ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The gallbladder is a small organ underneath the liver in the upper right section of the human abdomen.

Sometimes, people will develop gallbladder disease that will require the surgical removal of the gallbladder. If that's the case, that is ok.

"You can actually live without your gallbladder, as do many people," said Dr. Nicholas Spinelli, a general surgeon at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital. 

The largest cause of gallbladder disease is gallstones. Risk factors include being overweight or obese, or being female. Family history and high cholesterol can also play a role. However, anyone can develop gallbladder disease.

"A lot of times, patients will present with episodic right upper quadrant discomfort and that typical symptom complex occurs usually in the evening after a big fatty meal and it goes away after a few hours," Spinelli said.

Imaging will include a right upper quadrant ultrasound and a chemistry panel.

The surgery to remove the gallbladder is typically an outpatient surgery, which can be completed in just 30 to 45 minutes and done under general anesthesia.

"The standard of treatment is to remove the gallbladder, surgically, at least at this point," Spinelli said.

To learn more about surgery at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, click here