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Acquired Kidney Cysts

By

Enrica Fung

, MD, MPH, Loma Linda University School of Medicine

Last full review/revision Apr 2021| Content last modified Apr 2021
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Topic Resources

One or more fluid-filled sacs (cysts) sometimes develop in the kidneys without causing serious kidney problems.

Acquired cysts usually do not cause symptoms or affect kidney function. People may develop a single cyst or many cysts in one or both kidneys.

Acquired cysts usually cause no symptoms, but occasionally people have blood in the urine Blood in Urine Blood in the urine (hematuria) can make urine appear pink, red, or brown, depending on the amount of blood, how long it has been in the urine, and how acidic the urine is. An amount of blood... read more (hematuria), pain in the side Flank Pain Pain caused by kidney disorders usually is felt in the side (flank) or small of the back. Occasionally, the pain extends to the center of the abdomen. Usually pain occurs because the kidney’s... read more (flank), or infection (typically causing fever and pain in the side). People with acquired cysts, particularly people with a transplanted kidney Kidney Transplantation Kidney transplantation is the removal of a healthy kidney from a living or recently deceased person and then its transfer into a person with end-stage kidney failure. (See also Overview of Transplantation... read more Kidney Transplantation or who have been treated with dialysis Dialysis Dialysis is an artificial process for removing waste products and excess fluids from the body, a process that is needed when the kidneys are not functioning properly. There are a number of reasons... read more Dialysis for several years, are at risk of kidney cancer Kidney Cancer Kidney cancer may cause blood in the urine, pain in the side, or fever. Cancer is most often detected by accident when an imaging test is done for another reason. Diagnosis is by computed tomography... read more . For this reason, some doctors use ultrasonography Ultrasonography There are a variety of tests that can be used in the evaluation of a suspected kidney or urinary tract disorder. (See also Overview of the Urinary Tract.) X-rays are usually not helpful in evaluating... read more or computed tomography Computed tomography There are a variety of tests that can be used in the evaluation of a suspected kidney or urinary tract disorder. (See also Overview of the Urinary Tract.) X-rays are usually not helpful in evaluating... read more (CT) to periodically monitor people with acquired cysts.

Acquired cysts are most often detected when CT or ultrasonography is done for some other reason.

Cysts that cause persistent bleeding or infection may require drainage or, rarely, surgery to remove part of the kidney or even the entire kidney (partial or complete nephrectomy). Cysts that develop into kidney cancers Cancers of the Kidney and Genitourinary Tract read more may also require nephrectomy, but this happens only rarely.

More Information

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Test your knowledge
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inherited disorder in which multiple fluid-filled sacs, or cysts, form in the kidneys. Occasionally, symptoms of PKD are so mild that a person lives his or her entire life unaware of having the disorder. In addition to cysts, which typically enlarge over time, individuals with PKD often develop other medical issues. Which of the following is NOT a medical issue known to affect people with PKD?
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