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Tonsils Defined

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Updated May 01, 2014

tonsillectomy image, tonsillectomy surgery,

Tonsillectomy Image

Image: © ADAM
Definition: Tonsils are part of the lymph system of the body, part of the immune system. There are three sets of tonsils in the back of the mouth, the adenoids, the palantine and the lingual tonsils.

While doing their work preventing infection, the tonsils themselves may become infected and need to be removed, a surgery called a tonsillectomy.

The tonsils grow until puberty, then begins to shrink in the following years. While infection of the tonsils is most common in childhood, they may still need to be removed in adulthood if they are large enough to obstruct the ability to breathe.

Also Known As: adenoids, palantine tonsils, lingual tonsils
Common Misspellings: tonsills
Examples:
After having numerous bouts of tonsillitis it was decided that the patient needed to have his tonsils removed in a procedure called a tonsillectomy.
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