SCRUTINY Part I published in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage!

Reflecting on the SCRUTINY Project: An Interview with FICEBO Lead Investigator Thomas Ibounig

What began in January 2018 has now finally come to fruition. The first part of our SCRUTINY (Systematic Review of Shoulder Imaging Abnormalities in Asymptomatic Adult Shoulders) review, focusing on imaging abnormalities of the glenohumeral joint, is now online in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage.

FICEBO: Congrats Thomas! You mention the year 2018 as the starting point. Can you take us back to the beginning of the project? What inspired SCRUTINY?

Thomas: Thank you! The idea for SCRUTINY was born out of a growing need to understand the prevalence of imaging abnormalities in asymptomatic shoulders. In 2018, we connected with our Australian collaborators from Melbourne (Monash University) and Gold Coast (Bond University) and saw an opportunity to systematically review and quantify these abnormalities in the glenohumeral joint, which was largely unexplored territory at the time. Our goal was to provide clearer guidelines for interpreting shoulder imaging in patients with shoulder symptoms.

FICEBO: Quite persistent indeed. Can you briefly summarize the main findings and their implications?

Thomas: Certainly. Our review revealed that a significant number of asymptomatic adults show imaging abnormalities in the glenohumeral joint. This is crucial because it suggests that many imaging findings previously thought to indicate pathology might actually be common in the general population without symptoms. These findings could lead to more cautious and context-driven interpretations of shoulder imaging, potentially reducing unnecessary interventions.

FICEBO: This is SCRUTINY I. What are the other parts, and when can we expect to hear more about them – in 2027?

Thomas: SCRUTINY I is just the beginning. We have planned subsequent reviews focusing on different aspects of shoulder imaging, including the rotator cuff and structures of the subacromial space and AC-joint. While I can’t give an exact date, we hope to have SCRUTINY II and III published much sooner than 2027! Our team is committed to advancing this research as swiftly as possible.

FICEBO: Any final thoughts?

Thomas: I would like to extend heartfelt thanks to all the dear colleagues involved, especially our Australian collaborators, Sharon and Rachelle. They welcomed us aboard their ship when we set sail into uncharted waters. Despite facing some storms and nearly getting shipwrecked, we successfully brought Ship 1 into the harbor thanks to a tremendous team effort. That’s what research is all about – collaboration and perseverance.

Thomas, Teppo, and Lasse visiting Rachelle Buchbinder at Monash University in December 2022. Rachelle has been a tremendous help in many FICEBO projects, and SCRUTINY is no exception. Rachelle made the first connection to our colleagues from Bond University in early 2018, the initiators of the SCRUTINY review. During our visit in 2022, she helped us finalize the manuscript for the current publication with her vast knowledge of systematic reviews. She also gave us a crash course on risk of bias assessment and GRADE.

The SCRUTINY review(s) were conceptualized at Bond University’s prestigious Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare under the leadership of Dr. Sharon Sanders. Here is a picture from our visit to Bond University in 2019, where we met Sharon in person for the first time and went through the data extraction process and initial publication plans.