Palatine tonsil

Last revised by Dr Daniel MacManus on 26 Aug 2022

The palatine tonsils, also known as the faucial tonsils or simply the tonsils, are a bilateral collection of lymphoid tissue in the oropharyngeal mucosa. They form part of Waldeyer's ring.

The palatine tonsils are located in the oropharyngeal isthmus (isthmus of fauces). Each 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)
  • lymph nodes: deep cervical group
    • jugulodigastric nodes: inferior to the angle of the mandible

Consists of:

  • non-keratinized stratified squamous epithelium
  • incompletely encapsulated
  • long-branched tonsillar crypts: e.g. intratonsillar cleft

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: palatine tonsil on CT neck (annotated)
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 1: adenoidal and palatine tonsil enlargement
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 2: adenoidal and palatine tonsil enlargement
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 3: adenotonsillar enlargement
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

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

     Thank you for updating your details.