Gallbladder

What Is The Gallbladder?
The gallbladder is a hollow, pear-shaped organ, located in the upper right-hand part of the abdomen, just beneath the liver and attached to it. The gallbladder is about 3 to 4 inches long and its function is to store bile, a thick, greenish yellow liquid constantly made by the liver. The gallbladder empties the bile into the duodenum ( the first part of the small intestine) when food arrives there from the stomach.
 

 What Are Gallstones?
Gallstones form in the gallbladder. Some may be the size of a grain of sand, or they may be crystals that can be seen only with a microscope. Others may be the size of a golf ball. People can develop just one large stone, hundreds of smaller stones, or combinations of both.
 

What Are The Symptoms Of Gallstones? 
Gallstones may be silent or cause mild or severe symptoms.
Gallstones become problematic when they:
- Irritate the gallbladder, causing a condition called cholecystitis. When gallstones partially block the flow of bile out of the gallbladder, bile remaining in the gallbladder becomes stronger or more concentrated. That irritates the bladder walls, causing inflammation.
- Get stuck in gallbladder or cystic duct causing sudden severe pain called biliary colic.
- Get stuck in the common bile duct causng jaundice.
- Block the opening of the pancreatic duct which causes digestive enzymes to become trapped inside the pancreas. The result can be a very painful and dangerous inflammation of the pancreas called pancreatitis.

 

Who Is At Risk For Gallstones?
 Gallstones can develop in anyone and no age is exempt. They are more commonly seen in females. A common maxim for gallstone disease is "female, fat, fertile and forty".
 

 How Are Gallstones Diagnosed?
The symptoms are usually suggestive and the diagnosis is confirmed by an ultrasound of the abdomen.

How Are Gallstones Treated?
 Surgical removal of the gallbladder is the cure for gallstone disease. The surgical options are:
- Traditional Open Surgery
- Conventional Laparoscopic Surgery
- Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery

 Is Digestion Affected After The Removal Of Gallbladder?
 Digestion is normal without a gallbladder and there is no need for a change in diet or a special diet. When the gallbladder is removed, the liver continues to make bile. Instead of being stored in the gallbladder, however, the bile flows directly into the small intestine.

 

Normal Gallbladder

A distended thin walled gallbladder. This situation develops over a period of a few days and is the result of inability of the gallbladder to empty itself as a stone is blocking the neck of the gallbladder. A patient with this condition is in a lot of pain.

 

 

Distended Gallbladder


A distended thin walled gallbladder. This situation develops over a period of a few days and is the result of inability of the gallbladder to empty itself as a stone is blocking the neck of the gallbladder. A patient with this condition is in a lot of pain.

 

 

Gallbladder Inflammation

Another consequence of repeated inflammation of the gallbladder. The duodenum has over a period of time become densely adherent to the gallbladder making separation difficult. At times a communication develops between the two organs.

 

Fat Laden Omentum 

Image shows the liver lifted by instruments to reveal a gallbladder buried in fat laden omentum. This is a protective response of the body, isolating an inflamed gallbladder to restrict the infection.