US 2429438 A
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Oct. 21, 1947. F, c, wAPPLER J 2,429,438
TUBULAR BODIES SUCH AS RADIUM SEEDS Original Filed June 1, 1940 2 SheetsShe e t 1 INVENTOR Freak/'12)? Charm (Viz phi AZToRNYs Oct. 21 1947.
F. c. WAPPLER TUBULAR BODIES SUCH AS RADIUM SEEDS Original Filed June 1, 1940 I 2 Sheets-Shet 2 A ORNEY Patented Oct. 21, 1947 TUBULAR BODIES SUCH AS RADIUM SEEDS Frederick Charles Wappler, New York, N. Y.; Mary D. Wappler, executrix of said Frederick C. Wappler, deceased, assignor to American Cystoscope Makers, Inc., a corporation of New York Original application June 1, 1940, Serial No. 338,296. Divided and this application May 11, 1943, Serial No. 486,577
My present invention relates to minute sealed tubular bodies such as those which are commonly referred to by the medical and surgical profession as radium seeds.
This application is a division of my co-pending patent application, Serial No. 338,296, filed June 1, 1940 (now Patent No. 2,322,902).
Radium seeds are minute elongated bodies intended for implantation in the human body for the purpose of producing certain beneficial eiiects upon cancerous growths and the like. Each seed may be composed, for example, of a small section of a gold tube having an outer diameter of perhaps three hundredths of an inch, and an inner diameter of about eight thousandths of an inch. The seed may be no longer than about one-eighth of an inch or so. It is tightly sealed at each end, and it contains Within it a radioactive substance such as radium emanations or the like.
These small bodies may be conveniently made by exposing the interior of a relatively long tube to radium emanations or the like, then sealing the ends of the tube, and subsequently severing this tube into separate sealed sections. In my aforementioned patent I have illustrated and described an improved method and apparatus for treating such a tube for the purpose of creating quantities of so-called radium seeds of the character mentioned.
Because of the inherently potent and dangerous nature of radioactive material, each seed must have ends which are reliably sealed against any escape of the contents. It has been found that seeds which are produced by merely pinching the tube by means of an ordinary shearing device or tool are not always reliably sealed. Moreover, such seeds are not entirely satisfactory for the additional reason that the pinching operation produces irregular and non-uniform ends of at-- tenuated character, so that the seeds are not of identical size and shape, and are hence 'difiicult to handle.- The ultimate implantation of such seeds into the human body is best efiected by means of a surgical implanting instrument, such as that shown in my Patent No. 2,269,963. For this reason, among others, the proper handling and control of the seedsespecially in view of their minute sizemakes it highly desirable that they be not only of uniform size and shape and of fixed uniform length, but that they have plane blunt ends permitting them to be maneuvered endwise in abutting relationship to each other or to a plunger or the like.
This desirable objective is achieved by means 2 Claims. (01. 128 1.2)
of the present invention, whereby the original length of tube is first pinched in a special manner and then severed transversely through the pinched regions. The pinching is p eferably accomplished by subjecting the tube to the action of a multi-jawed chuck or collet, the jaws being at least three in number and being so shaped that when they are moved radially they will impart a substantially star-shaped cross-section to the resultant pinched region. The transverse cutting through each pinched region is preferably accomplished by means of a saw, such as a rotating saw-toothed disk.
The resultant seeds are of novel and improved character, of uniform shape and size, securely sealed and easy to handle and control. The seeds lend themselves readily to the manipulation and control of groups of seeds arranged end to end in abutting relationship.
While I have referred herein to radium seeds, it will be understood that such seeds are in a sense merely illustrative of the general types of minute sealed tubular bodies to which my invention isapplicable. The invention is not restricted to bodies composed specifically of gold or any other particular material, but is applicable to any tubular material of minute dimensions which is susceptible, like gold, to the pinching and cutting operations alluded to. Nor is it material, so far as certain phases of the invention are concerned, that the resultant body contain radium emanations, since other contents may obviously be provided for, depending upon the use to whichthe tubular bodies are to be put.
I achieve the foregoing objects and advantages in the manner illustratively exemplified in the accompanying drawings in which:
Figure 1 is a view of a typical elongated tube from which radium seeds may be made;
Figure 2 is a view of several sealed bodies produced from the left-hand end portion of the tube of Figure 1;
Figure 3 is an enlarged perspective view of a typical radium seed or tubular body of the present improved character;
Figure 4 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken substantially along the line 44 of Figure 3;
Figure5 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of a multi-jawed chuck forming part of an apparatus which may be employed in forming the seeds;
Figure 6 is an enlarged view taken substantially along the line 6-5 of Figure 5;
Figure 7 is an enlarged longitudinal cross-sec- Figure 9 is a view similar to Figure 8 showing a' subsequent step.
Referring first to Figures 3-and-4,-the sealed body 20 is of substantially cylindricalshapa-constituting a section of a capillary'tube which may be, for example, of gold or'the :like, having an' outer diameter of approximately .03 inch and'an inner diameter of approximately .008 inch. The opposite end portions of the ,body 211 are-pinched into closed condition so that theregion adjacent to each end has a substantially star-shaped configuration as indicated at 2|. In the illustrated body, each region 2| has six radiating fins or ribs resulting from the squeezing action of six complementary radially-moving jaws, but'it will be understood that this particular shape is shown merely by way of example and that any other similar star-shaped cross-section may be provided for. Of course-the fins or ribs must be at least threein number, resulting from the squeezing action of at least three jaws, otherwise the end of thebody would have an undesirable attenuated wedge shape, as distinguished from the blunt end which I aim-to produce.
The ribs project radially for a distance substantially coextensive with the diameter of the tube, as a result of which the end surfaces of the body '20 are substantially fiat and perpendicular to the axis of the tube. These blunt end surfaces imparta fixed length to "the body 20 and greatly facilitate its handling and control during the process of implantingit, along with similar bodies, into the human body.
The squeezing action of 'the jaws, bymeans of which the star-shaped regions 2| are produced, usuallyresults in extruding the fins "slightly beyond the external diameter of the original tube, and that is why'the ends of these fins are-visible in Figure 4. These fins or ribs extend lengthwise for a distance substantially coextensive with'the length of each pinched end portion orregion2l.
The'sealed tubular body of Figure 3 is produced, by means of the present invention, from ,a relatively extended length of tubing 22 which has had its interior exposed to radium emanations or the like, and which has thereupon had its ends 23 and 24 pinched off or sealed in any other convenient manner to retain the radioactive substance in the interior of the tubing 22. In Figure 2, thereference numeral 25 is applied to the sealed body that is first severed from the end of the tube 22. Where the pinchings 23 and 24 are of the ordinary attenuated character, as shown in Figures 1 and.2, the body 25 is not of the character shown in Figures 3 and 4. The subsequent sectionscut from the tube 22 in accordance with the present invention are, however, of the character shown in Figure 3, and for this reason the reference numeral 20 has been applied to them in FigureZ.
The formation of these seeds is preferably accomplished by means of an apparatus such as that which is fully described and illustrated in my aforementioned Patent No. 2,322,902. It includes three blocks 21, 28, and 29 (Figure secured in superposed relationship upon a suitable table :26 by means of the attachment bolt 30 andthe aligningpins 3L The blocks 21 and 28 have superposed projecting tongues '32 and 33 providednear by anyssuitable means. .shown :the outer -faces of the jaws 38 arranged alonga conical surface 4|, and I have shown a their ends with aligned bores 34. A slit or space 35 is formed between the tongues 32 and 33.
The block 29 has a portion arranged above the tongues -32 and 33, and in this portion there is mounted the multiejawed-chuck orcollet 36. This chuck may be, for example, formed of a single tubular element, as shown, held in a suitable opening in the block 29 by means of the set screw 31. At-its free end, the element 36 may be longitudinallysplit to provide the complementary jaws 38, asshown most clearly in Figure 6. These jaws --are; preferablycaused to have an inherent springinesstwhichrretains them in spread relationship. They may be moved radially into closed position I have illustratively collar 39 provided with a similar conical inner surface. The collar is screw-threaded to the threaded portion 40 of the block 29, whereby rotation of the collar will efiect a relative axial movement between it and the portion 40. The opening and closing of the jaws 38 is efiected by rotative movement of the collar 39, such rotative movement being controlled in any suitable manner.
The chuck 36 is in alignment with the bores 34. Beneath these bores there is an abutment 43, which, for a purpose presently to bedescribed, is of movable character so that it may be shifted from a position overlying an outlet opening 50 beneath it (as shown in the present drawings) to a position which uncovers the opening 5|].
The apparatus also includes a rotatable saw-or saw-toothed disk 53 which is mounted so as to operate within the slot 35, the rotating saw being movable across the axis of the bores 34 between the two positions shown in Figures 7 and 8.
In forming the present seeds by means of this preferred apparatus, the jaws 38 are first adjusted to their open position,-and the saw 53 is moved into the position shown in Figure '7. The tube 22 (Figure 1) is then inserted downwardly through the chuck and through the upper one of the bores 34 (not shown in Figures 7-9) until its lower end 24 rests against the saw 53 as shown in Figure 7. The jaws are then adjusted into closed relationship, by suitable rotative movement of the collar 39, thereby tighteningthe jaws around the region of the tube 2-2 which is exposed to their action. This region, it will be observed, is spaced from the end of the tube, and the squeezing action of the jaws 38 serves to pinch the tube closed at this region, imparting a substantially star-shaped cross-section to it.
The saw 53 is then withdrawn into the position of Figure 8, and at the same time the jaws 33, having "completed their pinching action, are released or opened, whereby the tube 22 drops by gravity onto the abutment 43 as shown in Figure 8. It will be observed that the tube now has a pinched region H which it did not have before, this pinching being the result of the action of the jaws 38 while the tube was held in the position of Figure 7. It will also be observed that the parts of the apparatus are so arranged that when the tube strikes the abutment 43, as shown .in Figure 8, the pinched region "H is directly in the line of action of the saw-53.
The saw is then moved back into the position of Figure 7, and is thereby caused to cut transversely through the center of the pinched region H. At the same time, the jaws 38 are re-closed and the abutment 43 is moved aside. As-a result,
the end portion of the tube (designated by the reference numeral 25 in Figure 2) falls downwardly through the opening 50 into a delivery shute 5| (Figure 5) which is arranged to guide the bodies that fall into it to any suitable receptacle.
When the jaws are re-opened again, the saw 53 will have been moved aside and the abutment 43 restored to its normal position as shown in Figure 9. In this figure, it will be observed that a new pinched region 12 has been provided, this region lying in the plane of action of the saw 53. One half of the portion H is now resting upon the abutment 43. As the saw is caused once more to swing across the axis of the tube, it cuts transversely through the pinched region 12, and as the abutment 43 moves aside again, the first of the desired blunt-ended radium seeds 20 is severed from the tube and allowed to drop through the opening 50. During this operation, the jaws 38 will have closed once more to provide a succeeding pinched region on the tube.
This procedure is then repeated again and again, and each operation serves to produce and deliver another sealed body 20.
When the opposite end of the tube 22 is reached, an oddly-shaped body, such as that shown at 25 in Figure 2, may again result, as will be understood. These oddly-shaped end bodies may be separately collected and used for special implanting purposes, or they may be treated in any desired manner for recovery of the gold tubing and of the radioactive substance enclosed thereby.
As a result of this general mode of procedure, each of the ends of each sealed tubular body is not only blunt and plane but accurately sealed at both ends and is the same as each of the other bodies, having exactly the same length and shape.
In general, it will be understood that the details herein described and illustrated may be readily modified by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as expressed in the appended claims. For this reason, it is intended that these details be interpreted as illustrative, and not in a limiting sense.
Having thus described my invention and illustrated its use, what I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:
6 1. A radium seed comprising a, section of a metallic capillary tube with its opposite end portions pinched into closed condition, each of said end portions having the tube wall pinched into 2. A radium seed adapted to be maneuvered endwise by arranging it in abutting end-to-end relationship with other seeds of identical character, comprising a section of a metallic capillary tube containing radium emanations and having its opposite end portions pinched int per.- manently closed condition to secure the contents within the seed, each of said end portions having the tube wall pinched into radially arranged ribs defining a substantially star-shaped cross-section, said end portions having blunt end surfaces lying in a plane perpendicular to the axis of the tube, the ribs projecting radially substantially throughout the diameter of the tube at the blunt end surfaces.
FREDERICK C. WAPPLER.
REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent:
UNITED STATES PATENTS FOREIGN PATENTS Country Date Austria Apr. 10, 1930 Number Number