Biliary sludge is a deposit of tiny stones or crystals made up of
cholesterol (a type of fat), calcium bilirubinate, and other calcium salts.
Some doctors refer to biliary sludge as microlithiasis, pseudolithiasis, or
The relationship between biliary sludge and gallbladder symptoms is
not well understood. Experts debate how important biliary sludge is. Some think
it is not important, while others believe that having biliary sludge increases
the risk of forming gallstones. The disagreement comes from the fact that most
people who have biliary sludge do not develop any symptoms; the sludge usually
disappears on its own. Also, only a small number of people who have biliary
sludge actually develop gallstones.
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Arvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.