ENT Head & Neck Surgery Center

Rm 02, 5/F., Kai Seng Commerical Centre,
4-6 Hankow Road, TST Kln, HK
(near Kowloon Hotel)
Tel: (852) 3100 0555
Fax: (852) 3100 0556

Lawrence Chow / ENT Doctor

What Are Pharyngeal Tonsils And Why Are They Important?

The pharyngeal tonsils are also known as the adenoids. They’re one of the 3 types of tonsils in your lymphatic system. The pharyngeal tonsils are basically clusters of lymphatic tissue that can be found in the back of the nose right above the roof of your mouth. However, someone can’t just find the pharyngeal tonsils simply by looking down your mouth.


Growth of Pharyngeal Tonsils

As a baby grows, so do their pharyngeal tonsils. But these reach their largest size when the child is between 3 to 5 years old. Then the pharyngeal tonsils begin to grow smaller as the child turns 7 or 8 years old. The adenoids are barely visible by the time the child reaches their late teens, and the pharyngeal tonsils completely disappear as the child becomes an adult.


Why Are Pharyngeal Tonsils Important?

The pharyngeal tonsils are important for children because they’re part of the first line of defense for the immune system and the human body. The pharyngeal tonsils feature small hairs called cilia that move in a rhythmic pattern. This movement helps to spread the mucus down the pharynx. The mucus is also part of the human body’s defense system, as it captures foreign particles such as dust and infectious bacteria. The pharyngeal tonsils help to carry the mucus to the stomach so the foreign particles can then be flushed away. The pharyngeal tonsils also help to create antibodies, and this is also one of their functions as part of the immune system.


Enlarged Adenoids

One of the more common problems for pharyngeal tonsils in children is enlarged adenoids. This can be a problem which a child is born with, or the pharyngeal tonsils can become swollen because of an infection.

The doctor can use x-rays to detect the condition. They also feel the throat for swelling or use an endoscope to check the inside of the throat.


When the pharyngeal tonsils are enlarged, they can block proper air flow and sinus drainage in the body. Sleep can be disrupted. The patient can experience restless sleep, sleep apnea, and snoring. The patient can also get a runny nose, cracked lips, dry mouth, ear infections, and bad breath. They may breathe loudly as well.


If the problem is temporary, the ENT doctor may prescribe over-the-counter pain killers along with a series of antibiotics or a nasal spray. The problem has to be treated because temporary enlarged adenoids can become a permanent condition.


The enlarged pharyngeal tonsils can also be removed using a process called adenoidectomy. This process is needed if the condition is causing long-term issues. The adenoidectomy needs only 30 minutes to complete.


Since ENT problem is quite different from case to case, it is suggested to consult an ENT Specialist for the appropriate ENT services.



HK ENT Specialist Ltd.

Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre

For ENT Services, Audiology & Speech Therapy,

Sleep Disordered Breathing Management,

Hearing Aid Prescription & Medical Cosmetic Services


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