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Axillary lymphadenopathy at the time of COVID-19 vaccination: ten recommendations from the European Society of Breast Imaging (EUSOBI)

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Schiaffino, Simone 
Pinker, Katja 
Magni, Veronica 
Cozzi, Andrea 
Athanasiou, Alexandra 


Abstract: Unilateral axillary lymphadenopathy is a frequent mild side effect of COVID-19 vaccination. European Society of Breast Imaging (EUSOBI) proposes ten recommendations to standardise its management and reduce unnecessary additional imaging and invasive procedures: (1) in patients with previous history of breast cancer, vaccination should be performed in the contralateral arm or in the thigh; (2) collect vaccination data for all patients referred to breast imaging services, including patients undergoing breast cancer staging and follow-up imaging examinations; (3) perform breast imaging examinations preferentially before vaccination or at least 12 weeks after the last vaccine dose; (4) in patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer, apply standard imaging protocols regardless of vaccination status; (5) in any case of symptomatic or imaging-detected axillary lymphadenopathy before vaccination or at least 12 weeks after, examine with appropriate imaging the contralateral axilla and both breasts to exclude malignancy; (6) in case of axillary lymphadenopathy contralateral to the vaccination side, perform standard work-up; (7) in patients without breast cancer history and no suspicious breast imaging findings, lymphadenopathy only ipsilateral to the vaccination side within 12 weeks after vaccination can be considered benign or probably-benign, depending on clinical context; (8) in patients without breast cancer history, post-vaccination lymphadenopathy coupled with suspicious breast finding requires standard work-up, including biopsy when appropriate; (9) in patients with breast cancer history, interpret and manage post-vaccination lymphadenopathy considering the timeframe from vaccination and overall nodal metastatic risk; (10) complex or unclear cases should be managed by the multidisciplinary team.



Guideline, COVID-19 vaccines, Lymphadenopathy, Mammography, Ultrasonography (breast), Magnetic resonance imaging

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Insights into Imaging

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Springer International Publishing