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Mind and Body

Man's Freakishly Giant Tonsils Break World Record

  • The largest tonsils in the world.Guinness World Records

  • Justin Werner, post-surgery, holds his large tonsils.Guinness World Records

When most people have their tonsils removed, their only reward is a doctor's permission to eat ice cream for a week. Justin Werner got considerably more: recognition from Guinness World Records for having the world's largest tonsils.

Werner, a 21-year-old from Kansas, underwent a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy earlier this year after suffering from chronic sore throats and problems with snoring for a number of years.

During the operation at Excellent Surgery Center in Topeka, Kan., surgeons removed Werner's record-breaking tonsils. One measured a staggering 2.1 inches long, 1.1 inches wide, and 0.7 inch thick while the other measured 1.9 inches long, 1 inch wide and 0.7 inch thick.

The incredibly large glands were 0.8 inches and 0.6 inches longer, respectively, than the previous record-setting tonsils, which were removed from Justin Dodge of Milwaukee in 2008. (Must be something about tonsils and people named Justin.)

"I find it more humorous than anything," Werner said of his incredible claim to fame, adding that his breathing and sleeping have become much easier since having the tonsils removed. "The day after I got them out, there was no snoring at all, and I haven't had a sore throat since."

The tonsils, which sit at the back of your throat, are believed to form the first line of defense against inhaled pathogens, though their immunological role is not fully understood. Many people do just fine without them. Werner's doctor says it's impossible to know what caused his tonsils to grow so large.

This story was provided Life's Little Mysteries, a sister site to LiveScience.

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