Ear nose throat specialist clinic

January 30, 2009

Tonsillitis and Adenoid Infection

Filed under: ENT News — admin @ 1:29 pm

What are the tonsils and adenoids?

The tonsils and adenoids are composed of tissues that are similar to the lymph nodes or glands found in the neck or other parts of the body. Together, they are part of a ring of glandular tissue (Waldeyer’s ring) encircling the back of the throat.

The tonsils are the two masses of tissue on either side of the back of the throat. Normal tonsils are usually about the same size and have the same pink color as the surrounding area. On their surfaces are little depressions, called crypts, which may appear deep and contain pus pockets or stones.

The adenoids are located high in the throat behind the nose and soft palate (the roof of the mouth) and unlike the tonsils, are not easily visible through the mouth. A tonsillectomy and an adenoidectomy (commonly referred to as a T & A) are surgical procedures performed to remove the tonsils and adenoids.

What is the purpose of the tonsils and adenoids?

The tonsils and adenoids are thought to assist the body in its defense against incoming bacteria and viruses by helping the body form antibodies. However, this function may only be important during the first year of life. There is no evidence to support a significant role of the tonsils and adenoids in immunity. Medical studies have shown that children who have their tonsils and adenoids removed suffer no loss whatsoever in their future immunity to disease or ability to ward off infections.

What are common problems affecting the tonsils and adenoids?

The most common problems occurring with the tonsils and adenoids are recurrent or chronic infections and significant enlargement (hypertrophy).

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