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The term tonsil commonly refers to a pair of deep pink structures, one on each side of the back of the throat. However thse are only one of three types of tonsils. These are called palatine, or faucial, tonsils. The two other kinds of tonsils are the pharyngeal tonsils and the lingual tonsils. Pharyngeal tonsils, commonly called adenoids, are located in the back of the throat near the nasal passage. Lingual tonsils are located at the back of the tongue. These three types of tonsils form a continuous ring around the back of the throat.
The purpose of tonsils is not known to scientists with certainty, but many medical scientists believe they aid in protecting the respiratory and digestive systems from infection, by being the first tissues to infection in the digstive and respiratoty tracts, and in this way alerting the body system to fight the infection.
Sometimes the tonsils become badly inflamed and must be removed by a surgical operation.
The tonsils and the adenoids are a part of the lymphatic system of the human anatomy. The tonsils are located at the back of the throat and the adenoids are situated higher up behind the nose and the soft palate (the roof of the mouth). They are our first line of defence against infection by viruses and bacteria which attack our body through the mouth and the nose. But quite often they themselves become infected and are more of a liability than an asset.
When infected the first line of treatment is by antibiotics, but repeated infection may necessitate surgical removal of the tonsils and the adenoids. Only a competent Ear Nose and Throat surgeon is qualified to take that important decision. If the tonsils and the adenoids are removed then there is always the risk of throwing open the entire human body to infection.
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