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Publication numberUS3841317 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 15, 1974
Filing dateDec 18, 1972
Priority dateDec 18, 1972
Publication numberUS 3841317 A, US 3841317A, US-A-3841317, US3841317 A, US3841317A
InventorsG Awais
Original AssigneeG Awais
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Heat-insulating shield for speculum
US 3841317 A
Abstract
An expansible heat-insulating shield extending between the dilatory blades of a medical speculum to prevent the radiant transfer of heat to sensitive exposed regions of the patient during such operations as cauterization of the cervix. In one embodiment the shield is formed of silicone rubber and bonded to the speculum blades. In another embodiment the entire speculum is formed of silicone rubber and the shield is formed integrally with the speculum blades. In the preferred embodiment, the shield comprises a removable sleeve formed of silicone rubber, open at both ends and positionable around the blades of a wide variety of known types of medical speculum instruments. The sleeve not only prevents the radiant transfer of heat transversely between the blades but also serves to insulate dilated vaginal regions from heat transferred conductively through the speculum. A pair of pockets may be formed in the sleeve to receive the tips of the speculum blades. The pockets assist in positioning the sleeve on the blades and assist in maintaining the sleeve in position on the blades. The region of the sleeve which extend between the blades may be corrugated in accordian-like fashion for expansion and contraction to minimize resistance to relative blade movement.
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United States Patent [1 1 Awais [4 Oct. 15, 1974 HEAT-INSULATING SHIELD FOR SPECULUM [76] Inventor: George M. Awais, 2300 Overlock Rd., Apt. 719, Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44106 [22] Filed: Dec. 18, 1972 [21] Appl. No.: 316,051

Primary Examiner-Lucie H. Laudenslager Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Watts Hoffmann, Fisher & Heinke Co.

[57] ABSTRACT An expansible heat-insulating shield extending between the dilatory blades of a .medical speculum to prevent the radiant transfer of heat to sensitive exposed regions of the patient during such operations as cauterization of the cervix. In one embodiment the shield is formed of silicone rubber and bonded to the speculum blades. In another embodiment the entire speculum is formed of silicone rubber and the shield is formed integrally with the speculum blades. In the preferred embodiment, the shield comprises a removable sleeve formed of silicone rubber, open at both ends and positionable around the blades of a wide variety of known types of medical speculum instruments. The sleeve not only prevents the radiant transfer of heat transversely between the blades but also serves to insulate dilated vaginal regions from heat transferred conductively through the speculum. A pair of pockets may be formed in the sleeve to receive the tips of the speculum blades. The pockets assist in positioning the sleeve on the blades and assist in maintaining the sleeve in position on the blades. The region of the sleeve which extend between the blades may be corrugated in accordian-like fashion for expansion and contraction to minimize resistance to relative blade movement.

19 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures 1 HEAT-INSULATING SHIELD FOR SPECULUM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to surgical instruments and more particularly to a vaginal speculum heatshield for shielding regions of the patient from heat transfer during such operations as cauterization of the cervix.

2. Prior Art A variety of proposals have been made for vaginal specula in an effort to provide an instrument which is simple to operate and which provides minimal viewing obstruction. Such specula have traditionally included a pair of dilatory blades positionable in closely-spaced relationship for vaginal insertion and movable relative to each other to effect vaginal dilation.

Where known specula have been intended for repeated use, they are typically formed from stainless steel or other durable and corrosion-resistant materials which will withstand repeated sterilization. Where known specula have been intended for throw-away, one-time use, they are typically formed from low-cost plactic materials.

One problem commonly encountered with almost all types of vaginal specula, regardless of the material from which they are formed, is that during such operations as cauterization of the cervix, heat can be radiated between the dilatory blades to sensitive exposed regions of the patient. This unnecessary heat transfer is painful to some patients.

Another problem which is more commonly encountered with metallic specula than with plastic specula is that heat is conductively transferred through the specula to the patient, causing pain.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention overcomes the foregoing drawbacks of the prior art and provides a novel and improved vaginal speculum heat shield which prevents unnecessary patient exposure to heat radiation and which insulates the dilatory blades of the speculm to prevent heat conduction to the patient.

In accordance with the invention, expansible heat shield portions are provided between the dilatory blades of a vaginal speculum to prevent the transfer of radiant heat energy to sensitive exposed regions of the patient. The heat shield is preferably formed of silicone rubber in order to withstand high temperatures. In one embodiment, the shield is permanently bonded to the blades of the speculum. In another embodiment, the entire speculum is formed of silicone rubber and the shield is formed integrally with the speculum blades. In the preferred embodiment, the shield is formed in the configuration of a sleeve, open at both ends for positioning around the dilatory blades of the speculum. The sleeve preferably comprises an inexpensive, thin-walled structure formed from silicone rubber or the like which can be readily replaced at the end of its useful life, which also can be sterilized with the remainder of the speculum for repeated use, and which is usable with speculi of many different types. The portions of the heat shield which extend between the blades serve as radiation shields while the portions of the sleeve which extend across the peripheral blade surfaces serve to insula'te the patient from the blades, thereby preventing conductive heat transfer through the speculum.

A pair of pockets are preferably formed interiorally of the sleeve near one end thereof to receive the tips of the speculum blades. The pockets serve several purposes including:

I. They assist in properly and quickly positioning the sleeve on the speculum;

2. They assist in maintaining the sleeve in place; and,

3. They assure that the blade tips are fully insulated.

The heat shield portions extending between the blades are preferably corrugated in accordian-like fashion so that the shield offers a minimum of resistance to relative blade movement. By this arrangement, the sleeve does not add appreciably to the force the physician must exert in moving the blades apart during vaginal dilation. Accordingly, the heat-insulating sleeve does mot mislead the physician into thinking that he is exerting a greater than actual force on the patient.

The corrugated sidewalls of the sleeve additionally serve to restrict the expansion and contraction of the sleeve to the area of the sidewalls, whereby the portions of the sleeve extending across the peripheral blade surfaces are not caused to move relative to the blades during vaginal dilation.

Accordingly, it is a general object of the present invention to provide a novel and improved vaginal speculum heat shield for shielding portions of a patient from unnecessary heat transfer during such operations as cauterization of the cervix.

Other objects and afuller understanding of the invention may be had by referring to the following description and claims taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a medical speculum with a heat-shieldingsleeve positioned around the dilatory blades of the speculum in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view as seen from the plane indicated by the line 2-2 in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the heat-insulating sleeve prior to positioning on the dilatory blades of the speculum; and,

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view as seen from the plane indicated by the line 4-4 in FIG. 3.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. 1 a vaginal speculum of the Weisman-Graves type is shown generally at 10. The speculum 10 includes a pair of dilatory blades ll, 12 having overlying side edge regions and which are pivotally and slidably coupled together for movement toward and away from each other.

A handle 13 is formed integrally with the blade 11. A blade positioning slide 14 is mounted on the handle 13 by a threaded bolt 15 which extends through a slot 16 formed in the slide 14. A knurled nut 17 is threaded onto the bolt 15 and serves to lock the handle 13 and the slide 14 together. When the nut 17 is loosened, the slide 14 can be translated along the handle 13 between extreme positions defined by the ends of the slot 16.

A depending adjusting arm 20 is formed integrally with the blade 12. A rivet 21 extends through aligned apertures in the slide 14 and the arm 20 to pivotally mountthe blade 12. An adjusting screw 22 connects at one end region with the slide 14. The opposte end region of the screw 22 is threaded and extends through an aperture formed in the arm 20. A knurled nut 23 is threaded onto the adjusting screw 22 and serves to retain the blade 12 at a selected pivoted position relative to the blade 11.

The construction of the speculum as thus far described is old in the surgical art. Where such specula are intended for repeated use, they are commonly made of stainless steel or other comparable corrosionresistant metals which will withstand repeated sterilization. Where such specula are intended for one-time use, they are commonly constructed of plastic and have somewhat simpler mechanical configurations. Most such specula, whether formed of plastic or metal, and whether intended for repeated or one-time use, typically include a pair of dilatory blades such as the blades 1 1, 12 which are movable between a closely-spaced position for vaginal insertion, and relatively widelyspaced dilatory positions.

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, an expansible heat-shielding sleeve 30 is provided which is positionable around the blades 11, 12. The sleeve 30 is intended for use during such operations as cauterization of the cervix wherein heat is emitted from instruments inserted between the blades 11, 12 into the vagina. The sleeve 30 serves the dual purpose of (l) shielding regions of the patient which are exposed between the blades 11, 12 from heat radiation; and (2) insulating regions of the patient which are in contact with the blades l1, 12 from conductive heat transfer through the blades 11, 12.

The sleeve 30 is preferably formed of a heat resistant material such as silicone rubber. In one embodiment, the sleeve is bonded to the blades of the speculum for repeated sterilization and use. In the preferred embodiment, the sleeve is removably positionable around the blades of a speculum and is, accordingly, usable with a wide variety of modern medical speculum devices.

A pair of pockets 31, 32 can be formed integrally with the sleeve to receive the tips of the blades 11, 12. The pockets 31, 32 not only assist in positioning the sleeve onto the blades, but also serve to maintain the sleeve in position as the blades are moved relative to each other. Regions of the sleeve extending between the pockets 31, 32 can be formed in accordion-like fashion, as indicated by the numerals 33, 34, to accommodate relative movement of the blades ll, 12. In the alternative, the regions 33, 34 can simply be made thin enough to stretch easily during relative movement of the blades.

The corrugated accordion-like sleeve regions 33, 34 have the advantage that they are readily expansible as the blades l1, 12 move relatively away from each other and therefore exert a minimim of resistance to relative blade movement.

As will be apparent, where a plastic speculum or a metallic speculum with plastic coated blades is used, substantially the same heat-shielding effect can be achieved by providing heat shield portions which extend only between the dilatory blades. As will be appreciated, the plastic or plastic coated blades themselves serve as heat insulators and ordinarily do not require additional insulation to prevent conductive heat transfer to sensitive regions of the patient. Accordingly, the shield portions can be formed integrally with the blades or secured thereto by suitable adhesives or mechanical connections.

Although the invention has been described in its preferred form with a certain degree of particularity, it is understood that the present disclosure of the preferred form has been made only by way of example and that numerous changes in the details of construction and the combination and arrangement of parts may be restored to without departing from the spirit and the scope of the invention as hereinafter claimed.

What is claimed is:

1. In combination, a medical speculum for dialating the vagina of a patient during such procedures as cauterization of the cervex, comprising a pair of dilatory blades having overlying side edge regions and being coupled together for relative movement between an insertion position wherein the blades are positioned relatively closely together da dilation position wherein the blaiEs are relatively widely spaced one from in other, and heat insulating means including a heat insulating material extending across the space between said overlying side edge regions of the dilatory blades for minimizing the radiant transfer of heat to regions of the patient which would otherwise be exposed between the blades.

2. The combination of claim 1 wherein at least a portion of said material is corrugated to minimize its resistance to relative blade movement.

3. The combination of claim 1 wherein at least a portion of said material is resiliently expansible and contractible.

4. The combination of claim 3 wherein said heat insulating material comprises silicone rubber.

5. The combination of claim 1 wherein said material is in the form of a sleeve positionable around the speculum blades.

6. The combination of claim 5 wherein such portions of said sleeve as extend between said overlying side edge regions of said blades are expansible, at least in part, to accommodate relative blade movement.

7. The combination of claim 5 wherein such portions of said sleeve as extend between said overlying side edge regions of said blades are corrugated, at least in part, to accommodate relative blade movement.

8. A heat-insulating means including a heatinsulating sleeve positionable around both dilatory blades of a medical speculum for minimizing the radiant transfer of heat to regions of the patient exposed between the blades and to minimize the conductive transfer of heat through the speculum to regions of the patient in contact with the blades, said sleeve being expansible, at least in part, to accommodate relative blade movement.

9. The heat-insulating sleeve of claim 8 wherein the portions of the sleeve which extend between the dilatory blades are corrugated, at least in part, to facilitate relative movement of the blades with a minimum of resistance.

10. The heat-insulating sleeve of claim 8 additionally including portions formed integrally therewith for receiving the tips of the dilatory blades to facilitate positioning of the sleeve on the speculum and to maintain the sleeve in place during relative blade movement.

1 1. The heat-insulating sleeve of claim 8 wherein said sleeve is formed of silicone rubber.

12. A medical speculum comprising a pair of elongated blades having opposed longitudinal side regions and being movable toward and away from each other, and an expansible heat insulating material extending across the space between said opposed longitudinal side regions of said blades.

13. The medical speculum of claim 12 wherein the outer surfaces of said blades are also covered with a heat insulating material.

14. The medical speculum of claim 13 wherein said heat insulating material extending between said blades and said heat insulating material covering said blades comprises a single tubular sleeve formed of heat insulating material.

15. The speculum of claim 14 wherein said sleeve has portions formed integrally therewith to receive the tips of the blades, and the regions of said sleeve extending between the blades are expansible, at least in part, to accommodate relative blade movement.

16. The speculum of claim 15 wherein said regions are corrugated at least in part to minimize the resistance posed by the sleeve to relative blade movement.

17. The sleeve of claim 14 wherein the material from which the sleeve is formed comprises silicone rubber.

18. A heat-insulating sleeve open at both ends and positionable around the dilatory blades of a medical speculum to minimize heat transfer to regions of a patient disposed around the speculum, said sleeve including relatively inexpansible portions positionable across the peripheral surfaces of the speculum blades and portions which are relatively expansible, at least in part, positionable between the speculum blades, whereby the expansive and contractive movements of the sleeve during relative blade movement are essentially confined to said portions positionable between the speculum blades.

19. The heat-insulating sleeve of claim 18 additionally including formations forrned integrally with said relatively inexpansible portions for receiving and insulating the tips of the speculum blades.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification600/203, 600/222
International ClassificationA61B1/00, A61B1/32
Cooperative ClassificationA61B1/00142, A61B1/00135, A61B1/32, A61B1/128
European ClassificationA61B1/00H4, A61B1/12G, A61B1/32, A61B1/00J