Many providers and patients are aware of newly published medical reports around unilateral lymphadenopathy found during screening mammograms in patients who recently received the COVID-19 vaccine.
This subject has been showcased in the US & The Buffalo News as of late, with the suggestion that screening mammograms be put off for 4-6 weeks if patients have been administered the vaccine. It is important to remember that at this time, this abnormality has been identified in only a very small percentage of patients who received the COVID-19 vaccine prior to their mammogram.
Based on guidance from the American College of Radiology (ACR), the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) and our women’s imaging radiology experts, Southtowns Radiology offers the following recommendations to referring providers and screening mammography patients at this time:
We recommend NOT to delay screening mammograms
Many patients are already late in their annual screening cycle due to the pandemic. Further delay may not be in their best interest. At this time, we do NOT suggest a patient put off a screening mammogram due to a COVID-19 vaccine.
We have added additional patient questions prior to imaging
Patients seen at Southtowns Radiology will be asked if they have recently received the COVID-19 vaccine, when they received it and what arm it was administered in. In most cases, if unilateral lymphadenopathy is indicated, it is on the side that the vaccine was administered in. Notes will be added to patient records to inform the radiologist as they interpret results.
We will educate patients on the role COVID-19 may play in results
If a patient who recently received the COVID-19 vaccine shows indication of an abnormality during their mammogram, we will take extra time to talk with that patient about their results. Additional follow up mammograms and breast imaging recommendations by our radiologists will be made on a case-by-case basis.
As a designated Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, we will continue to monitor guidance from the ACR and the SBI. Should recommendations change drastically, we will update our guidance so that providers and patients can make informed decisions for their care.