Location of gallbladder in human body

The gallbladder is an organ in the human digestive system. Learn more about its function, location on the body, and conditions that affect the.
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Gallbladder Tests Abdominal ultrasound : a noninvasive test in which a probe on the skin bounces high-frequency sound waves off structures in the belly. Ultrasound is an excellent test for gallstones and to check the gallbladder wall. HIDA scan cholescintigraphy : In this nuclear medicine test, radioactive dye is injected intravenously and is secreted into the bile. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography ERCP : Using a flexible tube inserted through the mouth, through the stomach, and into the small intestine, a doctor can see through the tube and inject dye into the bile system ducts.

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Tiny surgical tools can be used to treat some gallstone conditions during ERCP. MRCP images help guide further tests and treatments. Endoscopic ultrasound : A tiny ultrasound probe on the end of a flexible tube is inserted through the mouth to the intestines. Endoscopic ultrasound can help detect choledocholithiasis and gallstone pancreatitis.

Abdominal X-ray : Although they may be used to look for other problems in the abdomen, X-rays generally cannot diagnose gallbladder disease. However, X-rays may be able to detect gallstones.

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Antibiotics : Infection may be present during cholecystitis. Another set of intrahepatic ducts have been encountered with relative frequency. These structures develop from autonomic growth of the distal biliary ducts that arise from the pars hepatica of the septum transversum.

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In areas that where hepatic parenchyma is expected to regress, these ducts may fail to degenerate; hence, they give rise to subvesical ducts also known as the ducts of Luschka. These small channels often arise as lobular collections of ductules of varying dimensions. They often originate from the right lobe and may either drain to intrahepatic ducts, extrahepatic ducts, or the gallbladder. Several subtypes of subvesical ducts have been described.

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As described above, the segmental and sectoral ducts give rise to the left and right hepatic ducts. The left hepatic duct is slightly longer than the right hepatic duct, and it takes a more horizontal pathway than the right duct, as it courses along the base of segment IV of the liver. The right hepatic duct usually has a vertical course and is more susceptible to anatomical variations than the left hepatic duct.

While majority of patients will have normal anatomy of these structures, there are other variations described by Blumgart that should be familiar to surgeons involved in the hepatobiliary field. Both ducts merge on the lateral side of the porta hepatis to form the common hepatic duct. This portion of the biliary tree is about 2. All three structures can be found in the free border of the lesser omentum as it forms the gastroepiploic foramen of Winslow. The neck of the gallbladder funnels off medially into the cystic duct.

This tubular structure is usually 3 — 4 cm long and about 1 — 3 mm wide. The cystic duct mucosa is spirally folded and forms the valves of Heister ; which some anatomists believe help to maintain the patency of the duct. The cystic duct then takes a posterior course, along with and adherent to the common hepatic duct, prior to their union. In most patients, the cystic and common hepatic ducts unite above the duodenum near the porta hepatis. The union of the cystic and common hepatic ducts give rise to the 6 — 8 cm long common bile duct. On average, the adult common bile duct is about 6 mm wide; however, there have been reports of it increasing with age.

This structure can be anatomically divided into four portions:. The common bile duct and pancreatic duct often fuse after piercing the duodenum to form the hepatopancreatic duct. The duct emerges on the luminal surface of the second part of the duodenum as the hepatopancreatic ampulla of Vater. Recall that there are two circular muscular structures around the hepatopancreatic ampulla — superior and inferior sphincter choledochus. The superior sphincter choledochus is located around the distal portion of the common bile duct.

There is also a similar sphincter around the distal aspect of the main pancreatic duct. Therefore, release of contents from the biliary tract and pancreatic duct can be regulated independently. The inferior sphincter choledochus becomes the hepatopancreatic sphincter of Oddi. Like most of the intra-abdominal viscus, the gallbladder has three distinct layers within its wall. Most of these layers are also continuous throughout the extrahepatic biliary system.


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The sac and ducts are equipped with a mucous membrane, muscular layer and surrounding serosa. The yellow-brown mucosa is formed from simple columnar epithelium that sits on the lamina propria. These cells possess microvilli at the apical surface and are these cells rich in mitochondria.

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Subsequently, water will diffuse along the osmotic gradient generated by the ionic shift. As a result, bile can be concentrated as it is stored in the gallbladder. The luminal surface of the gallbladder — much like that of the small intestines — is highly folded into rugae , and has a honeycomb appearance. However, unlike the small intestines, the rugae are temporary structures that go away once the gallbladder becomes distended. There are also diverticula within the mucosa that extend to the muscular layer known as the crypts of Luschka.

The relatively loose submucosa beneath the mucosa layer is rich in elastic fibers , blood vessels and lymphatics. Muscularis propria is a relatively thin layer of smooth muscle fibres arranged haphazardly. These muscle fibres possess CCK receptors, and there responds to cholecystokinin released from enteroendocrine cells of the duodenum in response to the presence of fats and proteins in the intestines.

As a result, concentrated bile from the gallbladder is pumped into the cystic duct, and transported to the duodenum via the common bile duct. The sac is enclosed in a thin sheet of serosa external adventitia. The serosa is usually confined to the fundus of the gallbladder, and extends circumferentially around the inferior sides of the body and neck of the sac. However, in the mesenteric gallbladder, the serosa continues superiorly, across the entire gallbladder, to blend with the serosa of the mesentery. The intraparenchymal gallbladder would not have an associated serosa.

There is usually a collection of adipocytes and loose connective peritoneal tissue forming a subserosa. The cystic duct and extrahepatic biliary tree also possess similar histological layers. The luminal surface is lined by cholangiocytes.

Gallstones: Treatments, symptoms, and causes

These are simple cuboidal or low columnar epithelial cells that resides on the lamina propria. The submucosa is thin and contains tubuloalveolar mucous glands at some areas along the cystic duct. A thin muscular layer with circular, oblique, and longitudinal smooth muscle fibres surrounds the entire biliary system within a fibrous connective tissue sheath. However, it gradually becomes thicker as the duct approaches its terminal point at the ampulla of Vater.

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The hepatopancreatic duct also has villous folds with smooth myocytes at its core; they function as one way valves to prevent reflux of duodenal contents into the hepatopancreatic duct. The space can be visualized as a pyramid with apices in the following areas:.