Dublin - Ireland wing Tommy Bowe could miss his country's tour to New Zealand later this year following surgery to remove a haematoma.
Bowe's club Ospreys have confirmed the 28-year-old will have an operation in Ireland on Friday to deal with the haematoma, which has pushed into his kidney and caused raised blood pressure.
Bowe, who will rejoin Ulster next season, could face four months out of action, putting his chances of making the New Zealand trip in doubt.
The 49 times-capped wing scored five tries during Ireland's recent Six Nations campaign, including doubles against Italy and France, and, if fit, he would be a key part of coach Declan Kidney's plans for the three Test matches against New Zealand in June.
"Having discovered he was suffering from high blood pressure earlier this year, he has been put through a number of medical tests to identify the cause of the problem," the Ospreys said in a statement.
"These tests have shown that he has, in the past, suffered a haematoma that is pushing into his left kidney, with further tests indicating that this is the reason for the raised blood pressure.
"After considerable consultation with specialists in both Ireland and Wales, Tommy has opted to go down the route of surgical removal of the haematoma in an effort to solve the problem.
"He is being operated on in Ireland today, before returning to Wales post-op to convalesce.
"Because of the surgery, he will not be able to play any further part for the Ospreys this season, ahead of his return to Ulster for next season.
"Recovery time post-operation is unclear, but he could be sidelined for up to four months."
Bowe, a 2009 British and Irish Lion in South Africa, added: "Obviously, this news unfortunately means that I won't get to wear the Ospreys shirt again.
"But it is important that I get this problem sorted as soon as possible.
"Hopefully, the Ospreys will have a home (RaboDirect PRO12) semi-final and final in May so that I can still get down to the Liberty Stadium to say farewell and a big thank you to the supporters."