What are tonsils?

Tonsils are a pair of tissues similar to the adenoids and lymph nodes that are known as lymphoid tissue. Lymphoid tissue is responsible for producing cells that fight infection in the body. They are found at the back of mouth (oropharynx).


What is tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis occurs when the tonsils at the back of the throat become infected. In this case, they become swollen and inflamed. Tonsillitis is usually caused by viral infections but can also be caused by bacterial infection.


How can it be treated?

Acute tonsillar infection (acute tonsillitis) will resolve with pain medication alone (if caused by viral infection) or may require antibiotics (if bacterial). If tonsillitis recurs, it may be necessary to remove them surgically in a procedure known as a tonsillectomy. The procedure is relatively quick, although children may need about a week to recover properly after surgery.


Will tonsillectomy affect immunity?

Even though the tonsils form part of the lymphatic system, they can be safely removed without affecting the body’s ability to fight infection. The reason for this is that the body has lots of other lymphoid tissue (lymph nodes) that perform the same function as the adenoids (and tonsils), so removal does not affect the defense mechanism of the body.