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Publication numberUS3828780 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 13, 1974
Filing dateMar 26, 1973
Priority dateMar 26, 1973
Publication numberUS 3828780 A, US 3828780A, US-A-3828780, US3828780 A, US3828780A
InventorsC Morrison
Original AssigneeValleylab Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Combined electrocoagulator-suction instrument
US 3828780 A
Abstract
A combined electrocoagulator-suction instrument useful for coagulating bleeding capillaries and veins within a surgical field and for sucking out blood and other liquids from the field either during, before or after the coagulation procedure. An elongate body of electrically non-conductive material is formed with a main flow passage terminating at one end of the body in a nipple for connecting the passage to a vacuum source. A second passage through the body receives an electrical conductor connected to an electro-surgical generator, the end of the conductor passing through the second passage and having its bared end bent back to extend into the interior of the first passage. An open ended metal tube has one end formed to be inserted into the main passage at the end opposite to said nipple, the tube being mechanically seated within the passage in electrical contact with the bared wire end. An electrically non-conductive sheath surrounds all of the exposed surface of the tube with the exception of a short section at the opposite end or tip. A branch passage extends through the wall of the body to communicate with the main passage at a location intermediate the ends of the main passage, the opposite end of the branch passage opening at the exterior of the body at a vent opening which can be fully or partially covered by the surgeon's finger to regulate the degree of suction within the main flow passage. The vent opening is offset from the location at which the branch passage communicates with the main passage in an upstream direction with respect to the direction of flow of fluid through the main passage.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

tates Patent Morrison, Jr.

1 1 COMBINED ELEC TROCOAGULATOR-SUCTION lNSTRUMENT [75] Inventor: Charles F. Morrison, .lr., Boulder,

Colo.

[73] Assignee: Valleylah, lnc., Boulder, C010.

[22] Filed: Mar. 26, 1973 [21] Appl. No.: 344,872

52 us. Cl. .1 128/2751, l28/303.17

[51] int. Cl. A61m 1/00, A6lb 17/40 [58] Field of Search 128/2751, 276, 277, 303.17

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,888,928 6/1959 Seiger l28/303.17

3,595,234 7/1971 Jackson 128/276 3,610,242 10/1971 Sheridan et a1 128/276 Primary Examiner-Channing L. Pace Attorney, Agent, or F irmBurton, Crandell, Polumbus & Harris [57] ABSTRACT A combined electrocoagulator-suction instrument useful for coagulating bleeding capillaries and veins within a surgical field and for sucking out blood and other liquids from the field either during, before or after the coagulation procedure. An elongate body of electrically non-conductive material is formed with a main flow passage terminating at one end of the body in a nipple for connecting the passage to a vacuum source. A second passage through the body receives an electrical conductor connected to an electrosurgical generator, the end of the conductor passing through the second passage and having its bared end bent back to extend into the interior of the first passage. An open ended metal tube has one end formed to be inserted into the main passage at the end opposite to said nipple, the tube being mechanically seated within the passage in electrical contact with the bared wire end. An electrically non-conductive sheath surrounds all of the exposed surface of the tube with the exception of a short section at the opposite end or tip. A branch passage extends through the wall of the body to communicate with the main passage at a location intermediate the ends of the main passage, the opposite end of the branch passage opening at the exterior of the body at a vent opening which can be fully or partially covered by the surgeons finger to regulate the degree of suction within the main flow passage. The vent opening is offset from the location at which the branch passage communicates with the main passage in an upstream direction with respect to the direction of flow of fluid through the main passage.

4 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Coagulation of blood vessels during surgery by the application of a high frequency electrical current is a standard and widely used technique. In this technique,

the body of the patient is electrically connected to one side of an electrical circuit while an electrically conductive probe is connected to the other; When the probe is touched to or placed near the open blood vessel, a high frequency electrical current flows from the probe to cause coagulation at the point where the current jumps from the probe tip to the patient's body.

Because this technique is used forsealing off blood vessels, it follows that some quantity of blood will be encountered at the precise region at which the coagulation is to be performed and it is therefore often necessary that the excess blood be removed by a suction instrument.

The conventional suction instrument takes the form of a plastic body or fitting having a passage connected to a suction source. An elongate tube mounted on the body is inserted into the incision to suck out blood or other body fluids. The suction instrument is controlled by a simple vent opening in the body, the surgeon covering the vent opening with his finger when he wants to exert suction in the tube and uncovering the opening when suction at the tube end is not desired.

Because the shape of the tip of an electrocoagulator probe is not overly critical, attempts have previously been made to provide an instrument capable of performing the dual functions of electrocoagulation and suction by making the tube of the suction instrument of an electrically conductive material and electrically connecting this tube into the coagulating power circuit. This arrangement has proved to be totally unsatisfactory because of the fact that blood is electrically conductive and if the surgeon places his finger over the vent hole to induce suction while electrical current is flowing through the tube-probe, blood flowing into the vent opening will conduct current to the overlying finger, resulting in electrical shock or burn. Because of the high frequency currents employed, the thin material of the surgeons glove offers no effective resistance to the electric current.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is especially designed to provide an instrument capable of simultaneous use both as an electrocoagulator and as a suction instrument. The instrument includes an elongate body formed of an inexpensive electrically non-conductive material. A main flow passage extends longitudinally through the body from end to end, a nipple at one end of the body being employed to couple that end of the body to a flexible tube connected to a suction source. A second'longitudinal passage extends through the body from end to end and receives the electric power cable of the coagulation circuit. The cable passes entirely through the second passage and its bared end is bent back into the forward end of the main flow passage. A hollow metal tube is inserted into the forward end of the main flow passage, the tube frictionally clamping itself in position and electrically contacting the exposed end of the electric power cable. An electrically non-conductive sheath encloses all of the exposed portion of the tube with the exception of a relatively short portion at the tube tip.

The suction source supplies suction to the main flow passage and to the interior of the tube. A vent opening for regulating the degree of suction in the tube is provided; however, unlike vent openings of conventional suction instruments, the vent opening does not communicate directly with the main flow passage. A branch passage having, in cross-section, a kidney shaped configuration extends from the vent opening through the body to communicate with the main flow passage at a location upstream of the vent opening with respect to the direction of flow of fluid through the main flow passage and, during use of the instrument, is disposed vertically above the main flow passage. Further, in contrast to conventional suction instruments whose vent opening is designed or shaped so as to be completely closed when touched by the surgeons finger, the vent opening of the present instrument is a relatively long and narrow slot which enables the surgeon to regulate the degree of suction by pushing his finger longitudinally along the slot from one end toward the other.

The fact that the vent opening is offset in an upstream direction from the location at which its branch passage communicates with the main flow passage means that in order for blood to reach the vent opening, the blood must flow in the direction opposite to that which it is urged by the suction. Further, the elongated vent opening enables the surgeon to apply an adequate amount of suction without completely closing the vent opening so that a flow of air through the branch passage in a direction from the vent opening toward the main passage can be present at all times to resist the flow of blood from the main passage to the vent opening. By preventing blood from reaching the vent opening, the possibility of electric shock or burn at the finger covering the vent opening is substantially eliminated.

Other objects and features of the invention will be come apparent by reference to the following specification and to the drawings.

IN THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a combined electrocoagulator-suction instrument embodying the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the instrument of FIG. 1 with certain parts broken away and shown in section; and

FIG-3 is a cross sectional view taken on line 3-3 of FIG. 2.

The instrument of the present invention includes an elongate body designated generally 10 which preferably is molded or otherwise formed from a relatively inexpensive electrically non-conductive material. As is usually the case with instruments of this type, the instrument is designed to be disposed of after a single usage and by molding the body from a relatively inexpensive thermoplastic material production costs well within a throw-away category are achieved. A projecting nipple 12 is integrally formed at the rearward end of body 10 and a main flow passage 14 extends through the nipple for the entire length of the body. Nipple 12 is employed to connect passage 14 to a flexible tube 16 whose opposite end is connected to a conventional suction source, not shown. As best seen in FIG. 2, the forward or left hand end 18 of main passage 14 is of reduced diameter and separated from a branch passage 20 which places main passage 14 in communication with an elongate vent opening 22 which opens at the exterior of body 10. The branch passage 20 is located vertically above the main flow passage 14 whereby, during use of the instrument, material contained within the body will flow into the left hand end 18 before it will flow into branch passage 20.

A second passage 24 extends through body 10 from end to end and is dimensioned to receive an electric power cable 26 which is connected to the electrical power supply employed inthe coagulation operation. Insulation is stripped from the end of cable 26 as at 28 and the bared end of the cable is bent back to extend rearwardly into the forward end of main passage section 18. A hollow metal tube 30 is inserted into the front end of main passage section 18, the tube being dimensioned to snugly fit into passage 18 with the exterior wall of the tube clamping the bared end 28 of power cable 26 between the tube wall and the wall of passage section 18 to mechanically seat tube 30 in body 10 and to establish electrical contact between tube 30 and the electric power source. Referring to FIG. 1, it is seen that the entire exposed portion of tube 30 is enclosed by a sheath of electrically non-conductive material 32 with the exception of a relatively short section at the extreme tip of the projecting tube 30.

It will be noted that vent opening 22 takes the form of what might be best described as a narrow elongate slot which is elongated longitudinally of body 10. When suction is supplied to tube 16, with vent opening 22 uncovered, the suction is substantially all vented through opening 22 and little, if any, suction is supplied to the interior of tube 30. When it is desired to suck blood or other body fluids into tube 30, the surgeon places his finger over the righthand or rearward end of opening 22 and slides his finger forward along the opening until the desired degree of suction is achieved. Referring to FIG. 2, it will be seen that fluid flowing through the instrument passes from left to right as viewed in FIG. 2 and that opening 22 is thus offset in an upstream direction from the location at which branch passage opens into main passage 14. Thus, in order for any blood to flow through branch passage 20 toward vent opening 22, the blood must flow in a direction opposite to the direction of flow induced by the suction applied at tube 16. Further, by leaving a portion of vent opening 22 uncovered, the surgeon can assure a flow of air through passage 20 from left to right as viewed in FIG. 2, thus further inhibiting the flow of blood in passage 20. Thus, suction can be applied at the same time current is flowing through tube 30 without risking electrical shock or burn to the portion of the finger exposed over opening 22.

An instrument constructed with the following dimensions has been found to be particularly suitable for use in accordance with the invention hereof:

Location of right end of branch passage 20 2%" from right end of body 10 (as viewed in FIG. 2)

kidney or quarter-moon shaped with rounded corners, the outer circular segment has a radius of Va", the thickness of the wall separating branch passage 20 Cross-sectional configuration of branch passage 20 Location of upstream end of vent opening 22 Diameter of passage section 18' While one embodiment of the invention has been described in detail, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the disclosed embodiment may be modified. Therefore, the foregoing description is to be considered exemplary rather than limiting, and the true scope of the invention is that defined in the following claims.

I claim:

1. A combined electrocoagulator-suction instrument comprising an elongate body of electrically nonconductive material having a main flow passage extending longitudinally therethrough, coupling means at one end of said body for connecting said main passage to a source of suction, receiving means at the other end of said passage receiving one end of an electrically conductive tube to place the interior of the tube in fluid communication with said main passage, electrical conductor means in contact with said electrically conductive tube in said receiving means, means defining a branch passage in said body opening into said main passage at a first location intermediate the ends of said main passage, and means defining a vent opening in the exterior of said body, said vent opening being disposed away from said first location in a direction toward said other end of said body, said branch passage communicating with said vent opening.

2. A combined electrocoagulator-suction instrument as defined in claim 1 in which said branch passage is, in cross section, kidney shaped.

3. A combined electrocoagulator-suction instrument comprising an elongate body of electrically nonconductive material having first and second passages extending longitudinally therethrough, coupling means at one end of said body for connecting said first passage to a suction source, electrical conductor means extending through said second passage from said one end of said body and having an exposed electrically conductive end projecting into the end of said first passage adjacent the other end of said body, an elongate tube of electrically conductive material seated in said first passage at said other end of said body in electrical contact with said conductor, means defining a vent opening at the exterior of said body adjacent said other end of said body, means defining a branch passage extending from said vent opening through said body to communicate with said first passage at a location between said vent opening and said one end of said body, said vent opening being adapted to be fully or partially covered by a finger of a person holding said body to regulate the degree of suction in said tube.

4. The invention defined in claim 3 wherein said vent opening is elongated longitudinally of said body.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification604/20, 606/49, 604/902, 604/119
International ClassificationA61B18/14, A61M1/00
Cooperative ClassificationA61B18/1402, Y10S604/902, A61M1/0047
European ClassificationA61B18/14B, A61M1/00H10B4