An Overview of the Anatomy & Function of the Gallbladder

Anatomy & Function of the Gallbladder

Anatomy & Function of the Gallbladder

The gallbladder is a small, hollow, pear-shaped organ that facilitates digestion. Located on the right side of the abdominal cavity, beneath the liver, the gallbladder is primarily responsible for storing bile (a digestive enzyme made by the liver).

Gallbladders are not vital organs, meaning that people can live without them. When gallstones or other gallbladder problems arise, removing the diseased gallbladder – via open or laparoscopic surgery – may be necessary. This gallbladder removal procedure is generally referred to as cholecystectomy.

How the Gallbladder Works

The gallbladder is made up of three basic parts:

  • The fundus, which is the round end of the organ
  • The body, which makes contact with the liver
  • The neck, which tapers out and connects with the gallbladder ducts (i.e., the cystic duct and the common bile duct).

The gallbladder stores bile in its absorbent lining. Before a meal is eaten, the gallbladder will typically be full of bile. Normally functioning gallbladders can typically hold about 100 milliliters (or roughly 3.5 ounces) of bile. At full capacity, gallbladders generally range from 1.6 to 3.1 inches in length.

After food has been consumed, the gallbladder will release bile to the small intestines (via a series of ducts) to help break down and digest fats.

Gallbladder Problems

When gallbladder problems arise, this organ will typically have trouble holding and/or releasing bile. Some of the most common problems that can affect the gallbladder and cause digestive (or other health) complications include (but may not be limited to):

  • Gallstones (cholelithiasis), which form when bile in the gallbladder begins to crystallize (for reasons that remain unknown)
  • Gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis), which may result from the presence of gallstones or other health issues
  • Gallbladder cancer, which can have symptoms that mirror gallstones (Given that the early stages of gallbladder cancer have generic or minimal symptoms, this condition is frequently not diagnosed until later stages.)
  • Gallstone pancreatitis, which is typically caused by gallstones preventing the pancreas from draining.

When these (or other) gallbladder problems arise:

  • It’s critical to seek emergency medical care to prevent further complications. Generally, an ultrasound (or some other imaging test) will be conducted to diagnose gallbladder problems.
  • Gallbladder removal surgery (traditional or laparoscopic) may be necessary.

Hurt in Gallbladder Surgery? Contact a Midland Medical Malpractice Lawyer at Buckingham Barrera Law Firm

If you or a loved one has been harmed during a gallbladder removal surgery, contact a Midland medical malpractice lawyer at Buckingham Barrera Law Firm by calling (432) 570-1919 or by emailing our firm via the contact form on this page. Our lawyers are ready to help you determine if medical negligence caused your injuries and, if so, what your best options are for recovery and justice.

Although we cannot undo the past – and although no sum of money will ever erase the harm caused by medical mistakes, our attorneys are here for you now – and they can make a big difference in your case, your recovery and your future.

From offices based in Midland, our skilled lawyers provide superior service and effective legal advocacy to injured people throughout Midland County, the state of Texas, the state of New Mexico, and the U.S.