The increasing awareness of the disability imposed upon the American population by gallstones has brought about a resurgence of interest in the basic mechanisms involved in the formation of biliary tract calculi. It is estimated that 15 million people in the United States have gallstones and that 250,000 to 300,000 undergo cholecystectomy annually, approximately 10,000 of which are performed in the greater New York 17-county area alone.1 The number of deaths per year attributed to gallstone disease is approximately 6,000. From the economic point of view alone, the cost of medical care for patients with calculous biliary tract disease has been estimated to be over 500 million dollars annually.2 In terms of priorities in health research, the magnitude of the clinical burden on every community throughout the United States should be sufficient justification for continued and, indeed, increased support for investigations into the basic mechanisms of gallstone formation.
Frank Glenn, Charles K. McSherry. The Baboon and Experimental Cholelithiasis. Arch Surg. 1970;100(1):105–108. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1970.01340190107025