STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Gallstone. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the surface of a gallstone. These are hard deposits which develop in the gallbladder. They mainly consist of the lipid cholesterol, but can also contain bile pigments and calcium compounds. The gallbladder stores and expels the fat emulsifier bile into the small intestine. When the chemical composition of the bile is upset, gallstones can develop. Gallstones are most common in women, the elderly and the obese. They usually cause no symptoms unless one becomes stuck in the bile duct, which can lead to acute pain, jaundice and infection. Surgical removal of the gallbladder may be needed. Magnification unknown.
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