gallstone

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gall bladder

gall bladder, small pear-shaped sac that stores and concentrates bile. It is connected to the liver (which produces the bile) by the hepatic duct. When food containing fat reaches the small intestine, the hormone cholecystokinin is produced by cells in the intestinal wall and carried to the gall bladder via the bloodstream. The hormone causes the gall bladder to contract, forcing bile into the common bile duct. A valve, which opens only when food is present in the intestine, allows bile to flow from the common bile duct into the duodenum where it functions in the process of fat digestion.

The substances contained in bile sometimes crystallize in the gall bladder, forming gallstones. These small, hard concretions are more common in persons over 40, especially in women and the obese. They can cause inflammation of the gall bladder, a disorder that produces symptoms similar to those of indigestion, especially after a fatty meal is consumed. If a stone becomes lodged in the bile duct, it produces severe pain. Gallstones may pass out of the body spontaneously; however, serious blockage is treated by removing the gall bladder surgically.

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gallstone

[′gȯl‚stōn]
(pathology)
A nodule formed in the gallbladder or biliary tubes and composed of calcium, cholesterol, or bilirubin, or a combination of these.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

gallstone

Pathol a small hard concretion of cholesterol, bile pigments, and lime salts, formed in the gall bladder or its ducts
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005