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 adenoids are found high in the throat, behind the nose and need special instruments or an X-ray to view it.
Tonsils and adenoids act as ‘policemen’ and help to form antibodies to ‘germs’ that invade the nose, mouth and throat. This function may be important for young children up to 3 years of age, but there is no evidence that it is important after that. Studies have shown that children who have had their tonsils/adenoids removed suffer no loss in their immunity to diseases.
Conditions affecting the tonsils and adenoids
Several conditions may affect the tonsils and adenoids in a child: