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Publication numberUS3164151 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 5, 1965
Filing dateDec 14, 1962
Priority dateDec 14, 1962
Also published asDE1491199A1
Publication numberUS 3164151 A, US 3164151A, US-A-3164151, US3164151 A, US3164151A
InventorsNicoll Esmond D Vere
Original AssigneeNicoll Esmond D Vere
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Inflatable splint
US 3164151 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Jan. 5, 1965 E. D. VERE NlcoLL INFLATABLE sPLINT Filed Deo. 14, 1962 INVENTOR. E's/wo/vo Vfif/V/coa.,

United States Patent Orifice 3,154,151 EIFLATABELE SFLIN'E Esmond D. Vere Nicol, Whippcorwili, 5, Charlottesville, Va. Filed Dec. 14, 1%2, Ser. No. 244,6@ 2 Claims. (Si. IE5-75) This invention relates to an inflatable splint and, more particularly, is directed to an inatable surgical collar or neck brace which may be rolled into a small, compact size when not in use and which may be quickly unrolled and inflated to provide therapeutic support for a person having an injured neck.

rI`he present application is -a continuation-in-part of the copending application Serial Number 7 88,238, now abandoned, and entitled lnatable Splint, which was tiled on January 2l, i959.

At present the collars used in the treatment of an injured neck are generally large and bulky and are formed of metal, wood and plaster members. This makes them unsuited for packaging in small kits, and they are heavy and uncomfortable to Wear and require special littino techniques. Even the inflatable types heretofore known require some form of rigid structure to provide the required support which increases its packaged size and has other disadvantages.

An object of this invention is to provide an inflatable collar that can be rolled into a small size in its unused state and then can be readily inflated for use and which provides comfortable, light-weight, and effective neck and head support.

Another object of the invention is to provide an inilatable surgical collar or neck brace that can be easily positioned and secured on an injured person and so formed as to have, when inflated, a plurality of vertically oriented tubular columns of air in communication with each other and which when worn provides adequate support to an injured neck and the head of a person Wearing the same without any additional rigid or stiffening members land with maximum of comfort to the wearer.

A further object of the invention is to provide an iniatable collar or neck brace which is inexpensive to manufacture and which may be packaged in a small, inexpensive kit.

Further objects and the entire scope of the invention will become more fully apparent when considered in light of the following detailed description of illustrative embodiments or this invention and from the appended claims.

The illustrative embodiments may be best understood by reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIGURE l is an illustration of one embodiment of the invention in its application as a support for the head of a person with an injured neck.

FIGURE 2 is a side elevation view of a preferred embodiment of the improved inflatable collar or neck brace.

FIGURE 3 is -a sectional view along lines 3 3 of FIGURE 2.

FIGURE 3a is a view of the blank of liexible material from which the collar of FIGURE 2 is made.

FIGURE 4 is an illustration `of the preferred embodiment of FIGURE 2 in its application as a collar or neck brace.

Briey, the invention comprises an inflatable collar or neck brace fabricated with a plurality yof open ended cells so as to provide, when inated, a plurality of vertically arranged tubular air columns, the internal pressure of these columns of air supporting both laterally and vertically the neck and head of the wearer when the iniiated collar is secured about said neck.

In FIGURE l a preliminary embodiment of the invention is shown. The outer wall Z6 and the inner wall Cil l possible abrasive irritation to the wearer.

Patented dan. 5, gb

27 of the collar are formed from a single piece of plastic material. The Walls are welded together at a point at the rear of the collar (not shown). The top and bottom panels 28 and 29 are generally U-shaped and are welded to the upper and lower edges of the outer and inner walls 25 and 27 to form an air-tight space 3l). The ends 31 and 32 of the collar are provided with hook fasteners 34 and the collar is fastened around the neck by the lace 35. The collar may be iniiated through the valve 36. The pressure of the collar may be adjusted by varying the gas pressure or the lacing.y The collar may also be provided in a iluted form by welding the outer wall 26 along spaced lateral strips. This gives additional rigidity to the collar.

The preferred form of the invention utilizes a fluted structure for the neck brace or collar.

rl`his preferred embodiment of the invention is more fully described and illustrated in FIGURES 2-4. The collar yof this embodiment is formed from a sheet of a exible, air-impermeable material 4t), preferably a exible plastic sheet, which is cut to provide a substantially symmetrical blank 46a, `as shown in FIGURE 3a. The lower edge 44 (FIGURE 2) along the axis of symmetry is straight as it is formed by folding the sheet Mia along the axis of symmetry 41 seen in FIGURE 3a'. The upper edge 46 of the collar is formed by heat sealing together edges 46a and 'Mb of blank 40a, forming a depression at the region 48 adapted to receive and support the chin of the wearer. rIhe blank lila has rounded corners 43 so that when folded along its axis of symmetry 41, the said sheet 40' is free from angular points which could cause discomfort to the wearer. The dimensions of the depressions 48,.as Well as the width and length of the blank 46a, may be selected to provide collars to properly lit users in all sizes.

After folding, edges 46o and 46]? only are iirst heat sealed forming seam 46. Preferably the sealed, lapped material of the seam is on the inside of the tube to avoid This may be accomplished by special heat sealing techniques or by the method of iirst sealing on the outside and then resulting 5 tubular structure may be turned inside-out to direct the seam interiorly of the tube.

The ends 57 of the collar are finally heat sealed to form an enclosed iniiatable chamber. At spaced intervals along the collar, the symmetrical portions of sheet 40 are heat sealed together along strips 47 extending transversely of the length of the collar thereby dividing the interior 'of the collar into .a number of sections or cells 64. The lengths of these transverse heat seals 47 may vary, each seall preferably ending at points substantially equidistant from edges 44 and d6. This allows communication between the sections or cells within the collar through channels 50 and 52. To provide means for securing the collar to the user, tabs 54 and 56 of flexible material are heat sealed to the heat sealed strips 47 at opposite ends 'of the collar. To tabs 54 and 56 are connected, respectively, cooperating strips 5S of woven material of the type known as Velcro and described in United States Patent No. 2,717,437. This material functions to securely hold the collar in place when the opposed strips 5S are pressed together.

A further provision 'of this embodiment is a plurality of vents dil to lallow air to reach the neck of the injured party. These vents are provided by heat sealing the symmetrical portions of sheet itl together over circular areas at each end of sealed strips 47 intermediate the `strips to which tabs 54 and S6 are attached to the collar. Portions of these circular areas are cut away to provide vents 60' while maintaining the collar air tight.

At any convenient time during the manufacture of the collar, a suitable slip valve 62 may be attached to alegrar the sheet 40 intermediate centrally located sealed strips 47. rIliis valve may be used to inflate and deflate the collar.

When the collar is inflated, it assumes a configuration which can most clearly be seen with reference to FIG- URES 3 and 4. By means of channels 50 and 52, the air is evenly land balancedly distributed to the sections or cells 64 defined by sealed strips 47. The inflation of the chamber produces a plurality of parallel spaced air columns within the cells 64. When the collar is attached about the neck of the injured party, as shown in FIGURE 4, these air columns provide a cushioned, but rrn vertical support for the head and a lateral support for the neck. The depression 48, receiving the chin oi' the wearer, further tends to prevent and restrain rotational movement of the head.

It is thus seen from the foregoing description that a supporting neck brace or collar may be formed that is easily rolled or folded into a small, compact package for storage. As a collar or neck brace it provides the necessary support for theV head and neck, and the inflated Walls with air columns therein provide the necessary padding for the comfort of the injured person. The pneumatic pressure provides sufficient rigidity with additional support being provided by the fluted forni of the collar Which establishes air columns when the collar is inilated.

The collar designs disclosedrherein are' examples of arrangements in which the inventive features 'of the disclosure may be utilized, and it will become Iapparent to one skilled in the art that certain modifications, such as a textile cloth covering for the collar, adding to its comfort, may be made Within the spirit of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. An inflatable collar or brace for supporting the neck and head of the wearer, comprising a sheet of ilexible air-impermeable plastic material, said sheet being generally symmetrical about an axis of symmetry extending longitudinally of its length and having curved side edges with a Width in its middle region less than the Width of its end regions, and folded along said axis of symrnerty to form a folded straight side edge; means sealing together adjacent edges of said folded sheet along the ends i the curved side thereof so as to form an elongated en-V closed chamberV having a folded straight side edge, a curved sealed side edge, two 'sealed end edges and two opposing side Walls having a central region narrower than the end regions; means further sealing together the said opposing side Walls of said chamber at a plurality of spaced strips, said strips extending generally transversely to the length of said chamber and intermediate the ends thereof and of a length less than the width of said chamber at the location of said strip; adjacent pairs of said strips forming with the portions of the opposing said side walls located therebetween an inflatable cell; said strips further providing means for curving said chamber when inflated; generally enclosed tubular channels being also formed extending interiorly longitudinally of said chamber, from one of said end edges to the 'other of said end edges, one of said tubular channels extending along said folded side edge, and the other of said tubular channels extending along said sealed side edge, each of said channels being in open communication with each of said cells; means permitting inflation of said chamber to inflate said cells and said channels whereby a plurality of substantially parallel generally vertical air columns extending transversely of the length of said chamber are formed, said air columns terminating at their ends in the inflated channels extending along the edges `of said chamber, resistance to compression of said inflated air columns providing vertical support to the head of the wearer and at the same time providing gentle lateral support to the neck of the wearer, through the resting of said inflated channels yagainst the shoulder and head of the wearer, and said central narrower region of said chamber supporting and partially surrounding the chin of the wearer to restrict rotational movement of the same; and fastening means for connecting and disconnecting the ends of said chamber to each other and to secure said collar about the neck of the wearer.

2. The inflatable collar or brace of claim l wherein the needs 4of said spaced strips are substantially equidistant from the side edges of said chamber, and terminate in a centrally apertured sealed area of said side walls, where by ventilation is provided to the neck of the wearer when the neck brace is worn.

References Cited in the le of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,964,962 Rosenblum July 3, 1934 2,651,392 Berry Sept. 8, 1953 2,802,630 Moore Aug. 6, 1957 2,806,471 Breese Sept. 17, 1957 3,070,090 Taylor Dec. 25, 1962 OTHER REFERENCES Braces Today, Sept. 1956. Variety of Therapeutic Applications Characterize v Slip-on Cervical Collar, by Otto Eisert and Dominic Marinello, copyright 1956, 1 page.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1964962 *Aug 15, 1931Jul 3, 1934Lily M RosenblumBandage
US2651392 *Dec 11, 1950Sep 8, 1953Harold J Le VesconteWeather strip for metal casement windows
US2802630 *Mar 26, 1956Aug 13, 1957Northrop Aircraft IncWing leading edge device
US2806471 *Sep 21, 1953Sep 17, 1957Allan H BreeseCervical brace
US3070090 *Jan 27, 1961Dec 25, 1962Arabion N TaylorNeck support
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3285244 *Jun 8, 1964Nov 15, 1966George W CottrellCervical collar
US3343532 *Feb 2, 1965Sep 26, 1967Medico Ortopedica Dott OffOrthopaedic apparatus for immobilizing and stretching the cervical column
US3424151 *Jan 3, 1966Jan 28, 1969Kendall & CoInflatable splint
US3765412 *Dec 23, 1971Oct 16, 1973Department Of Health EducationInflatable cervical collar for prevention of head and neck injury
US3855631 *Jan 23, 1974Dec 24, 1974Hit AwayProtective neck collar
US4194501 *Jul 31, 1978Mar 25, 1980Watt Russell AFirst aid splint for cervical spine injuries
US4232663 *Dec 12, 1978Nov 11, 1980Newton John ECervical support collar
US4606358 *Feb 3, 1984Aug 19, 1986Higgins Brian JCollar
US4617691 *Jun 19, 1985Oct 21, 1986Monti Martha SSupport pillow
US4867140 *Dec 28, 1987Sep 19, 1989Hovis Donald BFluid-actuated medical support
US4903711 *Oct 21, 1988Feb 27, 1990Gunther Roland EDevice for preventing infant colic
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US5343878 *Jun 1, 1993Sep 6, 1994Respironics Inc.Pressure application method
US5403266 *Jul 6, 1993Apr 4, 1995United States Manufacturing CompanyInflatable cervical traction collar
US5520619 *Feb 22, 1994May 28, 1996Ambu International A/SAdjustable cervical collar
US5588957 *Aug 15, 1995Dec 31, 1996Ambu International A/SCervical collar
US5728054 *May 24, 1996Mar 17, 1998Ambu International A/SAdjustable cervical collar
US5752927 *Dec 30, 1996May 19, 1998Rogachevsky; Richard J.Inflatable cervical traction device
US5797863 *Nov 29, 1996Aug 25, 1998Ambu International A/SCollapsible cervical collar
US5916185 *Jul 24, 1997Jun 29, 1999Glacier Cross, Inc.Inflatable cervical traction or stretch device
US5993403 *Mar 13, 1998Nov 30, 1999Ambu International A/SAdjustable cervical collar
US6027467 *Feb 9, 1999Feb 22, 2000Nakamura Brace Co., Ltd.Cervical orthosis
US6036664 *Jun 7, 1995Mar 14, 2000Ambu International A/SAutomatic adjustable cervical collar
US6216298May 24, 1999Apr 17, 2001Maria Connie OliveiraTravel pillow
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US7070573 *Nov 6, 2001Jul 4, 2006Stefan AxelssonTraction collar
US7328472 *Jul 10, 2002Feb 12, 2008Chaffee Robert BConfigurable inflatable support devices
US7424760Mar 25, 2005Sep 16, 2008Chaffee Robert BBody support, comfort device
US7475440Nov 18, 2003Jan 13, 2009Chaffee Robert BInflatable device forming mattresses and cushions
US7788751 *Feb 4, 2009Sep 7, 2010Stephen K. DiemerSitting neck support device
US8162009Apr 4, 2007Apr 24, 2012Chaffee Robert BMethod and apparatus for monitoring and controlling pressure in an inflatable device
US8225444Jan 6, 2009Jul 24, 2012Chaffee Robert BInflatable device forming mattresses and cushions
US8286593 *Oct 10, 2006Oct 16, 2012Thomas AlbersAnimal collar for limiting head movement
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US8413674Jan 8, 2010Apr 9, 2013Robert B. ChaffeeValve with electromechanical device for actuating the valve
US8434177Dec 12, 2007May 7, 2013Robert B. ChaffeeConfigurable inflatable support devices
US8740845Jun 6, 2011Jun 3, 2014Polyzen Inc.Multi-layer film welded articulated balloon
US8776293Aug 8, 2011Jul 15, 2014Robert B. ChaffeePump with axial conduit
US20130146161 *Dec 9, 2011Jun 13, 2013Gregory Ellis HerivelDisposable Hydration Pouch
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DE10228840A1 *Jun 27, 2002Jan 29, 2004Frank ArneggerErste-Hilfe-Halsstütze zur Ruhigstellung und leichten Druckentlastung der Halswirbelssäule
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EP0934732A2 *Feb 4, 1999Aug 11, 1999Nakamura Brace Co., Ltd.Cervical orthosis
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Classifications
U.S. Classification602/18, D24/191, 128/DIG.230
International ClassificationA61F5/058, A61F5/055, A61F5/01
Cooperative ClassificationA61F5/055, A61F5/05816, A61F5/012, Y10S128/23
European ClassificationA61F5/058C, A61F5/01D2, A61F5/055