Tonsils: Facts, Function & Treatment

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Tonsils are small organs in the back of the throat. As part of the lymphatic system, they play an important role in the health of the body. Tonsils were once thought to be a useless part made obsolete by evolution. When bothered by an infection, doctors once prescribed the removal of the tonsils through a tonsillectomy. These small organs are actually quite useful, though. 

Size and location

Technically, there are three sets of tonsils in the body: the pharyngeal tonsils, commonly known as adenoids, the palatine tonsils and the lingual tonsils, which are lymphatic tissue on the surface tissue of the base of the tongue, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. When people refer to tonsils, though, they are usually talking about the palatine tonsils. These tonsils are oval, pea-sized clusters of lymph cells in the pharynx at the opening of either side of the throat. Though they may seem large in children, the size of the tonsils tends to get smaller when a person becomes an adult. 


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