COVID-19 Vaccine and Breast Imaging Recommendations

Swollen lymph nodes visualized on mammography and ultrasound appear days post-vaccination and could be mistaken for malignancies.

Bloomfield, IA – Davis County Hospital & Clinics (DCHC) is informing patients who receive either the Pzifer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, that they can experience swollen lymph nodes that could be mistaken for breast malignancies in breast images for a certain amount of time after receiving the vaccine.

Vaccines of all types, including the COVID-19 vaccines, can result in temporary swelling of the lymph nodes, which may be a sign that the body is making antibodies in response as intended. Swollen lymph nodes can be seen on a mammogram after any vaccination but are more common after a vaccine that evokes a strong immune response, such as the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) has set the following recommendations for scheduling screening mammograms in relation to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Consider scheduling your screening mammogram prior to first dose of COVID-19 vaccination, or
  • Consider scheduling your screening mammogram 4-6 weeks following 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccination.

“This should not be a deterrent for individuals interested in receiving their COVID-19 vaccine,” said Davis County Hospital & Clinics Medical Imaging Manager, Susan Haskell. “We just want to ensure our patients have all the information and possibly consider waiting to schedule their mammogram or breast imaging based upon the recommendations set by the SBI.”

Screening mammograms can still be performed at any time at the patient’s request.

“We will not turn away patients if they have a breast imaging appointment and have recently had their COVID-19 vaccine,” said Haskell. “We want individuals to have all of the information and can make the decision on what’s best for them. We are always here to care for our patients when they need us. If an individual chooses to proceed with imaging after recently receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, radiologists are taking note of the vaccination when reviewing the images.”

If you have any questions, please consult your provider, or call Davis County Hospital & Clinics Medical Imaging Department at 641-664-2145 to speak with Susan Haskell, Medical Imaging Manager.