MARTIN / CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARTIN / CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Gallstones. Excised specimen of a human gall bladder, opened to show gallstones. The stones are coloured yellow and of different shapes and sizes. Gallstones are hard masses, composed of bile pigments, cholesterol and calcium salts. Their formation (called cholelithiasis) occurs when the physical characteristics of the bile stored in the gall bladder alters. Inflammation of the gall bladder may also cause gallstones to form. Gall- stones may not cause problems, or may lead to severe pain or obstruction. When symptoms are severe, cholecystectomy or surgical removal of the gall bladder is carried out.
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