adenoids

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adenoids (ăd´ənoidz´), common name for the pharyngeal tonsils, spongy masses of lymphoid tissue that occupy the nasopharynx, the space between the back of the nose and the throat. Normally the adenoids, like the palatine tonsils located on either side of the throat, help prevent infection in the surrounding tissues. However, when they become enlarged they interfere with normal breathing and sometimes with hearing. When severely enlarged, adenoids can affect normal dental development, resulting in an alteration of facial expression. Infection of the adenoids is common, the symptoms resembling those of tonsillitis, with which it is frequently associated. Surgical removal of the adenoids is advisable when enlargement and repeated infection interfere with development and health. See respiration.

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ad·e·noids / ˈadnˌoidz/ • pl. n. a mass of enlarged lymphatic tissue between the back of the nose and the throat, often hindering speaking and breathing in young children. DERIVATIVES: ad·e·noi·dal / ˌadnˈoidl/ adj.

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adenoids Masses of lymph tissue in the upper part of the pharynx (throat) behind the nose; part of a child's defences against disease, they often enlarge after infections in the area. Adenoids normally disappear by the age of ten.

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adenoids (nasopharyngeal tonsil) (ad-in-oidz) n. a collection of lymphatic tissue in the nasopharynx. Enlargement of the adenoids can cause obstruction to breathing through the nose and can block the Eustachian tubes, causing glue ear.