Gallstones

Gallstones are pieces of hard, solid matter that form in the gallbladder. They form when the components of bile — including cholesterol and bilirubin — form crystals. Gallstones may be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball, and the gallbladder may contain anywhere from one stone to hundreds. Gallstone disease is a common medical problem, affecting 10 to 15 percent of the population of the U.S., or well over 25 million people. Nearly 1 million new cases of gallstone disease are diagnosed every year in this country, approximately one-quarter of which require treatment.

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