In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan.


The palatine or faucial tonsils are in the lateral oropharynx. They are found between the palatoglossal arch anteriorly and the palatopharyngeal arch posteriorly, known as the palatine arches or pillars. The tonsils are composed of lymphatic tissue and are a component of Waldeyer's ring along with the adenoids (nasopharyngeal tonsil), tubal tonsil, and lingual tonsil. They serve as an important defense against inhaled or ingested pathogens by providing the initial immunological barrier to insults.

Tonsillitis, or inflammation of the tonsils, is a common disease and makes up approximately 1.3% of outpatient visits. It is predominantly the result of a viral or bacterial infection and, when uncomplicated, presents as a sore throat. Acute tonsillitis is a clinical diagnosis. Differentiation between bacterial and viral causes can be difficult; however, this is crucial to prevent the overuse of antibiotics.

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