The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped sack that serves as a storage facility for bile, which helps the process of digestion. This pouch stores bile produced by the liver. The bile is made in the liver by liver cells and is sent through tiny ducts or canals to the duodenum (small intestine) and to the gallbladder.
Before a meal, the gallbladder may be full of bile and about the size of a small pear. After meals, the gallbladder is empty, like a deflated balloon.
The gallbladder squeezes stored bile into the small intestine through the bile duct. While bile helps digest fats, the gallbladder itself is not essential.
Removing the gallbladder typically causes no problems with health or digestion; however, there may be a small risk of diarrhea and fat malabsorption.