JOHN BAVOSI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN BAVOSI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Gallstones in gallbladder. Cutaway illustration of gallstones (centre left) in the gallbladder (green). Various biliary ducts are also shown. Gallstones are hard deposits of salts or cholesterol that form in the gallbladder when the chemical composition of bile is upset. They usually cause no symptoms unless one becomes stuck in the bile duct, which can lead to acute pain, jaundice, infection, and the formation of a liver abscess. If necessary the gall bladder may be surgically removed. The biliary ducts are (from top): the common hepatic duct, the cystic duct, the common bile duct, and the pancreatic duct. The latter two join at the ampulla of Vater (bottom left).
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