US 3581738 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  lnvcntor William C. Moore 561 References Cited Skanealeles, N.Y. UNITED STATES PATENTS g 2 3,166,396 1/1965 Miller et a1 l56/293X t d J 2". 3,272,063 9/1966 Singer,.lr 350/968  i z zf f k n inc 3,297,022 1/1967 Wallace 128/6 g skaneamgs h N Y 3,417,746 12/1968 Moore etal. 128/6 3,496,931 2/1970 Pilling 128/6 Primary Examiner-Channing L. Pace Attorney-Bruns & Jenney ABSTRACT: A plastic sigmoidoscope has a generally tubular  ENDOSCOPE AND body with integral shield. Proximally of the shield an extension 6 Cl 4 D projects angularly from the body and is adapted to fit into a rawmg light source handle. Distally of the shield the body forms a  US. Cl 128/6, speculum wall having an elongated clad light-conducting 156/293 member embedded therein. The body is formed in diametrical  lnt.Cl A6lb 1/06, halves each having a groove in the extension and speculum B321) 1/06 wall, continuous from the extension end to a point spaced  Field of Search 128/4, 6, 7, from the end of the speculum, into which the member has been fitted before permanently securing the halves together.
' PATVENTEB un 1 I97: 358L738 INVENTOR.
WILLIAM C. MOORE SHEET 2 [1F 2 PATENIEU JUN 1 |97| INVENTOR. WILLIAM C. MOORE DISPOSABLE ILLUMINATING ENDOSCOPE AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to an illuminating endoscope and more particularly to such an instrument which may be so economically constructed as to be disposable.
Endoscopes are used for examining body cavities and must be autoclaved after each use. This takes considerable time and at todays costs is expensive. The medical profession is, therefore, turning to diagnostic instruments which can be used once and then thrown away. If the cost of a diagnostic instrument is less than the cost of autoclaving, money as well as time can be saved by using a disposable instrument.
The trend in instruments such as endoscopes is toward the provision in the endoscope speculum of light-conducting means so that light from a light source at the proximal end of the endoscope is conducted to the distal end thus eliminating the light bulbat the distal end of the speculum and the necessary connecting wires from a source of electricity outside the instrument. Such light-conducting means comprise a bundle of clad glass or plastic fibers or clad rod of a plastic material such as methyl methacrylate or the like. The cladding comprises an outer layer of a transparent material having a different index'of refraction from that of the light-conducting material within and it is necessary to protect the cladding from accidental removal which would cause light loss.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention contemplates the forming of an endoscope of inexpensive plastic material by molding or otherwise on a mass production basis. A bundle of clad fibers or a clad rod is provided so as to extend from a projecting portion of the instrument-at its proximal end to a point spaced from the distal end of the speculum so that the emitted light can spread to illuminate the area examined. The projecting portion is adapted in the forming process to be received in a light source handle.
To provide for protecting the clad bundle or rod it is embedded in the walls of the instrument by providing an instru ment divided in two parts on either side of a longitudinally extending plane. Grooves are provided in each part extending from the end of the projecting portion to the distal end of the light-conducting means so that the light-conducting means can be inserted in the grooves before the two halves are welded or otherwise permanently secured together.
The principal object of the invention is to provide an economically produced endoscope with light-conducting means embedded in the speculum wall and extending to a protruding portion adapted to be received in a light source handle.
Another important object is to provide a method of forming such an endoscope which is economical and adapted for mass production.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is'aside elevational view of an endoscope according to the invention, a light source handle being fragmentarily shown in broken lines;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of one-half of the body portion thereof before it is secured to the other half which is a mirror image of the half shown;
FIG. 2A is a fragmentary side elevational view of a modified form of body half;
FIGS. 3 and 4 are leftand right-hand end views, respectively, of the endoscope of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4A is a distal end view of the speculum portion of the endoscope of FIG. 2A;
FIGS. 5 and 6 are sectional views on the lines 5-5 and 6-6, respectively, of FIG. 1;
FIG. 7 is a side elevational view of a modified form of endoscope according to the invention, a light source handle being fragmentarily shown in broken lines;
FIG. 8 is a side elevational view of one-half of the body portion of the endoscope of FIG. 7 before it is secured to the other half which is a mirror image of the half shown;
FIGS. 9 and I0 are leftand right-hand end views, respectively, of the endoscope of FIG. 7; and
FIGS. 11 and 12 are sectional views on the lines 11-11 and l212, respectively, of FIG. 7.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS In FIGS. 1-6 the endoscope is shown as a sigmoidoscope 10 having a generally tubular body 11 including a tubular speculum portion 12, an integral shield 13, and a tubular proximal portion 14 separated from the speculum portion by the shield. A tubular portion 15 projects angularly from the proximal portion 14 and its free end 16 is squared or otherwise adapted to fit into a light source handle shown fragmentarily at 17. The end 16 may be provided with a groove 18 around the four sides of the projecting portion for receiving ball detents, not shown, in handle 17 as is more fully described in US Pat. No. 3,299,884, granted Jan. 24, I967 to W. C. Moore et al.
A light-conducting member 20, shown as a bundle of clad fibers, is embedded in the speculum sidewall and the projecting portion 15l6 and extends from the free end of the projecting portion I6 to a point 21 in the speculum sidewall spaced from the distal end 22 of the speculum. It will be understood that the ends of member 20 are fused or cemented together, as is customary, and provided with optically polished end surfaces. The light-receiving surface 23 is best seen in FIG. 3 and the light-emitting surface 24, at the point 21-, is best seen in FIG. 4.
To protect the clad member 20, the speculum portion 12 and the proximal end portion 14, up to where the member 20 enters the projecting portion 15, are provided with a memberenclosing wall 25 integral with the endoscope sidewall and, with the sidewall, completely enclosing and surrounding member 20 except for its end surfaces.
The body 11 of the sigmoidoscope is formed in two halves divided along a longitudinally extending plane, indicated at 26 in FIGS. 3 and 4, which bisects the portions l2, l3, l4 and 15 diametrically. One body half 11a is shown in FIG. 2, the other body half 11!; being the mirror image thereof. Provision is made for embedding member 20 in the sidewalls by forming a groove 27 in each body half, the groove extending from the free end 16 of the angularly projecting portion of the half to the point 21 in the half. In the sigmoidoscope 10 each groove 27 is semicircular in cross section and is formed along the speculum portion by the speculum sidewall and the memberenclosing wall 25 in the half.
The member 20 in sigmoidoscope 10 is round and is inserted in the grooves 27 of the body halves which are placed together as shown and then welded or otherwise secured together permanently to form the unitary sigmoidoscope. Heat welding, ultrasonic welding, cementing or any other means of securing the halves together may be employed.
The central passage through the proximal end portion 14 is aligned with the central passage through the speculum portion 12 for providing a sight passage through the instrument and it will be apparent that an obturator of conventional construction may be used therewith, the obturator head being provided with a semicircular groove therealong for passage around the member-enclosing wall 25. It will also be apparent that the open end of the proximal portion may be provided with a windowed insufflating adapter plug or cap, if desired.
It will be noted that the groove 27 of the body half Ila shown in FIG. 2, extends partially into the sidewall of the speculum portion from the point 21a to the speculum portion end 220. The light-emitting surface 24, therefore, is viewed in its entirety in FIG. 4 but the sidewall is thinner directly below the surface 24 at the end 22 of the speculum.
In FIGS. 2A and 4A, a modification is shown in. which the bottom of the portion of groove 27 between the end surface 24b and the distal end 22b is slanted upward, as shown in FIG. 2A, so as to end in a sidewall of uniform thickness as shown in FIG. 4A. This does not materially affect the light output.
In FIGS. 7-12 a modified form of sigmoidoscope 30 is shown in which a flattened or oval-shaped light-conducting member is provided.
The instrument 30 has a generally tubular body 31 having a tubular speculum portion 32, a shield 33, and a tubular proximal end portion 34 from which a tubular portion 35 projects angularly. The portion 35 has its free end 36 adapted for reception in a light source handle indicated at 37. A
A flattened light-conducting member 40, shown as a bundle of clad fibers is embedded in the speculum sidewall and in portion 35, extends from its light-emitting surface 44 at 41 spaced from the distal end 42 of the speculum to its light-receiving surface 43 at the free end of portion 35.
Member 40 is protected by a member-enclosing wall 45 extending along the speculum from a point adjacent portion 35 to a point 410, the wall being formed integrally with the instrument sidewall and, with the walls completely enclosing member 40. The portion of member 40 extending through projecting portion 35 is, for convenience, round.
The body 31 of sigmoidoscope 30 is formed in two halves divided along a longitudinally extending plane, indicated at 46 in FIGS. 9 and 10, which bisects portions 32, 33, 34 and 35 diametrically. One body half 3la is shown in FIG. 8, the other body half 3112 being the mirror image thereof. A groove 47 is formed in each body half through the angularly projecting portion and the speculum, the groove being continuous from the free end of the projecting portion to the point 41 spaced from the distal end 42. Groove 47 is round in the projecting portion but wider and shallower along the speculum to conform to the flattened portion of member 40.
Member 40 is placed in the grooves 47 of the body halves when they are placed together as shown and then welded or otherwise permanently secured together.
It will be noted that sigmoidoscopes l and each have a shield portion which prevents any contact of the light source handle with the patient when the speculum is inserted in a body cavity. The sigmoidoscope, being economically manufactured, may be thrown away after use and the light source handle retained for further use.
As will be apparent to those familiar with the art, the invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The embodiments disclosed are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative rather than restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims.
What I claim is:
l. A unitary disposable endoscope comprising a body of synthetic resinous material having a generally tubular sidewall forming a speculum and a unitary elongated light-conducting member embedded in the sidewall, the member being formed of light-conducting material clad with a transparent material having an index of refraction different from that of the lightconducting material, the body being formed of two mating halves divided axially of the endoscope, each half having a member-enclosing wall formed integrally with the sidewall and, with the other half, providing a longitudinally extending tubular passageway in which the member is permanently enclosed.
2. A unitary disposable endoscope comprising: a body of synthetic resinous material having a generally tubular sidewall forming, in part, a tubular speculum; and an elongated lightconducting member embedded in the speculum sidewall, the member being formed of light-conducting material clad with a transparent material having an index of refraction different from that of the lightconducting material; the body being formed of two longitudinally divided diametrically opposed halves, each half having a member-enclosing wall formed integrally with the speculum sidewall to provide a longitudinally extending groove of uniform cross-sectional configuration in which the member is permanently enclosed; the body havingla portion projecting angularly therefrom at its proximal end, t e
projecting portion being formed as portions of the body halves which are grooved in continuation of the speculum-half grooves and having means to engage a separable light source; the proximal end of the member having a light-receiving surface lying in the projecting portion grooves, and the distal end of the member having a light-emitting surface lying in the speculum-half grooves spaced from the distal end of the speculum.
3. The endoscope defined in claim 2 in which the member is a solid-clad rod having light-receiving and light-emitting surfaces at its respective ends.
4. The endoscope defined in claim 2 in which the member is a bundle of clad fibers, the bundle having fused portions with light-receiving and light-emitting surfaces at its respective ends.
5. The endoscope defined in claim 2 in which the portion of the member embedded in the speculum is round in cross section and the speculum-half grooves are semicircular.
6. The endoscope defined in claim 2 in which the portion of the member embedded in the speculum is oval in cross section and the speculum-half grooves conform to the cross-sectional sectional shape of the member therein.