Dictionary > Gallbladder


A small, pear-shaped, muscular, hollow organ responsible for storing bile, and for creating insulin in the body
The gallbladder is one of the organs of the digestive system of animals. Invertebrates do not have gallbladders but most vertebrates do. Humans, for instance, have a gallbladder that is small and pear-shaped. It appears as a hollow, muscular sac found beneath the right lobe of the liver. It has three main sections: neck, body, and fundus. The neck is continuous with the cystic duct. A spheroidal pouch that forms at the junction of the neck of the gallbladder and the cystic duct is referred to as the Hartmann’s pouch. The body of the gallbladder is in contact with the liver (specifically at the gallbladder fossa). The fundus is the rounded distal section of the gallbladder.1 The main function of the gallbladder is for storing bile, which is also called gall (thus the name of the organ). It is capable of storing 30 to 60 mL of bile at any one time.2 Gallstones may form inside the gallbladder. The presence of gallstones in the gallbladder may eventually lead to acute cholesystitis. Gallstones may also be found in other parts of the biliary tract and can be life-threatening as their presence may lead to ascending cholangitis or pancreatitis. Gallbladders may be removed surgically via cholecystectomy. Certain mammals lack a gallbladder, such as horses, deer, and rats.3

  • gall bladder


  • cholecyst
  • biliary vesicle
  • See also:

    Related term(s):

  • Large gallbladder
  • Adenomyomatosis of gallbladder
  • Reference(s):

    1 Drake, R., Vogl, W. & Mitchell, A. (2015). Gray’s anatomy for students. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

    2 Hall, A. C. & Guyton, J. E. (2005). Textbook of medical physiology (11th ed.). Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders. pp. 802–804.

    3 Romer, A. S. & Parsons, T. S. (1977). The Vertebrate Body. Philadelphia, PA: Holt-Saunders International. p. 355.

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