Kidney cysts are actually more common than you'd think, especially in an older age group--it's estimated that almost 30 per cent of people over age 70 have one or more cysts. However, most people never know that they have kidney cysts, until they have a CAT or MRI scan for another condition and a kidney cyst appears on the image. Fortunately, most kidney cysts are benign and many will never even require treatment.
Most people won't need treatment for their kidney cysts. If yours is small and isn't causing you problems such as pain, fever, blood in the urine or frequent urination, you probably don't have a problem. Your doctor may order a follow-up scan in 6 months or a year to see if the cyst has grown in size. Even if a cyst is larger or contains material other than water or air, such as calcifications or tissue, your doctor may still recommend that you wait to see if the cyst grows in size.
If your cyst is large or causing you discomfort, you should undergo some form of treatment. You don't need invasive surgery to treat a kidney cyst. In some cases, a doctor can insert a needle into the body and, using ultrasound to guide the way, drain the fluid from the cyst. Alcohol is then injected into the area to firm the affected tissue. Even with larger cysts where surgery is called for, highly invasive surgery isn't necessary. Instead, the surgeon inserts a tool called a laparoscope into a small incision in the abdomen. This tool can be used to drain the cyst and take out any excess tissue. The recovery time will be minimal, with a hospital stay of one or two days.
Polycystic Kidney Disease
Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic condition that causes numerous cysts to develop in the kidneys. These cysts can cause kidney failure as well as high blood pressure, colon problems, heart valve abnormalities, aneurysms, liver failure and chronic pain. Treatment involves addressing all these conditions. Blood pressure medication, pain killers and dialysis and kidney transplant are some of the treatments that can help people with polycystic kidney disease.