The small pear-shaped organ that stores and concentrates bile is known as the gallbladder. The hepatic duct connects the gallbladder to the liver. The gallbladder is approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10.2 cm) long. Storing and concentrating bile is the main function of the gallbladder. The liver continuously secretes bile, a digestive liquid. Bile neutralizes acids and emulsifies fats in partially digested foods. The bile flows from the gallbladder into the cystic duct when a muscular valve in the common bile duct opens, before flowing into the common bile duct and on into the duodenum, which is part of the small intestine.
The gallbladder can be found in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen, situated beneath the liver. The gallbladder is connected to the liver by the hepatic duct and is a kidney bean shaped organ. It essentially works as a storage facility for the bile produced by the liver, usually a pint or so daily. Cholecystokinin is a hormone that is secreted by the cells of the intestinal walls. The purpose of this hormone is to cause the gallbladder to contract and send the bile into the common bile duct.
Along with the lipase enzyme, bile is essential in digesting fat by breaking it into smaller particles, which in turn increases the surface area of the lipids for the lipase to work on. Before it is time for the bile to be secreted into the intestines after fatty food has been consumed, it is stored in the gallbladder.