Northside radiologist weighs in on COVID-19 vaccine and screening mammograms

Dr. Lynn Baxter is director of breast imaging at Northside Hospital and Northside Radiology Associates.

"While there is still much to be learned, the information currently available shows that up to 16% of patients will develop swollen lymph nodes under their arm after having a COVID vaccine," says Dr. Baxter. "This is not dangerous and should not discourage anyone from being vaccinated as soon as they are able."

However, the swollen lymph nodes can sometimes be seen on a screening mammogram and can require additional imaging and follow up to be sure they are not related to breast cancer, Dr. Baxter adds.

To avoid the possibility of these false alarms, the Society of Breast Imaging suggests that women may want to schedule their routine screening mammograms before having their first dose of COVID vaccine or 4-6 weeks after their second dose.

If you have already received your vaccine, p lease inform your technologist of the date and which arm the vaccine was given, and if this was your first or second dose. 

Please note that this recommendation applies to routine screening exams only. Diagnostic breast imaging patients should not delay their imaging.

Northside Hospital will be happy to help you schedule your mammography appointment around your vaccine schedule.  Please contact us at 404-851-6577.


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