The gallbladder is a small organ located near the liver. It helps in fat digestion and storage of bile, which carries fat through the small intestine. Although it has many helpful functions in the human body, the gall bladder is not necessary for survival and can be surgically removed.
If the gallbladder is not working properly, gallstones (small pebble-like substances that form when bile stored in the gallbladder hardens) can form and cause pain and discomfort, especially after eating a fatty meal. In severe cases, these stones can lead to infection. Although gallstones can develop in anyone, women over forty are at greater risk.
At NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, we test for gallstones and when found, a physician can assist in determining the best treatment for a patient's gallstones.
When appropriate, surgery has a high success rate for gallstones and gallbladder disease. A cholecystectomy requires three to four small (one-inch) incisions in the abdomen to remove the gallbladder. Following this minimally invasive procedure, patients can resume their normal lives in a few days.