US 3394702 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 30, 1968 H. J. HEIMLICH z-:T AL I 3,394,702
SURGICAL SPONG'E STICK v Filed May 5, 1967 )u F/G/ /2 /a L/ v ffy l@ //f H4 F/G. 3
ATTORNEYE- United States Patent O 3,394,702 SURGICAL SPONGE STICK Henry J. Heimlich, Rye, N.Y., and Ronald D. Russo, Wethersfield, Conn.; said Russo assignor to Becton, Dickinson and Company, Rutherford, NJ., a corporation of New Jersey Continuation-impart of application Ser. No. 425,013, Jan. 12, 1965. This application May 5, 1967, Ser. No. 636,453
3 Claims. (Cl. 12S-269) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A Surgical sponge stick having a hollow tubular relatively rigid handle open on both ends with one end being partially flattened. A porous absorbent surgical sponge material is mounted on the partially flattened end of the handle. The non-flattened end of the handle is formed so that it can be attached to a source of suction and fluid, su-ch as blood, rnay be aspirated through the sponge and handle. In this manner, the longevity of a single sponge is greatly increased and the sponging and suction requirements during a particular operation are combined in a way which increases the safety and efficiency of both.
Cross-references to related applications This application is a continuation-impart of application S.N. 425,013 filed Jan. 12, 1965, now Patent 3,324,855.
Background of the invention This invention relates to an improved surgical instrument in the form of a surgical sponge stick, capable of performing several functions during operating procedures.
Sponge sticks, as t-hey are commonly referred to, are surgical instruments for use in prepping a patient (sterilizing an area on the body where an incision is to be made) prior to an operation and for maintaining the operating field clear of fluid by controlling the blood ow and general oozing associated therewith. Sponge sticks now in use comprise expensive metal forceps that must be presterilized, having clamping jaws into which is inserted a rectangular or square shaped surgical sponge. 'The sponge is usually folded and loaded into the forceps by a nurse and then handed to the physician for use. The sponge becomes rapidly saturated and must be replaced immediately. This presents a serious problem. During an operation, a large number of Sponges of this type are necessary. The problem f sponge count presents itself as each sponge used during an operation must be accounted for. Many devices and systems have been developed for reducing the danger of sponge loss. Thus, sponge racks and the like have been utilized. The danger is a serious one and operations have been delayed considerably while searching for a lost sponge. An incorrect sponge count may prolong anesthesia for the patient, bring about 'a need for X-rays in the operating room if the sponge is left in the patient, generally reduce operating e'iciency and endanger the patients life.
Even with the best of sponge material readily available, Sponges tend to saturate very quickly. They must be discarded and new ones immediately supplied, thus prolonging measurably the operating time. In addition, care must be exercised not to bring in contact any metal of the forceps with organs when retracting, as there is danger of inducing hematoma or lacerating an organ.
Prior to the operation, the area of incision on the body of the patient must be sterilized. The prepping procedures involve a cumbersome series of steps resulting in loss of sterilizing solution and increase in operating time.
3,394,702 Patented July 30, 1968 Summary of the invention My invention overcomes t-he aforementioned problems. It is an object of my invention to eliminate or reduce substantially the sponge count problem and to increase the ability of the sponge material to retain its absorbency. In addition, sponge materials, such as polyurethane, which are less absorbent than the normal gauze sponge and not practically useable, may now be utilized. The sponge material of my device may be rejuvenated by simply placing it in saline solution to free any possible clotting. It is a further object of my invention to reduce substantially the operative time and thus decrease the danger to the patient. In this connection, the very sponging action of my device is faster and far superior to anything presently available. It is an additional object to eliminate the folding and loading time of sponges. My invention eliminates the danger of hematoma or laceration of an organ when brought in contact therewith, and accordingly, my sponge stick may be used as a retractor for overlying organs to keep the operative field unobstructed by these organs.. The sponge portion itself may serve to aid in the retraction as suction is diffused throughout this portion, thus eliminating the direct application of suction to an organ. A Vfurther advantage of my sponge stick is that it may be used for prepping a patient and in this connection, eliminates the need for a sterile container of prep solution by having the antiseptic solution accompanying the sponge stick, thus greatly simplifying this procedure.
Also, my improved sponge stick provides a means for bringing substantially all portions of a sponge into cornmunication with its source of suction, thereby making effective use of the majority of the surface area of the sponge to provide a more efficient sponge. A large surface area is provided on which a sponge may be applied and still have substantially all portions in communication with the source of suction.
My invention presents the further advantage that one hand can be used for spongng as well as suctioning thereby freeing the surgeon and his assistant for other duties. Furthermore, the operative field is kept cleaner at all times thereby increasing visibility. The operative field is kept clear of blood and other fluid, including saline, used to wet down and wash out `certain areas.
My invention contemplates the provision of an improved surgical sponge stick comprising a hollow tubular handle made of a relatively rigid material and having a rst end with an opening adjacent thereto, a second bifurcated open end and a porous absorbent surgical sponge material mounted on said end in surrounding relations-hip with said bifurcated end. The first end of the handle is formed so that it can be attached to a source of suction. In this regard, fluid, such as blood, lmay be aspirated through the surgical sponge and the tubular handle. The sponge is fixed to the tubular handle and the entire device may be for one time use.
Brief description of the drawings Several modifications of the sponge stick and the manner 0f using the same are described herein with references to the drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of a sponge stick which embodies my invention;
FIG. 2 is a sectional elevation view taken along the line 2-2 in the direction of the arrows as indicated in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a sectional View taken along the line 33 in the direction of the arrows as indicated in FIG. 2; and
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along the line 4 4 in the direction of the arrows as as indicated in FIG. 3.
Description f the preferred embodiment Referring to the form of the sponge stick as shown in FIGS. 1-4, the tubular handle is shown at 10, and it has a first open end portion 13 and a second bifurcated open end portion 14. End portion 14 takes the shape of a fiattened head. The sponge stick may be made of any suitable material which is inert and unaffected by the body fiuids, antiseptics, anesthetics and other material with which it is used and with which it comes in contact. The material should also be such that the handle is relatively rigid, i.e. it should be sufficiently rigid to support the sponge portion while in use and also to serve as a retractor for the retraction of organs during surgical procedures. For this purpose, I have found that plastic materials, such as polyethylene, propylene and polystyrene serve very satisfactorily. In particular, a material such as clear cellulose acetate butyrate has been found acceptable. These materials present the further advantage that they will not cause hematoma, nor laceration of overlying organs in the operative field when in contact therewith.
Bifurcated head 14 is separable from handle 10. A tubular extension 11 extends from one side of bifurcated head 14. Tubular extension 11 is of a slightly smaller outer diameter than the inner diameter of end 12 of handle 10. Therefore, by placing extension 11 into end 12 of handle 10 and fastening it there by any suitable fastening means, such as an acetone sealer, hollow tubular extension 11 provides a continuous passage between handle and bifurcated head 14.
The two tube branches 15 and 16 of bifurcated head 14 are open on the side of the head opposed to the side which contains extension 11. This permits fiow in a first direction. There are slots 17 in the top and bottom of bifurcated head 14 which permits fiow in a second direction. Branch 15 and branch 16 are each interiorly supported by a split rib 18. Ribs 18 are centrally split to create openings 19. Split ribs 18 in this form add to the rigidity of bifurcated head 14, give head 14 flexibility and will form passageways 19 to allow tiuid to fiow in a third direction. Therefore, when suction is applied to end 13 of handle 10, fiow of fiuid may enter bifurcated head 14 in each of three directions which may be thought of in an XYZ coordinate relationship. Thus, communication is provided between all portions of a surrounding sponge and the interior of tubular handle 10.
The sponge portion 20 is attached to tubular handle 10 in surrounding relationship to bifurcated head 14. The sponge portion may be made of any suitable porous, absorbent material which is inert and unaffected by the body tiuids, antiseptics, anesthetics and other fluids with which it is used and with which it comes in contact. Thus it may be made of gauze of the type used in conventional surgical Sponges or it may -be made of a suitable elastomeric synthetic sponge material, such as polyurethane, polyethylene or polypropylene foam.
Where gauze is used for the sponge portion, the successive wrappings or layers of gauze may be stitched together or, as in the case of the surgical sponges presently used, may simply be held together by the fibers or lint of the gauze. A sponge portion made of gauze may be suitably secured to bifurcated head 14 of tubular handle 10 as shown as by stitching or a suitable adhesive, which is inert to and unaffected by the fluids which come in contact therewith. A suitable adhesive for the purpose is silicone adhesive. Thus, the outer surface of head 14 Of handle 10 may be coated with the liquid silicone adhesive and the gauze sponge portion applied thereto.
Where the sponge portion is made of an open cell plastic foam material, the sponge portion may be held in place by friction or by a suitable adhesive of the type indicated above.
The specific shape or configuration of the sponge portion may be varied. At the present time, surgical Sponges are generally of rectangular configuration and the sponge portions of my sponge sticks may be of similar configuration. However, it should be understood that the sponge portions may be made of circular or any other geometric configuration.
In addition, the specific shape or configuration of the handle 10 may also be varied. It should be long enough to be conveniently gripped by the hand and sufficiently long to eliminate or substantially reduce the chance of the sponge stick being left in the operative area when closing.
In using the sponge stick as a surgical sponge, open end 13 of handle 10 is connected to a suitable source of suction, such as a vacuum pump, vacuum chamber or the like. In this connection, the connecting line between the handle and the source of suction should be made of a material inert to and unaffected by the fiuds which come in contact therewith.
During surgical procedures such as surgical operations, end 13 of handle 10 is connected, as indicated above, to a source of suction. The surgeon or assistant can then grasp the handle portion of the sponge stick in one hand, leaving his other hand free. The sponge portion is applied to appropriate areas to remove blood or other fluid and thereby maintain the operative area clean and visible at all times.
The blood or other fiuid is removed both by the aspirating action and by the absorption characteristics of the sponge portion. Most of the fluids will be aspirated through the sponge and bifurcated head and thence, through the handle portion to a receptacle adjacent the source of vacuum. In this connection, it will be appreciated that the sponge performs a filtering action so as to prevent solid particles from clogging the perforation in the handle portion, in addition, the absorbency of the sponge material is increased measurably with the employment of suction. Thus, the sponge may, if it has solid material adhering to it to obstruct the flow of fiuidS therethrough (which does not easily occur), be rejuvenated simply by dipping it in saline solution.
During the surgical procedure, the sponge stick may also be used as a retractor for retracting overlying organs in the operative field. By engaging tthe sponge portion with the overlying organ, at no time do sharp metal edges ccme in Contact with tissue to cause hematoma or laceration.
It is desirable to have openings in all portions of head 14 so as to provide communication between all portions of the sponge and the source of suction. Therefore, a bifurcated head, which permits flow in three different directions, is extremely desirable and adds to the efficiency and effectiveness of the sponge stick. The size and shape of head 14 is helpful in providing the largest surface area for gauze to be applied and yet enables suction to be applied to themajority of the surface area of the gauze. In addition, the presence of the split ribs does not detract from these advantages and, in addition, adds rigidity to the head so that it may retain its shape and may be used for the several other purposes mentioned above.
It should be evident to those skilled in the art that there are many other possible embodiments within the scope of the invention. Thus, the above mentioned objects of this invention, among others, are achieved. The range and scope of the invention are defined in the following claims.
1. A device to be used as a surgical sponge for removing excess fluids during surgical procedures comprising: a hollow tubular handle having a first end with an opening adjacent thereto and having a second open end which is shaped like a partially liattened 'bifurcated head having two branches, porous absorbent surgical sponge material mounted on said :sponge handle in surrounding relationship to said partially flattened bifurcated head end, said head end having openings in its top, its bottom and its sides through which fiuid is received from said sponge material, means on the interior of the head to provide a .portion of stability and yet to retain a portion of flexibility, said first end of said handle having means for connecting the opening of the first end of the tubular handle to a source of suction so that uid may be aspirated through the sponge material and handle.
2. An improved surgical sponge stick as set forth in claim 1 in which said means on the interior of said head comprises a split rib having an opening therein on the interior of each branch of said head to provide a portion of stability and to retain a portion of flexibility, the opening in each rib being the opening in one of two Sides of said head to receive uid from said sponge material.
3. An improved surgical sponge stick` as Set forth in claim 1 in which Said 4bifurcated head end has a hollow tubular extension from one side thereof which is of a References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,853,238 4/1932 Shields 128--269 X 3,126,006 3/1964 Dowell 128-356 3,351,060 11/1967 De Woskin 128-263 ADELE M. EAGER, Primary Examiner.