney tumor, and determine whether a mass in the kidney is a fluid-filled cyst or a solid tumor.

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    About Polycystic Kidney Disease

    Polycystic kidney disease inherited condition in which too many cysts develop and grow primarily within the kidney is different from simple kidney cysts.

    In PKD, the cysts may also develop in other parts /organs of the body such as colon, spleen, pancreas, liver, and ovaries. Typically, it requires intensive treatment and monitoring. Although there is still no cure, some treatments are available to help control the symptoms and prevent the complications of the condition.

    The most common problem associated with PKD is high blood pressure, which is also the starting point for other problems to occur. Other complications of the condition include:

  • Kidney failure. Many patients with PKD experience poor kidney function and even kidney failure. This risk rises with advancing age.
  • Pregnancy complications. Women with PKD should consult first with a doctor or a genetic counselor before getting pregnant. The condition can run in families. Moreover, it carries some healthy risks and pregnancy complications for both the mother and baby.
  • The risk of having cysts in the liver or other organs of the body!
  • Aneurysm, a balloon-like bulge in the brains blood vessel. This risk is higher in patients younger than age 50.
  • The risk of developing sacs or pouches in the colons wall, causing colon problems.
  • Chronic pain in the flank area.
  • Abnormalities in the heart valve. For instance, mitral valve prolapse is quite common in people with PKD.
  • Diagnosis For Kidney Cysts

    Whther a cyst is dangerous. What is a cyst?

    An imaging test diagnoses kidney cysts. If you suspect that you have a cyst on your kidney or are experiencing symptoms, the doctor will take a look at your medical history and recommend one of the following tests for you:

    • Computed tomography scan

    A technician will perform the imaging test and collect the images. Once theyve gone over them, theyll be able to tell your doctor what type of cyst you have: simple or complex. Simple cysts dont usually require as much medical attention as complex ones. Complex cysts can be linked to cancer.

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    What Is Polycystic Liver Disease

    Polycystic liver disease is the development of multiple cysts in the liver. PLD cysts may cause pain, but they usually do not affect liver function. If PLD starts affecting liver function or becomes too painful, surgery may be needed. However, cysts can reoccur after surgery.

    People with PLD are born with it, but usually do not have large cysts until they are adults. Polycystic liver disease is genetic. When it is found in one family member, all family members should be tested. PLD may be detected using an ultrasound or CT scan. It is more common in women than men.

    Most people with PLD also have polycystic kidney disease , which are cysts in the kidneys that can cause high blood pressure and kidney failure. Sometimes a liver transplant and a kidney transplant may be necessary.

    • How do I know whether my cyst is benign or cancerous?
    • Have you seen many other patients with this particular condition?
    • Will I need to have a liver biopsy performed?
    • What kinds of scans are needed?
    • Can a cyst be removed if it is causing me discomfort?
    • If my cysts need to be removed, is there a specific specialist that I should be referred to?
    • Will my cyst be monitored to check on its size and location over a period of time?
    • If I have liver cysts, should I get other kinds of testing to check for cysts anywhere else in my body?

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    What Happens If Kidney Cysts Are Not Treated Immediately

    Cysts can form in one or both kidneys and on the inside or outside of the kidneys. Although generally benign, kidney cysts still have the potential to cause serious problems if they are large or if they have been left for too long without treatment.

    Some dangers to be aware of if a kidney cyst is large or untreated is bleeding due to kidney rupture, swelling of the kidneys, as well as infection of the cyst. Untreated kidney cysts can also cause pain.

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    Is A 25 Cm Kidney Cyst Big

    Kidney cysts are round, have a thin, clear wall and range in size from microscopic to around 5 cm in diameter. These cysts can be associated with serious conditions that lead to impaired kidney function, but usually they are what is referred to as simple kidney cysts, which do not tend to cause complications.

    Cysts In Kidney: When To Be Concerned

    Are cysts on the kidneys serious?

    Many people with simple kidney cysts are asked to have a watchful waiting procedure. In other words, they are usually suggested to periodically take an imaging test to see whether the cysts are still tolerated or the treatment should be taken promptly.

    While most of the time cysts in the kidneys are considered harmless and dont require treatment, this could be different when they have caused symptoms and complications.

    Although these cysts are usually not serious or even sometime they may go away naturally without treatment, its not always easy to stop worrying about them. In general, the treatment may be suggested if some of the following conditions occur:

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    What Is A Kidney Cyst

    There are different kinds of kidney cysts. A simple kidney cyst is a round pouch of smooth, thin-walled tissue or a closed pocket that is usually filled with fluid. One or more may form within the kidneys. Simple cysts are the most common type of kidney cyst, and they most often donât cause harm.

    Simple kidney cysts arenât related to polycystic kidney disease . PKD runs in families and causes large numbers of cysts to grow in your kidneys. This makes your kidneys get larger and damages their tissue.

    Over time with PKD, your kidneys donât work as well, and the disease can lead to kidney failure. Sometimes PKD can cause cysts to form in your liver or in other parts of your body.

    Acquired cystic kidney disease is another condition that causes cysts to grow in your kidneys. It doesnât run in families like PKD, but happens in adults and children with chronic kidney failure and end-stage renal disease. ACKD doesnât cause your kidneys to grow larger or lead to cysts in other parts of the body. It usually doesnât cause symptoms or need treatment.

    Can Fetal Kidney Cysts Go Away

    The great majority of cysts will dissolve during pregnancy if there are no accompanying problems. Given the temporary character of most fetal simple renal cysts seen in early pregnancy, these cysts may constitute a unique entity within the spectrum of cystic kidney disorders. However, some studies have reported that as many as one-third of cases of simple renal cyst remain after birth.

    Cysts can also disappear after birth if they do not cause any problems for the child or if they are not inherited. In this case, the baby would not need treatment. If the cyst is causing problems, such as needing to be drained regularly, surgery should be done before birth to prevent the need for additional surgeries later in life.

    Most congenital cysts do not change or grow after birth and do not cause any problems for the child. But some studies report that as many as one-third of cases of simple renal cyst remain after birth. This means that about 10% of babies will still have a cyst after they are born.

    Babies with congenital cysts may need follow-up care from specialists who know how to treat these conditions. For example, a nurse practitioner could manage your baby’s follow-up visits while you’re in school or work.

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    Does A Simple Kidney Cyst Need To Be Watched Over Time

    It is very important that a specialist evaluate the type and location of the kidney cysts. There are often characteristics such as wall thickness, calcifications, fluid density, and irregular borders of the cyst that may make it more likely to be associated with a kidney cancer. Urologists use a grading system for cysts called the Bozniak Scoring System . Higher Bozniak grades are associated with a greater chance for kidney cancer. Bozniak grade 1 cysts are virtually always benign .

    Are Kidney Lesions Common

    Kidney Cyst: What Is a Kidney Cyst?

    Renal cysts are frequent, and 9 percent of adults over the age of 70 have bilateral cysts. Most renal cysts may be seen with ultrasound, which is a trustworthy method. Simple cysts have a distinct look and are completely harmless. Complex cysts may contain solid areas or calcifications and therefore require further investigation.

    Other lesions can also appear in the kidneys. For example, tumors can arise from cells of the kidney lining or from tumor cells that have traveled through the blood stream and found a place to grow back. The two most common types of kidney tumors are malignant melanomas and carcinomas. Other less common types of tumors include sarcomas, lymphomas, and osteosarcomas.

    In addition, there are several diseases and conditions that can affect the structure of the kidney without causing any symptoms. These include benign tumors such as teratomas and fibromas and more serious problems including cancer.

    Symptoms of kidney disease include pain during urination, difficulty controlling urine flow, fatigue, depression, and increased risk of infection. If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor immediately.

    The main treatment for kidney lesions is often surgery to remove them. Sometimes medications are needed to control certain conditions that are causing damage to the kidneys. Living with chronic kidney disease requires special attention to nutrition and exercise.

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    Size Of Hemorrhagic Cysts

    The size of a hemorrhagic cyst often depends on the location. Cysts that form on the vocal cords may be a significantly different size than a cyst that has formed in the liver. Because of this, a physician may base his treatment options on the size of the cyst relative to the area. Ovarian Cysts that are smaller than 5 cm are typically seen as cysts that may end up resolving themselves. However, hemorrhagic cysts of any size that begin to cause a lot of problems such as pain or interrupt other functions of the body are taken serious and surgical interventions may be warranted.

    One of the largest hemorrhagic cysts that have been reported was that of an adrenal cyst on a 66-year-old male patient. The individuals complaint was swelling and pain in his abdomen. After diagnostic tests, the patient was found to have a 22 cm hemorrhagic cyst on an adrenal gland.

    It is important to realize that sometimes cysts happen. Typically smaller cysts can be normal and may not present any problems at all and usually take care of themselves.

    Hemorrhagic Ovarian Cyst

    Living With Kidney Cysts

    If you are over 50 years old, there is a good chance you have kidney cysts and dont realize it. You may never realize it because you may never have symptoms. And most kidney cysts do not cause any problems.

    If you do have symptoms , see your doctor. He or she can advise you on a treatment or ways to help relieve your symptoms.

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    When Should A Cyst Be Removed

    If a cyst is causing you a lot of pain or has grown bigger in size over time, your doctor will suggest its removal. These symptoms may indicate a more serious condition that needs treatment. It may mean that the cyst is infected or malignant. Once removed, the cyst will be tested to make sure that it is not cancerous.

    What Causes Kidney Cysts

    Are Cysts on the Kidney Serious?

    If your kidney cysts are caused by PKD, then they are inherited. This means you have them because they run in your family. For most people, though, this is not the case. Doctors arent sure why kidney cysts form for them. It could be that the kidney surface weakens over time. This could explain why kidney cysts are most common in people who are age 50 and older.

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    Cysts Can Form On Either Kidney And Can Develop In Groups

    Kidney cysts are pouches of tissue. Within the wall of the tissue, a circular, fluid filled pocket is formed. These types of cysts are commonly known as simple cysts, and are generally harmless and not known to cause major complications for the kidneys.

    Kidney cysts are not usually inherited, but mainly found on weakened kidneys.

    • Detached fluid can attribute to the formation of the cyst.
    • Males over the age of 50 tend to develop kidney cysts. Cysts can form on either kidney and can be one cyst, or many cysts.

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    Localized Cystic Renal Disease

    Localized cystic renal disease is a rare, nonhereditary, form of cystic renal disease, which manifests as a conglomeration of multiple simple cysts of variable size . In contrast to ACKD and ADPKD, localized cystic renal disease is typically unilateral and not progressive. The disease usually involves only a portion of the kidney with a polar predilection . Entire renal involvement is rare . The contralateral kidney is normal. The presence of interposed normal renal parenchyma and the absence of a capsule help to differentiate localized cystic renal disease from cystic nephroma and multiloculated cystic RCC . Cystic involvement of other organs is typically absent .

    Fig. 13

    Localized cystic renal disease. Axial contrast-enhanced CT image shows a conglomeration of multiple simple cysts of variable size in the right kidney

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    Kidney Cysts And Polycystic Kidney Disease

    Kidney cysts are fluid filled sacs that can form on the outside or inside of a kidney. Termed simple cysts, they are benign and generally cause little to no trouble. More complicated cysts can interfere with kidney function, or create other complications. Complex kidney cysts require close radiographic imaging , or surgical removal since these cysts can be cancerous.

    Kidney cysts are relatively common, and the incidence of forming cysts increases with advanced aging. Kidney cysts may also be part of a genetic disease that results in a slow, progressive decrease in kidney function. In this scenario, there is usually a family history of kidney disease. A kidney cyst diagnosis may involve the presence of one or more cysts. Polycystic kidney disease involves numerous cysts that cover one or both kidneys.

    Definition Of Kidney Cyst

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    Kidney cysts are defined as abnormal fluid-filled outgrowths on the walls of the kidneys. They may appear singly or in clusters. Usually, kidney cyst conditions are symmetric in nature. This means that if one of the kidneys develop cysts, the other one is likely to develop cysts at some point in time. Simple kidney cysts of minor severity do not cause complications. About 25% of the people above the age of 40 develop simple kidney cysts. But complex cysts or polycystic conditions can lead to serious complications. Enlargement of the kidneys may occur in this condition, which in turn can adversely impact the filtration capacity of the kidneys.

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