The gall bladder is a small, pear-shaped organ located at the lower right side of the chest, beneath the liver. It collects and holds bile, a substance secreted by the liver, carried to the gall bladder by a network of bile ducts for eventual release into the digestive tract via another set of bile ducts. Bile is important in digestion, particularly of fats and oils. Sometimes gall stones form and collect in the gall bladder – these gall stones are small, hard, pebble-like masses of accumulated salts and fatty substances. Though many people who have gall stones have no symptoms or difficulties, the stones may sometimes block the flow of bile. This can cause a variety of painful symptoms, and usually requires treatment – surgical removal of the gall bladder, one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the U.S. Some common bile duct surgeries include laparoscopic bile duct exploration, bile duct bypass, resection of choledochal cysts and the laparoscopic Whipple operation.