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Cholelithiasis - Definition


Definition


Cholelithiasis is the presence of stones that form in the biliary tract, located in the liver or in the canals that transport the bile to the gastrointestinal tract. Gallstones are variable in size, shape, and composition. They form when bile contains too much cholesterol, or not enough bile salts. Sometimes gallstones are asymptomatic and are discovered during an ultrasound done for another purpose. But they can also cause severe pain when a stone blocks the flow of bile: this is called biliary colic, sharp pain located in the upper part, or more frequently centered or on the right side of the abdomen. When stones are discovered without symptoms, no treatment is necessary. However, if biliary pain appears, the treatment will be the surgical removal of the gallbladder: this is called a cholecystectomy.
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