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How are kidney cysts treated?

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Quick Answer

Simple kidney cysts that do not cause any symptoms and that do not interfere with kidney function typically require no treatment, according to Mayo Clinic. If a kidney cyst causes signs or symptoms, a doctor may drain it or surgically remove it.

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Full Answer

A doctor may monitor a kidney cyst using periodic ultrasound testing, as long as the cyst is not producing signs or symptoms, explains Mayo Clinic. The cyst may go away on its own. If the cyst changes or produces symptoms, the doctor is likely to recommend surgical removal, which involves accessing the cyst through several small abdominal incisions, draining the cyst and then cutting or burning away the walls of the cyst.

In certain rare cases, the doctor may recommend draining a cyst using a long, thin needle inserted through the skin, notes Mayo Clinic. Once the fluid has been drained, the doctor may fill the cyst with an alcohol solution. Cysts treated in this manner often recur.

Approximately 50 percent of people over the age of 50 have one or more simple kidney cysts, states WebMD. The cause of kidney cysts is unknown, but they are generally larger in older people and are more likely to occur in men. Because they usually do not produce symptoms, they are often diagnosed during an imaging test performed for another reason.

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