So, what exactly is the purpose of this little green cystic structure we know as the gallbladder?
I'm sure you know someone in your family or your circle of friends
who's had their gallbladder removed and they're still doing just fine.
It is an important organ, but you can live without it.
Let's talk about what the gallbladder does.
Now, our graphic there, you have the liver, right and left side,
you see the biliary tract system coming out of the right and left part of the liver,
down to the common hepatic duct, then you see where the gallbladder connects.
Remember, it lives tucked right up underneath your liver, there is the gallbladder,
continue following that common bile duct down to the pancreas,
and you see it enters into the small intestine.
Remember, you don't really have that window or door in the small intestine.
We just put it there so you think about things emptying into that part of the small intestine.
Now, the gallbladder's really not that big. It's a pear-shaped sack. It's really what it is.
It's about 3-6 inches or 7.5-15 cm long.
Now, its main function is to receive bile from the liver, store bile, concentrate bile,
and then release bile when it's supposed to. It doesn't sound very cool,
but it's actually fairly important process in your body.
It needs to be able to receive it, store it, concentrate it, and then release it appropriately.
Now, we've looked at this picture before, but I wanted to bring it back to show you.
Because you'll see there, you have the pear-shaped organ, the gallbladder,
the light green color is the unconcentrated bile.
That's just come in fresh from the liver and you see the dark green circle
that represents concentrated bile.
Cuz remember, this gallbladder's pretty good at that,
up to 90% of the water in bile is absorbed back into the bloodstream.
That makes this bile much more powerful and much more concentrated.
Remember, this is a digestive juice and the longer that bile does time in the gallbladder,
it's going to become more and more powerful and concentrated.
We need it because it will help with the digestion of fats
when it's released in the small intestine, but if it hangs out there too long, it could also cause problems.
Now, that's a familiar diagram for you, isn't it?
That graphic should look like an old friend.
You've got the liver, the gallbladder, the cystic duct,
which connects the gallbladder to the common bile duct,
and follow that all down to the pancreas because that's how the gallbladder gets bile
from its storage center down into the small intestine.
Because the gallbladder will release bile into the cystic duct
which will drain into the common bile duct when food is in the digestive tract.
Remember, when fat and protein hit that duodenum, cholecystokinin is released
and that tells the gallbladder to contract and to send that bile down to the small intestine.
Now, when bile meets lipids, lipids are fats, they move mostly undigested
in your digestive tract until they've reached your small intestine where they meet bile.
This is one of the things that bile does. It helps us to break down those fats.