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Complex appearing irregularly margined cyst mid pole

Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 2017

Hello Everyone, 

I was just referred for a CT scan after an ultrasound (for an unrelated issue) showed a "complex appearing irregular margined cyst mid pole of the left kidney measuring 2.1 x 1.9 x 2.3 cm". I realize that the CT scan will likely tell me more but, as you well know, the waiting is so scary. I wasn't worried when I was first told because I have a simple cyst on my right kidney and really didn't know the difference (good ole' google took care of that!). My anxiety is made worse by the fact that I went through this a year and a half ago when a mass was found on my right kidney during an utrasound, a subsequent CT found nothing but renal scarring (the simple cyst was found later during an ultrasound to look at my gallbladder). I guess my biggest question is what are my chances of getting that lucky again? How often are the ulstrasounds wrong and what is thought to be a complex cyst is found to be just a simple cyst? You would think having been through this before, that I would be calmer but this feels a lot scarier for some reason - I think its the words "irregular margine" that have me so worried. Also, what is the difference between a complex cyst and a mass?


icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3326
Joined: Jan 2010




The CT will give you a clearer answer. At 2 cm your prognosis is excellent even if something naughty shows up on the CT. For now lets hope it is nothing.




stub1969's picture
Posts: 888
Joined: Jul 2016

Welcome, Mick.  My process was the opposite.  I had a CT scan to monitor kidney stones.   It picked up a tumor and my nephrologist ordered an US.  The US confirmed blood flow within the tumor which really pointed to cancer.  You can read about my journey by clicking on my "name". 

I know your mind is racing right now which is bringing about a lot of anxiety.  As difficult as this is.....try to relax and let the process run its course.  If it is cancer...you caught it early and will probably be cured after surgery.  If it isn't...I suggest buying a lottery ticket because you are extremely lucky.

Wishing you only the best.


lobbyist0724's picture
Posts: 446
Joined: Sep 2016

I don't think you should worry about the irregular margin at this point, it is just a finding that the cyst doesn't look like a simple cyst. Also, most of the cysts are benign, so so don't put too much pressure on yourself and wait until you received the CT scan. Usually, they classify the complex cyst based on the Bosniak classification, please take a look at the medical paper with the link below. It is a Canadian guideline on the management of Cystic Renal Mass. Also, your cyst is still s very small.

Hope this help


Gtngbtr58 @aol.com's picture
Gtngbtr58 @aol.com
Posts: 206
Joined: Oct 2017

To anyone diagnosed or suspects RCC is to stay off google...It made me CRAZY and it didn't help one bit.  This is the place to be for real time advise-good luck June

Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 2017

Thank you all for your quick and supportive responses. I'm feeling a lot better, more confused about how all of this stuff works, but feeling pretty reassured. My first foray onto google said "85% to 90% of complex cysts are cancerous" so I was quite disturbed.  But, with further research, I was able to figure out that all "complex cyst" really seems to mean is that there appears to be a cyst (which I know to be pretty common) but this one just looks a little strange. Since I've had so many different reports on what my kidneys look like (a mass, not a mass, scarring, no scarring, a cyst on the right, now a cyst on the left, hydronephrosis, no hydronephrosis and, a never before noted dromedary hump (found this today on an ultrasound report from earlier this year). Because of all of these, I've pretty much come to the conclusion that my kidneys just like to strike different poses when taking pics Laughing  and, even if there does turn out to be an issue, after reviewing this site I feel really reassured that it will work out okay in the end. Again, thanks so much for your answers. I do have a question though, my doctor has ordered a CT scan without contrast, from what I know about CT scans it would seem a scan with contrast would be more appropriate. I don't want to have one done and then have to take off work for another one so I put in a call to my dr. to clarify but never heard back. What do you guys know about this? My dr. is a primary dr., not a specialist, so I'm thinking, if she doesn't change it I may seek a second opinion before I get this done (after hearing from you guys I feel comfortable taking my time and doing it right the first time). What do you guys think?


icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3326
Joined: Jan 2010

Mick, Talk to the doctor about contrast and if necessary see a Urologist first. Many times the test is ordered with and w/o contrst. That being  said if you have low kidney function (a low GFR or Bun Creatine ratio) contrast can be very bad for your kidney. So be your own advocate and ask these questions.




Allochka's picture
Posts: 946
Joined: Nov 2014

My advise would be :

Don't google,

even if its cancer -  you chances are great with 2 cm tumor


Posts: 8
Joined: May 2017

A nurse once told me that the internet was a rabbit hole and that if I should enter at my own risk. She was so right. Some of the best advice I recieved.

hardo718's picture
Posts: 853
Joined: Jan 2016

Mine was a complex cyst.  Beware, if you don't have the CT with contrast you very well may have to have another.  That's exactly what happened with me.

A dromedary hump?  Are you part camel?  haha  

In all seriousness, stay on top of this and seek out a uro/onc doc.

Best wishes,


Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 2017

Lol! That is exactly what I thought when I first put in dromedary hump and forgot the renal part! Waiting on results from my CT scan - thinking today or tomorrow. 


Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 2017

I have received the report from the CT scan and I believe everything looks okay. The report indicates nothing at all about the left kidney (the cyst in question from the US) but advises that there is a small cyst (no clarification on simple or complex) on the right kidney. "Right kidney superior pole 1.1 x 1.2 cm hypodense lesion shows 13 Hounsfield units average density,
compatible with fluid attenuation" From what I've read this seems to mean it enhanced a little but will probably just be something to watch. I'll wait to hear from my doc before I celebrate but feel pretty good! Of course, I am curious about the "disappeared" left kidney cyst, is this normal for cyst to come and go? The first time I went through this it was an almost 3cm mass that disappeared before the CT and now a cyst - just wondering if this has happened to anyone else? I'm also wondering about the Bosniak Classification mentioned above - the radiologist didn't mention anything about that. Thoughts?


WeAreWarriors's picture
Posts: 12
Joined: May 2019

Hi Mick,

I am curious about the status of the cyst(s) my situation was similar but after almost 6 months my simple "cyst" grew from 1.5 to 3.2 centimeters. CTs confirmed that rapid growth. Turns out it was not a simple cyst. It was Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma. I had an earlier cyst that I was told had ruptured and caused back pain and blood in urine.

thanks for any update!

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