Gallstones

Cholelithiasis; Gallbladder attack; Biliary colic; Gallstone attack; Biliary calculus: chenodeoxycholic acids (CDCA); Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA, ursodiol); Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)-gallstones

Gallstones are hard deposits that form inside the gallbladder. Gallstones may be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball.

Digestive system

The esophagus, stomach, large and small intestine, aided by the liver, gallbladder and pancreas convert the nutritive components of food into energy and break down the non-nutritive components into waste to be excreted.

Kidney cyst with gallstones, CT scan

A CT scan of the upper abdomen showing a fist-sized cyst of the left kidney and gallstones (the kidney cyst was found by chance; there were no symptoms).

Gallstones, cholangiogram

A cholecystogram in a patient with gallstones.

Cholecystolithiasis

Cholecystolithiasis. CT scan of the upper abdomen showing multiple gallstones.

Cholelithiasis

Normally a balance of bile salts, lecithin and cholesterol keep gallstones from forming. If there are abnormally high levels of bile salts or, more commonly, cholesterol, stones can form. Symptoms usually occur when the stones block one of the biliary ducts or gallstones may be discovered upon routine x-ray or abdominal CT study.

Gallbladder

The gallbladder is a muscular sac located under the liver. It stores and concentrates the bile produced in the liver that is not immediately needed for digestion. Bile is released from the gallbladder into the small intestine in response to food. The pancreatic duct joins the common bile duct at the small intestine adding enzymes to aid in digestion.

Gallbladder removal - Series

The gallbladder is located in the abdomen on the underside of the liver. The gallbladder stores bile (digestive fluid) from the liver.

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

Treatment

Outlook (Prognosis)

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Prevention