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Publication numberUS3828764 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 13, 1974
Filing dateJan 22, 1973
Priority dateJan 22, 1973
Publication numberUS 3828764 A, US 3828764A, US-A-3828764, US3828764 A, US3828764A
InventorsJones L
Original AssigneeWell Saver Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Non-migrating reversible make sterilization coupler
US 3828764 A
Abstract
A coupler and method for connecting the severed ends of a vas deferens having particular application and use in performing reversible male sterilization which generally includes an elongated tubular member having the ends thereof dimensioned for insertion into the ends of the vas to be connected. The tubular member also has at least one annular flange intermediate its ends, and with said flange being susceptible to the passage of a micro-surgical needle through selected portions thereof and accommodate suturing and tissue growth therethrough, whereby one or both of the ends of the v may be sutured to said annular flange to prevent migration of the coupler in the vas. In certain embodiments, the periphery of the tubular member may be provided with two spaced annular flanges such that one end of the severed vas may be sutured to one of said flanges, and the other end of the severed vas sutured to the other flange. In certain instances, the tubular member may be provided with a transverse wall blocking the passageway therethrough, so as to prevent fluid flow through the vas. This particular embodiment of the coupler has application in performing a reversible male sterilization such that subsequently the transverse wall may be surgically removed to restore fertility.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Matted States Patent [191 Jones Aug. 13, 1974 NON-MIGRATING REVERSIBLE MAKE STERILIZATION (IOUPLER Len M. Jones, Houston, Tex.

[73] Assignee: Well-Saver, Inc., Houston, Tex.

[22] Filed; Jan. 22, 1973 [21] Appl. No.: 325,233

[75] Inventor:

[52] 11.8. C1. 128/1 R, 128/33'4 R, 128/350 R [51] Int. Cl A611) 19/00 [58] Field of Search 128/1 R, 334 R, 343, 348,

128/349 R, 350 R, 350 V 3,726,284 4/1973 Parker 128/350 R Primary Examiner- -Dalton L. Truluck Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Lee R. Larkin [57] ABSTRACT A coupler and method for connecting the severed ends of a vas deferens having particular application and use in perfonning reversible male sterilization which generally includes an elongated tubular member having the ends thereof dimensioned for insertion into the ends of the vas to be connected. The tubular member also has at least one annular flange intermediate its ends, and with said flange being susceptible to the passage of a micro-surgical needle through selected portions thereof and accommodate suturing and tissue growth therethrough, whereby one or both of the ends of the v may be sutured to said annular flange to prevent migration of the coupler in the vas. In certain embodiments, the periphery of the tubular member may be provided with two spaced annular flanges such that one end of the severed vas may be sutured to one of said flanges, and the other end of the severed vas sutured to the other flange. In certain instances, the tubular member may be provided with a transverse wall blocking the passageway therethrough, so as to prevent .fluid flow through the vas. This particular embodiment of the coupler has application in performing a reversible male sterilization such that subsequently the transverse wall may be surgically removed to restore fertility.

2 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures NON-MIGRATING REVERSIBLE STERILIZATION COUPLER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION A. Field of the Invention This invention generally relates to a coupler and method for medical use whereby the ends of a severed vas deferens may be connected so as to either prevent and method for coupling a severed vas deferens. There are also many examples inthe prior art of methods and, apparatus for blocking the flow of sperm through thep vas deferens and performing male sterilization. However, all of these prior art methods and apparatussuffer various shortcomings. One of the problems associated with performing a male sterilization wherein a plugor the like is inserted into the vas deferensis that it is diffi cult to restore sperm flow throughthe vas deferens. For example, when the severed ends of the vas deferens-are attempted to be sutured together, quite often the passageway therethrough will be blocked or obstructed by scar tissue. Further, when blockage of flow through the vas deferens is attempted by the placement therein of a plug or the like, there is a serious problemwith' migration of the plug.

It is therefore, an object of this invention to provide an improved apparatus and method for connecting the severed ends of a vas deferens and which apparatus and method may admit of subsequent reversibility of the sterilization process. Briefly stated, the apparatus of this invention is a vas deferens coupler which includes an elongated tubular member having the ends thereof dimensioned for insertion into the ends of a vas which is to be connected. The tubular member is provided with at least one peripheral flange, which flange or flanges may be integral with or separately mounted over an immediate point on the tubular member and is of such material as to permit the passage therethrough of a micro-surgical needle and provide a plurality of holes therethrough to accommodate suturing and tissue growth whereby one or both of the ends of the vas may be sutured to the flange and tissue growth may extend therethrough. In certain embodiments, the tubular member may be provided with a transverse wall blocking the passageway therethrough, whereby the coupler may be used to block passage of fluid through the vas. In other embodiments, the tubular member may be provided with a second peripheral annular flange at an axially spaced position from said first enlarged portion whereby one end of said vas may be sutured to one of said annular flanges and the other end of said vas sutured to the annular flange. In those instances where it is desired to reverse sterilization, the aforesaid trans verse wall may be surgically removed from the tubular member while the same remains connected to the vas to thereby restore fluid flow through the vessel.

The foregoing apparatus and method have many advantages over the prior art, including the fact that the coupler provides a means for suturing the ends of the vas in such fashion that scar tissue which may accumulate does not block flow through the coupler or the vas. In addition, in one embodiment of the coupler, a ready means is provided for restoring flow through the vas by surgically removing a previously supplied barrier wall in the tubular member.

Reference to the drawingswill further explain the, invention, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a generally longitudinal sectional view of one embodiment of the coupler of this invention show,- ing its insertion in a vas and which tube is provided with a transverse wall to prevent fluid flow through the vas.

FIG. 2.is a longitudinal central sectional view of the coupler shown in FIG. 1, but additionally shown having a micro-surgical cutting tool inserted through the vas andshowing how the coupon may be cut from the interiorly disposed transverse wall of the coupler.

FIG. 3 a longitudinal central sectional view of an alternative form of the coupler, which is not provided with an interiorly disposed transverse blocking wall, but in other respects is similar to that which is shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is aside elevation view of an alternate embodiment of the coupler, having corrugated ends to facilitate retention of the ends of the vas thereon, but is 0th? erwise similar to the prior embodiments.

FIG. Sis a side elevation of a further alternative embodiment of the coupler which is generally similar to the prior embodiment, but in this instance is provided with two axially spaced peripheral annular flanges whereby one of the ends of the vas may be sutured to one flange and the other end of the vas sutured to the other flange.

FIG. 6 is a side elevation view of a further embodiment of the coupler showing the tapered configuration of the tubular member.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a further embodiment of the coupler which is generally similar to the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, but which is shown provided with a plurality of slots rather than holes for suturing through.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a still further embodiment which is generally similar to the embodiment shown in FIG. 7 except that the annular peripheral flange is composed of a micro-surgical mesh material which may be sutured through, and through which tissue may grow.

Referring now to FIG. 1, one presently preferred form of a coupler designated by the numeral 11 is shown inserted in a vas deferens which is designated by the numeral 12. Coupler 11 is comprised of a generally elongated tubular member 13 which is sized for insertion into the severed ends of the vas 12 as shown.

The periphery of the coupler 11 is provided with an annular flange 14 intermediate the ends thereof the same being provided with a plurality of generally longitudinally extending holes 15 therethrough, which holes are circumferentially spaced about flange 14 so as to permit the passage of a micro-surgical needle therethrough and sutures so that the ends of vas 12 may be sutured to said flange. Further, the holes 15 facilitate the growth of flesh tissue therethrough so that the vessel will completely heal itself.

In those instances where it is desirable to block fluid flowv through the vas 12, as for example where it is desired to block the flow of sperm therethrough, the tubular member 13 is provided an interiorly disposed wall which cantake the form of plug membrane 16, for example. It is to be understood that the term Wall is to be construed broadly, and includes any plug or the like which may or may not be removable.

It is to be understood that coupler 11 may be made from a variety of materials, so long as it is compatible with the anatomy. One of the preferred materials for forming the coupler is one of the plastics which are compatible with the body tissue, which plastics are well known to those skilled in the art. Further, it is desirable that plug membrane 16 be of sufficient thickness and strength to withstand normal activities of the body without rupturing or breaking However, it should also be sufficiently thin that it may be readily removed by a surgical procedure which will be described hereinafter.

Once the coupler 11 as shown in FIG. 1 has served its useful purpose and it is desired to resume fluid flow through the vas l2, plug membrane 16 may be readily removed by a surgical procedure. Referring now to FIG. 2, a micro-surgical cutting tool 20 is shown inserted through the wall of vas 12 at a point longitudinally spaced from the end of tubular member 13. The cutting tool 20 is comprised of a hollow probe portion 21 supporting a housing 22 on the forward end thereof. Housing 22 is dimensioned for insertion into the passageway through tubular member 13 in the manner shown in FIG. 2. Probe portion 21 has passing therethrough a rod 23 which supports an annular cutting blade 24 mounted inside of housing 22. The forward end of rod 23 also has attached therewith an enlarged and pointed retrieve plug 25.

In operation, when it becomes desirable to restore fluid flow through vas 12, the micro-surgical cutting tool 20 is inserted through a small incision made in the vas and moved to the position shown in FIG. 2. Rod 23 is then thrust forward with respect to the rest of the micro-surgical cutting tool with the result that retrieve plug 25 passes through plug membrane 16 and continued application of pressure on rod 23 causes cutting blade 24 to cut coupon 26 from plug membrane 16. Coupon 26 is retained on the end of rod 23 by virtue of retrieve plug 25. At this point, the micro-surgical cutting tool 20 may be removed from the tubular member 13 and from vas 12 and the opening through the wall of vessel 12 which was made for entry of the micro-surgical cutting tool 20 can thereafter be closed in normal medical practice.

From the foregoing it is believed apparent than an improved apparatus and method have been provided for connecting the severed ends of the vas deferens. Also an improved apparatus and method has been provided for making it possible to carry out a reversible type sterilization on males. Furthermore, the coupler of this invention is attached to the vas in such manner that there is no possibility of migration of the coupler in the vas. The annular flange ofthe coupler provides a means for suturing the ends of the vas thereto and facilitates tissue growth therethrough to increase the strength of the connection. In those embodiments of the coupler wherein a transverse plug membrane is used, fluid flow is prevented through the vas which has unique application in performing a reversible type male sterilization. At such time as it becomes necessary or desirable to restore fluid flow through the vas, the plug membrane or transverse wall can be readily and easily removed by a minor surgical operation.

The coupler of this invention and the method of performing the coupling is unique in that scar tissue which usually develops around a surgical incision in a vas occurs in an area where it is not likely to block flow of fluids through the vas.

It is to be understood that the particular size of the tubular member 13 has to be dictated by the size of the vas which is to be connected and the size of the opening through the vas. It should also be understood that the perforated flange 14 may be a integrally molded with the tubular member 13, or may be added as a separate member, but in any event it is connected to the tubular member so as to prevent migration of the tubular member.

Referring now to FIG. 3, an alternative embodiment of the coupler is shown which is similar to that shown in FIG. 1, except that it is not provided with a transverse plug membrane as was the immediately preceding embodiment. The coupler shown in FIG. 3 may be used, for example, where an operation is being performed to restore flow through the vas deferens, and wherein the vas deferens was previously occluded. The insertion of the coupler shown in FIG. 3 into the vas would follow the same procedure as described hereinbefore.

FIG. 4 generally shows another form of the coupler having a corrugated tubing 28 and an external annular peripheral flange 29. Flange 29 is similar to flange 14 of the prior embodiment. However, the tubing 28 is corrugated as shown to increase the frictional holding of the ends of the vas thereon and to prevent severing of the joined vas prematurely and prior to the time that tissue has grown through flange 29.

FIG. 5 shows an embodiment which is generally similar to that shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, but in this instance, the tubular member 32 is provided with two spaced annular flanges as designated by the numerals 33 and 34. In this embodiment, one end of the severed vas may be attached as by sewing to flange 33 and the other end of the vas to flange 34. Here again, both flanges 33 and 34 have suture holes therethrough for suturing therethrough and facilitating tissue growth therethrough. While flanges 33 and 34 have been shown spaced relatively close together, it is to be understood that they could be spaced substantially further apart, so long as there is still room over the ends of the tubular member 32 to receive and hold the ends of the vas being connected, and to isolate any likelihood of scar tissue from the internal flow path through the coupler and the vas.

FIG. 6 shows an embodiment of the coupler which is generally similar to that shown in FIG. 1 and 3, but in this instance the coupler is provided with a tapered tubing 36 where it is desirable to have a change in size for the purpose of making a change in size of the vas which is being connected.

FIG. 7 shows an embodiment which is generally similar to the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, but in this embodiment the enlarged portion or flange 39 is provided with a plurality of slots 40 spaced circumferentially thereabout which in some instances may be more desirable than holes for suturing purposes and for tissue growth purposes.

FIG. 8 shows an embodiment generally similar to FIG. 7 embodiment, but in this instance the-enlarged portion is in the form of a mesh screen flange 42 which may likewise be sutured through and which has openings not only to permit the passage of a micro-surgical needle therethrough but also to facilitate tissue growth therethrough.

It should also be understood that any one of the alter-- nate embodiments shown in FIGS. 4-8 may be provided with a transverse wall such as plug membrane 16 shown in FIG. 1 which may subsequently be removed in the same manner as described with respect to FIG. 2.

lt will thus be apparent that the invention herein provides a new coupler and method for joining the ends of a separated vas deferens. The coupler and method provide a means whereby the vas may be joined such that any developing scar tissue is not likely to block the flow of fluid through the vas. Moreover, the coupler may be provided with a transverse plug membrane to prevent fluid flow through the vas, as desired, which plug membrane may be removed by a simple surgical operation at a subsequent date so as to restore fluid flow through the vas, should that be desirable as in the case of restoration of fertility in males. Moreover, the coupler of this invention is designed so as to prevent migration of the coupler, which has been a problem with certain prior art plug type devices.

Further modifications and alternative embodiments of the apparatus and method of this invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art in view of this description. Accordingly, this description is to be construed as illustrative only and is for the purpose of teaching those skilled in the art the manner of carrying out the invention. It is to be understood that the forms of the invention herewith shown and described are to be taken as the presently preferred embodiments. Various changes may be made in the shape, size and arrangement of parts. For example, equivalent elements or materials may be substituted for those illustrated and described herein, parts may be reversed, and certain features of the invention may be utilized independently of the use of other features, all as would be apparent to one skilled in the art after having the benefit of this description of the invention.

I claim:

l. A non-migrating micro-surgical vas deferens coupler comprising, in combination;

a section of micro-surgical body compatible plastic tubing conformable to the vas deferens and dimensioned for insertion into the ends of a severed vas deferens said section of micro-surgical tubing having its ends open and susceptible to the passage of seminal fluid therethrough at least one radial flange on the mid-portion of said section of micro-surgical tubing said radial flange being susceptible to the passage therethrough of a micro-surgical needle and in a direction which is generally parallel to the axis of said section of micro-surgical tubing said radial flange being of such character as to accommodate suturing and tissue growth of the tissue of the previously separated ends of the vas deferens both together and through the aforementioned needle hole whereby the vas deferens may be sutured to said radial flange and held proximately together to promote tissue growth in the manner aforesaid while preventing the migration of said coupler in said vas deferens.

2. The combination of claim 1, together with a blocking member within said section of microsurgical tubing for blocking the passage of body fluids therethrough said blocking member being capable of surgical removal to thereby permit fluid flow through said coupler when such is desired.

UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE v CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION PatentN'O. 5, ,7 Dated 5,

Inventor(s) Len Jones It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Column 3, line LLLL, "vessel" should read vas Column 6, lines 6, insert a colon after the word "combination" rather than a semicolon Column 6, line 50, insert a colon after the Word "with" On the cover sheet, after "United States Patent" "Jones" should read Jones, Jr. and in item L75] "Len M. Jones" should read Len M. Jones, Jr.

Signed and sealed this 4th day of March 1975.

(SEAL) Attest:

' C. MARSHALL DANN Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks RUTH C, I' EASON Arresting Officer FORM PO-1050 (10-69) USCOMM-DC 60376-P69 u 5 GOVERNMENT PRIH'HNG ornc: 8 930 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE I CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. I 3.828.164 Dated August 13 1914- Imientofls) Len M. Jones It is certified that errcr appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

On the title page NON-MIGRATING REVERSIBLE STERILIZATION COUPLER" should read -NON-MIGRATING REVERSIBLE MALE STERILIZATION CQUPLER- In the second cblumrl of the title page, line 11, "v" should read --vas. C v

In column 1,; @shoulcl read MA LEf'f'.

In Column ne a period should be inserted aft "breaking". I I v Y Signed and sealed thi s 3rd day of December 1974; I

(sEAL) Attest: v v moor M. sIEsoN JR} O v vc. MARSHALL 1mm Attesting Officer Cdmmissioner pf 'Patents FORM PC4050 (10's?)

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Classifications
U.S. Classification128/843, 604/9, 606/153
International ClassificationA61F6/00, A61F6/24
Cooperative ClassificationA61F6/24
European ClassificationA61F6/24