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the pear-shaped organ located below the liver. It serves as a storage place for bile.
Diagnostic Studies. Laboratory tests helpful in the diagnosis of gallbladder and biliary tract diseases include evaluation of direct bilirubin and alkaline phosphatase, both of which are elevated in biliary tract disease. The presence of bile in the urine is indicative of biliary obstruction.

One of the most common radiologic techniques for diagnosis of gallbladder disease is ultrasonography. It is a noninvasive procedure that can help differentiate between biliary obstruction and liver disease. Abnormal patterns on the graph can show an enlarged gallbladder, obstruction of the common bile duct, dilatation in the biliary tree, and the presence of stones in the gallbladder and common bile duct. Ultrasonography has the advantages of being quick, requiring no special preparation of the patient, and avoiding the risks of exposure to radiation from x-rays.

Another commonly used radiologic study is radionuclide imaging, using an intravenous injection of 99Tc iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) or some other radioisotope that has an affinity for the biliary tree and concentrates at that site.

Oral cholecystography, in which an iodinated radiopaque contrast medium is ingested, absorbed by the intestines, and excreted by the liver in the bile, is useful in opacification of the gallbladder. However, this method can be used only in patients without acute symptoms.

Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography can be used to visualize the biliary ducts in jaundiced patients. A needle is inserted through the skin into the liver. The contrast medium is then injected into the liver and subsequently excreted in the biliary system. Obstructions and distention of the bile ducts can thus be observed, after which the ducts are drained of bile that has accumulated behind the obstruction.

When a suspected disorder of the gallbladder cannot be identified by any of the above procedures, the physician may choose to perform endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). Under fluoroscopic control the endoscope is inserted into the mouth and guided through the esophagus and down to the descending duodenum. Cannulas are then directed through the endoscope and placed in the common bile duct; through them a contrast medium is injected into the ducts so that they can be inspected by fluoroscopy.

Unfortunately, none of the diagnostic tests is completely reliable, and between 5 and 10 per cent of patients with biliary disease have repeated normal test values. Many such patients eventually have exploratory surgery because of persistence of symptoms. In such cases the gallbladder is often inflamed but without stones, or it may contain grains of sand too small to be visualized by the testing procedures.
Surgery of the Gallbladder and the Biliary Tree. The most common operation on the biliary system is cholecystectomy, the removal of the gallbladder. cholecystostomy, or drainage of the gallbladder, is rarely done today. choledochotomy, exploration of the common bile duct, is indicated if there are stones or a tumor obstructing the major drainage system. The duct is generally explored directly, but in difficult cases it may be approached through the wall of the duodenum.

Biliary surgery is usually followed by leakage of bile from the repaired common duct or from the gallbladder bed. Accordingly, many surgeons drain the gallbladder bed with a soft drain for several days. If the common duct is opened, drainage of bile can be accomplished by the insertion of a T-tube, which decompresses the common duct until it is healed. T-tubes are generally left in place for 10 days or more in order to develop a tract through which bile can drain after the T-tube is removed. A T-tube cholangiogram is usually performed prior to the removal of the tube in order to determine that the common bile duct is patent and free of stones. If stones are found, they can be removed through the tube tract by instruments inserted under x-ray control.

Minimally invasive techniques of surgery are dramatically changing cholecystectomy. Laser and endoscopic procedures to remove the gallbladder do not require insertion of a T-tube.
T-tube placement in gallbladder surgery. The surgeon ties off the cystic duct and sutures the T-tube into the common bile duct, with the short arms of the T-tube toward the hepatic duct and duodenum. The long arm of the T-tube exits the body near the incision site. Skin suture and tape secure placement. From Polaski and Tatro, 1996.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


(gawl'blad-ĕr), [TA]
A pear-shaped organ on the inferior surface of the liver, in a hollow between the right lobe and the quadrate lobe; it serves as a storage reservoir for bile.
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012



gall bladder

A small, pear-shaped muscular sac under the right lobe of the liver, where bile secreted by the liver is stored until needed by the body for digestion.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


(gawl'blad-ĕr) [TA]
A pear-shaped receptacle on the inferior surface of the liver, in a hollow between the right lobe and the quadrate lobe; it serves as a storage reservoir for bile.
Synonym(s): vesica biliaris [TA] , cholecyst, cholecystis.
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


A small, pear-shaped organ in the upper right hand corner of the abdomen. It is connected by a series of ducts (tube-like channels) to the liver, pancreas, and duodenum (first part of the small intestine). The gallbladder receives bile from the liver, and concentrates and stores it. After a meal, bile is squeezed out of the gallbladder into the intestine, where it aids in digestion of food.
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Patient discussion about gallbladder

Q. how people deal with after gallbladder removal


Q. What arethe pros and cons of removingmy gallbladder due to gallstones

A. Pro - solves the problem (gallstones usually don't form in the absence of gall bladder

Cons - operation, with its complications: anesthesia, incision, hernia in the incision, infection etc.
Usually there are no chronic consequences for the absence of gallbladder.

However, this is only general advice - if you have any questions regarding this subject, you should consult a doctor (e.g. general surgeon).

You may read more here:

Q. What is involved in Gall Bladder surgery?

A. If you refer to removal of the gal bladder due to stones, then it may be performed either in an open approach (using an arch-like incision in your right upper abdomen) or in a laparoscopic approach (using only three small incisions to insert devices into your abdomen). The operation itself is not long and not associated with significant problems after it.

More discussions about gallbladder
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