USC Surgery / Conditions / Gallstones/Gallbladder Disease

The gallbladder is a small organ underneath the liver that stores bile to help digest fat in the small intestine. Many conditions that can affect the gallbladder collectively are known as gallbladder disease.

Gallstones are hardened bits of fluid that form in the gallbladder. While gallstones vary in size and severity, and many times they are asymptomatic and do not require treatment, they can become stuck in a biliary duct and cause such symptoms as sudden abdominal pain, back pain, shoulder pain, nausea and vomiting. More severe cases require gallbladder removal surgery.

Other gallbladder diseases include cholecystitis, choledocholithiasis, acalculous gallbladder disease, biliary dyskinesia, gallbladder cancer and gallbladder polyps.