US 3840015 A
Surgical devices are provided which carry a substantially non-toxic photoluminescent substance. When the devices are used in a surgical operation procedure, an excitation energy is simultaneously applied to the locus of the operation, causing the devices to be luminous and thereby improving the visibility of the procedure to the surgeon and his assistants.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Gain  3,840,015 Oct. 8, 1974' 1 PHOTOLUMINESCENT SURGICAL DEVICE  Inventor: Dean L. Gain, 342 W. Berridge,
Phoenix, Ariz. 85013  Filed: June 28, 1973 21 Appl. No.: 374,806
 US. Cl 128/303, 128/2 R, 128/335.5, 128/339  Int. CL... A61b 17/00  Field of Search... 128/303, 2 A, 2 R, 335.5 239, 128/DIG. 9, DIG. 16, 10, 11; 119/106;
- V I n 7 240/225  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,950,933 3/1934 Snell ..43/l7.5
2,563,522 8/1951 Fisher 43/175 X 2,798,458 7/1957 3,125,536 3/1964 3,700,489 10/1972 Primary ExaminerLucie H. Laudenslager Attorney, Agent, or Firm-William H. Drummond  ABSTRACT Surgical devices are provided which carry a substantially non-toxic photoluminescent substance. When the devices are used in a surgical operation procedure, an excitation energy is simultaneously applied to the locus of the operation, causing the devices to be luminous and thereby improving the visibility of the procedure to the surgeon and his assistants. 5
3 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures 1 *PI'IOTOLUMINESCENT SURGICAL DEVICE This invention relates to novel articles of manufacture especially useful in surgical procedures and to improved surgical techniques.
In one particular respect, the invention relates to improved surgical devices especially adapted toimprove the visibility of the procedure to the surgeon and his assistants.
In yet another respect, the invention relates to an improved surgical technique which enables the surgeon and hisassistants to more accurately carryout the manipulative steps of the procedure by increasing the visibility of the surgical devices employed.
In still another'and further aspect, the invention relates to improved suturing devices and methods in which the visibility of the devices during use is markedly. increased, thereby enabling the surgeon and his assistants to more accurately close a wound or incision and with less eyestrain.
One of the prime problems encountered in many surgical procedures is the difficulty which the surgeon and is assistants have in clearly seeing the surgical devices being employed. This problem is especially acute in microsurgical procedures such as are employed in operations on the eye, the inner ear, etc. The visibility problem is also especially acute during the suturing phases of such procedures. i
It would therefore be highly desirable to provide apparatus and methods -to improve the visibility of the various devices used in surgical techniques.
Accordingly, it is the principal object of the present invention to provide apparatus and methods especially adapted to improve the visibility of the various devices used in surgical techniques.
Yet another object of the invention is to provide apparatus which becomes luminous under the conditions of the surgical operation to thereby distinguish and more clearly delineate the position and movement of the devices during the operation.
Still another and further object of the invention is to provide improved surgical procedures in which the surgeon and his assistants are able to more clearly and accurately perceive the exact position, relationship and movement of devices used in the manipulative procedures of the operation. Further objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description thereof taken in conjunction with the drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 illustrates a surgical scalpel provided with a luminescent coating on the blade portion thereof;
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the scalpel of FIG. 1 taken along section line 22 thereof;
FIG. 3 is a suturing needle having a luminous coating on the tip thereof;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the suturing needle of FIG. 3 taken along section line 4-4 thereof;
' FIG. 5 represents a length of luminescent suturing thread; and
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the thread of FIG. 5 taken along section line 66 thereof.
Briefly, in accordance with my invention I provide a new article of manufacture comprising a surgical device carrying a substantially non-toxic photoluminescent substance. My invention also comprehends an improved surgical operation procedure in which a sur- 2 gical device carrying a substantially non-toxic photoluminescent substance is utilized in the performance of the manipulative steps of the procedure while simultaneously an excitation energy is applied to the locus of the operation to cause the surgical device to emit light.
As used herein, the term surgical device means any of the conventional types of apparatus used in the performance of the manipulative steps of surgical procedures such as, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, forceps, probes, retractors, scalpels, clamps, suturing needles, suturing threads, tweezers, sponges, pads, and the like.
The particular photoluminescent substance to be employed is not highly critical, the principal criteria for selection thereof being that it is substantially non-toxic, i. e., does not cause trauma or harmful side effects when it contacts body tissues during the course of the surgical operation. The term photoluminescent substance" as used herein means a substance or compound which becomes luminescent when stimulated or excited by suitable radiation or by emissions such as cathode rays. This term includes both so-called ffluorescent" substances, which emit light only so long as they are exposed to the exciting radiation or emission, as well as so-called phosphorescent substances, which may continue to emit light for a period of time afterv the excitation is discontinued. i
The photoluminescent substance can be either coated upon the surgical device (as in the case of a metallic instrument) or may be actually impregnated on and within a porous surgical device such as a suturing thread or sponge. In this connection, it is only necessary that the photoluminescent substance be carried by the surgical device in such manner as to cause it to appear luminous to the surgeon and his assistants during the course of the operation. According to a presently preferred embodiment of the invention, the photoluminescent substance is physically mixed with polytetrafluoroethyle'ne which is then applied as a very thin coating to the surgical device in the manner known to those skilled in the art as the Ethicon method.
As will be apparent, it is not necessary to coat the entire surgical device with the photoluminescent material. For example, as indicated in the drawings, which illustrate various presently preferred embodiments of the invention, the blade 10 of the surgical scalpel of FIGS. 1-2 bears a coating 11 of photoluminescent material (the thickness of which is greatly exaggerated for clarity of illustration), the coating being deposited only at the outer end of the blade 10 in such manner as to cover all except the cutting edge 12. The suturing needle 15 of FIGS. 3-4 carries the photoluminescent coating 16 only. at the tip orpoint of the needle. The surgical suture-21 of FIGS. 5-6 can either carry a substan' tially continuous coating 22 over its entire length or, for example, could bear spaced or spiral bands of the luminescent material 22.
The relative toxicityof the photoluminescent materials which are candidates for use in accordance with the invention can be readily determined without undue experimentation by those skilled in the art using recognized techniques. Specificexamples of photoluminescent materials which may be effectively employed in the practice of the invention include the so-called organic phosphor dyes such as Eosine, Fluorescein, Magdela red, Methylene blue, Primuline, Rhodamine B,
and Rhodamine 6g. In addition, other aromatic organic phosphors such as Acridine and Phenanthrene may be employed. In addition to organic compounds, inorganic phosphors of the sulfide type, such as ZnS:Ag, ZnSzMn, ZnO:[Zn], may be employed, as well as inorganic oxide-type phosphors such as CaSiO :Mn and Al O :Cr.
The specific source of excitation energy will vary with the particular photoluminescent compound employed and may include visible light (usually blue or blue-green), ultraviolet, cathode rays, etc.
In accordancewith the method of the present invention, the surgical instruments and devices are manipulated by the surgeon and his assistants in exactly the same manner as in standard surgical operating techniques to perform the manipulative steps of the procedure, while excitation energy is simultaneously applied to the locus of the operation by art-recognized techniques, such as by lamps furnishing ultraviolet or visible radiation. According to one presently preferred embodiment of the invention, the intensity of the visible light commonly employed in operating theaters can be drastically reduced with corresponding reduction in the eyestrain suffered by the surgeon and his assistants without sacrificing the visibility of the surgical devices as they are employed in the locus of the operation.
Another significant advantage of the invention resides in the fact that instruments, pads and sponges embodying the present invention which are temporarily placed within a body cavity, wound or incision during surgical procedures can be more readily discerned by the surgical team, thereby lessening the chance that they will be misplaced or inadvertently left inside the body at the termination of the procedure.
Having described my invention in such terms as to enable those skilled in the art to understand and practice it, I claim:
1. A new article of manufacture comprising a surgical device of the type conventionally employed in the manipulative steps of a surgical procedure, said device carrying thereon a substantially non-toxic photoluminescent substance, whereby said photoluminescent substance emits light when excited to improve the visibility of said procedure to surgical personnel using said device in the performance of said procedure.
2. Article of claim 1, in which said photoluminescent substance is impregnated in said device.
3. Article of claim 1, in which said photoluminescent substance is included in a coating carried on at least a portion of said article.