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"What is a calcified cyst?"


I'm a woman in my 40s and I've been having a lot of trouble with back pain and trouble in urinating. My doctor gave me a cat scan and said that I have a cyst in my kidney. He kept repeating that my cyst was calcified - if he explained the meaning of this, I missed it. What is a calcified cyst?


This is an example of how we as physicians need to improve our communication with our patients. Sometimes we discuss findings of our studies without actually explaining what they mean. In this case, the fact that your cyst is calcified is one of many factors that help describe what it might be.

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Kidney cysts are common. What we do with them depends on many factors and to help determine their risk of being something bad, we have a scoring system. Simple cysts with or without calcium are of no significance. On the other hand complex cysts with or without calcium need biopsy. Thus, the presence or absence of calcium does not absolutely determine what the cyst is. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with the physician that originally ordered the CT scan. Have him or her go through the scan in detail with you including the official radiologists read and an explanation of all the findings including the characteristics of this cyst. In addition you should discuss what the next step is. You may or may not need to go for a biopsy of the lesion. It also might be that this cyst has nothing to do with the fact that you are having back pain and trouble urinating. In this case you will need further work up for these symptoms. Good luck.

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