US 3577979 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 688,689 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS s... 475.021.. ..slmzwsm u m--.--..-.-.., W 2i Harry van der Gaast 289 N. Hibiscus Drive, Miami Beach, Fla. 33139 Feb. 6, 1968 May 11, 1971 inventor Appl. No. Filed Patented DISPOSABLE SURGICAL SKIN PUNCH 6 Claims, 5 Drawing US. Cl 128/2 Int. Cl A611) 5/10 FieldoiSarch 128/2, 2
1,279,495 9/1918 Dom 128/305 1,371,948 3/ 1921 Szutz 30/316 1,759,539 5/1930 Carlson 30/25 2,919,692 1/1960 Ackermann 128/2 2,952,256 9/ 1960 Meader et a1 128/221 Primary ExaminerRichard A. Gaudet Assistant Examiner-J. B. Mitchell Attorney-John Cyril Malloy PATENTEU m1 1 Ian FIG. 4
' INVENTOR HARRY VAN DER GAAST as 4. 0 3.2 o .52.
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ATTOR N EYS,
DISPOSABLE SURGICAL SKIN PUNCH BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to skin biopsy punches for removing a round section or plug of the patient's skin on any external portion of the body including the mouth and vagina.
In medical research and diagnosis it is often necessary to have a physical specimen which may be studied in detail with laboratory equipment and techniques. More specifically, it is often necessary to obtain a specimen of a patients skin for such study thus presenting a need for a surgical instrument which can remove such a specimen quickly and efficiently. Such instruments are known alternatively as skin biopsy punches, skin punches and cutaneous punches.
Most previously used skin punches consist of solid steel machined instruments having a handle end and a cutting end terminating in a straight sharpened cutting edge. These known punches are relatively expensive and are used continuously for years, requiring frequent resharpening of the cutting edge and sterilization prior to each use.
Furthermore, such known skin punches merely act to cut a skin plug and forceps must be used to remove the skin plug from the patient.
In addition, such skin punches known to me do not provide any means by which the operator may effectively observe the cutting operation nor do they provide any indication of the depth to which the punch has penetrated.
SUMMARY OF INVENTION In recognition of the need for an improved skin punch it is therefore a general object of this present invention to obviate or minimize the previously mentioned problems.
Specifically, it is an object of the present invention to provide an inexpensive disposable skin punch thereby eliminating the need for frequent resharpening of the cutting edge and sterilization before each use.
It is also an object of this invention to provide a skin punch with a superior cutting edge which reduces the tendency of the instrument to tear the skin.
It is another object of this invention to provide a skin punch which will hold the skin plug within the instrument thus eliminating the need for use of a forceps.
An additional object of this invention is to provide a skin punch which gives an indication of the depth of penetration.
Still another object of this invention is to provide a skin punch which allows the operator to observe the cutting operation.
These objects are accomplished in accordance with this invention by a skin punch comprising a tubular member preferably made or formed from a piece of sheet metal. The tubular member includes a handle end and a cutting end which terminates in an undulating cutting edge which is preferably sharpened from the internal side. A skin plug is retained .within the cutting end to which end prongs extending inwardly and in the same direction transverse to the axial length of the skin punch may be provided. Additionally, retention forces are also provided by flexing of the cutting end to encourage this tendency the axially extending and abutting edges of the tubular member are not fixedly connected or secured to each other along the cutting end. A lateral scoop axially extending between the cutting end and the handle end is provided to allow the operator to observe the cutting operation and to provide a taper from the relatively thick diameter of the handle end to the small diameter of the cutting end. Also, graduations or circumferential grooves are provided on the outer surface of the cutting end to provide an indication of the depth of penetration.
THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 represents a front view of the preferred embodiment;
FIG. 2 represents a side view of the preferred embodiment provided with prongs;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged view of the cutting end, taken on section line 3-3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged view of the sharpened cutting edge; and
FIG. 4 represents an extended piece or blank of sheet metal which is formed into the preferred embodiment.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. I, the preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown. Skin punch 10 is a tubular member having a handle end 12 and a cutting end 14 joined together by a tapered middle portion I6 tapered from the handle end 12 to the cutting end 14. Handle end 12 may be provided with scoring 18 to form a gripping surface on it.
Referring to FIG. 2, skin punch 10 includes an axially extending scoop 20 formed in tapered middle portion I6 to allow observation of the cutting operation. Scoop 20 extends from a point 22, just above point 24 at which the tapered middle portion 16 begins to taper towards the cutting end, to point 26 at which the cutting end begins. To provide the taper, scoop 20 is cut radially in increasing depth with the deepest cut 28 just above the cutting end being approximately half of the tubular member at that point. This increasing depth of cut increases the view of the interior of the cutting end and of the plug to be extracted by the other end.
Cutting end 14, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 and in greater detail in FIG. 3, is a substantially cylindrical tubular portion terminating in an annular cutting edge 30. Cutting edge 30 is an undulating edge which, as shown in FIG. 3, includes a plurality of flat cutting areas 32 terminating in cutting edges 48 alternately disposed between inclined cutting areas 34. The flat cutting areas 32 present a plurality of cutting surfaces perpendicular to the skin, providing penetration of the skin under direct pressure and giving stability to the cutting operation. The inclined areas 34 provide additional cutting surfaces transverse to the skin providing cutting when the skin punch is rotated. This improved cutting edge provides easier and less damaging penetration, substantially reducing tearing of the skin caused by previously used skin punches.
Cutting end 14 may also include prongs 36 each extending inwardly and in the same direction, i.e., transverse to the axial length of the skin punch. Prongs 36 may be formed by making a V-shaped cut in the tubular member and then pressing the resulting arrow-shaped prong inward. Prongs 36 are bent inward about a longitudinal axis 37 so that they extend circumferentially within the cutting end. The skin punch may be fixedly rotated in the direction opposite to which prongs 36 are pointed (clockwise as shown). Once the desired depth of penetration is reached, the skin punch is rotated in the opposite direction to imbed the prongs within the skin plug to retain it within the cutting end upon removal of the skin punch. This eliminates the need for using forceps to remove the skin plug after the skin punch is withdrawn.
The cutting end further includes a plurality of annular depth calibration grooves 38 disposed at measured intervals on its outer surface. Grooves 38 provide an indication of the depth of penetration of the skin punch into the patients skin during its use. Such an indication is of great advantage to the operator in allowing removal of only the necessary thickness of skin specimen. By providing grooves to indicate the depth, the depth of penetration may be determined not only by visual examination, but also by determining by touch the number of exposed grooves. This allows a determination of the depth of penetration under those circumstances where visual examination has become difficult, such as when blood released by the cutting operation surrounds the cutting end.
Although the skin punch may be formed of any suitable material, it is preferably formed by rolling a cut piece of sheet metal as shown in FIG. 4. The metal used should be of sufficient quality and gauge to give the required rigidity to the skin punch. Preferably, the skin punch is rolled so that axially extending edges 40 and 42 of the handle end and axially extending edges 44 and 46 lie adjacent to. but are not fixedly connected to each other.
This form of construction reduces the costs of manufacturing and provides additional advantages in retaining the skin plug within the cutting end. This advantage is produced by the ability of the cutting end to flex under pressure since it does not have a rigid circumferential frame. The cutting end will have a tendency to flex outwardly under pressure of penetration thereby expanding its radius, and will contract or relax upon release of such pressure, which will occur upon removal of the skin punch. This effective contraction aids in the retention of the skin plug within the cutting end.
Furthermore, construction of the skin punch from a piece of sheet metal substantially reduces the cost with respect to previously used solid steel, machined instruments thereby making it economically feasible to dispose of a skin punch made in accordance with the present invention after a single use. lndividual skin punches can be packaged under sterile conditions and distributed in quantity. Such disposability if of great advantage since a sharp, sterile skin punch is available for every operation without the need for frequent resharpening or sterilization before each use.
A sharpened cutting edge is shown in FIG. 5. Cutting edge 48 is formed by sharpening cutting edge 30 on the internal side 48 of the cutting end. This internal sharpening tends to compress the skin plug as the skin punch penetrates the skin aiding in the retention of the skin plug within the cutting end and cooperating with the flexing of the cutting end as described above.
Thus the present invention provides a skin punch with an improved cutting edge which reduces the damage caused to the patients skin, and allows the operator to observe the cutting operation and determine the depth of penetration, both visually and by touch. It also retains the skin plug within the punch, thereby eliminating an additional step of removing the skin plug with forceps. Furthermore, the skin punch is disposable after a single use, thereby eliminating frequent resharpening and sterilization prior to each use.
Although the invention is described with reference to certain preferred embodiments, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that additions, deletions, modifications, substitutions and other changes not specifically described or illustrated in these embodiments may be made which will fall within the purview of the appended claims.
l. A one-piece surgical skin punch for removing a plug of a g 4 patients skin comprising:
a piece of sheet metal rolled into a tubular member having a cutting end, a handle end, and axially extending edges;
said axially extending edges lying adjacent to but separable from eachother at said cutting end to allow said cutting end to flex outwardly upon application of pressure and inwardly upon release of such pressure;
said cutting end terminating in an undulating cutting edge adapted to penetrate the skin cleanly, thereby providing cutting action under direct pressure and rotation and a plurality of circumferential grooves in the outer surface of said cutting end, said grooves giving an indication of the depth of penetration by determining the number of exposed grooves by touch.
2. A surgical skin punch as claimed in claim 1 wherein said cutting end further includes prongs extending inwardly and in the same direction transverse to the axial length of the skin punch for retaining the skin plug within said cutting end.
3. A surgical skin punch as claimed in claim 1 further including a lateral scoop extending axially between said handle end and said cutting end for allowing observation of the operation of the skin punch.
4. A surgical skin punch as claimed in claim 1 wherein said undulating cutting edge is comprised of a plurality of flat cutting edges alternately disposed with a plurality of inclined cutting edges thereby providing cutting action under direct pressure and rotation.
5. A surgical skin punch as claimed in claim 1 wherein said cuttin edge is sharpened on the internalside thereby aiding in the re entron of the skin plug and operating with the flexing of said cutting end.
6. A surgical skin punch of one piece generally tubular construction comprising a cutting end and a handle end, said cutting end defining an undulating annular cutting edge comprised of a plurality of flat cutting edges alternatingly disposed with a plurality of inclined cutting edges, and with said cutting edges being sharpened on the internal sides thereof, including a plurality of prongs formed on said cutting end adjacent said undulating cutting edge with each prong extending inward and turned inward about the longitudinal axis of said cutting end, and including a plurality of circumferential grooves formed in the outer surface of said cutting end and arranged in axially spaced intervals thereof.