US 3809094 A
A device for extending and holding the tongue has two arms held in tongue-grasping position by a quick release mechanism. The arms each carry means for obtaining traction on the wet and slippery tongue without injury to the tongue. In the illustrative embodiments, such means comprise sponge-like materials with or without tacky substances on them, means for applying a vacuum to the tongue surface, or an arm surface designed to aid in frictional engagement of the tongue. The free end of each arm also may be shaped so as to avoid damage to the fraenum linguae membrane, which connects the tongue with the lower portion of the mouth.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 191 Cook [111 3,809,094 1451 May 7, 1974 I TONGUE EXTENDER  Inventor: Galen B. Cook, 3413 Norwich,
Modesto, Calif. 95350  Filed: May 22, 1972  App]. No.: 255,732
Related US. Application Data  Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 887,886, Dec. 24,
 US. Cl. 128/321, 128/346  Int. Cl. A6lb 17/28, A61b 17/08  Field of Search 128/321, 346, 354
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,193,952 9/1916 Risley 128/354 1,386,436 8/1921 Smith 128/354 X 1,725,173 8/1929 Adnerson 128/321 2,757,665 8/1956 Tanikawa 128/346 X 2,881,500 4/1959 Furness..... 24/243 UX 3,392,727 7/1968 Hanlon 128/354 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,110,359 7/1961 Germany 128/354 Primary Examiner-Channing L. Pace Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Polster & Polster [5 7] ABSTRACT 7 A device for extending and holding the tongue has two tongue. The free end of each arm also may be shaped so as to avoid damage to the fraenum linguae membrane, which connects the tongue with the lower portion of the mouth. I
9 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTEDMAY 7 1974 3809094 sum 1 or 2 QALEM B. COOK 1 p I TONGUE EXTENDER CROSS-REFERENCE .TO RELATED APPLICATION This application is a continuatIonJn-part of my copending application Ser. No. 887,886 filed Dec. 24, 1969 now abandoned. i
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a surgical instrument for general use in extendingand holding. the tongue andtin particular to such use: while surgery isbeing. conducted in the mouth of thepatient. At thepresent time, a surgeon desiring to operate in the mouth, for example,
when treatment of acancerous condition requiressuch an operation, must contend with the presence of the patients tongue, which presence complicates the operative procedure. The surgical method ,generallyfollowed in practice today requires the tongue to be wrapped in gauze,,as this enables the surgeon to grip the tongue and manually manipulateitlduring the operating session. Suchpractice has several disadvantages. The surgeons dexterity isrestricted asone hand isrequired to holdthe tongue. This restriction is, at best,.a serious inconvenience for the surgeon, and at worst a severe handicap when the operation is takingplace in the more inaccessible reaches of the mouth.
The tongue extending instrument herein disclosed would alsohave wide application in first aid kits. In order to preventan injured person from choking himself, basic first aid ,procedure'teaches that one of the first steps, upon discovering an unconscious person, is to insurethat the tongue is extended from that person s mouth. This invention would, of course, be useful in implementing this procedure.
One of the objects of this invention is to provide an apparatus which .will firmly grip the tongue.
A further object of this invention is to provide an appar atus that will hold the tongue in an extended position, without requiring a surgeons attention, thereby giving the surgeon free use of both hands.
Still another object of this invention is to provide a device for gripping the tongue, which is low in cost, sterile when used, andmay be disposable-upon completion of the operation.
A further object of this invention is to provide a device which enables the surgeon to quickly grip the tongue, which holds the tongue in the position set by the surgeon,and which is easily releasable by the surgeon upon completion of the operation.
Yet another object of this invention is to provide a low cost first aid device to be included in packaged first aid kits, which may be used for extending the tongue of an unconscious person. I
Other objects will become apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the following description and accompanying drawings.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with this invention, generally stated, a tongue grasping and holding device is provided which includes upper and lower arms connected at one end and spaced at the other to define a tongue receiving gap between them. They are normally biased in a direction away from one another. The facing surfaces of the two free ends of the arms are equipped with means for obtaining traction of the upper and lower surfaces of the tongue.
In the preferred embodiment, the device is U-shaped, the arms being integral and being made of a material sufficiently springy to provide the required bias, but not so stiff as toprevent the free ends of the arm from being moved'toward one another, andthe device has sufficient weight so that it will hold the tongue in an extended position through the weight of the device itself. However, it is contemplated that alight weight material can be used in the construction. of the device, and means provided for mounting an external weight to holdthe tongue in its extended position. Latch means are provided for holding the arms in. tongue grasping position and for releasing them, preferably permitting quick grasping and quick releasing. In the preferred embodiment, the latch meanstake the form of a vertical ratchet post mounted on or integral with one arm and projecting through and engaging an edge of an aperture in the other.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS I In the drawings, FIG. 1 is a view in perspective of one illustrativeembodiment of tongue extender of this invention in tongue engaging position, with an external weight useful in holding the tongue: in an extended posi- FIG. 5 is a bottom plan view of the device shown in FIG. 3; 1
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along the line 6 -6 of FIG. 4; and
FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken along the line 7-7 of FIG. 4.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to FIGS; land 2, reference numeral 1 indicates an elongated upper arm with a broad'upper surface 3 and a broad lower surface 4. A lower arm 2,.
with an upper surface 5 and a lower surface 6 is, in this embodiment, integral with the arm '1, being made of one piece of spring steel bent to the shape shown in full lines in FIG. 2, with a U-shaped hinging section 7, and
' two-free ends 101 and 102. A square hole through the lower arm, 2 receives a square neck of a post 8, the lower end of which is peened over to attach the post to arm 2. The post 8 has a thumb release area 16 at its upper end and a multiplicity of serrations 9 along one vertical surface. A rectangular opening 11 in the upper arm 1 is defined at one side by a chamfered edge 10 which faces the serrations 9 in the post 8. The post 8 projects through the opening 11. The post 8 is biased toward and against the edge 10, so that when the arms are squeezed toward one another from their normally open position shown in FIG. 2 to the tongue grasping position'shown in FIG. 1, the serrations act ratchet fashion to engage the edge 10, to hold the arms in grasping position. The chamfer on the edge 10 is complementary to the sloped part of the serrations 9. The
FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the device shown in FIG.
opening 11 is sized so that the vertical post 8 may be flexed, by pressing thumb release 16 in a direction away from the edge 10, a sufficient distance so as to disengage edge from the serrations 9. The area of arms 1 and 2 between the post 8 and the hinge section 7 constitute a handle part 17. The outer ends of each of arms 1 and 2 are broadened to form a tongue grasping area 18. Areas 18 are covered along their facing surfaces by sponge like material 12. The outer edge of each grasping area 18 of arms 1 and 2 is cut away arcuately to define membrane saving area 15.
In use, the apparatus, with the arms in the position shown in full lines in FIG. 2, is taken in the hand along the area 17 and is inserted into the mouth of the patient until the tongue is positioned between the grasping areas 18. When it appears the desired amount of contact with the areas 18 will be obtained, the user compresses arms 1 and 2 so as to engage the tongue, as shown in FIG. 1. The edge 10 will latch with serrations 9. The latching of edge 10 and the serrations 9 maintains uniform pressure on the tongue through the area of contact. The free end of the tongue may then be drawn out of the mouth and laid to one side. When the operation is completed, the surgeon merely presses on the thumb release 16 so as to disengage the edge 10 from the serrations 9. The resilience of the spring steel provides a spring action to force arms 1 and 2 to their open position. i
The weight of the heavy spring steel device of the illustrative embodiment is sufficient to hold the tongue without extra weight. However, if a lighter gauge material is used, or if the device is made of plastic, an external weight, one illustrative embodiment of which is shown in FIG. 1, may be used. While the preferred embodiment of the device is made with the arms in one piece and of a material to give a natural bias to the open position, other biasing means and hinging arrangements can be used. Thus, a separate spring around the latching post will provide the required bias when a pintle connection is used as the hinging arrangement with separate arm sections. Similarly, other latching devices can be used. For example, in a plastic device, an integral wedge shaped spine, with an outer serrated edge, increasingin height toward the open end of the arms can be formed on one or both arms, and a ring or band moved up on the spine to clamp the tongue. Such an arrangement might be especially simple, cheap and effective for throw away plastic devices in first aid kits,-because the plastic can be made light gauge, the spine providing rigidity where it is needed.
As has been indicated, the sponge-like material 12, which can be polyurethane or other synthetic sponge as well as natural sponge, can be coated or impregnated with tacky material, such as certain vegetable gums, to increase the tractive power without requiring too much clamping pressure on the tongue when the device is in its engaging position.
A plastic design of my invention, particularly suitable for low cost manufacturing, is illustrated in FIGS. 3 through 7 of the drawings. As there shown, reference numeral 30 indicates a plastic device having a first arm 31 and a second arm 32 integrally formed and joined along a U-shaped portion 33.
Arm 31 has a first side 34 and a second side 35. Side 34 has a pair of rigidity ridges 36 integrally formed on it and which extend perpendicularly upwardly therefrom. The ridges 36 provide structural rigidity for the arms, which, as indicated above, are formed from a relatively thin, plastic material. Arm 31 has an L-shaped opening 37 in it having a long leg and a short leg 81, from and through the sides 34 and 35. A support block 38 is formed on the side 34 surface of the arm 31, near the juncture of the legs 80 and 81 of opening 37. Support block 38, in the embodiment illustrated, is a rectangular, hollow body which extends perpendicularly from the side 34 of arm 31, contiguous one of the rigidity ridges 36. A side 39 of support element 38 is parallel to the leg 80 of opening 37 and is used to provide structural support in the operation of device 30, as explained in detail hereinafter. The short leg 81 of opening 37 has latch means 41 formed along one edge thereof, positioned so that an edge 42 of latch 41 extends ino the opening 37. Latch means 41 is integrally formed with the arm 31. However, the junction 43 of latch means 41 and the main structure of arm 31 is notched so that the junction 43 may act hinge fashion, permitting latch means 41 movement under certain conditions.
Arm 32 includes a first side 44 and a second side 45. Side 44has a pair of rigidity ridges 46 formed integrally with it, extending perpendicularly therefrom. Arm 32 has a generally rectangular opening 47 from and through the sides 44 and 45. Formed within the opening 47, from the material of the arm 32, is a post member 48. Post member 48 is rectangular in plan having four side walls indicated by the numerals 49, 50, 51 and 52; a bottom 53 and a top 54. Side 51 has a plurality of serrations 55 in it. Post member 48is attached to arm 32 along bottom 53 near side 50 along a notched junction portion 56, as is best seen in FIG. 7. The notch junction portion 56 provides a relatively thin connection between arm 32 and post member 48, allowing the post 48 to pivot hinge fashion about the junction. It may be observed, by refering to the location of junction 56 in FIG. 7, that the natural resiliency of the plastic material will tend to biasthe post 48 back toward its original position if the post 48 is forced downwardly as viewed in that Figure. It also may be observed, by referring to FIG. 3, that this bias tends to bring the post 48 into contact with the juncture of the long and short legs of opening 37, and thus into contact with latch means 41, in the folded position of the arms shown in that Figure.
The arms 31 and 32 each have a lip 57 at their joined end. The lip 57 extends upwardly from the sides 35 and 45 of the arms 31 and 32 respectively. A thin bridge 55 joins the arms 31 and 32 and permits easy flexing of the arms.
Each arm 31 and 32 has a plurality of serrations 59 along the side 35 and side 45 portion of the arms which delimits a tongue grasping area for the arms.
As in the other embodiments of my invention, use of device 30 is simple, and the device is particularly adapted for one handed operation. The device 30 may be stored in its extended condition, shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. When ready for use, the arms are folded as demonstrated in FIG. 3. Post member 48 is flexed upwardly with respect to FIG. 5 so as to permit post 48 insertion in opening 37. It may be observed that the natural resiliency of the plastic material utilized in the construction of device 30 will tend to bias the arms 31 and 32 away from each other. Likewise, the junction 56 will tend to bias the post member 48 back towards its initial posiengagement. Such engagement is aided by block 8.
Side 39 of block 38 abuts side wall 52 of post 48, tending to re-inforce serration 55-latch means 41 engagement. The arms may be released by manual pressure on the post member 48 so as to rotate it about the junction 56 until serration 55 clear latch means 41.
Numerous othervariations in the construction of this apparatus within the scope of the appended claims will occur to those skilled inthe art in light of the foregoing disclosure. Thus, for example, the post 8 may be made integral with lower arm 2, thereby eliminating the need for a peening, shrink, or friction fit between post 8 and the arm 2. If greater refinement is, demanded in an instrument in which the post is not flexible, a spring biased pawl or keeper can be used instead of the fixed edge of the upper arm. Further, a variety of materials may be used in both the construction of the instrument itself, and the grasping means 12. For example, the grasping means 12 may comprise a plurality of suction cups oreven simple apertures in the area 18, communieating with tubes leading to a bulb or other means for creating a partial vacuum, which may be released deliberately when this device is to be removed. The surface of the arms in the area 18 may itself be modified to form the grasping means, as by serrations, knurling or the like. Leaf or hairpin springs can be used either to provide the entire bias of the arms if separate hingedtogether arms are used, or to assist the bias if integral arms are used. A weight can be formed integrally near the hinge end or a separate weight can be secured to the device as distinguished from removably mounted thereon. While it is by no means preferred, the bias of the arms can be toward tongue grasping position, and means, either fulcrum or direct,or the construction of the device may be such as to permit or facilitate forceable opening to admit and release the tongue. One or more features shown on a particular embodiment may be used in conjunction with the other embodiments of my inventiomThese variations are merely illustrative.
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed and desired tobe secured by Letters Patent is:
l. A device for grasping and holding the tongue comprising:
an integral, elongated structure, U-shaped in side elevation, having a pair of integral arms and a junction portion joining said integral arms, each of said arms defining a handle area and a tonguegrasping area, said tongue grasping area having a tractive surface and a concave outer edge to avoid damage to the fraenum linguae membrane;
means for selectively maintaining said arms in their tongue grasping relationship until release, said last mentioned means comprising a positive latching means including a post member attached to one of said arms, said post member being serrated along a portion of its surface, and an edge means carried by the other of said arms and positioned to engage said serrated portion when said arms are moved to tongue engagingposition; and
means for providing additional weight to said device.
2. The device of claim 1 wherein said additional weight providing means comprises a weight removably mounted along said junction portion of said U-shaped device.
,3. A device for grasping, holding and maneuvering the tongue, comprising:
an integral, elongated, plastic portion foldable along its midsection into two arms, each of said arms defining a handle area near said midsection and a tongue grasping area along an end opposite said midsection, at .least one of said tongue grasping areas having a concave outer edge enabling the device to avoid damage to the fraenum linguae mem brane;
means for providing traction on the tongue carried by each of said grasping areas; and
means for selectively maintaining one of a plurality of positions of said arms when said arms are moved to tongue engaging position. 4. The device of claim' 3 wherein said means for maintaining a plurality of positions of said arms comprises a post member constructed integrally with one of said arms, said post member having a plurality of serrations formed in it along a portion of its surface, the other of said arms having an opening in. it aligned with said post so as to receive said post in the tongue engaging positions of said arms, said opening being defined in part by an edge, said edge and individual ones of said serration plurality being releasably engagable with one another.
5. A device for grasping, holding and maneuvering a tongue, comprising:
an integral, elongated plastic portion foldable along its midsection into a first arm and a second arm, each of said arms defining a handle area and a tongue grasping area;
means carried by at least one of said tongue grasping areas for providing traction on the tongue;
means for selectively maintaining position of said first and said second arms-with respect to one another, ,said means comprising a post member formed from said first arm and pivotally attached thereto, said post member having a plurality of serrations formed along a portion of it, said second arm having an elongated opening in it for receiving said post member, said elongated opening permittingpivoting of said post member between a first position and a second position while said post member projects through said opening, and edge means carried by said second arm along said opening, said edge means being engagable with individual ones of said serrations of said post member in one of said first and said second positions, said edge means being integrally formed with said second arm along a junction of relatively thin material so that said edge means is movable hinge fashion with respect to said second arm, said edge means and said post member being constructed and arranged to permit one handed operation of said device. 6. The device of claim 5 wherein said post member is biased towards engagement with said edge means.
7. The device of claim 6 further characterized by means for providing an additional weight to said device.
8. The device of claim 6 wherein said tongue grasping areas have a tractive surface and a concave outer edge to avoid damage to the fraenum linguae membrane.
9. A device for grasping, holding and maneuvering the tongue, comprising:
an integral, elongated plastic portion foldable along its midsection to a first arm and a second arm, each of said arms having a handle area and a tongue grasping area, at least one of said tongue grasping areas having a tractive surface and a concave outer edge to avoid damage to the fraenum linguae membrane;
means for selectively maintaining position of said first and said second arms with respect to one another, said position maintaining means including a post member formed from said first arm and pivotally attached thereto, said post member having a plurality of serrations formed along a portion of it, said second arm having an opening in it for receiving said post member, said opening designed to permit pivoting of said post member between a first position and a second position while said post member projects through said opening, and edge means carried by said second arm along said opening to engage said post member in one of said first and said second positions, said post member being biased toward engagement with said edge means, said edge means and said post member being constructed and arranged to permit one handed operation of said device; and
means for providing additional weight to said device.