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Publication numberUS3871367 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 18, 1975
Filing dateJan 22, 1974
Priority dateJan 22, 1974
Also published asCA1033999A, CA1033999A1, DE2502202A1, DE2502202B2
Publication numberUS 3871367 A, US 3871367A, US-A-3871367, US3871367 A, US3871367A
InventorsMiller Marion E
Original AssigneeMiller Marion E
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Pelvic brace
US 3871367 A
A pelvic girdle comprising an outer layer of a hard substantially rigid plastic material and an inner layer of soft compressible plastic material bonded to the outer layer, the girdle being shaped to engage a person's pelvis and including an anterior and a vertically split posterior portion, the girdle having an upper anterior portion separated laterally from the remainder of the girdle and curving outwardly thereof, and connecting upper side portions on the girdle connecting the anterior and posterior portions thereof and including inwardly curved sections in both layers of the girdle for engaging the iliac crests of the wearer and which sections have appreciably thicker compressible inner layers thereon.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Hte Sttes atet 11 1 1111 3,871,367 Miller Mar. 18, 1975 PELVHC BRACE Primary Examiner-Richard A. Gaudet Assistant Examiner-J. Yasko [76] Inventor' g g gggi' g if ihjghg i g :23? Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Oldham & Oldham Co.

22 Filed: Jan. 22, 1974 [57] ABSTRACT [21] APPL M12435 460 A pelvic girdle comprising an outer layer of a hard substantially rigid plastic material and an inner layer of soft compressible plastic material bonded to the [52] US. Cl 1. 128/78, 128/89 R, 264/222 outer layer, the girdle being shaped to engage a per- [51] Int. Cl. A611 5/02 sons pelvis and including an anterior and a vertically [58] Field of Search 128/78, 89, 90, 87, 91, split posterior portion, the girdle having an upper an- 4/222 terior portion separated laterally from the remainder of the girdle and curving outwardly thereof, and con- [56] References Cited necting upper side portions on the girdle connecting UNITED STATES PATENTS the anterior and posterior portions thereof and includ- 2,551,613 5/1951 Litchfield 128/89 R x ing inwardly curved sefnions in both layers of 2.632.178 3/1953 Kennedy 128/78 dle for engaging the lhac crests of the wearer and 3,220.407 11/1965 Connelly 128/78 which Sections have pp y thicker Compressible 3,434,469 3/1969 Swift .1 128/78 inner layers thereon. 3,680,548 8/1972 Brown 128/90 X 8 Claims, 18 Drawing Figures PATENTEU W I 81975 sum 1 or 5 FIE-3 FIE-4 rig-5 PATENTEDHAR 1 81975 SH! U [N 5 FIE 13 CUT & MACHINE FLAT PLASTIC SHEET PLACE ON FLEXIBLE HEAT RESISTANT SHEET HEAT APPLY PADS TO SELECTED AREAS PREHEAT APPLY FOAM SHEET TO FOAM SHEET HEATED PLASTIC SHEET TURN LAMINATE OVER CENTER & PLACE FOAM SHEETS PLASTIC SHEET OVER MOLD FIE-1H DRAW LAMINATE AGAINST MOLD PRESS LAMINATE AGAINST MOLD COOL TRIM FOAM SHEET 1 PELVIC BRACE BACKGROUND OF INVENTION Heretofore there have been various types of braces proposed for use in correcting various deformities of the spine, such as lordosis and other improper curvatures of the spine.

One of these braces used heretofore for achieving spinal corrections is a Milwaukee brace. Such braces normally are made to individual measurements corresponding to the individual wearer of the brace. The production of the individual braces has included taking casts from the potential wearers body, and then working from these casts to form the individual rigid pelvic girdle for engaging the person and carrying one or more uprights thereon to position support pads on the wearer adjacent the back of his neck and his chin, when required. Obviously these individually formed and produced braces have been costly to make and they have been slow to produce, as well as being rigid and uncomfortable to wear.

The general object of the present invention is to form pelvic girdles from a number of standard symetrical molds of varying sizes and wherein the molds represent correct spinal positions and uniform body structures, and wherein pelvic girdles including a soft compressible inner layer and a relatively rigid plastic outer layer are produced in a variety of sizes for meeting most standard requirements of patients requiring a pelvic girdle.

Another object of the invention is to form pelvic girdles from thermoplastic plastic materials and layers of foam material and wherein the foam padding, being on the inside of the girdle, can be made appreciably thicker in certain areas for aiding in producing pressures on the patients body or for aiding in supporting the girdle on the person without skin breakdown.

Another object of the invention is to provide pelvic girdles with attachments therefor, which attachments can be integrally molded with the girdle or can be formed separately and attached thereto as desired.

Another object of the invention is to provide a basic pelvic girdle formed from plastic layers and wherein the girdle can readily have attachments secured thereto for aid in correcting all common back disorders including kyphosis and scoliosis, as well as lordosis.

Another object of the invention is to provide pelvic girdles at reduced costs and to provide pelvic girdles adapted to individual measurements of the wearer rapidly and conveniently from a plurality of standard symetrical molds corresponding to normal spinal conditions. I

A further object of the invention is to provide a novel method of forming a pelvic girdle or other brace means made from a soft flexible liner material and a substantially rigid plastic outer layer.

Other objects of the invention are to provide special heating, laminating and molding steps to combine a closed cell plastic layer and special padding members, when desired, with a relatively rigid plastic outer sheet to form a shaped pelvic girdle therefrom with localized padding provided therein; to provide a low-cost, practical method of molding pelvic girdles to standard sizes and to facilitate the attachment of special braces or padding means thereto; to provide a bonding action between a preheated thermoplastic carrier sheet and a heated, soft, flexible lining layer; and to mold the resulting laminate when the carrier sheet is at an elevated temperature and quite soft for mold-shaping action.

Further objects of the invention will be made apparent from the following specification.

Reference now is made to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a front elevation of a pelvic girdle embodying the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a vertical section through the center of the girdle of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a vertical section of a back portion of the girdle adjacent the opening in the back;

'FIG. 4 is a fragmentary vertical section of the side upper end of the girdle;

FIG. 5 is a front elevation of a modified girdle of the invention having an upwardly extending side engaging section carried by the girdle;

FIG. 6 is a plan of the pelvic girdle shown in FIG. 5

with the side engaging section removed;

FIG. 7 is a rear elevation of a further modified type of pelvic girdle particularly adapted for treatment of a lordosis condition;

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary section taken on line 88 of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a side elevation of a further modification of the pelvic girdle of the invention;

FIG. 10 is a rear elevation of the girdle of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a front elevation of a further modification of the girdle of the invention showing further supports secured thereto;

FIG. 12 is a right side elevation of the girdle of FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is an elevation showing a step in the method of making the pelvic girdles of the invention prior to the molding thereof;

FIG. 14 is a fragmentary section taken on line 14-14 of FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is a plan of the laminated material of FIG. 13 as applied to a mold and prior to complete engagement of the laminate with the mold'surface;

FIG. 16 is a vertical section through the mold with the laminate material engaged therewith;

FIG. 17 A and B are fragmentary edge sections of the girdle produced by the molding action; and

FIG. 18 is a block diagram of the method of the invention.

When referring to corresponding members shown in the drawings and described in the specification, corresponding numerals are used to identify the parts to facilitate comparison therebetween.

Reference now is made to the details of the structure shown in the accompanying drawings, and a pelvic girdle is indicated as a whole by the numeral 10. This pelvic girdle is shaped to engage with a persons pelvic area for applying pressures thereto for aid in correcting deformities of the spine. The girdle is formed from a substantially rigid outer layer 12 of a suitable thermoplastic plastic material, such as polypropylene. The outer layer may be about /8 to 3/16 inch thick, while an inner layer 14 is bonded to the outer layer over the entire surface thereof and such inner layer isformed from a soft compressible plastic material, such as closed cell foam latex rubber, polyurethane, or the like, and this soft inner layer is about 3/16 inch to A inch thick as a uniform layer bonded to the outer layer. of the girdle. However, the inner layer can be suitably reinforced, padded, or thickened at desired pressure points or other portions of the girdle, as hereinafter described.

The girdle includes a continuous anterior portion 16 and a vertically split posterior portion 18. For engagement with a persons pelvis, the girdle has a center anterior upper portion 20 which if formed to extend up to the base of the sternum of the wearer and such upper portion, or in effect, the entire anterior portion is so shaped and curved that the upper portion thereof is curving outwardly of the wearer at an angle of about 20 to about 40 to the vertical, but with the vertically intermediate portion of the anterior of the girdle being smoothly curved and being inwardly extending to exert a backward pressure on the wearer. Such outward curve can be varied and usually is about 40. This upper portion 20 is separated at its lateral margins from the other anterior portions of the pelvic girdle and has a relatively rigid, but yet flexible construction wherey a resilient pressure applying section or portion is formed by this area of the girdle.

Upper side portions 22 and 24 extend between the anterior and posterior portions of the girdle for connecting the same and relatively sharply inwardly curved sections 26 are provided on each of these upper side portions of the girdle and these are curved to extend inwardly of the girdle for engaging the iliac crests at the hips of a wearer. FIG. 4 indicates that the padding 28 on these edges as they are pressing inwardly against the body have an appreciably thickened, soft, compressible inner layer thereon for aiding in good engagement with the hips of the wearer and applying pressures thereto.

To aid in securing the pelvic girdle 10 to a wearer, a flexible securing means, such as a strap 30 and a buckle 32, or equivalent members, are secured to the adjacent posterior portions of the girdle for extending therebetween in a removable manner.

FIG. 2 of the drawings shows how the pelvic girdle 10 is adapted to provide a plurality of vertically spaced pressure points for determining the pressure engagement of the girdle with the wearer. Thus the anterior portion 16 has a center pressure point or area indicated at A for applying rearwardly directed distortion or compression forces to ones pelvis, whereas the posterior portions of the girdle have vertically spaced pressure points thereon at the areas indicated at 8" and C" whereby the girdle is adapted to press inwardly on the spine in the lumbar curve area thereof so as to apply forward pressures on the lumbar area of the back at these areas 8" and C of the girdle whereby forces tending to straighten the lumbar area of the spine and to overcome a lordosis condition existing therein are provided by the girdle of the invention.

FIG. 5 of the drawings shows a modified pelvic girdle very similar to the girdle shown in FIG. 1 with the exception that the girdle at its posterior upper end portions indicated at 42 and 44 of the drawings, it is seen that the end 44 terminates appreciably below the adjacent end 42, and the rear end or corner 42 is provided with an additional thickness of padding 43 thereon. This padding 43 tapers inwardly in a downward direction to be of maximum thickness at the upper end 42 of the girdle, and it also tapers downwardly in thickness to a feather edge as it extends laterally of the girdle.

A feature of the girdle 40 is that it is particularly adapted for correcting a curvature of the spine out of the vertical in a lateral direction. Such spinal curvature is called scoliosis. The girdle 40 has a separate attachment loop 46 secured thereto and extending upwardly therefrom. This loop or pressure strap is made from the same laminate of a relatively rigid hard plastic material on the outer surface and a soft plastic foam material on its inner surface just like the primary girdle 10. The pressure strap 46 can have a plurality of holes 48 therein whereby it can be secured to the girdle 40 in a vertically adjustable manner as by screws or rivets 50 or the like. The lower end of the pressure strap 46 can be received in a positioning pocket 52 provided in the lower portion of the anterior wall of the girdle 40. The rear end of the pressure strap 46 would be secured in similar manner to the rear wall 44 of the girdle adjacent the vertically extending split in the girdle. This pressure strap 46 extends upwardly and laterally of the wearer and then back down to the girdle so that it provides pressure at the axilla at the level of the apex of the thoracic curvature of the spine. Hence, the girdle of the invention, which is in general, similar to the girdle 10 in engaging the pelvic area ofa wearer, would have vertically and laterally spaced pressure points provided on the wearer. The upper end of the pressure strap 46 as indicated at D would be a pressure point as would the lateral lower area of the girdle on the same side as the section D of the strap, and indicated at E, would provide two vertically spaced pressure points and then the opposite pressure point, indicated at F, would be provided by the girdle at the opposite lateral margin of the girdle normally that engages the iliac crest of the wearer whereby forces would be exerted on the spine to endeavor to correct the curvature thereof in a lateral direction out of vertical. Further, the padding 43 presses in on the back adjacent the spine S at the vertical margin 44 of the pad to apply further corrective lateral pressure on the spine.

The girdle shown in FIG. 5 can have the laterally reinforcing strap 46 molded as a unit therewith, when desired. By making the strap a separate unit, it can be adjusted vertically of the basic carrier girdle 40 to fit individual patient requirements.

FIG. 6 shows the girdle 40 with the brace 46 removed. The relation of the pressure pad 43 to the wearers spine S is indicated so that a laterally directed pressure can be applied to the spine.

FIGS. 7 and 8 of the drawings show another modification of the girdle 10 of the invention. In general, a girdle is shown which can be very similar, if not identical, to the girdle 10. However, in this instance, a vertically upwardly extending attachment is provided for the girdle to aid in providing corrective pressure to the back. Thus, a pair of uprights 72 and 74 are secured to the posterior sectioiis of the girdle 70 and these uprights normally are vertically adjustably engageable with back portions of the girdle as by screws or rivets 76 engaging vertically spaced holes provided in the uprights. A cross bar 78 or a similar pressure applying member is suitably secured to the uprights 72 and 74 at their upper ends and extends therebetween. This cross member may comprise a plastic strip or bar, or it can be a canvas strip and buckle combination supporting a pressure pad thereon. Thus, FIG. 8 shows that a carrier bar or member 78 has a pressure pad 80 on the inner surface thereof, which pressure pad is flexible and compressible and normally would be made from foam material. The cross bar 78, as well as the uprights 72 and 74, can be made from metal or preferably are made from the laminate of a rigid plastic material and a foam interlayer thereon as in the other components of the girdle. One end of the cross bar 78 preferably has a keyhole shaped slot 82 therein in which a headed rivet member or the like can be received for detachable engagement of one end of the cross bar with one of the uprights to facilitate applying the girdle to a wearer and removal from the wearer.

By the modified girdle 70 of the invention, it will be seen that the upper pressure point on the back, corresponding to the point B shown in FIG. 2 would now be provided by the cross bar 78. This just provides a pressure at the thoracic level to aid in reducing the curvature of lordosis of the spine. Naturally, the thickness of the pressure pads on the cross bars 78 can be varied to modify the corrective action of the girdle.

FIGS. 9 and show a modified girdle 10a having the same basic lower construction as the girdle 10 but in this instance, an upwardly and forwardly curved reinforcing strap 90 is formed integral with the upper lateral portions of the pelvic girdle to engage the sides and chest of the wearer. This strap 90 would be formed from the same laminate as the remaining portion of the girdle. The strap 90 includes anterior lateral uprights or sections 90a and 90b on opposite lateral portions of the girdle that smoothly blend into a forwardly and upwardly extending section 900 on the strap 90 to provide a sternal pressure area in the girdle structure. Normally a flexible band or a belt 92 is removably secured to and extends between the lateral uprights 90a and 90b in a removable manner, as by the use of companion snaps 94 or the like, provided on the band and on the strap 90 and a suitable resilient pressure pad 96 is secured on the inner surface of this band 92.

By the basic pelvic and iliac engaging lower portion of the girdle 10a, a wearers pelvis is flexed to reduce lordosis, and the pressure forces applied to the spine by the posterior pressure pad 96 at the thoracic level aids in reducing the curvatures of kyphosis and/or lordosis of the wearer.

The pressure points on the girdle construction 10a to aid in reducing lordosis, would be considered to be the back pressure pad the buttocks engaging posterior portion of the girdle indicated at A, and the front pelvic engaging area B of the girdle. Pressure points for aiding in reducing kyphosis would include the same pressure points B and C of the girdle in combination with the upper pressure point D provided by the center upper section 90c of this strap 90. Obviously, when desired, the sternal section of the girdle can have an additional resilient pressure pad provided on the inner surface thereof at D, which pad can be bonded to the strap.

It naturally is possible to form the loop or strap 90 from a separate molded member and to attach it in a vertically and/or laterally adjustable manner to the basic pelvic engaging girdle to support such strap portion of the brace of the invention.

Yet a furthermodifled type of a girdle is shown in FIGS. 11 and 12 and the girdle is indicated by the number 100. This girdle 100 is basically the same as the girdle 40 of FIG. 5 outwith a laterally extending reinforcing brace, loop, or strap 101 being formed as an integral portion of the pelvic engaging section of the girdle, such loop 101 extends upwardly and laterally from the upper anterior portion 102 of the girdle up around the axilla area of the wearer and back down to engage one of the posterior sections of the girdle at its upper margin.

This girdle preferably has posterior portions of different vertical extents, like the girdle 40, and again a special tapered pad 104 is provided on the higher pos terior section of the girdle at the vertical edge thereof to apply laterally directed pressures to the spine as done by the girdle 40 and shown in FIGS. 5 and 6.

The girdle 100 is adapted to have any desired number of vertically extending reinforcements or supports provided thereon, and laterally extending flexible supports or pressure pads can also be carried by the vertical extending supports in the girdle. In the construction shown, an upwardly extending support bar I06 is shown in vertical adjustable engagement with the anterior portion of the pelvic section of the girdle and it preferably extends up to and immediately adjacent the wearers chin so that an enlarged chin engaging section 108 is provided at the upper end of this bar 106 and it can be curled outwardly for comfortable engagement with the wearers chin to increase vertical extension of the wearers spine. A similar vertically upwardly extending support bar is carried by the one posterior portion of the girdle and extends up to the occipital area of the wearer and has a suitable section at its upper end, as indicated at 112, for comfortable engagement with the wearers neck and head area. The reinforcing brace bar 110 aids in increasing vertical extension of the spine of the wearer by encouraging the wearer to stretch upwardly and to avoid pressure contact with the chin and neckportions 108 and 112 on the vertically upwardly extending reinforcing bars.

FIG. 11 of the drawings indicates that a flexible strap 114 can be removably secured to and extended between the front and rear brace bars 106 and 110 so that any suitable pressure pads (not shown) can be secured to the inner surface of this strap 114 to provide a lateral pressure point on the wearer whereby a lateral pressure force can be applied to thee spine of the wearer to aid in correcting curvatures therein. Naturally, both the front and back support or brace bars 106 and 110 normally would be vertically adjustably engaged with the pelvic portion of the girdle for individual adjustment to the wearers spinal problems and the corrective actions required. Such girdle 100 would have the various pressure points as referred to hereinbefore but with at least two additional pressure points being provided by the chin and neck engaging portions 108 and 112 to provide for spinal extension action.

The flexibility of the girdle 100 in corrective action can be varied by varying the size of the corrective pad 104 provided on the posterior portion thereof, and even by positioning it on the opposite of the girdle, when desired. Likewise, the heights of the posterior portions of the girdle can be altered to reverse the relationship of the posterior portions of the girdle as shown in the drawings. Of course, other types of flexible straps like strap 114 can be secured to and extended between the vertical support or brace bars for laterally corrective forces at the required location of the spine, and pads as required may be provided on the inner surface of the loop 101.

METHOD OF BRACE MANUFACTURER In making the various braces ofthe invention. a metal carrier plate is provided and a heat resistant flexible rubber or synthetic sheet 1.22 is placed on the plate 120. The sheet 122 can be made from a silicone rubber or other conventional types of flexible, heat resistant materials. This rubber sheet has lobes or ears 124 and 126 on opposed edges thereof and centering appertures 128 are formed therein for a purpose hereinafter to be described. A sheet 130 of the thermoplastic material used to form the relatively rigid outer surface of the pelvic girdle of the invention is first processed by being cut or machined to the required size and shape, and then the edges of such plastic sheet are further machined or ground away to provide a smoothly curved outer edge on the sheet. By processing the plastic sheet 130 when it is flat, the machining and the cutting thereof is simplified, and it is shaped to a flat layout of the brace or girdle to be made. The metal carrier sheet 120 with the rubber sheet 122 and plastic sheet 130 thereon is then placed into a suitable oven and heated to a temperature of approximately 400 Farenheit. Usually the metal sheet 120 would have a non-stick surface, such as a teflon coat. The rubber sheet used as a carrier medium is temperature resistant up to a temperature of approximately 500 to withstand repeated heating actions.

After the stacked laminate has been heated to raise the sheet to approximately 400 Farenheit, then the metal carrier sheet and laminate thereon is withdrawn from the heating oven and special pads 132 are pressed against the exposed surface of the plastic sheet in the area to form the hip or iliac crest engaging area in the finished girdle. These pads 132 naturally have flat base surfaces and crowned upper surfaces to fit smoothly against the plastic sheet. The metal carrier sheet is next re-inserted into the oven for just a few seconds such as from about four or five to eight to ten seconds to aid in bonding the pads 132 to the plastic sheet.

A closed cell polyurethane foam layer 134 is preferably separately pre-heated to about l50 Farenheit and then, while heated, placed on the heated laminate carried by the rubber sheet 122. Light pressure can be ap plied to the foam layer 134 to smooth or press it into tight engagement with the plastic sheet 130 over the entire upper surface thereof. The foam layer 134 is formed to the same outline as the plastic sheet 130 but with the foam layer 134 usually being slightly larger than the plastic and extending therebeyond a short distance at all margins thereof, as indicated in FIG. 14.

A mold 136 which is of the size and shape of a wearers torso is separately formed. Such mold 136 has a plurality of holes 138 therein and the mold has ends 137 to form a closed inner chamber. A vacuum line 140 connects to the chamber in the mold and it has a suitable valve 142 therein whereby vacuum forces can be applied over substantially the entire surface of the mold 136 when the valve 142 is opened. The line 140 connects to any desired source of vacuum supply. The mold 136 also has a pair of vertically upwardly extending centering pins or posts 144 secured to it beyond its operative margins. In order to apply the laminate formed of the rubber sheet 122, plastic sheet 130, and foam layer 134 to the mold, the rubber sheet 122 is grasped at its end and/or edge portions, the rubber sheet is turned over, and the centering pins 144 are engaged with the appertures 128 formed in the lobes extending from the rubber sheet whereby the laminate is centered with relationship to the mold. The rubber sheet and the heated plastic sheet will adhere for this action and the heated plastic sheet, being flexible at that time, will drape over the surfaces of the mold, and light manual pressure, if necessary, can be applied to the dependant portions of the laminate to press them up against the mold while the vacuum is applied thereto to obtain full operative engagement with the mold. Thereafter, the mold 136 usually has external pressure applied thereto and it is moved into a pressure chamber indicated at 146, or a portable pressure chamber is moved to encircle the mold and the laminates thereon, and pressure then is applied to the chamber 146 through a pressure supply line 148 whereby the laminate is forced into tight operative engagement with the mold for setting the plastic sheet 130 into the desired configuration. The air pressure supplied through the line 148 is cool or at atmospheric temperature to aid in cooling the plastic on the mold and obtain a relatively rapid setup of the same. Or cooling air could be flowed over the mold 136 with the laminate operatively engaged therewith.

In the molded article, FIG. 17a shows that the foam layer 134 extends slightly beyond the adjacent edge of the plastic sheet 130 which has a smoothly rounded edge 131 provided thereon by its initially shaping and retained throughout the brace or girdle forming action. Thereafter the edge of the plastic and foam layers are brought into alignment by trimming the foam layer as indicated in 1717.

When initially engaging the rubber carrier sheet and members thereon with the mold 136, at that time the plastic sheet will have some adhesive afinity to the rubber sheet because of the contacting surfaces of the hot plastic-hot rubber sheet. Such rubber carried sheet 122 can have a rough textured surface thereon to provide a complimentary textured surface on the shaped girdle on the outer surface thereof.

Of course, the girdle formed can be removed from the mold readily by first removing the rubber sheet 122 from the outer surface of the laminate and then removing the resilient girdle from the mold after the plastic sheet has been cooled sufficiently to retain its given shape. Such sheet 122 can be peeled off of the plastic sheet after such plastic sheet has been partially cooled if desired.

In the girdle shown in FIG. 7, an attachment strap 71 is also shown that removably connects to suitable members, or includes suitable means, such as snaps 73 thereon that are adapted to engage with companion members carried by the posterior portions of the girdle. Thus, when a person is applying the girdle, the retainer strap 71 can be released from one end thereof and then be reconnected to the companion snap members for retaining the girdle in good tight association with the wearer. The cross bar 78 can also be made in the form of a flexible strap or the like and be releasably secured to its carrier uprights. Obviously, any type of securing means can be provided on the separated posterior portions of the girdle for entry and disengagement purposes. Likewise, all of the other structures of invention normally would have a similar removable attachment strap, or two of such straps provided on the posterior portions of the girdle for attaching same to the wearer but permitting convenient disengagement therefrom when desired.

It should be realized that various types of braces and- /or pelvic girdles can be made by the method or process of the invention. By forming a unitary shaped structure from the relatively rigid outer plastic layer having a soft.

compressible inner lining layer thereon, a comfortable brace can be provided and these braces can be formed in a number of predetermined sizes. Then by attaching removable brace securing means to a girdle or brace of the correct size, the braces will readily be adapted to fit onto individual wearers for the specific brace or corrective action required. Attachments also can be secured to the molded girdle or brace as required.

Various known types of back braces particularly are adapted to be formed by the method of the invention wherein, in each instance, a flat layout of the brace is made and the initial flat plastic sheet is cut and/or machined to predetermined size. Such sheet is then processed by building up a laminate therefrom and applying to a mold for permanent shaping action. Naturally the particular type of a mold used for brace shaping action can be varied with the individual braces to be produced, but the same method steps or operations would be required or used to make the different braces as desired. Special localized pads can be applied as desired in building the laminate.

When localized pads, as the pads 132, are applied to the plastic sheet, they preferably are spaced from the margins of the plastic sheet and their upper surfaces smoothly blend into the top surface of the plastic sheet. Hence, the foam cover layer 134 retains, or aids in retaining the pad orpads in position by such layers lamination to the plastic sheet.

In making up the mold forms of the invention by which vacuum forces are applied to the laminate used in forming the brace of the invention, obviously the vacuum applying holes provided in the mold normally are made of sufficiently small diameter that the closed cell foam layer thereadjacent will not be excessively distorted or drawn into the mold during the article shaping action. The molds naturally are of a size for full operative engagement with the unitary brace to be produced.

Obviously, in forming the various uprights attached to the pelvic girdle of the invention such as the strap member 46 of FIG. 5, or the uprights 106 and 110 as shown in FIGS. 11 and 12, any suitable type ofa plastic materialcan be used. Thus, more rigid material than polypropylene can be used and it can be preformed to suitable shape, have a number of holes drilled or otherwise formed therein for vertically adjustable engagement with the carrier pelvic girdle. Of course, other substantially rigid thermoplastic materials as conventionally known can be used in place of the polypropylene as referred to hereinbefore for forming the outer layer 12 of the pelvic girdle as shown and described.

Standard size braces of the invention can readily be modified to the individual wearers requirements by taking one of the standard pelvic girdles of the invention and by applying attachments thereto, and/or by applying special pressure pads to localized areas of the girdles or to attachments thereon as would be required for individual corrective and/or support or brace action.

Braces of the invention, especiallythose as shown in FIGS. 9 and 10 and also FIGS. 11 and 12 of the drawings have been particularly desirable in treatment and correction of spinal problems inasmuch as corrective forces can be applied to the patient without the use of neck rings as have been required in previous styles of braces. The embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 11 and I2 is particularly suitable when modified to use only an anterior strut in the brace. The hyper extension brace of FIGS. 9 and 10 embodies the standard five point pressure principle to manage both the lumbar lordosis and the thoracic kyphosis. It can be worn easily under clothing and is very effectively used in the post operative period following spinal fusion for kyphosis of the thoracic spine.

Use of braces and the process of the invention shortens delivery time, makes the braces more comfortable to wear, and does not lose any of the effectiveness of previous styles of braces known for use in correction and treatment of spinal problems.

From the foregoing, it is believed that the objects of the invention have been achieved and that a novel and improved girdle has been provided by the invention and also that a new and improved method has been provided for forming pelvic girdles, back braces and the like. Thus, the objects of the invention are thought to be achieved.

While several complete embodiments of the invention have been described herein, it will be appreciated that modification of these particular embodiments of the invention may be resorted to without departing from the scope of the invention.

What is claimed is:

l. A pelvic girdle shaped to engage a person at his pelvis and comprising an outer layer of a hard substantially rigid layer of a'plastic material and an inner layer of a soft compressible plastic material bonded to said outer layer, which inner layer has localized areas of varied thickness,

the girdle including anterior and posterior portions and being vertically split in its posterior portion and including releasable fastening means secured to the adjacent posterior portions, the girdle also having a center anterior upper portion adapted to extend up to about the base of the sternum of the wearer and curved outwardly of the girdle, which upper portion is separated at its lateral margins from other anterior portions of the pelvic girdle and is free to flex slightly, the girdle having upper side portions connecting the anterior and posterior portions and including inwardly curved sections adapted to engage the iliac crests and having appreciably thicker compressible inner layers on such sections.

2. A pelvic girdle as in claim 1 where one of said posterior portions has an inner layer thereon of tapered thickness at the upper end of its edge at said split and of maximum depth at said edge to form a back pressure point laterally of the wearer's spine.

3. A pelvic girdle as in claim 1 where said girdle has a continuous upwardly and laterally extending brace member operatively connecting at its ends to anterior and posterior portions of the girdle to provide an upper lateral pressure area for engaging a wearers axilla at the level of the apex of the thoracic curvature of the spine.

4. A pelvic girdle as in claim 3 where anterior and posterior uprights are vertically adjustably secured to said girdle and extend upwardly therefrom, and a pressure means is removably secured to and extends between said uprights to provide a lateral pressure area on a wearer substantially opposed to the lateral pressure area of said brace member.

5. A pelvic girdle as in claim I where said girdle has a generally upwardly and forwardly extending loop portion operatively connecting to the upper lateral sections of the girdle, which loop portion is adapted to extend over a wearers sternum to form a pressure area there.

6. A pelvic girdle as in claim where said loop portion is formed integrally with said girdle and has a resilient inner layer, and a removable transverse pressure pad is secured to and is adapted to extend between horizontally opposed parts of said loop portions at the thoracic level of the wearer.

7. A pelvic girdle as in claim 2 where said one of said from said center axis.

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U.S. Classification602/19, 264/222
International ClassificationA61F5/02
Cooperative ClassificationA61F5/024
European ClassificationA61F5/02E