The gallbladder is a small sac-like organ in the abdomen located right under the liver. Its job is to store and release bile that is delivered to it by the liver. After a meal, hormones trigger the gallbladder instructing it to release bile into the section of the small intestine called the duodenum. The bile helps to break down fat and amino acids, facilitating digestion.
A common condition called gallstones is when substances in the gallbladder crystallize forming little “stones” in the gallbladder. This condition can be very painful, even causing nausea and inflammation. When bile becomes too thick in can create blockages in the ducts, causing infection.
Gallbladder removal, or cholecystectomy, can be performed due to complications with the gallbladder. While bile does aid in digestion, the gallbladder itself is not an essential organ, and removing it is a safe procedure with no observable problems in the long run. The liver will still produce bile, but the excess will not be stored.