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Publication numberUS3073311 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 15, 1963
Filing dateNov 2, 1959
Priority dateNov 7, 1958
Publication numberUS 3073311 A, US 3073311A, US-A-3073311, US3073311 A, US3073311A
InventorsGeorge Leslie William, John Tibbs David
Original AssigneeNat Res Dev
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Sewing device
US 3073311 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Jan. 15, 1963 1:..1. mass ETAL 3,073,311

SEWING DEVICE Filed Nov. 2. 1959 2 Shqets-Sheet 1 Br. 551 w Jan. 15, 1963 D. J. was Em, 3,073,311

SEWING DEVICE Filed Nov. 2. 1959 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 United States Patent Office 3,673,311 Patented Jan. 15, 1963 3,073,311 SEWING DEVICE David John Tibbs, Fenham, Newcastle-on-Tyne, and William George Leslie, Gosforth, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, assignors to National Research Development Corporation, London, England, a corporation of Great Britain Filed Nov. 2, 1959, Ser. No. 850,321 Claims priority, application Great Britain Nov. 7, 1958 Claims. (Cl. 128-340) This invention relates to apparatus for holding needles when sewing and particularly but not exclusively for holding needles when making stitches for joining together the adjacent edges of a cut in the tissue of a body.

An object of the present invention in its broadest aspect is to provide needle holding apparatus which can be mechanically or manually operated to carry out the sequence of operations involved in normal hand stitching without the need for handling the needle.

According to the invention there is provided needle holding apparatus comprising two gripping devices capable of gripping a needle at two locations spaced along its length, means for moving the first gripping device into an advanced gripping position, means for operating the first gripping device to grip the needle, means for moving the second gripping device into an advanced gripping position, means for operating the second gripping device to grip the needle, means for releasing and retracting the first gripping device, means for moving the first gripping device back into an advanced gripping position, means for operating the first gripping device again to grip the needle and means for releasing and retracting the second gripping device.

According to a further feature of the invention there is also included means for causing movement of a pressing member back and forth along a path extended from a position beyond the point of the needle to a position between the two ends of a needle gripped in at least one of the gripping devices.

The pressing member may also serve to steady the needle at a position between the gripping positions when the grip is being transferred from one gripping device to the other.

When stitches are required to be inserted in cuts-made in the body of an animal, during a surgical operation for instance, it may be difficult or awkward to maintain a secure hold on the needle. This is especially the case when stitches are required near the base of a'deep incision.

In order to facilitate the manipulation of a small needle in some operating techniques, it is necessary to use a pair of special forceps to hold the needle and a second pair of forceps for picking it up so that both hands are occupied. This can be extremely difficult in a confined position and in any case one hand could be used to great advantage in performing some other function, while the other hand performed the stitching.

The embodiments of the invention described below are those developed for surgical use, but it will be appreciated that the invention can also be applied to the stitching of,

various materials, such as cloth, when a reproduction of the effect of hand stitching will be obtained.

The invention will be more readily understood by the,

following description of certain embodiments, by way of example, in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIGURE 1 is a plan View of one embodiment of the invention with part of the outer'casing removed;

FIGURE 2 is a side elevation in the direction of the arrow A in FIGURE l with part of theouter casing removed;

B in FIGURE 4;

FIGURE 6 is a of the invention;

FIGURE 7 is a modified form of the gripping device illustrated in FIGURE 4;

FIGURE 8 is a plan view of a further embodiment of the invention with part of the casing removed;

FIGURE 9 is a side elevation in the direction of the arrow C in FIGURE 8 with part of the outer casing removed;

FIGURE 10 is a side view of a part of FIGURE 9 on an enlarged scale showing one of the gripping devices and FIGURE 11 is a front view of a detail of FIGURE 2 in an enlarged scale in the direction of thearrow D.

The apparatus as illustrated in FIGURES 1 and 2 is for use in holding curved needles, as are generally used insurgical sewing. Such needles are generally flattened on the inner and outer aspects at the curve to prevent rotation of the-needle inthe gripping devices. A tubular casing 1, 'part of which is shown cut away for clarity, has a handle 2 fixed at one end. Theother end of the casing is closed by an end piece 3 fastened into the end of the casing by any convenient means, preferably so'that it can" be dismantled for cleaning or repair etc. Projecting from the end piece 3 and fastened rigidly thereto is "a support member 4. Two slides 5 and 6 project through and are supported in the end piece into the interior of the casing I, slide 5 being supported also in a cross member'=7- fastened inside the casing. Slide 6 is also supportedin partial side elevation of a modification cross member 7 and also in a further 'cross member 8,

both slides being free to slide axially within the casing 1." The slide 5 is urged in a direction towards the handle '2' by a spring 9, the spring abutting against the end piece 3' and a pin 23 securely fastened in the slide. Slide 6is' urged in a direction 'awayfrom the handle by a spring 10, the spring abutting against'cross member 7 and a pin 11 securely'fastened in the slide. Spring 10 is arranged to be stronger than spring 9 and in its final actionsufficiently strong to give an adequate grip upon the needle; Formed on the slide 6 in a position intermediate the two cross members 7 and 8 is a bracket 12. The

1 gagement by the fingers of the operator and a tongue 16 projecting upwards inside the casing 1. The end of the tongue 16 engages that end of the slide 5 which is within the casing. When the trigger is pulled rearwards,- as the spring 10 is stronger than spring 9, slide 6 will initially remain stationary, the trigger turning on pin 13 and the tongue 16 urging slide 5 forwards in a direction away from the handle.

When the slide 5 has reached its most forward positioncontinued movement of the trigger rearwards will cause the trigger to pivot on the end of the slide 5 and slide 6 will be urged rearwards, in a direction towards the handle. Release of the trigger will first of all allow slide 6 to return to its original position under the action ofthe spring 1%. When the slide 6 has reached its original position, then slide 5 will return toits original position under the action of the spring 9.

Attached to the forward end ofthe support member 4- are two gripping devices 17 and 18. The gripping devices are mounted so that they will grip the curved needle at two places on its arc approximately apart, and'areoperated by rods 19 and 20 respectively. Rod 19 is connected to the slide by a forked joint 21 and the rod 20 is connected to the slide 6 by a similar forked joint 22. The to and fro movements of the slides 5 and 6 and rods 19 and 20 operate the jaws of the gripping devices by means of toggle mechanisms. It will be seen that the gripping device 18 is normally in its advanced gripping position under the action of the spring 10.

The action and construction of the gripping devices will be more easily understood by reference to FIGURES 4 and 5 which illustrate one of the gripping devices on an enlarged scale. The scale device comprises two jaws 30 and 31, jaw 30 being formed with two extensions 32 and 33, projecting approximately at right angles to the jaw and parallel to each other, the ends of which are pivoted at 34 on an extension 35 formed on the support member 4. Jaw 31 is pivotally mounted at 36 between the extensions 32, 33, and has an extension 37 projecting rearwards. A link 38 is also pivotally mounted at one end on the extension 35 of the support member 4, the other end of the link being pivotally connected at 39 to the end of the extension 37 of the jaw 31. A fork member 40 formed on the end of the rod 19 is also pivotally connected at the connection 39 of the link and the jaw extension. The construction thus acts as a toggle mechanism in that forward movement of the rod 19 towards the jaws causes pivot point 39 to move forward, this also causing the jaws to move forward. As they do so jaw 30 pivots about 34 in one direction and jaw 31 pivots about 36 in the other direction, the jaws gripping any article which is between them. Reverse movement of the rod 19 opens the jaws.

In order to ensure that the needle, when being used, is free of obstruction before transferring the grip from gripping device 18 to gripping device 17, and also to steady the needle while the transfer of grip is taking place, a pressing member 41 may be provided. The pressing member is rotatably supported on the support member 4 by bearings 42 and 43 and also in the end piece 3, and cross members 7 and 8. On the rearward end of the pressing member there is fixed a bevel gear 44 which engages with a further bevel gear 45 supported on a shaft 46 supported at right angles to the pressing member in the casing 1. The pressing member is operated by a secoind trigger 47 which causes a slide 48 to slide axially inside the casing 1. The slide 48 is urged forward in a direction away from the handle 2 by a spring 49. At the rearward end of the slide 48 there is pivoted one end of a cranked rod 50 the other end of which engages a slot 51 in lever 52 rigidly connected to the bevel gear 45. When the trigger 47 is pulled back by the operator, slide 48 is pushed back so that the cranked rod 50 rotates the lever 52 and thus the bevel gear 45 about the shaft 46. Rotation of the bevel gear 45 rotates the bevel gear 44 and also the pressing member 41. The pressing member has a short portion 53 bent at right angles. Rotation of the pressing member causes the bent portion to sweep round and press down any obstructing tissue etc. on the needle.

As an aid to inserting a needle before using the apparatus, a spring loaded button 54 is located on the casing 1. Pressing the button inwards causes the end 55 of the shaft of the button to enter a hole 56 in the slide 5 and thus lock it stationary. Operation of the trigger will then cause movement of the slide 6 only, which will open the gripping device 18 for the initial insertion of a needle.

The apparatus operates as follows. A threaded needle is inserted in gripping device 18, the gripping device holding the needle adjacent to the eye end and the point curving round towards the other gripping device. Gripping device 18, as stated before, is normally in the closed or gripping position under the action of the spring 10, slide 6 and rod while device 17 is normally in the open and retracted position. The needle is pushed through the tissue until the gripping device 18 prevents further move ment. Trigger 47 is pulled back and the pressing member 41 rotates causing the portion 53 to press down any tissue adhering to the point of the needle. With the trigger 47 retained in its rearward position the trigger 15 is pulled back. During the initial movement backwards of the trigger 15 it turns about pivot 13 and the tongue 16 pushes the slide 5 forward together with the rod 19. This forward movement of the rod causes the gripping device 17 to move forward into its gripping position, the two jaws cooperating to grip the needle at a position adjacent to the point, the portion 53 of the pressing member steadying the needle. When the jaws of the gripper device 17 are gripping the needle, the rod 19 and thus the slide 5 cannot move any further forward so that further movement of the trigger 15 backward will cause it to pivot on the end of the slide 5 and pull the slide 6 backwards together with red 20. The movement of the rod 20 backwards will cause the jaws of the gripping device 18 to release the needle, the gripping device moving: backwards and thus allowing the needle to be pulled right through the tissue and draw away therefrom to tighten the stitch. In readiness for a further stitch the reverse of the above procedure is followed. The trigger is slowly released, gripper device 18 moving forward and gripping the eye end of the needle, which is steadied by the pressing member, the gripping member 17 then releasing the point end of the needle and retracting clear. Finally the pressing member rotates back when the trigger 47 is released.

In an alternative construction the pressing member has the end of the portion 53 formed into a suitable shape such as a loop which may surround or partially surround the needle when it is moved into its operating position.

The operating slide 48 of the pressing member 41 could be coupled to the trigger 15 so that the initial movement of the trigger operated the slide 48 and rotating the pressing member, further movement operating the gripping devices as previously described. This alternative is shown in FIGURE 6. In this figure the same items are given the same reference numbers as in the previous example. The tongue 16 of the trigger 15 is extended so as to engage slide 48 through spring 60 and the brackets 61 formed on either side of the slide 48. A clearance is provided between the tongue 16 and the end of the slide 5. Initial movement of the trigger will cause the slide 48 to move forward against the action of the return spring 63, rotating the bevel gear 45 by means of the lever 52 and cranked pin 50. This will cause rotation of the pressing member 41. Boss 62 on the slide 48 will then engage with cross member 8 and prevent further movement of the slide. As the trigger is pulled further back the tongue 16 will engage the end of the slide 5 and the operation of the gripping devices will be as previously described. The spring 60 allows for the further movement of the tongue 16 after the boss 62 engages the cross member.

In some cases it will not be necessary to have a pressing member to clear obstructions from the needle and it can then be omitted. It may then be advisable to provide some other means of ensuring that the needle is correctly positioned, and steadied, when the grip is transferred from one gripping device to the other. A simple addition for doing this is shown in FIGURE 7. A hook shaped member 65 is pivotally supported at one end on a support 66 rigidly attached to the extension 35 so that its hooked end is adjacent to the ends of the jaws 30 and 31. A slot 67 is formed in the main part of the member 65, a pin 68 rigidly attached to the extension 32 engaging in the slot 67 and forming a further pivot. In operation, as the rod 19 moves forward to actuate the gripping device by moving the jaws 30 and 31 forward, the pin 68 slides forward in the slot 67 causing the hooked member 65 to pivot at its end and about the pin. The hooked part 69 swings downward and steadies the needle in the correct position before the jaws finally grip it.

FIGURES 8 and 9 illustrate an embodiment of the inmam vention which is a modified form of the apparatus shown in FIGURES 1 and 2. A large part of the apparatus is unchanged and similar reference numbers have been used for those items which are common to both embodiments.

As before, a casing 1 has a handle 2, and contains within it two slides 5 and 6. Two springs 9 and 10 are similarly provided and operate in a similar manner as described above. A trigger 14 is also provided, again operating in the same manner as described above. The main points of difference in the present embodiment are in the mounting and operating of the gripping devices. The end piece 3 carries a support member 70, the support member having two extensions 71 and 72 extending sideways at its end, the extensions being drilled, parallel to the support member, to provide two support bearings. Supported in the support bearings are two support rods 73 and 74, and attached to the ends of the support rods, remote from the casing 1, are gripping devices 75 and 76, one gripping device on the end of each rod. Thus the gripping devices are mounted on movable supports instead of being mounted on a rigid support member, this being one of the main points of difference. The form of the gripping devices can be more readily seen in FIGURE 10 which is a side view of the gripping device 76 on an enlarged scale, with the jaws in the open, or released, position. The gripping device comprises one jaw 81) which is formed on the support rod 74, and a further jaw 81, pivotally mounted on the support rod and actuated by an operating rod 82. The jaw 81 is of hooked formation, the hooked end 83 forming the jaw portion and the shank 84 being slit for the insertion of a tongue 85 formed on th end of the operating rod 74, the tongue being pivotally connected to the jaw 81 by a pin 86. The support rod is grooved on each side behind the jaw 80 to provide a thin portion 87 which also fits in the slit shank 84 of the jaw 81. The shank is pivotally connected to the thin portion 87 by a pin 88. The end face 89 of the jaw 89 and the inner face 90 of the jaw portion 83 are shaped so that when the operating rod is moved forward the faces 89 and 9t} will cooperate to grip the needle. The faces 89 and 90 may be fiat or may have cooperating ridges and grooves or other formations formed on them to increase the efliciency of the grip. The gripping device 75 is similar in form and is actuated by an operating rod 91. The operating rods 82 and 91 are connected to the slides 6 and 5 respectively. These operating rods are similar to the rods 19 and 21} in FIGURE 1 but are each in two pieces joined by connecting means 92 by which the rods 82 and 91 can be rotated through an angle relative to the slides. The purpose of this connection will be explained below. At the outer end of each of the slides 5 and 6 are formed lugs 93 and 94, the lugs extending downwards each having a forward facing spigot 95, 9'6 which are in line with the inner ends of the relative support rod. Formed on each rod, near their inner ends are collars 97 and 98 which form abutments for springs 99 and 190 which fit over the ends of the support rods and over the spigots 95 and 96, being held between the lugs 93 and 94 and the collars 97 and 98, to form a lost motion device.

The lost motion device forms the other main point of difference between the present embodiment and the one described above. In the previously described embodiment, the jaws of the gripping devices were moving all the time the gripping devices were being advanced or retracted. This arrangement did not always provide a perfect gripping action as movement of the gripping device occurred, relative to the needle, as the jaws gripped the needle. In the present arrangement the gripping devices are moved forward to their final gripping position before the jaws are operated. the apparatus acting as follows. Starting from the position shown in FIGURES 8 and 9 in which the gripping device 76 is in the engaged position, the portion of the trigger 14 is pulled backwards pivoting about the pivot 13. With the initial movement of the trigger, the slide 5 is pushed forward and both the support rod 73 and the operating rod 91 move forward until the gripping device 75 is in the correct forward gripping position. This position is controlled by the collar 97 on the support rod 73. When the collar engages the end face of the extension 71 of the support member 79, further forward movement of the support rod is prevented. Further movement of the slide 5 forward compresses the spring 99 held between the lug 93 and the collar 97 the operating rod 77 moving forward and closing the jaws of the gripping device 75. No further forward movement of the slide 5 can occur, so that on continued pulling back of the trigger portion 15 the trigger will pivot on the end of the slide 5 and will pull back the slide 6. On initial movement of the slide 6, the support rod 74 will remain in the forward position under the action of the spring 100 between the collar 98 on the support rod and the lug 94 on the slide 6, the spring expanding as the slide moves back, the operating rod also moving rearwards and opening the gripping device 76. When the jaws of the gripping device are fully open further movement of the operating rod relative to the supporting rod cannot occur and the support rod is pulled rearwards, the gripping device moving out of engagement with the needle. The grip has thus been transferred from one end of the needle to the other.

Reverse operation of the trigger portion 15, reverses the operation sequence described above. The slide 6 together with the support rod 74 and the operating rod 78 move forward into the gripping position, when the collar 98 on the support rod 74 engages the end face of the extension 72. The operating rod then moves further forward closing the gripping device 76, the spring 109 between the lug 94 and collar 98 being compressed. Slide 6 cannot move further forward so that the trigger pivots on the end of the slide 6, slide 5 moving rearwards. This movement of the slide 5 first moves the operating rod 77 rearward, the support rod 73 being held in the forward position by the spring 99 between the collar 97 on the support rod 73 and the lug 93, the jaws of the gripping device 75 opening. When the jaws of the gripping device 75 are fully open, further movement of the operating rod 77 relative to the support rod 73 and the support rod is pulled rearwards the gripping device moving rearwards out of engagement with the needle.

In the embodiment shown in FIGURES 8 and 9, the

pressing member 53 in FIGURE 1, with its operating mechanism, has been omitted. However, it will be seen that such a member and operating mechanism can easily be fitted.

Instead of a spring loaded button as shown at 54 in FIGURE 1, a spring lever as shown at in FIGURE 8 may be provided, for assisting in the initial insertion of the needle.

In the description of the embodiment illustrated in FIGURES 8 and 9, reference was made to the operating rods 82 and 91 each being in two pieces joined by connecting means 92. FIGURE 12 shows a front view of one of these connecting means. It comprises a plate 101 segmental in shape, which is rigidly attached at its narrow end 102 to that piece of the operating rod which is connected to the slide and has two drilled and tapped holes 103 at the wide end, the two holes being equally spaced on either side of the center axis. An arm 104 is rigidly attached at one end to the other piece of the operating rod, and is drilled at its other end so that a screw 105 can be passed through the hole and be screwed into one or other of the two holes in the plate 101. By assembling the support rods and operating rods so that the center axis of each plate 191 is vertical and with the gripping devices at the same angles as the arms 104 on the operating rods, the angle of the gripping devices can be either so that they grip a curved needle with its center of curvature above the gripping devices or below with the handle downwards. The apparatus can then readily be used for sewing from right to left with the handle and trigger downwards and the center of curvature of the needle above the gripping devices or for sewing from left to right with the handle and trigger upwards and the center of curvature of the needle still downwards (but now on the other side of the gripping devices).

It can also be arranged that the gripping devices themselves move to perform the sewing action. This can be done by rotating the support member together with the gripping devices, whilst the casing is kept stationary, the provision of suitable joints at the ends of the rods 19 and 2t) and 82 and 91, allowing this rotation without materially affecting the action of the gripping devices. Alternatively the casing 1, together with the slides, gripping devices, etc. could be enclosed within a second casing and be capable of rotation within this second casing. In this case the handle 2, provided, would be fastened to the second casing.

Where straight needles are used a similar construction can be adopted, but with the gripping devices mounted on the support member parallel to each other so that they will grip the needle at positions spaced apart along its length. The distance apart of the gripping devices can be made to suit the length of the needle to be held. Suitable joints at each end of the rods will enable them to operate the gripping devices satisfactorily even if the slides and their rods were not in exact alignment.

As indicated above the invention is applicable to the reproduction of the effect of hand stitching by mechanical means when sewing material such as cloth. In an apparatus designed for this application the needle holding assembly is held in, or forms part of, a machine so that at least the support member and the needle gripping devices can be moved to insert the needle into the material and withdraw it therefrom. The material to be sewn is passed over a table or support, material holding means and advancing means being provided as in a conventional sewing machine. A slot is provided in the table or support so that as the needle holding assembly, or the support member with the gripping devices, is manipulated to insert the needle, the latter will pass into the material and emerge therefrom at a position spaced from the entry position as in hand sewing. The slides etc. are then caused to operate the gripping devices so that the gripping position on the needle is transferred from the eye end to the point end, the needle holding assembly being then pulled away from the starting point to withdraw the needle from the material. Reverse operation of the slides etc. will then cause the grips on the needle to be transferred back to the eye end, and the needle holding assembly to be moved to the starting position, ready for a further stitch. Some arrangement should preferably be made to pull up or tighten the slack thread behind the needle.

The above embodiments of the invention have been described in relation to the use of a needle with the eye at the end remote from the point. It should be noted that and the pressing member 41 where 8 the apparatus can also be used with a needle of which the eye is at the pointed end.

We claim:

1. Apparatus for holding needles comprising a casing, a first and a second sliding member mounted for axial movement in said casing, an operating member pivotally mounted on the first of said sliding members and operatively connected to the second of said sliding members, two devices for gripping needles operable to close and open and supported by said casing, two linking means one each operatively linking one of said gripping devices to one of said sliding members, and biassing means tending to close one of said gripping devices and open the other of said gripping devices, said biassing means interconnecting said sliding members so that actuation of said operating device serves to operate selectively one of said sliding members and ultimately to alternatively actuate one of said gripping devices.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein each of said gripping devices comprises a pair of pivoted jaws.

3. Apparatus according to claim 1 in which said operating member is a trigger, said trigger being pivoted on one of said sliding members and moving the other of said sliding members, and said linking means including two axially movable parallel operating rods, each of said rods being connected to one of said gripping devices at one end and to one of said sliding members at the other.

4. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said linking means includes two axially movable operating rods lying parallel to one another, each of said rods being connected to one each of said gripping devices and operably associated with said operating member by means of said sliding members, each of said gripping devices being mounted to move with its associated said operating rod so that operation of said gripping device by said operating memher through said sliding member moves said operating rod associated with said gripping device away from said casing as said gripping device closes and towards said casing as said gripping device opens.

5. Apparatus according to claim 4 including a lost motion device in said linking means of each of said gripping devices to said operating member, said lost motion device constituting means providing first movement of one of said gripping devices and its associated said operating rod away from said casing without said gripping device operating upon actuation of said operating member to close said one gripping device.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,131,163 Saunders et al Mar. 9, 1915 1,155,378 Steedman Oct. 5, 1915 2,601,564 Smith June 24, 1952 FOREIGN PATENTS 337,579 France Feb. 24, 1904

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Classifications
U.S. Classification606/145
International ClassificationA61B17/04
Cooperative ClassificationA61B17/0469
European ClassificationA61B17/04E