Accepted Paper:

'The new thing in' - Conebeam Ct and the history of others  


Lisa Wood (Lancaster University)

Paper long abstract:

Radiotherapy, the treatment of cancer with high energy x-rays, has been facing rapid technological change since before the turn of the century. Linac Adapted Conebeam Imaging (LACI) was introduced at the Sieverts Hospital with the aim of improving the accuracy of radiotherapy treatments through a process called Image Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT). An ethnography of the installation shows that as the LACI is introduced and glitches are overcome with workarounds and hidden work, it gains momentum and a history that serves to give the technology importance within the practices and departments in which it is located.

This paper examines the trajectory of Linac Adapted Conebeam Imaging (LACI) technology in the Sieverts hospital site in the United Kingdom. Using this case study I build an argument to develop the idea of cone beam imaging as a "baroque" technology to highlight the ways in which demands for newness lead to technological changes with potentially unproven benefits to patient care. Indeed, as the case study shows, these changes may even impede such care: complicating the formation of new solidarities and disregarding the position of the patient who is assumed to benefit.

Panel E2
Coproduction of emerging biomedical technologies