The gallbladder is a small organ located under the liver in the right upper abdomen. Its function is to store bile made in the liver. Normally, the bile made in the liver travels to the intestine via the bile duct. Once in the intestine, bile aids in absorbtion of food. The gallbladder is NOT essential for normal digestion. It does contract when stimulated by eating to push more bile into the system but this is NOT a necessity.
Over time, bile in the gallbladder can form sludge or even stones (cholelithiasis). In some people these stones cause no symptoms and no problems. But, if stones block the gallbladder’s exit to the bile duct, pain can ensue. Swelling of the gallbladder can result and inflammation can take place. If severe, infection and even gangrene of the organ is possible. Consultation with the surgeon will help you understand who should have the organ removed.
Even without stones or sludge, if a gallbladder contracts abnormally, pain can ensue. This diagnosis is more difficult to secure and is called Biliary Dyskinesia. Specific tests beyond ultrasound are usually needed to help evaluate for this condition.