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Kidney tumor - cysts, children, adult benign

Cystic non-neoplastic lesions

Simple cysts

Reviewers: Mandolin Ziadie, M.D. (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 30 March 2012, last major update December 2011
Copyright: (c) 2003-2012, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.


● Occasional finding that increases with age (0.1% in children, 20% at age 50+ years) and may present as a mass lesion

Clinical features

● 65% of renal masses, may be confused with cystic renal cell carcinoma, but avascular with smooth contours
● May calcify
● Hemorrhage may cause acute pain


● Percutaneous aspiration
● Continuous negative-pressure catheter drainage (AJR Am J Roentgenol 2008;190:1193)
● Sclerotherapy

Gross description

● Thin-walled cortical cysts, measuring up to 10 cm, which are filled with clear yellow fluid

Gross images

Simple cyst of upper pole

Large cyst

Multiple, smooth renal cysts filled with serous fluid

Solitary, smooth kidney cyst (lower pole) filled with serous fluid

Large cortical cysts with dark red blood

Micro description

● Single layer of cuboidal, flattened or atrophic epithelium
● May have thickened walls with hemosiderin-laden macrophages and atrophic epithelium

End of Kidney tumor - cysts, children, adult benign > Cystic non-neoplastic lesions > Simple cysts

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