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Publication numberUS3724452 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 3, 1973
Filing dateMar 4, 1971
Priority dateMar 4, 1971
Publication numberUS 3724452 A, US 3724452A, US-A-3724452, US3724452 A, US3724452A
InventorsR Nitschke
Original AssigneeGreen T
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Cervical brace
US 3724452 A
Abstract
A cervical brace includes a chest plate, a pair of shoulder bars pivotally mounted on the chest plate and resting on a patient's shoulders, and a pair of straps extending from the ends of the shoulder bars across the patient's back and secured to the chest plate to hold it firmly against the patient's sternum. A chin support is held under the patient's chin by an elongated chin support bar having vertically spaced apart holes, one of the holes being fitted over a pin on the chest plate. A hinged plate on the chest plate pivots over the chin support bar to hold it on the pin. The plate may be swung aside to remove the chin support from the chest plate and later replace it at the proper elevation under the patient's chin without moving the patient's head. An occipital support is held under the patient's occiput by an occipital support bar which extends over the patient's shoulders and is secured to the chest plate. An adjustable stop on each side of the occipital support bar fits into a respective slot on the chest plate, each stop being held in its slot by a respective hinged plate on the chest plate. When the hinged plates are swung aside the occipital support may be applied to the patient's occiput without substantial movement of the patient's head, neck, or upper torso.
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United States Patent 1191 Nitschke 11 3,724,452 1 Apr. 3, 1973 [54] CERVICAL BRACE [75] Inventor: Robert 0. Nitschke, Rochester, N.Y.

[73] Assignee: Ted J. Green, Costa Mesa, Calif.

[22] Filed: Mar. 4, 1971 [21] 'Appl. No.: 120,871

52 us. c1. ..12s/7s, l28/DIG. 23 51 Int. Cl. ..A61h 1/02 581 Field 111 Search ..l28/75, s7, DIG. 23

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,692,595 10/1954 Blair, Jr. ..l28/87 B 2,735,424 2/1956 Benjamin.... .....128/87 B 2,820,455 1/1958 Hall ..128/87 B 2,904,040 9/1959 Hale ..128/87 B 2,223,276 11/1940 Ward .....128/87 B 3,224,439 12/1965 Blair, Jr ..128/75 1,397,499 11/1921 Brennan ..128/D1G. 23 OTHER PUBLICATIONS Orthopaedic Appliance Atlas, Vol. 1, 1952 page 224, 226, Fig. 278 A,B

Primary Examiner-William E. Kamm Assistant Examiner-J. Yasko Attorney-Christie, Parker & Hale [57] ABSTRACT A cervical brace includes a chest plate, a pair of shoulder bars pivotally mounted on the chest plate and resting on a patients shoulders, and a pair of straps extending from the ends of the shoulder bars across the patients back and secured to the chest plate to hold it firmly against the patient's sternum. A

chin support is held under the patients chin by an elongated chin support bar having vertically spaced apart holes, one of the holes being fitted over a pin on the chest plate. A hinged plate on the chest plate pivots over the chin support bar to hold it on the pin. The plate may be swung aside to remove the chin support from the chest plate and later replace it at the proper elevation under the patients chin without moving the patient's head. An occipital support is held under the patients occiput by an occipital support bar which extends over the patients shoulders and is secured to the chest plate. An adjustable stop on each side of the occipital support bar fits into a respective slot on the chest plate, each stop being held in its slot by a respective hinged plate on the chest plate. When the hinged plates are swung aside the occipital support may be applied to the patients occiput without substantial movement of the patients head, neck, or upper torso.

15 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to an improved cervical brace.

A person having a cervical injury should not be moved until his head and neck are immobilized. When a patient is under traction on a striker frame, it is often necessary to immobilize his head, neck, and sternum without moving these parts of the patients body. Prior art cervical braces for immobilizing the head and neck are difficult to apply to a patient in a prone position without moving his head, neck or upper torso.

Prior art cervical braces generally include a support resting under the patients chin and a separate support under the occiput (back part of the head or skull). The chin support generally is releasably secured to a chest plate resting against the patients sternum, and the occipital support is typically secured to a separate plate held against the patients back. When a patient lying on his back is fitted with a prior art cervical brace, his head and neck must be moved substantially to provide sufficient room to position the back plate and then connect the occipital support to the back plate. Moreover, the occipital support of the prior art cervical braces generally is secured to the back plate by threaded fasteners which are difficult and time-consuming to apply and therefore require attendants to hold the patients head and neck in an elevated position for a substantial length of time.

In the prior art cervical braces, means for fastening the chin support to the chest plate generally include screw-threaded fasteners or complicated attachments. Thus, the chin support may not be quickly and easily applied or removed. Some prior art chin supports are designed such that the patients head must be moved back to fasten or removethe chin support. Other prior art chin supports must be fitted to the patient to determine the proper position of the support each time it is replaced.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention provides a cervical brace which may be applied to a patient in a prone position without substantial movement of his head, neck, or upper torso.

Briefly, the cervical brace includes a chest plate, and a pair of shoulder bars secured to the chest plate and resting on the shoulders of a patient to hold the chest plate against the patients sternum. Chin support means secured to the chest plate hold the patients chin in a fixed position. An occipital plate is supported under the patients occiput by an occipital support bar extending over the patients shoulders and secured to the chest plate.

In use, the cervical brace may be applied to a patient lying on his back by properly positioning the chest plate and chin support in front of the patient, placing the occipital support plate under the patients occiput, and securing the occipital support bar to the chest plate.

In a preferred form of the invention, the occipital support bar has adjustable stops which fit into cooperating slots in the front of the chest plate for adjusting the elevation of the occipital plate.

Preferably, the chin support includes a chin plate resting under the patients chin, and a downwardly extending chin support bar having vertically spaced apart holes extending through it. A certain one of the holes is fitted over a pin on the chest plate to hold the chin plate at a given elevation under the patients chin.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS These and other aspects of the invention will be more fully understood by referring to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the front of a cervical brace;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing an occiptal sup- P FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing a chin support;

FIG. 4 is an elevation taken on line 4-4 of FIG. 7 showing means for fastening shoulder bars to the cervical brace;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing the cervical brace worn by a patient;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view showing the rear of the cervical brace when worn by the patient; and

FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing the cervical brace applied to a patient lying in a prone position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawings, a cervical brace 10 includes a substantially Y-shaped chest plate 12, the central portion of which is adapted to rest against a patients sternum. The chest plate has upwardly and outwardly extending right and left upright portions 14 which are positioned immediately below the patients clavicle when the chest plate is worn. The central portion of the chest plate extends downwardly the entire length of the patients sternum and terminates in an enlarged lower portion 16 which rests in the area of the patients midriff. The reverse side of the chest plate is covered'with padding, preferably a sheet 17 of plastic foam material.

A pair of upwardly extending, curved shoulder bars 18 are pivotally secured to right and left uprights 14 of the chest plate. Each shoulder bar 18 has a rounded lower portion 20 (shown best in FIG. 4) with an opening 22 extending through it to receive a threaded fastener 24 which screws into a cooperating opening (not shown) in each upright 14. Each fastener 24 extends through a respective lock nut (not shown) disposed between the reverse side of upright 14 and the front of rounded portion 20 of the shoulder bar. Each lock nut serves as a spacer between the rounded portion of the shoulder bar and the chest plate and locks the shoulder bar firmly in a fixed position relative to the chest plate when fastener 24 is tightened.

The upper portion of each shoulder bar 18 is curved to extend over and rest on each shoulder of a patient. As shown best in FIG. 4, the reverse side of each shoulder bar is covered with padding, preferably a sheet 26 of plastic foam material. The padding covering uprights 14 is closely spaced from the rounded portions of the shoulder bars so the reverse sides of the shoulder bars and the chest plate provide a continuous soft cushion resting against the patient.

Chest plate 12 and shoulder bars 18 are preferably made of a strong, lightweight, and bendable material such as aluminum. Thus, the chest plate and shoulder bars may be curved into a shape which conforms to the patients body. The chest plate and shoulder bars are preferably covered with a thin sheet of baked-on vinyl plastic to avoid rough or sharp edges and to permit the device to be easily washable. The padding covering the reverse sides of chest plate 12 and shoulder bars 18 preferably is made of a vinyl plastic foam with a vinyl coating to provide a smooth finish which is comfortable and easily washable.

A chin support 28 includes an upwardly opening, substantially U-shaped chin plate 30 which is preferably made of aluminum to permit it to be bent to conform to the shape of the patients chin. A downwardly extending elongated chin support bar 32 is secured to the bottom of chin plate 30 by a pair of screws (not shown). The lower portion of the chin support bar has a column of vertically spaced-apart holes 33 extending through it.

The chin support bar is preferably a relatively thin bar made of a lightweight material such as aluminum. The upwardly opening upper surface of chin plate 30 is covered by a sheet 34 of vinyl foam material. The aluminum chin plate and the foam padding are both covered by a vinyl coating.

An occipital support 36 includes a substantially U- shaped occipital plate 38 shaped to fit under the patients occiput. The inner side of plate 38 is covered by padding, preferably a sheet 40 of plastic foam material such as vinyl foam. A vinyl plastic coating preferably covers the outer surface of occipital plate 38 and foam padding 40.

A downwardly opening U-shaped occipital support bar 42 has an upper transverse cross member 44 (shown best in FIG. 6) disposed against the reverse side of occipital plate 38. The occipital plate is secured to the cross member by fasteners (not shown) extending through it into a U-shaped bracket 46 (shown best in FIG. 6) fitted over cross member 44. Occipital support bar 42 preferably is an aluminum rod which may be bent into a variety of shapes and which holds its given shape.

The occipital support bar preferably is circular in transverse cross-section, with each leg of the support bar carrying a respective annular stop 48. Each leg of the support bar extends through the opening in its respective stop 48, and each stop is releasably secured to its respective leg by a screw-threaded fastener 50, preferably an Allen head screw. Fastener 50 may be loosened to permit stop 48 to slide up and down relative to the leg portion of the occipital support bar, as shown in phantom lines in FIG. 2. When the proper elevation of each stop is determined, the fastener 50 is tightened to keep the stop in a fixed position relative to the occipital support bar.

The use of the cervical brace is best understood by referring to FIGS. 4, 5, and 6. Chest plate 12 is initially fitted to the patients chest, with its shape being modified by bending it horizontally to follow the contour of the patients chest and vertically to conform to the patients sternum. If substantial modification of the chest plate is necessary, shoulder bars 18 may be completely removed from the chest plate byremoving fasteners 24.

Shoulder bars 18 are then shaped to conform to the contour of the patients shoulders. The shoulder bars may be curved toward or away from chest plate 12, and the angle of curvature of the shoulder bars may be modified to conform to the depth of the patients shoulders.

The shoulder bars also may be swung toward and away from each other about their pivots on fasteners 24 to adjust the angle between each shoulder bar and the chest plate. Fasteners 24 are loosened slightly to permit the shoulder bars to be moved relative to the chest plate. Initially, the shoulder bars are swung relatively far apart from each other to permit the chest plate and shoulder bars to be moved downwardly over the head of the patient. The shoulder bars can then be swung toward each other until they are in a proper position resting comfortably on the patients shoulders. Fasteners 24 may then be tightened to lock the shoulder bars in their desired position.

A pair of elongated straps 52 are secured to the free ends of shoulder bars 18 by threaded fasteners 54. The straps are preferably made of a rugged, lightweight, and washable material such as nylon. Each strap 52 carries a respective buckle 56 near its end. A pair of laterally spaced apart buckle-receiving clips 58 are secured to the lower front portion of chest plate 12. The clips are held on the chest plate by an elongated strip 60 of vinyl material threaded through an opening in each clip and folded back on itself, with the folded over-portion being secured to the chest plate by a fastener 62.

In use, the chest plate is firmly secured to the patients sternum by crossing straps 52 behind the patients back and fastening buckles 56 to respective clips 58. Buckles 56 are slidable relative to the straps so they may be positioned on each strap at points which hold at the chest plate firmly against the patients chest'when fastened to clips 58. Thus, the chest plate provides a firm support for the patients sternum, and may be applied with sufficient tightness to immobilize the sternum if the type of injury sustained necessitates such means of support.

An elongated chin support block 64 is secured to the upper central portion of the front of chest plate 12. Block 64, which is preferably made of injection molded plastic, has an elongated vertically extending channel 66 on its longitudinal center line, and an outwardly extending cylindrical mounting pin 68 disposed centrally within channel 66. A relatively thin and flat locking plate 70 is hinged to one side of block 64 adjacent to channel 66 by a threaded fastener 72.

In use, chin support 28 is applied to the patient by fitting chin pad 34 under the patients chin at the correct elevation and slipping one of the holes 33 of chin support bar 32 over mounting pin 68. Locking plate 70 swings aside to permit chin support bar 32 to fit into channel 66 of mounting block 64. After the chin support bar is positioned over pin 66, locking plate 70 is swung over the front of the chin support bar and the mounting pin to maintain the pin support bar and the mounting pin to maintain the pin support in a fixed position under the patients chin. A fastener 74 on the side of mounting block 64 opposite locking plate 70 has its head portion spaced slightly from the outer surface of the mounting block to permit a notched portion 76 of plate 70 to make a tight friction fit between the head and the block. Thus, locking plate 70 maintains a fixed position covering the lower portion of the chin support bar and thereby holds the chin support rigidly in place under the patients chin.

If it is desired to free the patients chin to permit him to eat, shave, or the like, the chin support may be quickly removed from the chest plate by swinging locking plate 70 to the position shown in FIG. 1 so as to uncover chin support bar 32 and permit the bar to be slipped off mounting pin 68. .The particular one of holes 33 which positions the chin plate properly under the patients chin may be etched or otherwise marked so the chin support later may be replaced in the proper position. Thus, the chin plate may be quickly and easily secured to the chest plate, and removed therefrom, without substantial movement from the patients head or neck.

A pair of occipital support blocks 78 are secured to right and left uprights 14 of chest plate 12. Support blocks 78 preferably are made of injection molded plastic material formed to provide an elongated vertically extending channel 80 in the center of the block. The inner portion of each mounting block 78 has an outwardly opening slotted portion 82 at its top. Each mounting block 82 has a relatively thin and flat locking plate 84 pivotally secured adjacent to its outer edge by a respective fastener 86. In use, locking plates 84 operate in a manner identical to locking plate 70. Both locking plates 84 have slotted portions 88 which make a friction fit under a fastener 90 on the opposite side of the block when each plate slides over its channel 80.

Occipital support 36 is applied to the patient by loosening fasteners 50 of stops 48, moving the stops to the proper position on occipital support bar 42, and tightening the fasteners so the stops maintain a fixed position on the bars. The occipital support bars 42 are then bent into a configuration which permits them to extend over the patients shoulders (as shown best in FIG. 6) to the front of the chest plate when occipital plate 38 is held against the patients occiput. If the patient is lying on his back, as shown in FIG. 7 the patients neck is straddled by support bars 42, either from the front or side, the occipital support is turned to position the occipital plate in the area under the back of the patients neck, and the occipital plate is then moved upward slightly and placed under the patients occiput. Thus, the patients head need not be lifted to permit the occipital plate to be properly positioned under his occiput. The occipital support bars 42 extend over his shoulders to the front of the chest plate. Stops 48 are inserted in slotted portions 32 of mounting blocks 78 and the end portions of occipital support bar 42 are positioned in channel 80 of mounting block 78. Locking plates 84 are then swung over channel 80 and the end portions of the occipital support bar and locked under fastener 90 to hold the occipital support in a fixed position under the patients occiput.

Thus, the cervical brace of this invention permits the patients head, neck, and sternum to be immobilized without substantial movement of his head, neck, or upper torso. This is a substantial advantage if the patient has sustained severe heador neck injuries, or if he is under traction on a striker type frame and thereby requires as little movement of his head, neck, or upper torso as possible. i

I claim:

. 1. A cervical brace comprising a chest plate; support means secured to the chest plate and adapted to rest on the shoulders of a patient to hold the chest plate against the sternum of the patient; chin support means secured to the chest plate for holding the chin of the patient in a fixed position; and occipital support means including an occipital plate adapted to fit under the occiput of the patient, an elongated occipital support bar having one end rigidly secured to the occipital support plate and being adapted to extend over at least one shoulder of the patient to the chest plate independently of the chin support means, and means securing the other end of the occipital support bar to the chest plate to hold the occipital plate in a fixed position against the occiput of the patient.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the chin support means includes a chin plate, a chin support bar extending downwardly from the chin support plate, the chin support bar having vertically spaced-apart holes extending through it, a pin on the front of the chest plate for extending through a certain one of the holes on the chin support bar to position the chin support plate at a given elevation relative to the patients chin, and fastening means on the chest plate for holding the chin support bar on the pin to maintain the chin support plate in a fixed position relative to the patients chin.

3. Apparatus according to claim 2 wherein the fastening means comprises an elongated channel in the front of the chest plate for receiving the chin support bar, and a locking plate hinged to the front of the chest plate to slide over the portion of the chin support bar in the channel to maintain the chin support bar fixed in the channel.

4. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the occipital support means includes a pair of laterally spaced apart legs adapted to extend over the shoulders of the patient; and including fastening means on each side of the chest plate releasably securing the legs to the chest plate.

5. Apparatus according to claim 4 wherein each leg has an adjustable stop secured it, and wherein each fastening means comprises a slot in the chest plate for receiving a respective stop, an elongated channel in the front of the chest plate adjacent the notch for receiving a respective leg, and a locking plate pivotally secured to the front of the chest plate to slide over the portion of the leg in each channel to maintain the nearby stop fixed in its respective slot.

6. Apparatus according to claim 2 wherein the occipital support bar includes a pair of laterally spacedapart legs adapted to extend over the shoulders of the patient; and including second fastening means on each side of the chest plate releasably securing the legs to the chest plate.

7. Apparatus according to claim 6 wherein the fastening means for the chin support bar comprises an elongated channel in front of the chest plate for receiving the chin support bar, and a first locking plate hinged to the front of the chest plate to slide over the portion of the chin support bar in the channel to maintain the chin support bar fixed in the channel; wherein the leg of each occipital support bar has an adjustable stop secured thereto; and wherein each second fastening means comprises a slot in the chest plate for receiving a respective stop, an elongated channel in front of the chest plate adjacent the slot for receiving a respective leg, and a second locking plate hinged to the chest plate to slide over the portion of the leg in each channel to maintain the nearby stop fixed in its respective slot.

8. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the chest plate is made of a bendable material for conforming to the contour of the patients chest.

9. A cervical brace comprising a substantially rigid chest plate; a pair of substantially rigid U-shaped shoulder bars adapted to rest on the shoulders of a patient; rigid fastening means securing the shoulder bars to the chest plate to hold the chest plate in a fixed position against the sternum of the patient when the shoulder bars rest on the shoulders of the patient; substantially rigid chin support means; means rigidly securing the chin support means to the chest plate for holding the chin of the patient in a fixed position; an occipital support adapted to fit under the occipit of the patient; an elongated occipital support bar having one end rigidly secured to the occipital support and being adapted to extend over at least one shoulder of the patient to the chest plate independently of the chin support means; and means securing the other end of the occipital support bar to the chest plate to hold the occipital support in a fixed position against the occipit of the patient.

10. Apparatus according to claim 9 in which the fastening means pivotally secure the shoulder bars to the chest plate. I

11. Apparatus according to claim 9 in which the occipital support means includes a pair of laterally spaced apart legs adapted to extend over the shoulders of the patient, and including fastening means on each side of the chest plate releasably securing the legs to the chest plate.

12. A cervical brace comprising a chest plate; a pair of shoulder bars secured to the chest plate and adapted to rest on the shoulders of a patient to hold the chest plate against the sternum of the patient; chin support means secured to the chest plate for holding the chin of the patient in a fixed position; and occipital support means including an occipital plate adapted to fit under the occiput of the patient, a pair of laterally spaced apart legs rigidly securedto the occipital plate and adapted to extend over the shoulders of the patient to free ends disposed adjacent to the chest plate, and means releasably securing the free ends of thelegs to cooperating fastening means on each side of the chest plate to hold the occipital plate in a fixed position against the occiput of the patient.

13. Apparatus according to claim 12 wherein the chin support means includes a chin plate, a chin support bar extending downwardly from the chin support plate, the chin support bar having vertically spaced apart holes extending through it, a pin on the front of the chest plate for extending through a certain one of the holes on the chin support bar to position the chin support plate at a given elevation relative to the patients chin, and fastening means on the chest plate for holding the chin support bar on the pin to maintain the chin support plate in a fixed position relative to the patients chin.

14. Apparatus according to claim 12 wherein each leg has an adjustable stop secured to it; and wherein each fastening means comprises a slot in the chest plate for receiving a respective stop, an elongated channel in the front of the chest plate adjacent the notch for receiving a respective leg, and a separate locking plate pivotally secured to the front of the chest plate to slide over the portion of the leg in each channel to maintain the nearby stop fixed in its respective slot.

15. Apparatus according to claim 12 in which the shoulder bars are substantially rigid; and including means rigidly securing the shoulder bars to the chest plate to hold the chest plate in a fixed position against the sternum of the patient, means for adjusting the point of attachment between the chin support means and the chest plate to position the chin support plate at a given elevation relative to the patients chin, and means for adjusting the point of attachment between the occipital support legs and the chest plate to adjust the position of the occipital plate under the occipit of the patient.

P0405" v UNITED STA'IES PA'lENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 724,452 Dated April 3, 1973 Inventor(s) ROBERT O.- NITSCHKE It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

[73] Assigneer reads Ted J. Green", should read -fI"ed J. Greene-- Col. 4, lines 57-58, delete "bar and the mounting pin to maintain the pin support" which is a duplication of lines 56-57 (partial) Col. 6, line 41, reads "secured it,", should read (Claim 5) a -secured to it,--'

Signed and sealed this 28th day of August 1973.

(SEAL) Attest:

EDWARD M.FLETCHER,JR. RENE D. TEGTMEYER Attesting Officer Acting Commissioner of Patents

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Classifications
U.S. Classification602/18, 128/DIG.230
International ClassificationA61F5/055
Cooperative ClassificationY10S128/23, A61F5/055
European ClassificationA61F5/055