The gallbladder is a small sac-like organ in the abdomen located right under the liver. It stores and releases bile that it gets from the liver. After a meal, hormones trigger the gallbladder instructing it to release bile. The bile travels to the small intestine and helps to break down fat and amino acids. Although it's not an often thought of organ, it plays a crucial role in helping digestion.
A common condition that can plague the gallbladder is gallstones. These happen when substances crystallize forming little "stones" in the organ. This condition can be excruciating and can cause nausea and inflammation. When bile becomes too thick, it can create blockages in the ducts. These blockages can lead to infection.
Cholecystectomy is the process of removing the gallbladder. While bile aids in digestion, the organ itself is not essential. Removing it is a safe procedure with no observable problems in the long run. Though the liver will still produce bile, there will be no storage space for the excess.