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Publication numberUS3369548 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 20, 1968
Filing dateApr 8, 1965
Priority dateApr 8, 1965
Publication numberUS 3369548 A, US 3369548A, US-A-3369548, US3369548 A, US3369548A
InventorsEugene M Helveston, Frank C Moore
Original AssigneeEugene M. Helveston, Frank C. Moore
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Head immobilizing device for surgery and examination
US 3369548 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Feb. 20, 1968 F. c. MOORE ET AL 3,369,548

HEAD IMMOBILIZING DEVICE FOR SURGERY AND EXAMINATION Filed April 8, 1965 INVENTOR s; FRANK C. MOORE EUGENE M. HELVESTON ATT'YS United States Patent 3,369,548 HEAD IMMOBILIZING DEVICE FOR SURGERY AND EXAMINATION Frank C. Moore, 3935 Arthington Blvd. 46226, and Eugene M. Helveston, 3785 E. 62nd St. 46220, both of Indianapolis, Ind.

Filed Apr. 8, 1965, Ser. No. 446,591 9 Claims. (Cl. 128303) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A headrest for immobilizing a head during surgery or examination. The headrest includes a top wall forming a central depression of generally semi-oval shape, a depending side wall merging with the top wall along a smooth rim and terminating along a lower peripheral edge extending along a single plane, and a neck depression provided in the rim.

This invention relates to a head immobilizing device particularly suitable for use during surgery or patient examination.

During surgery, or during certain patient examinations, it is important that the patients head be comfortably stabilized. Such stabilization is essential during ocular surgery, plastic surgery, or any other surgery involving the head or face, and is also necessary during ocular examinations, such as tonography examinations, and during any surgery where a general gaseous anesthetic is administered.

In the past, head support has been obtained with the aid of sandbags or rolled towels. Sandbags are far from satisfactory as head supports because they cannot be readily sterilized and because they are bulky, making surgery about the head and face awkward and difficult. Similarly, rolled towels are undesirably bulky and, in most cases, fail to provide a sutficiently firm support for a patients head. To increase firmness, the rolled toweling is Sometimes wrapped with gauze; however, such a procedure is time consuming and, at best, only partially effective in increasing firmness without significantly re ducing bulk.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a device for supporting a patients head which overcomes the aforementioned defects and disadvantages of articles previously used for that purpose. In particular, it is an object to provide a headrest which comfortably holds a patients head in a stable position, the headrest being slightly resilient and yet providing a firm support to maintain the head, without conscious effort on the patients part, in the required position for surgery or examination.

Another object is to provide a headrest which is simple and inexpensive in construction and which is preferably disposable after a single use. A still further object is to provide an inexpensive, disposable headrest which is capable of accommodating a wide range of head shapes and sizes. In this invention, it is an important object to provide a self-adjustable headrest which will support heads of different shapes and sizes and which distributes pressure substantially evenly over the posterior aspect of the head. This even distribution insures that no one point of the posterior aspect of the head will receive undue Patented Feb. 20, 1968 pressure which might cause a cessation of circulation in a localized area and possibly serious complications.

Another object is to provide a headrest which is light in weight and small in bulk and, specifically, which does not project laterally to any objectionable extent beyond the head of a patient supported thereby. Consequently, the headrest does not interfere with surgical procedures which might require a surgeon to stand close to a patients head and, in general, permits closer positioning of equipment and medical personnel than would be possible with conventional head supports.

A still further object is to provide a plastic headrest which will not absorb liquids and which is therefore particularly useful in surgery or examinations Where irrigating procedures are involved.

Other objects will appear from the specification and drawings in which:

FIGURE 1 is a perspective view illustrating the headrest of the present invention as it supports and stabilizes a patients head.

FIGURE 2 is a top plan view of the headrest.

FIGURE 3 is an end elevational view, partly cut away, and taken along line 33 of FIGURE 2.

FIGURE 4 is a transverse cross sectional view taken along line 44 of FIGURE 2.

FIGURE 5 is a side elevational view along line 55 of FIGURE 2.

FIGURE 6 is a longitudinal sectional view taken along line 66 of FIGURE 2.

FIGURE 7 is a sectional view similar to FIGURE 4 and illustrating, in somewhat exaggerated form, the selfadjustment of the headrest in supporting a relatively large head.

FIGURE 8 is a sectional view similar to FIGURE 7 and also illustrating in somewhat exaggerated fashion the self-adjustment of the headrest in supporting a relatively small patients head.

Referring to the drawings, the head immobilizer or headrest of the present invention comprises a shell 10 having a top wall 11 and an integral depending side wall 12. Top wall 11 slopes downwardly and inwardly from a generally oval rim portion 13 and defines an enlarged central depression for supporting a patients head. The depression is of developed shape, conforming generally to the posterior aspect of what might be regarded as an average adult head. In broad terms, the depression has the general shape of a longitudinal semi-section of a prolate spheroid.

At its periphery, the top wall merges smoothly with rounded rim 13 which in turn merges with the depending and circumferentially extending side wall 12. The side wall terminates at its lower end in a laterally projecting flange 14 which extends perimetrically about the shell. It will be noted that flange 14 extends along a single plane and that such plane is spaced below the lowest point of depressed top wall 11. In other words, the maximum depth of the top walls depression, measured from rim 13, is substantially less than the height of side wall 12.

As shown most clearly in FIGURE 3, a portion of the rim dips downwardly at 13a to provide a neck-receiving depression. The rims neck depression merges smoothly with the central depression of top wall 11 and with the reduced portion of side wall 12 adjacent thereto.

The side wall does not extend vertically but instead curves gently outwardly and downwardly from the rim portion 13. Since the shell is formed only from a single piece of thin, flexible material, the double curvature of the side wall, coupled with the lower peripheralflange 14, provides stiffness in those areas of the shell where yieldability is not desired.

Within the central depression of the top wall are a pair of relatively small secondary depressions 15 spaced equally, from the shells axial midline. These secondary depressions, positioned on each side of the central depression, are adapted to receive the lateral occipital protuberances of a patient in those instances where such protuberances are pronounced. At the lowermost of the central depression, top wall 11 is provided with a drain opening 16. While only a single opening is shown in the drawings, it will be understood that a plurality of such openings might be provided if desired.

The shell may be formed of any suitable material having the desired properties of strength and flexibility. Plastic materials have been found particularly effective, although it is conceivable that thin, flexible metal, or pressed paperboard, might also be suitable. The headrest is formed in one piece from a single sheet of material. Any of a variety of methods may be used to form the sheet into the configuration shown in the drawings, some of the more desirable methods being vacuum forming, blow molding, pressure molding, or forming between two matched male and female dies. A particularly effective method has been found to be vacuum forming, and it has also been found that high impact polystyrene is especially suitable for use as the shell-forming material. Where such polystyrene is used, the starting sheets should be of a thickness in thegeneral range of between .004 to .075 of an inch. Polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyvinylchloride are examples of other plastic materials that might be used, although different wall thicknesses may be required depending on the molecular weight and resiliency of the particular plastic selected.

The headrest, formed as described, has been found to provide. comfortably firm support for a patients head. With the head supported as illustrated in FIGURE 1, the sloping surfaces defining the cavity apply a substantially uniform supporting force to the posterior aspect of the head, and without the application of localized forces or pressures which might interfere with proper circulation. Since the head is comfortably supported, movements which might result from patient discomfort are avoided, and since the head is firmly stabilized, no conscious effort on the part of the patient to hold his head immovableis required. Also, because the headrest provides firm support, a patient is reassured that his head is effectively restrained against unintentional movements which might have serious consequences should they occur during certain operating procedures, such as during tonometryor eye surgery.

The eifectiveness of the headrest in providing a comfortable and firm support for heads of different shapes and sizes result both from the flexibility of the thin sheet material from which the shell is formed and from the configuration of the shell. In FIGURES.7 and 8, exaggerated somewhat for purposes of illustration, it will be seen that the shell responds dilferently in conforming to the posterior aspect of a relatively large head 16 (FIG- URE 7) and a relatively small one 17 (FIGURE 8). In FIGURE 7, the curvature of the head is slightly greater than the curvature of cavity 11, with the result that initial contact is made between the head 16 and the. shoulder 13. As the weight of the head bears downwardly into the cavity, there is a slight inward rolling of the material of the shoulder 13, as indicated by arrow 18, accompanied by an enlargement of the diameter of the shoulder and a slight elevating of the wall at the bottom of the cavity (as indicated by arrow 19) because of the outward force exerted against the cavitys side wall.

On the other hand, where a curvature of a head is sharper than the inner curvature of the shell (in an untensioned state), the head initially contacts the bottom of the cavity and the downward force exerted thereagainst (represented by arrow 20) tends to draw the side wall 12 and shoulder 13 inwardly so that the entirewall defining the cavity snugly engages the patients head.

Especially when self-adjustment of the shell results in a lowering of the bottom of the cavity, it is apparent that a spacing between the underside of the wall defining the cavity and the surface upon which the shell rests is important for the patients comfort as well as for proper functioning of the headrest. As previously mentioned, side wall 12 is substantially higher than the depth of the cavity,

thereby permitting the rolling or flexing action described.


While in the foregoing we have disclosedan embodi-v ment of the invention in considerable detail for purposes of illustration, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that many of these details'may be varied without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

We claim:

1. A disposable headrest for patients comprising a thin shell of flexible plastic materialhaving 21 depending side wall and a top wall, said top wall being integral with said side wall and merging therewith along a smoothly curved rim, and a central depression in said topwall in the shape of a semi-section of aprolate spheroid, said depression being sized and contoured to receive the poste-- rior portion of a patients head and having a maximum depth from said rim less than the height of said side Wall, said top wall also having a pair of relatively small secondary depressions spaced apart along each sideof said central depression for receiving the lateral occipital protuberances-of a patient, and a neck depression provided in the rim of said headrest and merging with said central depression for receiving the posterior portion of a-patients neck.

2. The structure of claim 1-in which said shell'is of substantially uniform thickness throughout its entire extent.

3. The structure of claim 1 in which said'side wall is provided with an outwardly projecting peripheral flange along its lower edge.

4. The structure of claim 1' in which said shell is perforated at the bottom of said central depression.

5. A disposable headrest for patients comprising a thin shell-of flexible material having a depending side wall and a top wall, said top'wall beingintegral with said side wall and merging therewith alonga smoothly curved shoulder, and-a central cavity in said top wall'of semi oval shape, said cavity being contoured to receive the posterior portion of a patients head ofaverage size and having a maximum depth from said shoulder substan-.

tially less than-the height of said side wall, and a neck depression provided in the shoulder of said headrest and merging with the central cavity for receiving the posteriorportion of a patients neck, said shoulder, sidewall,

and top wall being flexible to exert substantially uniform wall adjacent said shoulder also being flexible inwardly tobear snugly against the sides of a head of smaller-- than-average size.

6. The structure of claim 5 in whichsaid top wall is also provided with a pair of relatively small secondary depressions spaced apart along each side ofsaid central depresslon for receiving thelateral occipital protuberancesof a patient.

7. The structure of claim '5 in which said side wall slopes downwardly and outwardly and terminates along a lower peripheral flange extending outwardly along a single plane.

8. The structure of claim 5 in which said shell is.

formed of flexible plastic material and is of substantially uniform thickness throughout its entire extent.

5 6 9. The structure of claim 5 in which said shell is per- 2,521,780 9/1950 Dodd 5-338 forated at the bottom of said central cavity. 2,700,779 2/ 1955 Tolkowsky 5-338 2,940,088 6/1960 Boos 5338 References Cited UNITED STATES P 5 LOUIS MANOENE, Primary Examiner.

587,224 7/1897 McKelvey 297 391 X RICHARD A GAUDET, Examiner- 909,453 1/ 1909 Pullman. G. E. MCNEILL, Assistant Examiner.

1,713,361 5/1929 Zettel 297-391

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US587224 *Oct 10, 1894Jul 27, 1897Stewart Dixon MckelveyHead-rest pad
US909453 *Jul 2, 1908Jan 12, 1909Lyn F PullmanBack-rest for children.
US1713361 *Feb 7, 1928May 14, 1929Gustav ZettelHead support for operation chairs of any kind
US2521780 *Jun 12, 1947Sep 12, 1950Dodd Bertha ACushion or receptacle
US2700779 *Sep 13, 1952Feb 1, 1955Tolkowsky CharlesTherapeutic pillow
US2940088 *Feb 6, 1959Jun 14, 1960Boos Howard MPosture pillow
Referenced by
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US4173980 *Feb 25, 1977Nov 13, 1979Curtin Brian JCorneal resurfacing apparatus and method
US4841965 *Jun 6, 1986Jun 27, 1989Jacobs Deborah AAnimal holding and position restoring device employing vacuum holder and mouthpiece
US5329934 *Dec 9, 1992Jul 19, 1994Bowman Karolen CMedical patient restraint device
US5439008 *Dec 22, 1993Aug 8, 1995Bowman; Karolen C.Infant reflux restraint apparatus
US5596780 *Mar 26, 1996Jan 28, 1997The Nemours FoundationSurgery patient headrest
US5768725 *Oct 15, 1996Jun 23, 1998The Nemours FoundationSurgery patient headrest
US6065166 *Oct 17, 1996May 23, 2000O.R. Comfort, LlcSurgical support cushion apparatus and method
WO1987005207A1 *Mar 3, 1986Sep 11, 1987Johann Jun RadlSupport device for ultrasonic hip examinations
WO1994013177A1 *Dec 3, 1993Jun 23, 1994Karolen C BowmanMedical patient restraint device
U.S. Classification5/637, D24/183, 5/639
International ClassificationA61G13/12, A61G13/00, A61G7/05, A61G7/07
Cooperative ClassificationA61G7/072, A61G13/121
European ClassificationA61G13/12A1