Normative Values for Tonsils in Pediatric Populations Based on Ultrasonography

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Pediatric tonsillar infections are common, particularly in adolescents. Ultrasonography (US) has high sensitivity and specificity for diagnosing peritonsillar abscesses and can diagnose tonsillitis by enlargement of the gland. In this study, we established normal tonsillar measurements and volumes according to age in pediatric populations.


Transcervical US of the peritonsillar region to measure tonsillar size and volume was performed in patients who had undergone neck US without throat symptoms from October 2016 to May 2017. Transverse and anteroposterior diameters, length, and volume were measured.


In total, 161 patients (age range, 1 month–18 years) were enrolled in the study. The mean tonsillar volumes ± SD were 1.58 ± 1.26 (total), 0.30 ± 0.14 (<1 year), 1.27 ± 0.57 (1–<5 years), 2.06 ± 1.09 (5–<10 years), and 2.19 ± 1.48 (>10 years) cm3. Mean measurements for the sums of both tonsils for the transverse diameter, anteroposterior diameter, and length were 1.98 ± 0.61, 2.17 ± 0.66, and 2.28 ± 0.69 cm, respectively. Tonsillar size and volume increased according to age. Simplified models for volume estimation showed that anteroposterior diameters had the highest coefficients of determination (R2 = 0.71 and 0.74). Regression models for the tonsillar volume of 6 measurements in the multiple linear regression models showed an R2 of 0.89. Regression models for log(volume) showed an improved coefficient of determination (R2 = 0.96).


These normal tonsillar sizes on transcervical ultrasound in pediatric patients can be used to diagnose tonsillar lesions.

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