US 3793726 A
A molded handle has a blade attached to and extending from one end and a blade guard frangibly attached to the same end. The guard has first and second flat surfaces formed on opposite sides with a raised edge extending substantially around the periphery of each surface. The first flat surface is contiguous with one side of the blade and extends beyond the blade so that the raised edge of the guard protects the edge of the blade. A pressure tab is molded onto the guard and is disposed remotely from a sharpened edge of the blade to facilitate safe removal of the guard from the handle. A retainer bar is formed adjacent to but spaced from the second flat surface to define a narrow slot between the bar and the second surface into which the blade is inserted after use to provide for safe disposal of the device.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Primary Examiner-James L. Jones/Jr. Assistant Examiner-Mark S. Bicks O United States Patent 1 1 [111 3,793,726 Schrank Feb. 26, 1974 STERILE DISPOSABLE SCALPEL Attorney, Agehtror l irin liane, Dalsimer, Kane, Sullivan and Kurucz  Inventor. George I. Schrank, Woodchff Lake,
I NJ.  Assigneez Becton, Dickinson & dompany, East  ABSTRACT Rutherford, NJ. t A molded handle has a blade attached to and extendl Filedi June 7, 2 'ing from one end and a blade guard frangibly attached to the same end. The guard has first and second flat [2!] Appl. No" 269,494 surfaces formed on opposite sides with a raised edge extending substantially around the periphery of each US. Clurface The first flat surface is contiguous one 1. 1 llirv 17/32 side of the blade and extends beyond the blade so that  Field o Search "30/151, 296 R, the raised edge of the guard protects the edge of the 30/296 A blade. A pressure tab is molded onto the guard and is 7 disposed remotely from a sharpened edge-0f the blade 56] References ited to facilitate safe removal of the guard from the handle. UNITED STATES PATENTS A retainer bar is formed adjacent to but spaced from 2,288,555 6 1942 St. Jacques. 30/151 the Second fiat Surface define a r w Slot between 3,126,629 3 1964 Claisse 30/151 the bar an t s nd fa e int which'th lade is 1,763,274 6/1930 Teal 30/151 X inserted after use to provide for safe disposal of the 2,725,630 12/1955 Warring 30/296 R X device. I
4 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures PAIENTEDFEBZEIHH 3 ,793,726
WI'IIIII' I 1 STERILE DISPOSABLE SCALPEL BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to disposable scalpels and more particularly to a'scalpel having a removable blade guard that may be replaced after use to provide for safe disposal of the scalpel.
2. Description of the Prior Art Heretofore the majority of the scalpels used in surgery were of the reusable type requiring sterilization between uses. The scalpels were generally too expensive to be considered disposable and therefore a time consuming sterilization procedure was necessitated. Scalpel reuse also had a disadvantage in that the blades tended to become dull and less efficient after a fe uses.
Disposable scalpels have been provided with a blade molded to a plastic handle, these scalpels were sterilized at the point of manufacture and packaged in a sealed envelope. Problems were encountered during shipment and storage when the scalpel blade tended to pierce the envelope causing the scalpel to become contaminated. In order to. overcome this problem blade guards extending over .the edge of the blade were molded to the handle, thereby protecting the blade and preventing the blade from cutting the envelope in which the scalpel was sealed.
One such scalpel is described in U.S. Pat. No.
3,126,629 issued to A. .I. Claisse, et al. The device taught by the Claisse Patent solved the problem of envelope piercing; however, the vblade guard was not readily removable and proved rather inconvenient especially during surgery. The blade guard was frangibly attached to a plastic handle and upon removal of the guard a slight protrusion usually resulted causing interference with the surgeons fingers and having a tendency to tear the surgical gloves. Because of the configuration of the guard, its removal exposed the person removing the guard to thedanger of being cut by the blade.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention contemplates a sterile disposable scalpel having a blade guard frangibly attached to a molded handle. A tab is formed on the blade guard at a position remote from the sharpened edge of the blade to facilitate safe removal of the guard by the application of pressure to the tab. The guard is attached to the handle by two frangible connections formed at the ends of a pair of fingers. Because of the use of two connections, the frangible portion of the connection may be made thinner than if only one connection was used thereby providing for a clean break when the guard is removed from the handle so that protrusions do not remain on the handle to interfere with the fingers of a surgeon.
The guard has first and second flat surfaces each having a raised edge extending substantially around the periphery of the flat surfaces. Initially the first flat surface is contiguous with one side of the blade and extends beyond the blade so that the raised edge protects the edge of the blade. A retainer bar is formed on the guard adjacent to the second flat surface but spaced therefrom to define a narrow slot between the bar and the surface into which the blade is inserted after use 2 to facilitate safe disposal of the scalpel. When the blade is inserted into the slot formed in the guard, the fingers which initially connected the guard tothe handle snap into recesses formed in the handle to prevent the guard from sliding off of the blade after disposal.
The primary objective of the present invention is to provide an inexpensive sterile disposal scalpel.
Another objective of the present invention is to provide a disposable scalpel having a blade guard to pro tect the blade prior to use.
Another objective of the present invention is to provide a disposable scalpel having a bladeguard removably attached thereto.
Another objective of the present'invention is to provide a disposable scalpel having a'blade guard that may be replaced after use to facilitate safe disposal of the scalpel.
Another objective of the present invention is to provide a scalpel having a blade guard that may be removed without exposing the user to the risk of being cut by the blade.
The foregoing objectives and advantages of the invention will appear more fully hereinafter from a consideration of the detailed description which follows, taken together with the accompanying drawing where one embodiment in the invention is illustrated by way of example. It is to be expressly understood, however, that the drawing is for illustrative purposes only and is not to be considered as defining the limits of the inventlon.
DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS FIG. I is a plan view of a scalpel constructed in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the scalpel of FIG. 1 shown with the blade guard removed.
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along line 3--3 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 1 but shown with the blade guard in place after being separated from the handle.
FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the scalpel of FIG. 1 taken along line 5-5.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring to FIG. I, there is shown a scalpel having a handle 10 with a blade guard 12 connected thereto. The blade guard has fingers 14 which extend into recesses 16 formed in handle 10. Fingers 14 are connected to handle 10 in recesses 16 by way of thin frangible sections 18 shown most clearly in .FIG. 5. The frangible sections 18 are formed as close to handle 10 as possible so that when the frangible sections are broken only insignificant protrusions remain ,on handle 10 and these protusions are safely recessed in recesses 16. During manufacture handle 10 and guard 12 are molded from a plastic material, such as Noryl 731, as one continuous piece with frangible connections there between.
The end of handle 10 adjacent guard 12 has a flattened portion 20 defined partially by the end of handle l0 and partially by a recess 22 formed in one side of handle 10. An elongated upstanding post 24 is formed on the surface 20 and is shaped to fit into an opening in a scalpel blade 28. During manufacture the scalpel blade is placed over post 24 and the post is then flattened by the simultaneous application of heat and pressure to secure blade 28 in place on post 24 as most clearly shown in FIG. 3. When post 24 is heated and flattened, rollededges 26 are formed to engage blade 28 and hold it in place on post 24. Recess 22 is shaped so that a rearward end of blade 28 fits snugly therein to stabilize blade 28 in handle 10.
Guard 12 is formed of a thin sheet of plastic material having fiat surfaces 30 and 32 on opposite sides. The guard is formed so as to be'slightly off set from the center of handle as most clearly shown in FIG. 3. Because of this offset position, the flat surface 30 is contiguous with one side of blade 28. Surfaces 30 and 32 extend beyond the edge of blade 28 and terminate in raised edges 34 and 36 respectively. Edges 34 and 36 extend substantially around the periphery of surfaces 30 and 32 and extend beyond the surfaces to form flexible arms 38 and 40 to which fingers 14 are connected. A pressure tab 42 is formed on arm 38 and extends in a direction opposite a sharpened edge 44 of blade 28. Tab 42 provides a point on which pressure may be applied to cause frangible sections 18 to fracture and facilitates removal of guard 12.
A retaining bar 46 is formed between edge 36 adjacent to surface 32 and spaced therefrom, thereby defining a slot 48 into which blade 28 may be inserted after the scalpel is used. FIG. 4 shows blade 28 inserted into slot 48 to prevent the blade from causing damage after the scalpel has been used and disposed of. Raised edge 34 extends beyond the edge of blade 28 prior to use to protect the blade edge and to prevent inadvertent punctures by the blade. Raised edge 36 extends beyond the edge of blade 28 when blade 28 is inserted into slot 48 for disposal. It is also to be noted that when blade 28 is inserted into slot 48 fingers 14 are in position in recesses 16 to prevent guard 12 from slipping off of blade 28. Because of the flexible characteristic of arms 38 & 40, fingers 14 may easily slip over handle 10 and into recesses 16 to retain guard 12 in place.
Thus, the present invention provides an inexpensive disposable scalpel having a guard and handle molded into one piece from an inexpensive plastic material. A scalpel blade is quickly and easily attached to the handle by the simultaneous application of heat and pressure to post 24. Prior to. use surface 30 and raised edge 34 protect blade 28 and itsedge 44'from damage and also prevent the blade from inadvertently breaking through a sterile package. The guard is easily and safely removed by'the simple application of pressure on tab 42 which is located remote from edge 44 of blade 28. After use, surface 32 and raised edge 36 prevent blade 28 from causing damage and possible injury.
Guard 12 is prevented from slipping off of blade 28 by fingers 14 which engage handle 10 in recesses 16.
In its preferred embodiment the present invention will be sterilized at its place of manufacture and sealed in a sterile envelopein a manner well-known in the art so as to provide a sterile disposable scalpel.
What is claimed is:
1. A cutting instrument, comprising:
a handle portion;
a guard portion;
a frangible means for connecting the guard and handle portions to form a single molded piece;
a blade member connected to the handle and having a cutting edge adjacent to and protected by the guard portion;
means for removing the guard portion by fracturing the frangible means, whereby the cutting edgeis exposed for use; and
means for securing the guard portion to the blade and handle portions, to facilitate safe disposal of the instrument, after the frangible means has been fractured and the instrument used;
said guard portion being a wall having first and second flat surfaces on opposite sides thereof, said first surface being formed contiguous with one side of the blade and extending beyond the blade; raised edges formed about the periphery of both first and second surfaces; and having a retaining bar formed adjacent the second surface and spaced therefrom for defining a slot into which the blade is inserted after the frangible means has been fractured and the instrument used.
2. A cutting instrument as defined in claim 1, wherein the guard portion additionally comprises a pair of flexible arm members extending from the wall, each arm member having a finger formed on an end thereof, said fingers being connected to the handle portion by the frangible means.
3. A cutting instrument as described in claim 2, wherein the handle portion has formed therein a pair of recesses into which the fingers of the guard portion extend, the frangible means connecting the fingers to the handle portion within the recesses.
4. A cutting instrument as described in claim 3, wherein the means for removing the guard portion comprises a pressure tab formed on one of said flexible arm members and positioned remote from the cutting edge of the blade, whereby pressure may be applied to the tab to fracture the frangible means.