US 3672054 A
A cutter for cutting threads, particularly sutures, having a main body portion with jaw means and a cutter blade. The jaw means retaining the cutter blade in place and comprising fixed and hingeable elements integrally formed together. The fixed element of the jaw means has a forwardly extending pointed portion which resides beneath of the blade and forms a gap or slot with the blade for wedging a thread therebetween and cutting same against the blade.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Kaufman 1451 June 27, 1972'  CUTTER AND LIKE ARTICLE  Inventor: Jack W. Kaufman, 357 Frankel Boulevard, Merrick, Long Island, NY. 11566  Filed: Nov. 13, 1969  Appl. No.: 876,325
52 us. c1 ..30/294, 30/339 51 1111. C1 ..B26b 29/02  Field at Search ..30/294, 314, D16. 3, 293, 339, 30/010. 8
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,553,449 9/1925 Kennedy ..30/294 2,906,021 9/1959 Cromoga... ...3o/293 Campbell... 'Gringer v Miller ..30/124 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATlONS 603,942 6/1948 Great Britain ..30/294 498,875 9/1954 Italy ..30/294 Primary Examiner-Robert C. Riordon Assistant Examiner-J. C. Peters Attorney-Lining & Siegel  ABSTRACT A cutter for cutting threads, particularly sutures, having a main body portion with jaw means and a cutter blade. The jaw means retaining the cutter blade in place and comprising fixed and hingeable elements integrally formed together. The fixed element of the jaw means has a forwardly extending pointed portion which resides beneath of the blade and forms a gap or slot with the blade for wedging a thread therebetween and cutting same against the blade.
8 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures FATENTED I372 3.672.054
I SHEET 10$ 2 Fla-3 Fl6.2
INVESTOR. JACK IN. KAUFMAN ATTORNEYS PATENTEnJum 1272 v 3572054 sum 2 or 2 I.'\'\'E.\'TOH. JACK N. KAUFMAN ATTORNE Y5 CUTTER AND LIKE ARTICLE BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a cutter, and more particularly, to a suture removal instrument.
One of the basic instrument requirements in the medical field is the need for a device which is capable of painlessly cutting sutures on a body. Sutures are generally cut by a variety of devices including special small scissors, razor-like knife blades, etc., all of which must be carefully used, not only to not cause pinching of the skin but to preclude making unnecessary nicks about the sutured wound. With each such device in order to cut the suture before removal, one mustfirst raise the suture thread away from the body skin. Such action invariably pinches the skin, since the suture is often raised somewhat high and since one must hold the suture raised above the skin during the cutting operation. The pain and discomfort caused to a person having stitches removedcan, at times, be excruciating particularly when a semi-skilled medical assistant or technician performs such task. Removing cut suture threads from a body with the use of a tweezer is a necessary evil and undoubtedly will cause some pain, but the cutting of the suture threads can be made painless and efi'ortless with the device of the present invention.
Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to provide a suture removal instrument which painlessly cuts suture threads from a body.
Another object of the present invention is to provide ah instrument having a cutter blade which can be readily replaced with new blade and/or removed so as to be separately cleaned and sterilized.
A further object of the present invention is to provide a cutter instrument which is capable of painlessly cutting all types of sutures regardless of their location on the body of an animal or humanbeing.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a cutter instrument such as described herein, that is constructed and arranged of relatively few and simple parts so same to be economically manufactured.
Other objects and advantages will be apparent from a study of the following application which describes and discloses at least one preferred embodiment or modification of the invention. Other embodiments or modifications may be suggested to those having the benefits of the teachings herein and such other embodiments or modifications are intended to fall within the scope of the present application.
According to the present invention, there is provided a cutter for cutting threads and the like comprising a main body portion adapted to be held in a hand of a user, and a cutter blade, said main body portion having a forwardly extending portion forming a gap with respect to the cutting edge of said blade whereby threads and the like to be cut are wedged into said gap against said cutter blade.
According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a medical instrument for removing sutures comprising a handle having a pair of jaw elements, and a cutter blade removably disposed within said jaw elements, one of said jaw elements being hingeably connected to the other of said jaw elements, and the other of said jaw elements forming a spaced backing member for said cutter blade, whereby sutures are cut by being wedged between the cutting edge of said cutter blade and said backing member.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the suture removal instrument of the present invention being employed to cut a series of sutures;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along the lines 2---2 of FIG. I;
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of a modified instrument;
FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of a further modified instrument having a hinged locking member, shown in the open position, which greatly facilitates the quick and easy removal of the cutter blade;
as to enable FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along the lines 5-5 of FIG. 4 but with the hinged locking member closed in the locked position; and
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary plan view of the cutting tip.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a suture removal instrument 10 held in the hand 12 of the user, between the thumb and forefingers, and it is illustrated as being used to cut sutures 14 on the body or skin 16 of the animal or person. The instrument 10 comprises a knife-like blade 18 fixedly held in a suitable handle or main body portion 20. The main body portion 20 is preferably made of plastic, whereas the blade 18 is of a metal, such as stainless steel or other hard, corrosive resistant material. The main body portion 20 is preferably provided with a slightly curved forwardly extending pointed portion 22 which guides the blade 18 during use and, in addition, protects the sharp edge 19 of the blade 18 from being nicked or damaged during handling, etc.
The pointed forwardly extending portion 22 is suitably contoured on its outside surface, as best shown in FIG. 2. This curved outside portion 23 of the extended portion 22 is readily adaptable to various body curvatures and the tapering pointed end or tip 24 permits the instrument to gain entrance beneath the tightest suture or one which is embedded in scale or crust formation of a healed wound. The sharp cutting edge'l9 of the blade 18 is disposed adjacent a predetermined length of the extending portion 22 and at a slight angle with respect thereto.
The cutting edge 19 may be curved or suitably straight-edged but in either case it must form a narrow gap, slot or a small acute angle with the portion 22 so that threads or sutures 14 can be readily guided into a wedging contact with such gap or slot 25 between the knife blade 18 and portion 22, thereby permitting a clean, smooth severance of the threads. FIG. 3 best illustrates a threadv 14 in the gap formed between the blade 18 and the forwardly extended pointed portion 22.
As the thread or suture 14 is disposed along the slot 25 toward the point of the V-shaped wedge, thus, the thread is firmly wedged between the portion 22 and the blade 18 and thus the sutures are readily cut by the sharp edge 19 of the blade 18 without causing pinching or other discomfort to the patient.
In FIG. 3, a modified form of the invention is shown. This instrument is noticeably small and particularly adaptable for removing sutures from areas of the body where less room is available'for manipulating the instrument. In addition, this modified instrument lends itself to being more readily handy since it is small and can be carried in a pocket of the user. The main body portion 30 is held by the user in the same manner as the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, and the blade 18 is securely locked in place by suitable fasteners 32 as in the case of the instrument of FIGS. 1 and 2. It will be appreciated that these instruments can be economically manufactured so that they can be rendered disposable if one did not wish to subject them to sterilization. However, if desired, the fasteners 32 can be designed to be readily removable so that cutting blades can be replaced effortlessly.
In the preferred embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 4-6, there is illustrated an instrument 10 having jaw means 34 capable of fixedly retaining in place a suitable cutting blade 36. The jaw means 34 comprises a fixed jaw element 38 having an integral forwardly extending pointed portion 40, and a hinged jaw element or locking element 42 which is capable of rotating the jaw means 34 wide open about the hinges 43 so as to permit blade replacement. This jaw element 42 is hinged to the fixed jaw element 38 by means of the hinges 43 which are integrally fonned by the same material forming the handle 44 and pointed portion 42. Of course, the
handle can be suitably of one material, and the jaw means 34 of another material, but both the fixed and hinged jaws (38 and 42) are hinged together by a hinge integrally formed by v the same material forming the jaws. The resiliency of the material employed, provides a hinge permitting opening and closing the jaws of practically an unlimited number of cycles (life-time hinge). Plastic such as polypropylene is a preferred material for the hinge. Pin means 46 retain the blade 18 in place and further aligns the jaw means 34 during closing and maintains same in the locking position. The main body portion or handle 50 can be suitably knurled or otherwise provided with some sort of surface disruptions or raised rib elements 52 so as to provide positive gripping means.
FIG. 6 shows the extreme tip portion of the instrument and it will be understood that the forwardly extending pointed portion 41 resides on both sides of the blade 36 in order to provide a suitable backing element beneath the cutting edge of the blade 36 and to protect the blade edge. The threads or sutures are wedged and ultimately cut in the gap or slot 25 formed between the blade 36 and pointed portion 40, as explained hereinabove with respect to other embodiments or modifications of the invention.
It will, therefore, readily be appreciated that minimum pain and discomfort is imparted to a patient by removing sutures with a medical instrument embodying the principle of the present invention. In addition, the simplicity and ease of blade removal lends the present invention wider use and longer shelf life since only the blade need be replaced periodically.
While the invention has been shown, illustrated, described and disclosed in terms of embodiments or modifications which it has assumed in practice, the scope of the invention should not be deemed to be limited by the precise embodiments or modifications shown herein, illustrated, described or disclosed; such other embodiments or modifications are intended to be reserved especially as they fall within thespirit and scope of the present invention. For example, the method of blade attachment can also be used for holding standard scalpel blades and knives. In such cases, there would be no need for the forward portion 40.
1. A medical instrument for removing sutures comprising a handle having a pair of integrally formed jaw elements, and a cutter blade having a forward cutting and a rearward mounting portion, one of said jaw elements being hingably connected to the other of said elements, and the other of said jaw elements forming a backing member for said cutter blade, said backing member of said other jaw element being provided with a pointed forwardly extending portion contoured on the outside surface, the inside surface forming a gap with respect to the cutting edge of said forward cutting portion of said blade, said rearward mounting portion of said cutter blade being removably disposed between said jaw members, and the forward cutting portion of said blade being entirely visable during use of said instrument, whereby sutures are cut by being wedged between the cutting edge of said cutter blade and said forwardly extending portion of said backing member.
2. The medical instrument in accordance with claim 1, wherein the other of said jaw elements is fixedly secured to said handle.
3. The medical instrument inaccordance with claim 2, wherein said jaw elements are integrally fonned with said handle and the other of said jaw elements is provided with cavity means for retaining said cutter blade in place.
4. The medical instrument in accordance with claim 1, wherein said handle and jaw elements are made of a plastic.
5. The medical instrument in accordance with claim 4, wherein said handle is provided with gripping means.
6. The medical instrument in accordance with claim 3, wherein said jaw elements are provided with locking means for holding said jaw elements together.
7. The medical instrument in accordance with claim 6, wherein said means for retaining said cutter blade in place and said locking means are the same.
8. The medical instrument in accordance with claim 7, wherein said means comprise at least two pins fixed to said other of said jaw elements.
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