Medical Author: Jay W. Marks, MD
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel, Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Viewer question: My sister had her gallbladder removed recently. What kind of diet will she need to be on, and will she now be at greater risk for heart disease?
Doctors response: The gallbladder is a sac that stores bile made by the liver in between meals. After a meal, the gallbladder squeezes the bile it has stored into the intestine. In the intestine, the bile mixes with food and fat. Bile is important because it helps with the digestion of fat and its transfer from the intestine into the body.
When the gallbladder is removed, bile made by the liver can no longer be stored between meals. Instead, the bile flows directly into the intestine anytime the liver produces it. Thus, there still is bile in the intestine to mix with food and fat.