SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Gallstones. Coloured X-ray of gallstones (orange) in the gallbladder of a patient. Gallstones are hard bodies formed by the precipitation and accumulation of cholesterol and/or bile salts. They most commonly occur in the gallbladder, the organ that acts as a reservoir for bile, but may occur in the bile duct. The presence of the stones causes attacks of extreme pain in the upper abdomen, often after a fatty meal. Blockage of the bile duct can also lead to jaundice, a yellowing of the tissues caused by the accumulation of bile pigments. The stones can be dissolved with drugs, destroyed by focused ultrasound or surgically removed.
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