Palatine tonsil

Dr Henry Knipe and Dr Owen Kang et al.

The palatine tonsil, referred simply to as "the tonsils" when considered together bilaterally, is a collection of lymphoid tissue in the pharyngeal mucosa.

It is often described to have two borders, two poles and two surfaces:

  • anterior and posterior borders (described in relations below)
  • upper and lower poles: extending to the soft palate and dorsum of the tongue respectively
  • medial and lateral surfaces (described in relations below)
  • arterial supply: tonsillar branch of facial artery, contributions from the ascending pharyngeal and lingual arteries, ascending palatine vessels
  • venous drainage: venous plexus which drains into the pharyngeal plexus, external palatine vein
  • lymph nodes: deep cervical group
    • jugulodigastric nodes: inferior to the angle of the mandible

Consists of:

  • non-keratinised stratified squamous epithelium
  • incompletely encapsulated
  • long-branched tonsillar crypts: e.g. intratonsillar cleft
Head and neck anatomy
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Article information

rID: 49879
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Palatine tonsils

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