PHT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Gallstones. Coloured magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan showing a section through the gall bladder (black, centre left) of a patient with gallstones (orange). Gallstones are hard deposits of cholesterol or salts that cause acute pain if one becomes stuck in the outlet duct of the gall bladder. In many cases they do not cause symptoms. In severe cases, surgery to remove the stones may be required. Other treatments include the use of bile salts to dissolve the stones, or ultrasound waves to break them up. The gall bladder is 7-10 centimetres long. It lies on the right-hand-side of the body, below the liver, and stores bile, the digestive secretion produced by the liver.
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