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Publication numberUS3734084 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 22, 1973
Filing dateOct 28, 1970
Priority dateOct 28, 1970
Publication numberUS 3734084 A, US 3734084A, US-A-3734084, US3734084 A, US3734084A
InventorsOusterhout D
Original AssigneeOusterhout D
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Mechanical tongue depressor
US 3734084 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

O United States Patent 1191 1111 3,734,084 Ousterhout [45] May 22, 1973 [s41 MECHANICAL TONGUE DEPRESSOR 1,374,984 4/1921 Cameron ..128 13 Inventor: Douglas K. ousterhout 3321 3,154,069 10/1964 Rmg ..l28/l5 rga Drive, Palo Alto, lif FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS [22] F1 d 0 28 1970 381,393 11/1907 France ..l28/l2 1e ct.

Prima Examiner-Lucie H. Laudlensla er 21 A LN 84776 g l 1 pp 0 Att0rneyBuckhorn, Blore, Klarquist and Sparkman [52] U.S. Cl ..l28/l5, 128/12 [57] ABSTRACT [51] Int. Cl. ..A61b l/24 58 Field of Search ..32/40; 128/12, 13, g If? a lateral? ffset 128/14 15 l6 248/226R campwic ena esltto erealycampe toany portion of the vertical post of a conventional mouth speculum wherein the vertical post extends between [56] References cued the upper and lower jaws of the mouth alongside the UNITED STATES PATENTS mouth cavity. Interchangeable depressor blades of different S1268 can be quickly attached to and detached 2,669,156 2/1954 Fitz Gerald ..248/226 R X from the clamp portion to adapt the depressor for use g X with animals of different sizes. 1 /2 X 1,193,782 8/1916 Henderson ..128/15 X 10 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENTE W22 m5 FIG. 2

FIG. 4

DOUGLAS K OUSTERHOUT IN'VENTOR BUCKHORN, BLORF, KLAROUIST 6X. SPARKMAN AHORNEYS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field. of the Invention The present invention relates to a tongue depressor adapted for attachment to a mouth speculum for facilitating mouth and throat examination, treatment and surgery.

2. Description of the Prior Art Although many different types of tongue depressors have been suggested heretofore, most have been designedfor use either apart from a mouth speculum or gag, or else as an integral, special part of a specific type of speculum or gag having no general applicability to other types of specula or gags.

Prior tongue depressor-speculum combinations have been complex affairs, usually having so many structural members and appurtenances as to limit access and vision into the mouth and throat.

In most prior speculum-depressor appliances, the speculum has required a lateral structural member extending from opposite side members across the lower portion of the jaw for attaching the depressor, with an additional structural portion extending downwardly from a central part of the lateral member and being supported against the chin for stability. In addition to being cumbersome and uncomfortable and limiting visibility and access, speculum-depressors of this type actually prevent the tongue from extending outwardly of the mouth, which in some instances may be necessary or desirable.

There are no tongue depressors known which are adaptable for general use with different types of specula, and no depressors available capable of being attached to specula having no lateral member extending across the lower jaw. Specifically no existing depressors can be attached to specula of the type used in examining and treating animals other than human bemgs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention the deficiencies of the prior art are overcome by providing a mechanical tongue depressor especially suitable for use with animals other than human beings.

The tonguedepressor of the invention includes a universal-type clamping portion adaptable for attachment to any mouth speculum having an upright spreader post portion offset laterally from the mouth cavity and extending alongside the mouth for holding the upper and lower jaws apart.

The clamp islaterally offset from the depressor blade and canbe attached directly to the upright post of the speculum and adjusted to any desired position along such post- The clam'pis designed to prevent rotation of theblade .with respect tothe post.

The depressor bladehas a laterally extending portion adapted for quick connection to the clamping portion whereby interchangeable blades of different sizes for different-sized animals can be used with the same clamping portion. The blade itself is the only portion of the depressor that extends into the mouth cavity,

thereby providing optimum vision and access to the cavity and throat region.

The lower tongue-engaging surface of the blade is provided with a longitudinal groove along which an en-. dotracheal tube can pass to the trachea without obstructing vision or access.

Primary objects of the invention are to provide:

1. a tongue depressor adaptable for use with many different types of mouth specula;

2. a tongue depressor especially suitable for use with animals of different sizes and types;

3. a tongue depressor having interchangeable blades of different sizes;

4. a tongue depressor having a universal-type clamp adapting it for use with different types of mouth specula;

5. a tongue depressor providing optimum visibility and access into the mouth and throat regions;

6. a tongue depressor of simplified and trouble-free design.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWING The foregoing and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description which proceeds with reference to the accompanying drawing wherein:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a tongue depressor attached to a typical mouth speculum, illustrating.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION General Arrangement With reference to the drawing, FIG. 1 shows the tongue depressor 1 attached to the upright, offset post portion 3 of a conventional mouth speculum 5 used in small animal surgery to spread the upper and lower jaws of a small animal, such as the dog 6. The speculum typically includes an upper plate '7 adjacent the upper end of the somewhat flexible post 3 and a lower plate 8 adjacent the lower end of the post. The outer ends of such plates extend inwardly of the mouth opening and include openings 9 for receiving the dog's opposed canine teeth. A coil spring 10 extends about post 3 between the upper and lowerplates to force the plates apart and thus maintain thedogs upper and lower jaws spread apart for accessinto the mouth and throat.

The tongue depressor includes a blade 12 removably attached to a clamping portion 14. Referring to FIGS. 2, 3 and 4, clamping portion 14 mounts a clamping means or gate means 16 in the form of a thumb screw for releasably and adjustably clamping the entire depressor assembly to speculum post 3 at any desired position along the length of the latter.

Clamping Portion Clamping portion 14 is generally rectangular in shape and includes a slot 18 extending inwardly from one end thereof for receiving speculum post 3. Slot 18 is defined on one side by a thinwalled resilient spring steel portion 20 and on the opposite side by a thicker rigid walled portion 22 of the clamping block. Thin wall 20 has a notch 24 formed in its outer end for receiving a groove portion 32 of thumb screw 16 when it is closed across slot 18 as shown in FIGS. 2 and 4. The corresponding end portion of the thicker wall 22 is also notched or indented at 26. Thumb screw 16 has a threaded end 28 which screws into a threaded opening of a pivot block 30 pivotally mounted within indented end 26 of wall 22. Thus the thumb screw can be swung on the pivot block from its open position as shown in dashed lines in FIG. 2 to its closed, clamping position as shown in full lines in FIG. 2 wherein thumb screw groove 32 resides in notch 24 to close the end of slot 18.

A land portion 34 of the thumb screw resides within slot 18 when the slot is closed, thereby preventing post 3 of the speculum from being detached from clamp body 14 of the depressor. Land portion 34 is sized so that when the thumb screw is seated within notch 24, land 34 engages post 3. When thereafter thumb screw 16 is screwed further into pivot block 30, the resilient thin-walled portion of the clamping block 14 exerts clamping pressure against post 3 to prevent rotation and sliding movement of clamp body 14 relative to the post. Clamp body 14 includes a narrow slit or recess 35 where it joins an intermediate portion of resilient wall 20 to provide such wall with even more resilience than it would otherwise have. An enlarged, knurled handle portion 36 of thumb screw 16 facilitates rotation of the thumb screw.

Depressor Blade Depressor blade 12 includes an elongate tongueengaging portion 40 having a rounded inner end 41 adapted to extend inwardly of the mouth cavity and an outer end 42. The lower tongue-engaging surface of blade portion 40 includes a central groove 43 extending lengthwise from end-to-end thereof for receiving an endotracheal tube 44 when the latter is needed, as shown in FIG. 1.

Blade 12 also includes a lateral offset portion 46 projecting laterally from adjacent the outer end of tongueengaging blade portion 40 toward clamp body 14.

Referring particularly to FIG. 4, lateral offset 46 is generally angular in shape and includes a first leg 48 extending from tongue-engaging portion 40 in approximately the same plane as the blade portion 40, and a second leg 50 extending generally normal to first leg 48 and into engagement with a side of clamping block 14. Leg 50 terminates at a right-angle bend to form a small lip 52 which engages a lower surface of clamping block 14.

Blade and Clamp Interlock Clamping block 14 and upright leg 50 of the offset blade portion 46 are provided with interlocking means for securing blades 12 firmly to the clamping block and for enabling quick replacement of such blade with another interchangeable blade (not shown) of a different size when needed. With such means the tongue depressor assembly is adaptable for use with different-sized animals.

With reference particularly to FIG. 3, the interlocking means includes a swivel pin 54 and a laterally adjacent locking pin 56 with an enlarged head 57 projecting from the blade-engaging side of clamp body 14. Leg 50 of blade offset 46 includes a swivel pin opening 55 of a size for just receiving pin 54. Leg 50 also includes a locking slot 58 having an enlarged end 59 large enough to receive enlarged head 57 of locking pin 56. Slot 58 tapers from its large end 59 to a small end 60 having a smaller radius of curvature than the radius of head 57.

With the foregoing arrangement, a blade 12 can be quickly interlocked with clamping block 14 simply by inserting pin 54 through swivel pin hole 55 and pin head 57 through the enlarged end 59 of slot 58 and then pivoting the blade to swing the locking pin 56 toward the small end of the slot 58, thereby locking the blade to the clamping block. In this position, lip 52 of the blade is flush with the bottom surface of clamping block 14, and tongue pressure tends to maintain locking pin 56 at the small end of locking slot 58. However, by removing the tongue depressor from the mouth of the animal, the blade can be quickly interchanged with another one of a different size if desired.

Operation and Use If it is necessary to adjust the position of the depressor along the length of the post 3 of the speculum, the thumb screw can be loosened slightly. This enables sliding movement of the clamping block along speculum post 3 until the desired adjustment is obtained. Thereafter the thumb screw is again tightened to clamp clamping block 14 to the post.

From the foregoing it will be apparent that a tongue depressor is provided that may be quickly and easily clamped to and adjusted along the length of the speculum post.

Moreover, interchangeable blades may be readily attached to and detached from the clamping block so that the depressor can be used with animals of different sizes and species.

The depressor can be constructed of any suitable material, such as stainless steel.

Although the tongue depressor of the invention is especially suitable for use with a mouth speculum of the type illustrated, it will be appreciated that the depressor, with its universal-type clamping means, is adaptable for use with any mouth speculum having an offset upright post portion extending alongside the mouth opening. In practice it has been found that the tongue depressor works equally well regardless of the position of the animal.

Having illustrated and described what is now a preferred form of my invention, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art that the same permits of modification in arrangement and detail. I claim as my invention all such modifications as come within the true spirit and scope of the following claims.

I claim:

1. Tongue depressor apparatus in which the improvement comprises:

a tongue depressor blade,

a blade mounting means provided only on one side of said blade and including a lateral offset portion extending laterally from said one side of said blade; and

clamp means including a clamping portion, for clamping said offset portion to only one jaw spreader post of a mouth speculum so that said offset portion extends laterally to said post and said blade is supported solely on said one post;

said clamping portion releasably engaging said offset portion to enable blade replacement and being movable longitudinally for adjusting the position of said blade along said post.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1 including interlocking means for removably attaching said blade to said clamping portion.

3. Apparatus according to claim 2 wherein said interlocking means comprises cooperating locking pin and slot means on said clamping and offset portions.

4. Apparatus according to claim 2 wherein said interlocking means includes a pivot pin on one of said two aforementioned portions and a pin-receiving opening on the other said portion, a locking pin with an enlarged head on one of said portions and a locking pinreceiving slot on the other said portion, said pins and their respective opening and slot being arranged to lock said blade to said clamping portion with the aid of normal tongue pressure applied against the underside of said blade.

5. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said clamping portion defines a slot open at one end for receiving said post, said clamping means including gate means pivoted to said clamping portion for pivoting movement from an open position permitting said post to enter said slot to a closed position across the open end of said slot to retain said post within said slot.

6. Apparatus according to claim 5 wherein said slot is defined by at least one resilient sidewall portion and said gate means includes screw takeup means operable to force said resilient sidewall portion against said post when said gate means is closed.

7. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said blade includes a central groove extending throughout the length of a tongue-engaging surface portion thereof for receiving an endotracheal tube.

8. A tongue depressor in combination with a mouth speculum of the type having a spreader post extending alongside the mouth cavity between upper and lower jaws, said depressor comprising:

a tongue blade,

said tongue blade including a narrow, elongated blade portion and a lateral offset portion projecting laterally therefore,

said lateral offset portion being angular and including a first leg portion extending laterally from said blade portion in approximately the plane thereof and a second leg portion opposite the blade portion and extending from the end of said first leg portion generally normal thereto,

said second leg being connected to a clamping portion of a clamping means and said clamping means being adapted to be selectively clamped to said spreader post.

9. Apparatus according to claim 8 wherein said second leg portion includes interlocking means for removably securing said blade to said clamping portion.

10. Apparatus according to claim 8 wherein said clamping portion includes a generally rectangular clamping block defining an open-ended slot for receiving said spreader post, said slotbeing bounded by a laterally resilient wall and an opposite rigid wall, said rigid wall terminating at a notched end adjacent the open end of said slot, said notched end mounting a pivot block for pivotal movement within said notched end, said thin wall also including a notched distal end opposite the notched end of said rigid wall, said pivot block including a threaded opening receiving a threaded end portion of said clamping means, said clamping means comprising a gate member adapted to swing on said pivot block from an open position to a closed position across the open end of said slot and within the notch of said resilient wall, said gate being operable when closed to clamp said resilient wall against the spreader post.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4807599 *May 8, 1987Feb 28, 1989Med-Struments, Inc.Illuminating tongue depressor
US4976275 *Jun 14, 1989Dec 11, 1990Dixon Kathy MMethod of breaking a nail biting habit
US5174278 *Nov 26, 1990Dec 29, 1992Beth BabkowDownward rotating speculum with conical shaped blades
US5318009 *Mar 3, 1993Jun 7, 1994Scientific Medical Programs, Inc.Illuminated tongue depressor
US6589168Aug 15, 2001Jul 8, 2003Robert Lee ThompsonVideo gynecological examination apparatus
US7625374 *Aug 21, 2003Dec 1, 2009Warsaw Orthopedic, Inc.Interbody fusion grafts and instrumentation
US20090171155 *Dec 23, 2008Jul 2, 2009Koichi TsunodaOral cavity insertion instrument and pharyngoscope apparatus
EP1976423A2 *Jan 25, 2007Oct 8, 2008Samir BhattTongue depressor
U.S. Classification600/239, 600/243
International ClassificationA61B1/24, A61B13/00
Cooperative ClassificationA61B13/00, A61B1/24
European ClassificationA61B13/00, A61B1/24