Skip to main content

Mammography and COVID-19 Vaccination

Date:
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. 

Sources:
Society of Breast Imaging Recommendations

CDC COVID-19 Vaccination

Recent Articles

  • COVID-19 Impact: Addressing Food Insecurity
    The COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased food insecurity in Western New York. If some of your patients are struggling, there are many organizations stepping up to help. Here we highlight local resources and BlueCross BlueShield health coaching services that can assist your patients in need.
  • Mammography and COVID-19 Vaccination
    Temporary swollen lymph nodes are an expected bodily response after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. New guidelines suggest considering when your patients have had, or are scheduled for, their COVID-19 vaccine when scheduling routine screening mammography.
  • The Benefits of Creating an Online Account
    Do you want easy access to important payment and incentive information as well as patient benefits? Create an online account with us. We’ve outlined some of the resources found on our BlueCross BlueShield secure provider portal, along with instructions for creating an account with your own login and password.
  • Coding for Early Intervention Services
    Proper use of modifiers can help avoid claim denials and incorrect payments. As a reminder, Early Intervention Services (EIS) therapy claims must include the TL modifier on the claim in the first position.
  • Documentation for Neoplasm Diagnosis
    Accurate coding and documentation can tell us if your patient has active or past, benign or malignant neoplasm – important distinctions for your reimbursement and our records. In this article, we offer guidance for using the right ICD-10 codes for neoplasm diagnoses to help make sure you get paid correctly and promptly.

Working with Us

Additional Resources

We want to hear from you! Have a topic request for the next Blue Bulletin? Email us

Stay in Touch! Sign up to receive emails for provider news and information