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What does pharyngeal tonsils mean?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1998
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My son is 7 years old. He had an MRI done today because he has an syrinx on his spinal cord. It measures 2 mm and has not changed in size from last years MRI finding.
Also on the report was mention of " incidental note is made of prominence of the pharyngeal tonsils. Numerous small subcentimeter cervical lymph nodes are present bilaterally. These are most likely reactive. Clinical correlation is recommended." What does this mean? What is wrong with the tonsils? Thanks
Posted Wed, 18 Apr 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 1 hour later

Thanks for posting your query.

Although both these are incidental findings on the MRI which were caught by chance by the radiologist but it needs evaluation.

Pharyngeal tonsils are also called adenoids and if they have come prominent on MRI, it means that they are enlarged or inflammed. Inflammation of the adenoids (pharyngeal tonsils) may also obstruct the nasopharynx region and lead to inflammation and infection of the Eustachian tubes or middle ear.

When infections are severe or chronic, the adenoids are usually surgically removed (adenoidectomy).

Regarding the presence of cervical lymph nodes, it is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Other causes include allergic reactions or some malignancy.

In case the adenoids are inflamed then it can also cause swollen lymph nodes but if they are reactive then it needs evaluation. Sometimes the nodes don’t shrink back to their normal size and stay enlarged. They are then called reactive lymph nodes.

Your son needs to get an ENT examination done and a physical examination which includes assessment of the neck circumference (area around the neck) and visualization of the throat, nasal, and oral cavities and a FNAC (fine needle aspiration cytology) of the lymph nodes done.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.

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