The Liver and Gall Bladder

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The Liver and Gall Bladder
The liver and the gall bladder are accessory organs of the small intestine. The liver is a large, maroon-colored
organ weighing about three pounds. It is found on the right side (anatomical right) of the body under the
muscular diaphragm and protected by the ribcage. It drapes over the gall bladder and part of the stomach and
small intestine. It is made up of four lobes – the left lobe, right lobe, quadrate lobe and caudate lobe.
The liver is one of the most important organs of the body. Only one part of what it does has to do with
aiding in digestion. It makes bile, an emulsifier that breaks down fats so that they can be absorbed into the blood
in the small intestine. The bile is secreted from the liver out into the common hepatic duct and up the cystic
duct to the gall bladder where it is stored until needed.
The liver also:
• stores glucose (broken down carbohydrates) as glycogen and coverts the glycogen back to glucose when the
body needs it,
• filters alcohol and drugs from the blood
• stores vitamins
• reuses the iron in old, worn out red blood cells before breaking them down
• converts ammonia in to usable urea
The gall bladder is a small sac about four inches long that stores bile made in the liver. When you eat a
fatty meal, the gall bladder will squeeze out its bile through the cystic duct down into the common bile duct
that carries it into the first section of the small intestine (the duodenum) as food leaves the stomach as a liquid
mix, called chyme. The bile breaks down fat in the chyme so it can be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Sometimes the gall bladder will form small bile lumps called gallstones that will cause pain when fatty
food signals the gallbladder to squeeze out bile. Gallstones and other gall bladder diseases will require doctors
to remove the gall bladder and cystic duct. Because the liver makes bile and can still secrete it through the
common hepatic duct > into the common bile duct and then > the small intestine, you can live without a gall
bladder, but a low fat diet afterward would be recommended.
liver
stomach
common
hepatic duct
cystic duct
common bile duct
©Sheri Amsel
www.exploringnature.org
gall bladder
pancreas
duodenum
Color the Structures Connected to Liver Function
liver
stomach
common
hepatic duct
cystic duct
common bile duct
pancreas
gall bladder
small
intestine
©Sheri Amsel
www.exploringnature.org
duodenum
Label the Structures Connected to Liver Function
1.____________________________________________________________
2.____________________________________________________________
3.____________________________________________________________
4.____________________________________________________________
5.____________________________________________________________
6.____________________________________________________________
7.____________________________________________________________
8.____________________________________________________________
1
3
6
7
8
2
4
5
©Sheri Amsel
www.exploringnature.org
Label the Structures Connected to Liver Function KEY
liver
1.____________________________________________________________
gall bladder
2.____________________________________________________________
stomach
3.____________________________________________________________
pancreas
4.____________________________________________________________
duodenum (small intestine)
5.____________________________________________________________
common hepatic duct
6.____________________________________________________________
cystic duct
7.____________________________________________________________
common bile duct
8.____________________________________________________________
1
3
6
7
8
2
4
5
©Sheri Amsel
www.exploringnature.org
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