Why do tonsils grow back?

Tonsillectomy has often been viewed as a one-off procedure, which is not a wholly incorrect assumption. What few people do not know is that tonsils have the ability to regenerate, and even though this occurrence is not common it can happen to you.

Learn here – How to avoid Tonsillectomy

Tonsil tissue can grow partially back due to a variety of reasons, and below we will explore this rare occurrence.

So if you are experiencing a sore throat and would like to know if your tonsils are growing back, read the insightful post below to find out.

Why do tonsils grow back?

Tonsil Anatomy

To understand the process of tonsil regeneration, you need to have some awareness of the tonsil anatomy.

You have two palatine tonsils located in your throat, as well as lingual tonsils located at the base of your tongue- these tonsils are composed of lymphoid tissue.

Tonsils grow at a steady rate until the age of 8, thereafter they begin to shrink as they serve no useful purpose in fighting infection.

Full Tonsillectomy

The lymphoid tissue which makes up the palatine tonsils is separated from the muscles of the throat by a delicate fibrous capsule.

A full tonsillectomy will involve the removal of your two palatine tonsils and their fibrous capsule, leaving behind a thin membrane which overlays the muscle.

If executed correctly, a full tonsillectomy should eliminate all tonsil tissue, however, the difficulty in removing the tonsils may result in a small amount of tissue being left behind.

Theoretically speaking, residual tonsil tissue can increase the chance of tonsillar regrowth, especially if you are experiencing sustained inflammation.

Partial Tonsillectomy

Many people opt for a partial tonsillectomy as opposed to to a full tonsillectomy, in an attempt to increase the recovery time.

In this case the tonsil tissue is trimmed down as an alternative to complete tonsil removal. While this surgery is decidedly less extreme than a full tonsillectomy, it guarantees that tonsil tissue will be deliberately left behind during the procedure.

The portion of tonsil tissue leftover from a partial tonsillectomy has the ability to regenerate, so that you get back the tonsils you attempted to eliminate.

Factors that promote tonsillar regeneration

As you can see from the explanation above, any remaining tonsil tissue has the potential to grow back. However, there are factors that can increase the chance of your tonsils growing back, and these include the following:

1. Chronic inflammation is usually the cause of tonsil enlargement, and the reason that most people get their tonsils removed. If you have residual tissue after your tonsillectomy, and you still suffer from constant inflammation, the chance of tonsil regeneration is high.

2. If tonsils are removed at a young age (before they have the chance to finish normal growth), they are most likely to regenerate. If your 5 year old child has a tonsillectomy, then they are at a higher risk of tonsillar regrowth.

3. Additionally, a history of allergies and acute tonsillitis can increase the chance of regrowth in individuals who undergo a partial tonsillectomy. Furthermore, upper respiratory tract infections may promote tonsillar regeneration.

4. You may have malignant tonsils, which might be an indication of tonsil cancer.

As you can see, palatine tonsil regrowth is an infrequent occurrence. Even if it does occur your tonsils are unlikely to regrow to their original size, and a second tonsillectomy is especially rare.

If your tonsils are growing back and you are experiencing infections or swelling, be sure to talk to your doctor for expert advise.