Tonsils and adenoids are lumps of tissue (similar to the 'glands' that are in the neck and other parts of the body).

The tonsils sit on either side of the back of the throat (pharynx).

 

Adenoids sit where the back of the nose meets the throat. You can't see them through the mouth without the use of special instruments.

Tonsils and adenoids are usually larger in children but tend to shrink to adult proportions by the age of 8 to 12 years.

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Although tonsils and adenoids are part of the infection-fighting (immune) system, they are not essential and their removal will not cause harm to the infection-fighting system. Other parts of the infection-fighting system in the upper throat continue to function.

What is a tonsillectomy? 

A tonsillectomy is an operation to remove the tonsils.

What is an adenotonsillectomy?

An adenotonsillectomy is an operation to remove both the adenoids and tonsils.

 


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