US 2043083 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 2, 1936. I F. c. WAPPLER I 2,043,083
THERAPEUTIC ELECTRODE AND PLUG THEREFOR Filed July 8, 1932 a If 24 15 16 15 J w I "l,:,% K
INVENTOR Q ATTogEY E Patented June 2, 1936 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE THERAPEUTIC ELECTRODE AND PLUG THEREFOR 6 Claims.
'My present invention relates generally to the surgical or therapeutic arts, and has particular reference to an improved therapeutic electrode for applying high-frequency current to the '5 human body.
It is a general object of my invention to provide an electrode which permits high-frequency currents to be passed through portions of the human body under conditions which are simpler 10 and less difiicult than those usually encountered heretofore and devoid of many of the dangerous and precarious features of the art as heretofore practiced.
My invention is primarily designed for non- 1'5 surgical diathermy, wherein the primary purpose of the passage of high-frequency current lies in the generation of Warmth or heat in or onthebody at particular portions thereof, unaccompanied by any cutting, burning, or similar modification of 20 tissue.
In the practice of non-surgical diathermy, it has long been the custom to apply a conductive electrode to the portion of the body to be treated, and great care has always been necessary to 25 establish a firm contact between the electrode and the body. In applying electrodes of this general character to irregular contours, difiiculties have frequently been encountered which have never, to my knowledge, been successfully 30 obviated. For example, in applying metallic electrodes to hairy portions of the body, it has been almost impossible to establish a satisfactory contact; and frequently, if not regularly, such electrodes have had to be wetted, usually with a soapy 35 solution, to facilitate the establishment of the desired contact.
The establishment of a firm contact, where conductive electrodes of the customary character have been employed, is essential for the reason 40 that concentration of the current, due to uneven contact, causes burns which are all too frequently of a severe character.
In accordance with my present invention, I am enabled to establish satisfactory and safe contact 45 with even the most irregularly contoured portions of the body, and also with hairy portions or the like, and this desirable object is achieved without the necessity for any special precautions, such as wetting or soaping, and with no danger or like- 50 lihood of causing burns.
I have found that a high-frequency current, if properly generated and sustained, can be caused to pass through the human body for the present purposes where the electrode has an outer or exterior surface of non-conductiveor dielectric maconducted to the area of application by means 5 of a conductive fluid.
Briefly, the type of electrode to which my present invention relates consists of a hollow applicator or contact-making portion, the applicator being of flexible, resilient, distensible dielectric 10 material, a mass of conductive fluid in the applicator, and a means for establishing a direct electrical connection with such fluid. Preferably, the applicator is of a bag-like character composed of a material such as rubber or the like.
An electrode of this general type is of peculiar effectiveness in establishing contact with such portions of the body as the armpits, the abdomen, the head, or other irregular or hairy portions; and it is also of great utility in establishing firm contact with irregular internal cavities, especially where the cavities are accessible only through relatively restricted passages.
One of the main features of my present invention lies in a construction whereby the applicator may be efiiciently and simply filled with the desired conductive fluid; and in the provision of an arrangement which permits a portion of the applicator itself, and more especially the neck thereof, automatically to serve as a check valve in connection with the insertion of the conductive fluid.
Another feature of my present invention lies in the provision of an arrangement whereby the electric connection from an exterior source of high-frequency current to the conductive fluid in the applicator is established in a simplified and improved manner, and one which renders the device utterly safe and peculiarly adaptable for a variety of uses.
I achieve the foregoing objects and advantages, and such other objects and advantages as may hereinafter appear or be pointed out, in the manner illustratively exemplified in the accompanying drawing, wherein Figure 1 is a fragmentary, longitudinal, crosssectional View through an electrode constructed II]. accordance with my present invention and showing the same during the process of filling the applicator with a fluid;
Figure 2 is an end view taken from the right of Figure 1;
Figure 3 is a perspective view of the plug for the applicator, constructed in accordance with my present invention; and
Figure 4 is a view similar to Figure 1 showing the electrode in condition ready for use.
The applicator I0 is constructed in the form of a resilient, distensible bag, preferably composed of flexible dielectric material such as sheet rubber or the like. It is provided with a neck II adapted to receive a plug of the character hereinafter to be described in greater detail; and although the left portion of the applicator is not shown in the drawings, it will be understood that, other than this neck, there is no opening in the applicator and that it is entirely closed to form a complete bag adapted to accommodate a conductive fluid. The fluid I2 which may be employed is preferably a liquid electrolyte such as salt water or the like.
My present invention resides primarily in the plug which is shown most clearly in Figure 3 and which is adapted to receive the neck in stretched condition thereover so as to effect a sealing of the bag or applicator.
The plug of my present invention is composed of dielectric or insulating material, substantially solid and rigid and inflexible, and is in the form of a substantially cylindrical body I3 having the rear surface I4 and the forward, preferably rounded, surface I5. The body is of such a size with respect to the size of the neck H that the latter may be applied over the body I3 in stretched condition, ensheathing the cylindrical side surface of the body I3 substantially in the manner shown in Figures 1 and 4. The stretching of the material of the neck II causes the latter to grip the body I3 snugly.
In accordance with my invention, the body I3 is provided with a passage for permitting the insertion of the fluid I2 into the applicator I9. This passage is composed of a longitudinal portion I6 and a radial portion I1. The rear end of the longitudinal portion I6 communicates with the rear surface I4 of the body I3 and is adapted to receive a nozzle I8, of any suitable or desired character, through which the fluid may be directed in the direction of the arrow of Figure 1. The forward end of the longitudinal passage portion I6 communicates with the rear end of the radial passage portion II and the forward or inner end of the latter communicates with the ensheathed side surface of the body I3. This arrangement permits the material of the neck II automatically to serve as a check valve and thereby simplifies the construction and renders it devoid of unnecessary and extraneous valves or complicated arrangements or portions.
The manner in which the present construction permits this desirable effect to be achieved will be understood from the description given, particularly by referring to. Figure 1. The neck II normally lies in snug, stretched engagement with the side surface of the body I3. When fluid is forced into the passage (for example, by squeezing a fluid-containing bulb or the like attached to the rear end of the nozzle I8) the pressure of the advancing fluid causes the neck I I to deflect outwardly away from the inner end of the passage H, as illustrated in Figure 1. This permits the fluid to work its way into the body of the applicator I 0 in the direction of the curved arrow of Figure 1. As soon as the pressure of the advancing fluid ceases, the inherent resilience of the material of the neck I I causes the latter automatically to snap back into its normal position, thereby sealing the inner end of the passage I7 and preventing the escape of any of the fluid that has already entered the applicator I0. Additional fluid may then be inserted, as, for example, by refilling the bulb or reservoir which might be attached to the rear end of the nozzle I8, and during each insertion of fluid the same operation takes place. It will be understood, of course, that the insertion of fluid is not necessarily carried out in a step-by-step manner by means of a bulb reservoir or the like, but may obviously be accomplished in a single filling operation, if desired.
After the bag ID has been filled to the desired amount, which will distend the bag I0 to a greater or lesser degree, depending upon requirements, and which will cause the bag to assume an inflated or filled condition of the character illustrated in Figure 4, it is desirable to complete the procedure by applying a clamping means around the neck and binding the same firmly around the body I 3. Preferably, a removable clamping means, such as a wire or elastic band I9, is employed for this purpose, and I prefer to provide an annular groove 20 in the body I3, forwardly of the passage IT, for the purpose of facilitating the accommodation of such band or clamp. Before the clamp I9 is applied, it is also preferable to hold the electrode in a position wherein the plug is upwards, and to squeeze the applicator I0 to force out any entrained air. This air is forced out of the passages I? and I6, and the neck portion II serves again as an automatic check valve since it closes and shields the passage automatically as soon as pressure upon the applicator is released.
In accordance with my invention, the plug serves also as a means for establishing an electrical connection with the fluid I2, and with this object in view I provide an electric terminal 2| which extends longitudinally through the body I3 alongside of the passage I6 and preferably arranged along the axis of the body I3. The terminal 2I has a rear portion 22 which is exteriorly accessible for connection purposes and is preferably constructed as a split connector or binding post adapted to receive an electric terminal member 23 of the character illustratively shown 4 in Figure 4.
In accordance with my present invention, the forward end of the electric terminal 2| is caused to extend or project forwardly from the body I3,
and is formed of an elongated, resilient, flexible member of conductive material, preferably a length of spirally coiled wire 24. This length of coiled wire or similar flexible conductive material may be attached to the body of the electric terminal 2I in any desired manner, as, for example, by soldering or welding; or the entire electric terminal may be made integral.
Another feature of my invention lies in ensheathing the elongated inner portion 24 of the electric terminal in flexible, perforated insulation, preferably a length of perforated rubber tubing 25. The perforations in this insulating sheath permit the portion 24 to make direct contact with the fluid I2. By virtue of the elongated, flexible character of the portion 24, efficient contact with the fluid I2 is established at all times during the use of the electrode, regardless of the particular conformations which the electrode may assume when it is pressed into contact with irregular contours of the human body. Furthermore, by ensheathing the member 24 in insulation, there is no danger of accidental and possibly injurious contact between the member 24 and the human body in the event that the applicator I0 should break or rupture.
It is believed that the manner of using the present electrode will be obvious to those skilled in the art from the description given. It may be mentioned, however, that the electrode is capable not only of application to exterior portions of the body, but also to interior cavity walls. In the latter case, the electrode is inserted in deflated or unfilled condition into the interior cavity which is to be treated, and it is thereafter filled with the desired fluid in the manner hereinafter described. The applicator, when distended by the fluid, will adjust itself automatically to the irregular contours of the cavity in which it is positioned. This provides a firm contact with the Walls of the interior cavity, regardless of the irregularities of such Walls, and it may be noted that such contact has heretofore been utterly unfeasable for non-surgical diathermic purposes.
Obviously, the variable extensibility of the applicator and its general flexibility and adjustable character are features which are of equal value and utility in connection with the establishment of satisfactory electrical contact with other portions of the body, for example, under the armpits, under the back of a patient lying on his back, around the eyes, etc.
It is to be borne in mind that the conductive fluid which is preferably, though not necessarily, liquid, does not serve as a mere transmitter of heat to the areas contacted by the applicator, but serves as a conductor of the electric current itself. The walls of the applicator serve, virtually, as the dielectric of an electrical condenser through which the high-frequency current passes by virtue of its characteristics.
It will be understood that although I have illustrated a single electric terminal, and, more especially, a single projection extending into the body of the fluid, under certain circumstances different arrangements might be feasibly provided for establishing the desired electrical connection with the liquid fluid. For example, a plurality or group of wires or similar conductive members might be caused to extend into immersed relationship with the fluid. Also, the material of the applicator need not necessarily be as soft and flexible as rubber or the like, and any suitable dielectric material of the present general character may be employed.
It will be obvious that changes in the details herein described and illustrated for the purpose of explaining the nature of my invention may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as expressed in the appended claims. It is therefore intended that these details be interpreted as illustrative, and not in a limiting sense.
Having thus described my invention, and illusrated its use, what I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is- 1. A fluid-tight plug for sealing the neck of a fluid containing resilient, distensible electrode bag of the character described, comprising a substantially cylindrical body adapted to receive the neck in fluid-tight stretched condition thereover, and
an electric terminal ext-ending longitudinally and in fluid-tight relation through said body, the outer end of said terminal being arranged for exteriorly accessible connection purposes, the opposite end of said terminal projecting from said body for immersion in said fluid and comprising an elongated, resilient, flexible member of conductive material ensheathed in perforated, flexible insulation.
2. A fluid-tight plug for sealing the neck of a fluid-containing resilient, distensible electrode bag of the character described, comprising a substan 5 tially cylindrical body adapted to receive the neck in fluid-tight stretched condition thereover, said body having a passage therein to permit fluid to be fed into said bag through said plug, the inner end of the passage lying on the ensheathed side surface of the body so that the neck itself will serve as a check valve; and an electric terminal extending longitudinally and in fluid-tight relation through said body, the outer end of said terminal being an exteriorly accessible binding post, the opposite end comprising an elongated, resilient, flexible member of conductive material projecting from said body and adapted for immersion in said fluid.
3. An electrode of the character described, comprising a resilient, distensible bag of insulating material, a conductive fluid in said bag, a neck on said bag, a fluid-tight plug for sealing said neck, and an electric terminal extending through said plug in fluid-tight relation and comprising an outer portion exteriorly accessible for connection purposes and an inner portion immersed in and in electrical contact with the fluid in said bag, said immersed portion comprising a length of spirally coiled Wire.
4. An electrode of the character described, comprising a resilient, distensible bag of insulating material, a conductive fluid in said bag, a neck on said bag, a fluid-tight plug for sealing said neck, and an electric terminal extending through said plug in fluid-tight relation and comprising an outer portion exteriorly accessible for connection purposes and an inner portion immersed in and in electrical contact with the fluid in said bag,
said immersed portion comprising an elongated,
resilient, flexible member of conductive material ensheathed in perforated, flexible insulation.
5. An electrode of the character described, comprising a resilient, distensible bag of insulating material, a conductive fluid in said bag, a neck on said bag, a fluid-tight plug for sealing said neck, and an electric terminal extending through said plug in fluid-tight relation and comprising an outer portion exteriorly accessible for connection purposes and an inner portion immersed in and in electrical contact with the fluid in said bag, said immersed portion comprising a length of spirally coiled wire ensheathed in a length of perforated rubber tubing.
6. An electrode of the character described, comprising a resilient, distensible bag of insulating material, a conductive fluid in said bag, a neck on said bag, a fluid-tight plug for sealing said neck, said plug comprising a substantially cylindrical body adapted to receive the neck in stretched fluid-tight condition thereover, said body having a passage therein to permit said fluid to be fed into said bag through said plug, the inner end of the passage lying on the ensheathed side surface of the body, so that the neck itself will serve as a check valve, and an electric terminal extending in fluid-tight relation longitudinally through said plug and into the fluid in said bag, the inner end of said terminal comprising a resilient, flexible member of conductive material immersed in and in electrical contact with said fluid.
FREDERICK CHARLES WAPPLER.