The Gallbladder is a pear-shaped receptacle and sits just below the liver and serves as a storage reservoir for bile. Types of gallbladder disease include inflammation, infection, stones or blockage of the gallbladder. An ultrasound imaging health scan screens the gallbladder for gallstones or other abnormalities.
Preparation needed for your Gallbladder health screening:
- For best results, we request that you fast for 6 hours prior to your screening.
- Take medications as normal.
- Wear comfortable clothing (a loose fitting shirt or blouse) short sleeves are preferred.
- Do not wear neck jewelry or turtlenecks.
- If you are a diabetic, please bring a snack or beverage to eat or drink after the screening is completed.
What is the Gallbladder?
The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ that stores and concentrates bile. The gallbladder is connected to the liver by the hepatic duct. It is approximately 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10.2 cm) long and about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide. The function of the gallbladder is to store bile and concentrate. Bile is a digestive liquid continually secreted by the liver. The bile emulsifies fats and neutralizes acids in partly digested food. A muscular valve in the common bile duct opens, and the bile flows from the gallbladder into the cystic duct, along the common bile duct, and into the duodenum (part of the small intestine).
Why is the Gallbladder Screening Performed?
An ultrasound is usually the first imaging investigation undertaken in suspected gallbladder disorder. Ultrasound can detect:
- Gallstones in the gallbladder (but not reliably in bile ducts) as small as 2 mm
- Thickened gallbladder wall in a gallbladder inflammation with gallstones (not reliable if no stones)
- Cancer mass in the gallbladder can be detected in 50-75% of cases
What is a gallstone?
Gallstones form when liquid stored in the gallbladder hardens into pieces of stone-like material. The liquid, called bile, is used to help the body digest fats. Bile is made in the liver, then stored in the gallbladder until the body needs to digest fat. At that time, the gallbladder contracts and pushes the bile into a tube--called the common bile duct--that carries it to the small intestine, where it helps with digestion.
What causes gallstones?
Gallstones or cholesterol stones form when bile contains too much cholesterol, too much bilirubin, or not enough bile salts, or when the gallbladder does not empty as it should for some other reason.Gallbladder Screening
Author: Robin Badillo