Maria Carmela Agodi, Ilenia Picardi

Robotic surgery. Narrative infrastructures and socio-technical devices

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Robotic Surgery; Narrative Infrastructure; Minimally Invasive; Enhancement; Robotics and Human Values.

Adopting a perspective at the interface between Science and Technology Studies and Sociology of Health and Medicine, the authors identify the narrative infrastructure supporting accounts of research in robotic surgery, within scholarly literature. Three main components emerge: the promise of minimally invasive and safer interventions for the pro-spective patient; the enhancement of the surgeon and the reduction of surgical risk; the representation of robotics as a human values-oriented science. Underneath each of these components, tensions and ambivalent meanings are detected. The promise of minimally invasive surgery is threatened by doubts about scientific evidence supporting its advan¬tages, when compared to pre-existent and less expensive technologies, and by accessibility issues as well. The enhancement of the surgeon is threatened by surgical risks connected to new training practices totally substituting traditional ones. The representation of robotics as a human values-oriented science is threatened by the search for automation and the marginal position given to RRI issues within research practices. A more open dialogue among researchers from different disciplines, involved in research in robotic surgery, may contribute to elaborate upon those tensions, re-orienting research practices towards more reflexive and co-operative directions of inquiry and technoscientific developments.

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