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Publication numberUS3473170 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 21, 1969
Filing dateJul 5, 1967
Priority dateJul 5, 1967
Publication numberUS 3473170 A, US 3473170A, US-A-3473170, US3473170 A, US3473170A
InventorsHaase Frederick R, Noguera Julio T
Original AssigneeDow Corning
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Middle ear prosthesis
US 3473170 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 21., 1969 HAASE ET AL MIDDLE EAR PROSTHESIS Filed July 5, 1967 (/UL/O 7'- A OGUE/FA 3,473,170 MIDDLE EAR PROSTHESIS Frederick R. Haase, Brielle, and Julio T. Noguera, Interlalren, N..I., assignors to Dow Corning Corporation,

Midland, Mich., a corporation of Michigan Filed July 5, 1967, Ser. No. 651,181 Int. Cl. A615 1/00 US. Cl. 3-1 10 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A prosthesis for insertion into the middle ear cavity to replace the ossicles comprising an arcuate frame member having a front and back, a film extending across the front of said frame member adapted to fit against the ear drum and an elongated member extending from said film, in the direction of the back of said frame member, adapted to contact the footplate of the stapes.

This invention relates to a novel prosthesis for the middle ear, and more particularly, it relates to a prosthesis for replacing the ossicles of the middle car.

In the ear of a normal human, vibrations which pass through the external auditory canal strike the tympanic membrane or car drum and are conducted across the middle ear cavity by means of three small bones, the ossicles. These bones are identified as the malleus, incus and stapes. The malleus is in contact with the tympanic membrane and picks up the vibrations therefrom and passes them along to the incus and in turn to the stapes and the mobile footplate of the stapes, which is located in the oval window, an opening in the bony wall of the inner ear.

In certain pathological conditions of the middle ear, it becomes necessary to remove the ossicles in order to correct the disease condition. In such instances, quite often only the footplate of the stapes, and the middle ear cavity remain intact, and thus all practical hearing is lost. In some cases, the footplate of the stapes is also removed.

It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a novel prosthesis to replace the ossicles of the middle car so that hearing can be restored.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a novel prosthesis to replace the ossicles of the middle ear and also provide a frame for occupying the middle ear space adjacent to the ear drum and to provide a supporting means and form for the ear drum.

A further object is to provide a prosthesis for replacing the bones of the middle ear which will be well tolerated by the surrounding bone and tissue contained therein.

These and other objects which will become apparent on a reading of the following disclosure are realized by the utilization of a prosthesis for insertion into the middle ear cavity comprising an arcuate frame member having a front and a back, a film extending across the front of said frame member, and an elongated member extending from said film in the direction of the back of said frame memher.

The subject prosthesis is novel in that it forms a middle ear space which is necessary to hearing and in that in one integral structure, it provides a device which forms a middle ear space and effectively conducts sound from the ear drum to the inner ear. The present prosthesis can be used in instances where the stapes footplate remains in the inner ear and also in cases where the stapes footplate has been removed and replaced by a graft or bed of gelfoam. In general, middle ear prosthesis representing the prior art are used in ears not affected with infection and principally in one disease, otosclerosis. However, the present prosthesis has been successfully used in cases where there has been infection and disease breaking down nited States Patent the structures of the middle ear and mastoid. Additionally, but most important, clinical results indicate that the use of the present prosthesis in proper cases, in general, results in sustained restoration of hearing.

The arcuate frame member is designed to fit in the middle ear cavity in the area adjacent to the tympanic membrane, whereby the film or diaphragm, which is mounted in relatively taut engagement across and to the front of said frame member, will be in contact with most of the medial surface of the tympanic membrane when both the tympanic membrane and the present prosthesis are in proper position, so as to provide support for the tympanic membrane and a large area of contact. The elongated member or columella, which extends from and is bonded to the film, is of such length and construction so that the distal or free end thereof will be in contact with the mobile footplate of the stapes or oval window of the middle car when the present prosthesis is placed in proper position in the middle ear cavity. The distal end of the columella is held in proper position by friction fit or by Wire sutures embedded in the footplate of the stapes or in the oval window.

The present prosthesis, both as to its construction and the method of its use, will be further illustrated by the following description of preferred embodiments when read in connection with the accompanying drawings. It is to be expressly understood, however, that the drawings are for the purpose of illustration only, and are not intended as a definition of the limits of the present invention.

In the drawings wherein like reference characteristics refer to like parts throughout the several views:

FIGURE 1 is an enlarged side elevation of a prosthesis of this invention.

FIGURE 2 is an enlarged back or bottom view of the prosthesis of FIGURE 1.

FIGURE 3 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the prosthesis of FIGURE 2 taken along the line A-B of FIG- URE 2.

FIGURE 4 is an enlarged side elevation of another embodiment of the present invention.

FIGURE 5 is an enlarged front or top view of the prosthesis of FIGURE 4.

FIGURE 6 is a diagrammatic view showing a prosthesis of the present invention in operative position in a human ear.

Referring now to the embodiments of the present invention shown in FIGURES l to 6, a prosthesis generally designated 1 is illustrated in FIGURES 1, 2 and 3. It is provided with a C-shaped arcuate frame member 2, as illustrated in FIGURE 2. Columella or elongated solid member 5 extends generally perpendicular from substantially circular film or diaphragm 3, which extends across the front of frame member 2 where it is attached over the entire front surface of frame member 2, as shown in FIGURES 1 to 3. The front or top surface of film 3 can be suitably smooth or ridged. Columella 5 is attached to the under-surface of film 3 at a point off-set from the center of film 3 and in line with a point in the center of void 6 in frame 2. Frame member 2, film 3 and columella 5 together form one integral structure. The C-shaped frame member 2, shown in FIGURES 2 and 3, is constructed so that opening or void 6 will fit over the ridge of the facial nerve in the middle car when prosthesis 1 is placed in proper position in the middle ear cavity.

In FIGURES 4 and 5, prosthesis 7 is provided with a physiologically inert thread 9 Woven through film 8 so that small loops or stitches thereof are exposed slightly upwardly from the front side or top of film 8, which is extending across and bonded to frame member 10. The slightly upwardly projecting loops or stitches provide sites on which membrane from the ear drum can eventually anchor and thereby form an integral unit with the subject 3 prosthesis and, in turn, the inner ear. It is not necessary that thread 9 be woven through film 8 in any particular pattern, as long as one or more series of stitches are located across substantially the entire diameter of film 8. In FIGURE 4, columella 11 is shown extending beneath frame member from film 8.

FIGURE 6 is a diagrammatic view of prosthesis 12 positioned in the middle ear cavity 14 of a human ear. Tympanic membrane 16 is shown at the internal end of external auditory canal 18. Positioned in kissing contact with tympanic membrane 16 is film 20, which is bonded or integral with arcuate frame 22. Columella 24 is seen extending out from under frame 22. Shown by dotted lines inside columella 24 is wire cord 25, which extends out of the distal end of columella 24 forming wire loop 28, which is looped through stapes footplate 26, located in oval window 27.

In other embodiments of the present invention, the columella can be hollow. Further, the columella, whether solid or hollow, can be provided with a wire core which, among other things, provides increased rigidity. This wire core suitably can be a portion of the same filament of wire which is looped and anchored across the top surface of the film member.

Further, in other embodiments, a suitable wire loop extending from the distal end of the columella is positioned or anchored in a groove formed in the stapes footplate or the wire loop is embedded in gelfoam positione din the oval window in cases where the stapes foottioned in the oval removed. In another embodiment, the wire core does not extend out of the distal end of the columella and the columella is placed in position by friction fit against the stapes footplate.

Obviously, the dimensions of the prosthesis of the present invention must be such that it will fit in the middle ear cavity in relationship to the tympanic membrane facial ridge and mobile footplate of the stapes, as disclosed above. Therefore, the dimensions of the present prothesis must necessarily be varied to a small degree in order to accommodate the specific anatomical characteristics of different individuals in order to fit properly into their middle ear cavity. However, in most instances, it has been found that a prosthesis of the present invention, as shown in FIGURES 1 to 6, having the following dimensions, is suitable for most individuals:

Frame member.Approximately 1.5 mm. (front to back) x 1 mm.

Diameter of frame member.Approximately 9 mm.

Film or diaphram.-Approximately 9 mm. in diameter x 0.005 mm.

Length of columella-Approximately 6 mm.

Diameter of columella-Approximately 1 mm.

Location of columella.Approximately 1.5 mm. from the center of columella to a point substantially in the center of the void (6 in the drawing) on the outer periphery of the film or diaphram 3 in FIGURES 1-3.

The prosthesis of the present invention can be made from any suitable material which exhibits minimal or no tissue reaction and which is capable of being fabricated into the subject device. For example, the frame member, film or diaphram and columella of the present prosthesis can be made from a physiologically inert plastic. Among those plastics which are particularly suitable are silicone rubber, polyester, and polyolefins such as polyethylene and polypropylene. Silicone rubber sold commercially as Silastic #372 medical elastomer by the Dow-Corning Corporation proved highly satisfactory in this use.

The thread used in several embodiments of the present invention must also be physiologically inert so as to exhibit minimal tissue reaction. Therefore, any thin thread that exhibits such behavior in tissue can be utilized. For example, thread made from stainless steel, platinum, and polyester resin can be used. The thread should be or such diameter and flexibility so that several loops or stitches can be made or anchored across the top surface of the film or diaphram member. Very small, substantially oval loops made from thread can be anchored to the top surface of the diaphram member by means of a suitable adhesive or by directly molding the loops of thread in the top surface of the thermoplastic film or diaphram member. Among suitable commercially available thread is #000 surgical stainless steel single filament wire. manufactured by the Ethicon Corporation, N.J., and 15 denier Dacron polyester fiber, manufactured by the E. I. du Pont Company, Wilmington, Del.

While the present invention has been described with particular reference to several preferred embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the subject art that various changes and modifications in form and detail may be made.

We claim:

1. A prosthesis having an overall size for insertion into the middle ear cavity comprising an arcuate frame member having a front and a back, a film extending across the front of said frame member adapted to be placed in contact with the tympanic membrane, and an elongated member extending from said film in the direction of the back of said frame member said elongated member being of sufiicient length to contact the area of the oval window.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein the frame member is C-shaped.

3. The device of claim 2 wherein the said film is substantially circular and is mounted in relatively taut engagement across the front of said frame member.

4. The device of claim 3 wherein a physiologically inert thread is woven through said film.

5. The device of claim 3 wherein the frame member. film, and elongated member are made of a physiologically inert plastic.

6. The device of claim 4 wherein the physiologically inert thread is made of stainless steel.

7. The device of claim 4 wherein the frame member, film and elongated member are made of silicone rubber.

8. The device of claim 4 wherein the frame member, film and elongated member are made of a physiologically inert polyolefin.

9. The device of claim 1 wherein a physiologically inert looped thread is anchored to said film and projecting upwardly from the side thereof opposite the back of said frame.

10. The device of claim 9 wherein the elongated member is provided with a wire core.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 404,019 5/1889 Sperry 128-131 886,790 5/1908 Frank 12815l 1,045,917 12/1912 Valiquet 128-151 XR 3,196,462 7/ 1965 Robinson 3-1 OTHER REFERENCES Artificial Stapes by E. C. Mercandino et al., Archives of Otolarynogology, vol. 73, June 1961, pp. 33-36.

Modern Treatment of Middle Ear Disorders by M. Robinson (reprint from the Rhode Island Medical Journal, April 1964, vol. XLVII, pp. 171-177).

RICHARD A. GAUDET, Primary Examiner RONALD L. FRINKS, Assistant Examiner

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US404019 *Nov 24, 1888May 28, 1889 Pessary
US886790 *Jul 3, 1907May 5, 1908George B FrankEar-stopple.
US1045917 *Mar 8, 1909Dec 3, 1912Louis P ValiquetArtificial ear-drum.
US3196462 *Sep 5, 1961Jul 27, 1965Robinson MendellStapedial prosthesis
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3823423 *Feb 28, 1973Jul 16, 1974E MercandinoArtificial malleus columella for the human ear
US3909852 *Dec 17, 1973Oct 7, 1975Charles A HomsyImplantable substitute structure for at least part of the middle ear bony chain
US4052754 *Jul 14, 1976Oct 11, 1977Homsy Charles AImplantable structure
US4077069 *Jan 14, 1977Mar 7, 1978Perkins Rodney CSynthetic tympanic membrane
US4130905 *Jun 3, 1977Dec 26, 1978Mercandino Eduardo C CArtificial malleus columella for the human ear
US4281419 *Dec 10, 1979Aug 4, 1981Richards Manufacturing Company, Inc.Middle ear ossicular replacement prosthesis having a movable joint
US4287616 *Feb 6, 1980Sep 8, 1981Friedrichsfeld GmbhAuditory ossicle prosthesis
US4655776 *Jan 12, 1984Apr 7, 1987Oto Enterprises, Inc.Prostheses for ossicular reconstruction
US4676796 *May 24, 1985Jun 30, 1987University Of FloridaMiddle ear prosthesis
US4817607 *May 15, 1987Apr 4, 1989Richards Medical CompanyMagnetic ossicular replacement prosthesis
US4921498 *Aug 21, 1989May 1, 1990Richards Medical CompanyMetal core ossicular replacement prosthesis
US5180391 *Aug 16, 1990Jan 19, 1993Franco BeoniMiddle ear prosthesis
US5220918 *May 15, 1991Jun 22, 1993Smith & Nephew Richards, Inc.Trans-tympanic connector for magnetic induction hearing aid
US5356430 *Oct 20, 1993Oct 18, 1994Nadol Jr Joseph BHearing prosthesis
US5433749 *Mar 8, 1993Jul 18, 1995Clifford; Jerome R.Apparatus for enhancing hearing in an ear
US5480433 *May 20, 1994Jan 2, 1996Nadol, Jr.; Joseph B.Method of treating hearing loss
US5814104 *Mar 19, 1996Sep 29, 1998Beoni; FrancoPorous prosthetics for ears and hearing
US7238202 *Nov 4, 2004Jul 3, 2007Heinz Kurz Gmbh MedizintechnikOssicular replacement prosthesis
US20110015645 *Jul 15, 2010Jan 20, 2011Greg LiuTympanic membrane pressure equalization tube delivery system
DE29722084U1 *Dec 13, 1997Feb 12, 1998Heinz Kurz Gmbh MedizintechnikGehörknöchelprothese
WO1990007915A1 *Jan 22, 1990Jul 26, 1990Klaus SchumannAuditory prosthesis for the middle ear of living organisms, in particular humans
Classifications
U.S. Classification623/10, D24/155
International ClassificationA61F2/18
Cooperative ClassificationA61F2/18, A61F2002/183
European ClassificationA61F2/18