BIOMEDICAL IMAGING UNIT, SOUTHAMPTON GENERAL HOSPITAL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BIOMEDICAL IMAGING UNIT, SOUTHAMPTON GENERAL HOSPITAL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Gallstone fractured to show its crystalline interior. Gallstones form in the gall bladder, a small organ that stores bile, which is produced by the liver, until it is needed. When there is an imbalance in the chemical composition of the bile, cholesterol and bile pigments may crystallise. Over time these crystals can develop into gallstones. Gallstones are usually symptomless unless one obstructs the bile duct, which can cause acute pain, jaundice and infection. Treatment is with drugs to dissolve the stones or surgical removal of the gall bladder.
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