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Mammography and COVID-19 Vaccination

March 26, 2021

When scheduling mammography, you may want to consider when your patients have had, or are scheduled for, their COVID-19 vaccine.

Radiologists from around the country have noticed an increased number of mammograms showing swollen lymph nodes in women who recently received the COVID-19 vaccine. Temporary swollen lymph nodes are the body’s natural response to the administration of any vaccine. While this type of swelling has been noted on imaging studies before, it has rarely been so pronounced as in some cases related to the COVID-19 vaccine. Recent research found that more than 11 percent of Moderna vaccine recipients experience swollen lymph nodes after the first dose, and 16 percent after the second dose. Although this response is expected, depending on timing of mammography following COVID-19 vaccination, it may require additional imaging workup and cause undue stress and anxiety for your patient. 

The National Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) issued new guidelines on January 22, 2021 for patients and providers scheduling screening mammograms:

“If possible, and when it does not unduly delay care, consider scheduling screening exams prior to the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination or 4-6 weeks following the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccination.”

Those who need diagnostic breast imaging for lumps, pain, discharge, and follow-up should not delay their appointments

Please check benefits specific to your BlueCross BlueShield patients by logging onto HEALTHeNET, and consider scheduling for routine mammograms in relation to the SBI guidelines.

As more information about the incidence and appearance of axillary lymphadenopathy following COVID-19 vaccination becomes available, SBI may change the duration of follow up or final assessment recommendations. 

Society of Breast Imaging Recommendations

CDC COVID-19 Vaccination

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