As people age, they often develop small fluid-filled sacs on or inside their kidneys known as cysts. Kidney cysts usually present no risk and most people will not have any symptoms from them. However, a large cyst may create complications as it interferes with surrounding organs. In addition, kidney cysts may fill with blood and get infected. Doctors treat moderately sized cysts with outpatient procedures. Larger cysts sometimes require more extensive surgery.
To treat moderately sized kidney cysts, doctors often inject you with a long needle that drains the cysts. With the aid of ultrasound images, the doctor locates the cyst and administers the injection through your skin. After the needle drains it of fluid, the doctor fills it with an alcohol-based solution to harden the cyst and prevent future flare-ups. Although the needle procedure may seem gruesome, risks are minimal and you often do not spend the night in the hospital.
Another outpatient procedure is known as retrograde intrarenal surgery (RIRS). The surgeon inserts a laser-equipped scope into a natural opening in the body and makes a small cut in the cyst. After the cyst drains, the surgeon will insert a small tube in the kidney that will help the drained cyst heal. You return to the doctor after two weeks for removal of the tube. Tube removal requires a similar minimally invasive outpatient procedure.
Larger kidney cysts may require surgery. Surgeries vary depending on the location of the cysts. For large cysts at the back of the kidney, your doctor may recommend a percutaneous kidney surgery. With an endoscope (a camera that allows the doctor to peer into the body), your surgeon will open the cyst and remove a portion of it for proper draining and healing. Although this procedure offers few risks, doctors usually want their patients to stay in the hospital overnight after receiving percutaneous kidney surgeries.
The most extensive--but still minimally invasive--kidney cyst procedure is known as a laparoscopy. Laparoscopies are often used for a large cyst or several small cysts. A doctor will make three small incisions in the abdomen and through those incisions he will remove the cysts. Although some doctors allow patients to return home after laparoscopies, others require you to stay in the hospital one or two nights for observation.
Recovery From Procedures
Since many kidney cyst removal and drainage procedures don't require overnight hospital stays, you often have very little recovery time. For more complicated procedures, one or two nights in the hospital will allow nurses to ensure that the kidneys remain uninfected. Procedures that require external incisions and/or the use of general anaesthesia may cause minor complications and require antibiotics to prevent infection. However, most patients still leave the hospital within two days.