ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Porcelain gallbladder with gallstones, coloured X-ray. This is a rare condition where the organ's wall (light red outline) becomes encrusted with deposits of calcium salts. The causes are not clearly known, but inflammation, bleeding in the wall or an imbalance of calcium metabolism may be involved. Gallbladders found to have the condition are removed because it is associated with gallbladder cancer. As in most cases, gallstones (darker red) are present here; they form when components of the gallbladder's bile (cholesterol, calcium salts and bile pigments) precipitate out. Bile helps digestion and gets rid of some wastes.
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