My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Ask Your Question

WebMD Answers

120 Characters remaining
120 Characters remaining
  • First, try and keep your question as short as possible.
  • Include specific words that will help us identify questions that may already have your answer.
  • If you don't find your answer, you can post your question to WebMD Experts and Contributors.


Posted: | Report This Report Question |

What is a contracted gallbladder?

Related Topics: Gallbladder

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

5,093 Answers
269,981 Helpful Votes

The gallbladder is a muscular, hollow sack, approximately two inches by one inch that attaches to the lower edge of the liver. The purpose of the gallbladder is to store and concentrate bile. After a meal the muscular gallbladder contracts, and the stored bile is secreted into the intestine where it helps digest food, particularly fats.

The term "contracted gallbladder" can refer to two different situations. The first occurs following a meal or after events that cause the muscle of the gallbladder to contract, for example, ingestion of fat or injection intravenously of the hormone that is responsible for causing the gallbladder to contract. The gallbladder empties, becomes smaller, and is said to be contracted. This is the normal situation.

The second situation is when the gallbladder is diseased, specifically when there has been inflammation, for example, due to gallstones, that has resulted in scarring of the gallbladder. Scarring causes the gallbladder to become smaller, or contracted, and the gallbladder no longer functions normally. The "contraction" in the latter situation is clearly different from the "contraction" in the first.

The gallbladder is most frequently evaluated by ultrasonography since fluid-filled sacks like the gallbladder are easily identified by ultrasound waves. If the gallbladder is contracted, no fluid-filled sack, or only a very small one, is seen where the gallbladder should be.

This implies that the gallbladder is contracted (rarely is the gallbladder missing from birth); however, as per the previous discussion, it may be contracted because it is diseased (scarred) or because the person having the ultrasonogram has just eaten.

That is why ultrasonograms of the gallbladder usually are done fasting, for example, so that an absence of the gallbladder (indicating a contracted gallbladder) means a diseased gallbladder and not a contracted one that is due to eating.

This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

| Report This Report Answer
Archived: March 20, 2014

Was this helpful?


Thanks for your feedback.

1774 of 2724 found this helpful
Read the Original Article: Contracted Gallbladder