Oral & Lingual Tonsils
Useful Articles:

Southern Medical Journal 1986.  Current Concepts in Therapy.  Lingual Tonsillitis

Dental Update 2004.  Oral Tonsils (Ectopic Oral Tonsillar Tissue)
Tonsillar tissue can occurs in other places then the
tonsils and adenoids.

Tonsillar tissue is often found along the
posterior lateral
and in the oro-pharynx, including the base of the
.  In the latter location, these patches are called
lingual tonsils.  The tonsils, adenoids & lingual tonsils
Waldeyer's Tonsillar Ring (or Pharyngeal
Lymphoid Ring).  Ectopic tonsillar tissue has been found
in the
orbit and nasal septum.

The occurrence of
ectopic tonsillar tissue elsewhere in the
oral cavity especially in the floor of the mouth (oral
), however, is less well known.  When such lesions
are small and not inflamed they do not attract attention.  
However, when enlarged and
erythematous (reddened)
and tender or undergoing cystic change due to
, they may become noticed by the patient or the
dentist or physician.

Lymphoid patches are to be regarded as physiologic
rather than pathologic and can be seen in almost every

Enlargement of the
lingual tonsils may occur after
tonsillectomy, probably because of a compensatory
mechanism.  In rare instances,
lingual tonsillitis and even
abscess formation may occur.

The diagnosis is usually based on clinical judgment.  Only
in doubtful cases is a biopsy indicated.

benign lymphoid aggregate requires no treatment but
may have to be excisionally biopsied in order to provide an
appropriate diagnosis and to rule out
lymphoid or other

  • Diagnostic tests: None
  • Biopsy: No, unless unilateral or otherwise suspicious
  • Treatment: None
  • Follow-up: None

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Last Updated 1st August 2012