Tonsil and Adenoid Disorders

The tonsils and adenoids are a normal part of the immune system. Large numbers of white blood cells which fight infections are located there. They are located in the throat so that they can respond to infectious agents entering the body by priming the immune system. Fortunately, there are redundant systems which can take over if the tonsils become chronically infected or enlarged and need to be removed.

The tonsils and adenoids can become chronically infected and themselves become a source of recurrent infections. The tonsils and adenoids can also enlarge to the point that they obstruct normal breathing, swallowing and speech. Enlarged tonsils and adenoids are the most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea in children.

The initial treatment for tonsillitis is antibiotics. If the tonsils become chronically infected or are constantly becoming reinfected, tonsillectomy is usually recommended. The adenoids are usually removed at the same time.







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