Helpful Information for Patients
What are Kidney Cysts?
Kidney cysts are pockets of fluid that form in your kidneys. Though the exact causes of these cysts are unclear, they occur more frequently in older people. In general, kidney cysts can be classified as simple kidney cysts or complex kidney cysts. Doctors may also use the Bosniak Classification System of Renal Cysts to categorise the type of cyst based on its complexity.
Do you have Kidney Cysts?
The majority of people with kidney cysts do not experience any symptoms or have problems with the function of their kidneys. If symptoms do occur, you may feel pain in the area between your hip and rib if the cysts grow bigger. You may also get fever and chills if an infection develops.
How are Kidney Cysts confirmed?
Imaging tests are used to confirm the presence of cysts in the kidneys. Your doctor may conduct an ultrasound to examine the form or presence of the cysts. This method uses painless sound waves to generate images.
A CT scan may also be conducted. In this procedure, X-rays and computer software are used to create three-dimensional images that may provide more information to your doctor. You may be injected with a dye to enhance the contrast of the images and will be required to enter a tunnel-shaped device during the imaging process.
An MRI scan is similar to a CT scan but uses radio waves and magnets to generate images. As with the CT scan, you may be injected with a contrast enhancing dye and will be required to enter a tunnel-shaped device for imaging.
After a scan is done, Kidney Cysts are classified as simple of complex cysts. Simple Cysts are benign while Complex Cysts have the risk of being cancerous.
How are Kidney Cysts treated?
For kidney cysts that do not cause any problems or discomforts, no treatment is required. Routine monitoring of these cysts will be sufficient. For larger cysts that do cause problems, medical procedures may be required.
Larger cysts may require surgery. During this procedure, you will be under general anaesthesia. This surgery involves the use of a scope with a camera and light on its end called a laparoscope, to drain the cyst. The excess tissue will then be either burned or removed by your doctor.
For complex cyst that maybe cancerous, laparoscopic key-hole surgery called Laparoscopic Radical Nephrectomy or Laparoscopic or Robotic Partial Nephrectomy offers good minimally invasive curative surgery.