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tonsils,name commonly referring to the palatine tonsils, two ovoid masses of lymphoid tissue situated on either side of the throat at the back of the tongue. The pharyngeal tonsils, or adenoidsadenoids
, common name for the pharyngeal tonsils, spongy masses of lymphoid tissue that occupy the nasopharynx, the space between the back of the nose and the throat. Normally the adenoids, like the palatine tonsils located on either side of the throat, help prevent infection
..... Click the link for more information. , are masses of similar tissue located in the nasopharynx, and the lingual tonsils are rounded masses of tissue on the back of the tongue. The tonsils act as a filter against disease organisms. However, they often become a site of infection, a condition known as tonsillitis, and sometimes become enlarged. This condition is more prevalent during childhood, since tonsil tissue tends to regress with age. Tonsillectomy, the removal of the tonsils, is sometimes advised if frequent inflammation poses a threat to health. Tonsilloliths, or tonsil stones, sometimes form in the tonsils when dead cells and other debris that has accumulated calcifies; most common in persons with chronic tonsillitis, tonsil stones can cause difficulty in swallowing, halitosis (bad breath), and ear pain. Troublesome stones can be extracted; the only certain means of preventing recurrence is tonsillectomy. See respirationrespiration,
process by which an organism exchanges gases with its environment. The term now refers to the overall process by which oxygen is abstracted from air and is transported to the cells for the oxidation of organic molecules while carbon dioxide (CO2
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masses of lymphadenoid tissue in the mucous membrane in the vicinity of the pharynx. Distinction is made between the lingual tonsils (on the dorsal surface of the tongue), the pharyngeal tonsils (in the vault of the pharynx), the tubal tonsils (near the opening of the auditory, or eustachian, tubes), and the palatine tonsils (between the palatoglossal and palatopharyngeal arches). Lymphocytes are produced in the tonsils, and from there they are partially discharged into the lymph stream. The tonsils play an important role in protecting the body against pathogenic microorganisms and in creating immunity.