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22.8B: Anatomy of the Gallbladder

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    8051
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    The gallbladder, a hollow organ that stores bile, is located under the liver.

     

    LEARNING OBJECTIVES

     

    Detail the anatomy of the gallbladder

     

    KEY TAKEAWAYS

    Key Points

     

    • The gallbladder is a hollow organ that sits beneath the liver and stores bile that is made in the liver.
    • The gallbladder is divided into three sections: the fundus, body, and neck. The neck connects to a system of ducts.

     

    Key Terms

     

    • gallstones: Small, hard objects, in the shape of a pebble, that sometimes form in the gallbladder or bile duct that are composed of cholesterol, bile pigments, and calcium salts.

     

    Anatomy of the Gallbladder

     

    The gallbladder is a hollow organ that sits beneath the liver and stores bile made in the liver. In adults, the gallbladder measures approximately eight centimeters (3.1 in) in length and four centimeters (1.6 in) in diameter when fully distended.

    An illustration of the gallbladder from Gray's Anatomy with with its sections labeled: fundus, body, and neck.

    The gallbladder, labeled: An illustration of the gallbladder from Gray’s Anatomy with each section labeled.

    The gallbladder is divided into three sections:

    1. The fundus.
    2. The body.
    3. The neck.

    The neck tapers and connects to the biliary tree via the cystic duct, which then joins the common hepatic duct to become the common bile duct. At the neck of the gallbladder is a mucosal fold where gallstones commonly get stuck.

     

    Layers of the Gallbladder

     

    There are several different layers of the gallbladder: the mucosa ( epithelium and lamina propria), the muscularis, the perimuscular, and the serosa.

    • The epithelium is a thin sheet of cells that is closest to the inside of the gallbladder.
    • The lamina propria is a thin layer of loose connective tissue, which together with the epithelium, forms the mucosa.
    • The muscularis is a layer of smooth muscular tissue that helps the gallbladder contract and squirt its bile into the bile duct.
    • The perimuscular (meaning around the muscle) is a fibrous connective tissue layer that surrounds the muscularis.
    • The serosa is a smooth membrane that is the outer covering of the gallbladder.

    A micrograph of the layers of a gallbladder: the mucosa (epithelium and lamina propria), the muscularis, the perimuscular, and the serosa.

    Layers of the gallbladder: A micrograph of the layers of a gallbladder.

     

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