Palatine tonsil

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)
Relations
  • anteriorly: palatoglossal arch
  • posteriorly: palatopharyngeal arch
  • medially: covered by pharyngeal mucosa
  • laterally: tonsillar capsule (thickened pharyngeal submucosa), superior pharyngeal constrictor muscle
  • 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
Share article

Article Information

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

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Updating… Please wait.
Loadinganimation

Alert accept

Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.