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Tonsil and Adenoids - What it is

What Are Tonsils & Adenoids?

Tonsils and adenoids are part of a "ring" of glandular/lymphoid tissue encircling the back of the throat. Tonsils are visible at the back of the mouth, one on each side. The adenoid is found high in the throat, right behind the nose and needs special instruments in order to see it. Figures 1 & 2 show the anatomical sites of tonsils and adenoids.

What Are Tonsils And Adenoids For?

They act as "policemen" and help to form antibodies to "germs" that invade the nose, mouth and throat. This function may be important in young children up to 3 years old but there is no evidence that it is important after that. Studies have shown that children that have tonsils/adenoids removed suffer no loss in their immunity to diseases.

When Should Surgery (Adenoidectomy/Tonsillectomy) Be Done?

Recurrent Tonsillitis

Frequent acute infections causing high fever and sore throat.

#Snoring/Obstructive Sleep Apnoea#

Enlarged adenoids/tonsils causing nose and throat obstruction to breathing while asleep. If untreated, it may lead to complications involving the heart and lungs.

Chronic #Otitis Media# with Effusion

Persistent fluid in the middle ear causing hearing impairment

Peritonsillar Abscess

Pus forming around the tonsillar bed


Rare, but may occur in children e.g. lymphoma

Tonsil and Adenoids - Symptoms

Tonsil and Adenoids - How to prevent?

Tonsil and Adenoids - Causes and Risk Factors

Tonsil and Adenoids - Diagnosis

Tonsil and Adenoids - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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