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The tonsils are areas of lymphoid tissue on either side of the throat. As with other organs of the lymphatic system, they act as part of the immune system to help protect against infection. In particular, the tonsils are believed to be involved in helping fight off pharyngeal and respiratory tract infections.

Infection of the tonsils, called tonsillitis, causes sore throat and fever. In chronic cases, or in acute cases where the tonsils become so swollen that and swallowing are impaired, a tonsillectomy can be performed to remove the tonsils. Patients whose tonsils have been removed are still protected from infection by the rest of their immune system.

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