Dennis Lee, MD
Dennis Lee, MD
Dr. Lee was born in Shanghai, China, and received his college and medical training in the United States. He is fluent in English and three Chinese dialects. He graduated with chemistry departmental honors from Harvey Mudd College. He was appointed president of AOA society at UCLA School of Medicine. He underwent internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.
In this Article
What are gallstones?
Gallstones (often misspelled as gall stones, or gall stone) are stones that form in the gall (bile) within the gallbladder. (The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ just below the liver that stores the bile secreted by the liver.)
From the common bile duct, there are two different directions that bile can flow.
Once in the gallbladder, bile is concentrated by the removal (absorption) of water. During a meal, the muscle that makes up the wall of the gallbladder contracts and squeezes the concentrated bile in the gallbladder back through the cystic duct into the common duct and then into the intestine. (Concentrated bile is much more effective for digestion than the un-concentrated bile that goes from the liver straight into the intestine.) The timing of gallbladder contraction-during a meal-allows the concentrated bile from the gallbladder to mix with food.
Gallstones usually form in the gallbladder; however, they also may form anywhere there is bile; in the intrahepatic, hepatic, common bile, and cystic ducts.
Gallstones also may move about in the bile, for example, from the gallbladder into the cystic or common duct.
Reviewed by Dennis Lee, MD on 6/29/2011
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