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Publication numberUS3889675 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 17, 1975
Filing dateJun 25, 1974
Priority dateJun 25, 1974
Also published asCA1054892A1, DE2527230A1, DE2527230B2, DE2527230C3
Publication numberUS 3889675 A, US 3889675A, US-A-3889675, US3889675 A, US3889675A
InventorsStewart James M
Original AssigneeStewart Research
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Suction-irrigator
US 3889675 A
Abstract
A suction-irrigating instrument having a working tip structure and a supply handle structure, each constructed of a pair of interconnected tubes, and means for connecting the supply tubes of the handle structure with the delivery tubes of the working tip, said connecting means including a resilient tubular connector for controlling the flow of fluid delivered by the instrument and having a diaphragm integral with the walls of the connector and mounted across its internal bore, and a slit in the diaphragm having sides that normally abut each other to thereby close the bore but which spread apart upon application of the operator's fingers to the outside of the connector.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1191 Stewart 51 June 17, 1975 1 1 SUCTION-IRRIGATOR James M. Stewart, West Palm Beach, Fla,

[22] Filed: June 25, 1974 [21] Appl. N0.: 482,878

[75] Inventor:

Primary ExaminerRichard A. Gaudet Assistant Examiner-J. Yasko Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow and Garrett [57] ABSTRACT A suction-irrigating instrument having a working tip structure and a supply handle structure, each constructed of a pair of interconnected tubes, and means for connecting the supply tubes of the handle structure with the delivery tubes of the working tip, said connecting means including a resilient tubular connector for controlling the flow of fluid delivered by the instrument and having a diaphragm integral with the walls of the connector and mounted across its internal bore, and a slit in the diaphragm having sides that normally abut each other to thereby close the bore but which spread apart upon application of the operators fingers to the outside of the connector.

12 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures SUCTION-IRRIGATOR The present invention relates to surgical instruments, and more particularly, to a readily disposable suctionirrigating instrument for delivering sterile fluid and applying suction to an operating work area.

Suction-irrigating instruments have long been used in surgical procedures to facilitate the cleaning and lavage of wounds to maintain visibility, prevent dehydration of exposed tissue, wash out debris and cool selected tissue when desired.

Conventionally, the irrigating and suction devices have been combined in a single piece of surgical equipment for convenient one-hand use by the operator. Exemplary of such an instrument is the device shown in my U.S. Pat. No. 3,749,090 issued July 3l, 1973. This instrument consists essentially of a universal handle, having finger control means for the fluid and suction that can accommodate a plurality of readily interchangeable and, if desirable, disposable working tips depending on the application for which the instrument is being used. The handle is completely sterilizable so that after each use the work tool can be removed, and disposed of if desired, and the handle independently sterilized for reuse. While the instrument has significantly reduced sources of contamination often transmitted by improperly or unsterilized and reused surgical instruments and has greatly increased the versatility of suction-irrigators by permitting rapid and varied interchange of the working tips, the trend in the surgical industry has been toward completely disposable instruments mostly for convenience and ease in use but also in an attempt to virtually eliminate any source of contamination through reuse.

For example, only the needles of hypodermic syrin' ges used to be thrown away after each use; the plunger and barrel of the syringe being sterilized and used again. Nowadays, however, in practically all hospitals and doctor offices across the country, the whole syringe including the barrel and plunger as well as the needle are typically discarded after only one use.

Obviously, one of the basic factors permitting disposal of what would otherwise appear to be reusable items, is the cost involved. The cost of sale of each instrument therefore must be brought down to the level where it can compete with the per-use cost of its more permanent predecessor, taking into consideration the nuisance and costs involved in sterilization and the risk of contamination through transmission of improperly sterilized instruments.

The age of plastics and modern molding techniques have have certainly been a contributing factor, but also many significant inventions have been developed that have permitted heretofore expensive surgical instruments to be produced as one-use, disposable items.

This trend has not failed to extend to suctionirrigators. Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a new and unique suction-irrigator that is reliable and convenient in use but that can be produced inexpensively enough to make it completely disposable.

A further object of this invention is to provide such a suction-irrigating instrument that can be operated by one hand, readily attached to its source of suction and fluid, and adaptable to a wide variety of applications.

Still another object of this invention is to provide a readily disposable suction-irrigating instrument in which the working tips can be conveniently and rapidly interchanged if necessary during use.

Still a further object of this invention is to provide a readily disposable suction-irrigating instrument that can be produced from as few as two or three simply molded and readily assembled parts.

Additional objects and advantages will be set forth in part in the description which follows and in part will be obvious from the description or may be learned by practice of the invention.

To achieve the foregoing objects and in accordance with its purpose, the disposable suction-irrigating instrument of the present invention comprises a working tip structure having first and second passages for delivering fluid and applying vacuum respectively to a work area, and a supply handle structure having first and second passages for supplying fluid and vacuum, respectively, from a source of supply. Means are further provided for connecting the working tip passages with their respective supply handle passages, said means including a valve assembly for controlling the supply of fluid delivered by the instrument in which the valve has at least a part of its length exposed for contact by the fingers of the operator. The valve assembly comprises a resilient tubular connector having an internal bore communicating at one end with the fluid supply passage of the supply structure and at the other end with the fluid delivering passage of the working tip, a diaphragm integral with and mounted across the bore of the connector, and a slit in the diaphragm having sides that normally abut each other to thereby close the bore but which spread apart and permit passage of fluid upon application of and deformation of the diaphragm by pressure against the outside of the connector from the operators fingers.

in a preferred embodiment, the supply and working tip structures are constructed of a pair of interconnected tubes to form unitary structures and the connecting means includes a second resilient tubular connector interconnected to the tubular connector housing the fluid valve assembly. This second connector also has an internal bore communicating the vacuum supply tube with the vacuum delivering tube and has a relief hole for finger control of the amount of suction being applied by the instrument.

In yet another preferred embodiment, and when only a single purpose instrument is desired, the vacuum passages of the supply handle and working tip structures are interconnected to form one continuous tubular member, the connecting means then consisting essen tially of only the tubular connector having the valve assembly for controlling the flow of fluid delivered by the instrument.

The accompanying drawings which are incorporated in and constitute a part of the specification illustrate preferred embodiments of the invention and together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention.

Of the drawings:

FIG. I is a perspective view of a disposable suctionirrigating instrument constructed in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged and fragmentary side sectional view of the embodiment of FIG. 1, showing the interconnected tubular connectors for connecting the working tip to the supply handle together with the finger operable fluid and suction relief valves;

FIG. 3 is a partial sectional view taken along the lines 33 of FIG. 2 and showing the fluid valve in open position;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary side-sectional view similar to FIG. 2 of another embodiment of the present invention showing a single tubular connector connecting only the fluid supply passage of the working tip to the supply handle structure and housing a finger operable fluid valve assembly; and

FIG. 5 is a partial perspective view of the single tubular connector of FIG. 4.

It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory but are not restrictive of the invention.

With reference to FIG. I, and in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. the disposable suction-irrigating instrument includes a working tip generally 10. comprising a first tube 12 for supplying an irrigating fluid to the work area and a second tube 14 for drawing suction, tube 14 being interconnected with tube 12 to form a unitary structure Irrigating tube 12 has an internal passage 13, an exit or work end 16 and an opposite entrance end 18. Suction tube 14 has an internal passage 15, an exit or work end 20 and an en trance end 22.

Work ends 16 and 20 of tool I0 are of a generally downwardly curved shape as illustrated in FIG. I to facilitate their placement in the work area. Other shapes for the work tool, however, can be used with the present invention as is well known to those skilled in the art.

The instrument also includes a supply handle 23 consisting of a fluid supply tube 24 and a suction supply tube 26 interconnected to provide a unitary structure and adapted for rapid detachable connection to a source of sterilized fluid and suction. Suitable fittings (not shown) but as shown, for example, in my aforementioned patent may be provided on the ends of tubes 24 and 26 for quickly connecting fluid supply tube 24 to a fluid supply hose 31 and vacuum supply tube 26 to a suction hose 33. Fluid supply tube 24 has an internal passage with an exit end 28 and vacuum tube 26, an internal passage 27.

Preferably, tip 10 and supply handle 23 are made of injection molded plastic, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, or the like, in keeping with the objects of the present invention of providing an inexpensive and readily disposable instrument. But they could also be made of metal and hence ofa more permanent, sterilizable nature, if desired, without departing from the scope of the present invention.

In accordance with the present invention, connecting means are provided for conveniently connecting the supply handle with the working tip while at the same time providing at least one finger-operable valve means for controlling the flows of fluid delivered by the instru ment and, more preferably, to a finger-operable valve means for also controlling the amount of applied vacuum.

As best shown in FIG. 2, the connecting means comprises a two-part resilient tubular connector, generally 32, consisting of first tubular connector 34 communicating the exit end 28 of fluid supply tube 24 with the entrance end 18 of fluid delivering tube 12 of tip 10 and a second tubular connector 38 communicating the internal passage 27 of vacuum supply tube 26 with the internal passage 15 of vacuum delivering tube 14. Connector 32 is of resilient material and preferably of molded rubber or silicone and, as best shown in FIG. 2, houses a fluid valve assembly 36 in first connector 34 and a vacuum relief hole 40 on the bottom surface of S suction connector 38, both being operable by the operators fingers during use. Tubular connectors 34 and 38 are interconnected at 39 to form a unitary structure in keeping with the tip and supply handle.

Valve assembly 36 comprises a hemispherical or ill dome shaped diaphragm 42 integral with the side walls of tubular connector 34 and extending across the internal bore 44 of the connector. As best shown in FIG. 2, the diaphragm projects rearwardly toward fluid supply tube 24 and has a slit 46 having sides that normally abut against each other to close the bore and prevent the passage of fluid. As best shown in FIGv 3, when lateral pressure from the operators fingers is applied to the outside of tubular member 34 and in a direction shown by arrows 45, parallel to slit 46, the sides of the slit spread apart creating an opening 48 to permit passage of fluid through the valve and out fluid delivering tube 12. Due to the resilient nature of tubular member 34, once the pressure is relieved, the slit returns to its normally closed position to thereby stop the flow of fluid. Thus, it can be seen that the flow of sterilizing fluid can be accurately and conveniently controlled by the fingers of the operator; the greater the pressure applied. the wider the opening 48 and hence the greater amount of fluid supplied by the instrument.

Finger engaging lugs 50 are preferably provided on the outside of connector 34, which may consist of merely thickened portions of the connectors walls, to assist the operator in using the instrument. Preferably, lugs 50 are located horizontally and on opposite sides of tubular valve 36, so they can be grasped between the thumb and index finger of the operator.

Since the source of irrigating fluid is generally supplied under pressure, diaphragm valve 36 bulges rearwardly toward such source so that the ever present fluid pressure assists in keeping the sides of slit 46 together and the valve in a closed position. Thus, only positive outside pressure from the fingers is needed to open the valve; the resilient nature of the connector and the line pressure of the fluid automatically closing the valve once such pressure is relieved.

As best shown in FIG. 2, the entrance end 22 of vac uum delivering tube 14 fits within the exit end of vacuum supply tube 26, as well as into tubular connector 38, to provide rigidity to the assembled instrument. Vacuum relief holes 41 are provided in each tube 14 and 26 that register with relief hole 40 in connector 38 in assembled condition to thereby provide for finger operable control of the amount of applied suction. On the bottom of connector 38 there is preferably provided a flat surface 52 around relief hole 40 for convenient contact with the index finger of the operator in controlling the amount of applied suction.

Thus, it. can be seen that the disposable suctionirrigator shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 consists essentially of three parts, each of which can be inexpensively molded and rapidly assembled to provide a convenient, reliable, and finger controllable suction-irrigating instrument. Moreover, by providing a two-part connector 32, as shown in FIG. 2, work tip 12 can be readily disconnected and interchanged without having to disconnect the instrument from its sources of supply.

In accordance with yet another embodiment of this invention and as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the suctionirrigator can also be made from two parts without affecting the disposability of the instrument. In this embodiment, suction tube 14 and supply tube 26 are a single tube 60 interconnected at one end to fluid supply tube 24 and at the other to fluid delivering tube 12. As best shown in FIG. 4, exit end 28 of fluid supply tube 24 is connected with the entrance end 18 of fluid delivering tube 12 by a single resilient tubular connector 62 similar to tubular connector 34 and having an internal bore 64 and a similar valve assembly 36, but in this case slit 46 and lugs 50 lie in the opposite or generally vertical direction. By orienting connector 62 in a vertical direction, bottom lug S0 rests against a flat 66 on suction supply tube 60 so that the valve can then be operated merely by pressing down on top lug 50 in the direction of arrow 68, again spreading the sides of slit 46 apart and creating an opening 48 for the passage of fluid.

Similar to the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, a relief hole 70 can also be provided in the bottom of suction tube 60 for engagement by the index finger of the operator.

By providing a vertical orientation of the valve assembly of connecting tube 62, it can be seen that the thumb can be used to operate the fluid valve while the index finger is free for contact with the relief hole, thus permitting simultaneous control of both functions of the instrument by the operators fingers. in contrast and with a horizontal orientation of the valve assembly of FIG. 1, the index finger must be rotated down from the valve each time it is necessary to control the amount of suction being applied by the instrument.

In any event, however, it can be seen that this embodiment of the present invention also provides an instrument that can be readily molded and assembled in an inexpensive manner to permit it to be readily disposed of after each use.

The invention in its broader aspects is not limited to the specific details shown and described and departures may be made from such details without departing from the principles of the invention and without sacrificing its chief advantages.

What is claimed is:

l. A suction-irrigating instrument comprising:

a. a working tip structure having first and second passages for delivering fluid and applying a vacuum respectively to a work area;

b. a supply handle structure having first and second passages for supplying fluid and vacuum from sources of supply;

c. means for connecting said passages in the handle structure to a supply of fluid and a source of vacuum; and

d. means for connecting the passages in the handle with the passages in the working tip, said means including a valve assembly for controlling the amount of fluid delivered by the instrument, said valve assembly having at least a part of its length exposed for contact by the fingers of the operator and comprising:

i. a resilient tubular connector having an internal bore communicating at one end with the fluid supply passage in the handle and at the other end with the fluid delivering passage in the working tip,

ii. a diaphragm integral with and mounted across the bore of the connector; and

iii. a slit in the diaphragm having sides that normally abut each other to thereby close the bore but which spread apart and permit passage of fluid upon application of and deformation of the diaphragm by pressure from the operators fingers.

2. A suction-irrigating instrument comprising:

a. a working tip structure having a pair of interconnected tubes to form a unitary structure, said tubes delivering fluid and applying a vacuum respectively to a work area;

b. a supply handle structure having a pair of inte rconnected tubes forming a unitary structure;

c. means for connecting said supply tubes to a supply of fluid and a source of vacuum; and

d. means for connecting the supply handle tubes with the working tip tubes, said means including a valve assembly for controlling the flow of fluid delivered by the instrument, said valve assembly having at least a part of its length exposed for contact by the fingers of the operator and comprising:

i. a first resilient tubular connector having an internal bore communicating at one end with the fluid supply tube and at the other end with the fluid delivering tube,

ii. a diaphragm integral with and mounted across the bore of the connector, and

iii. a slit in the diaphragm having sides that normally abut each other to thereby close the bore but which spread apart and permit passage of fluid upon application of and deformation of the diaphragm by pressure from the operators fingers.

3. The instrument of claim 2, wherein the diaphragm bulges toward the fluid supply so that the pressure of the supply fluid keeps the sides of the slit closed against each other.

4. The instrument of claim 3, wherein the diaphragm is hemispherical shaped and the slit runs transversely across the perimeter of the sphere.

5. The instrument of claim 4, including fingerengaging lugs on opposite outsides of the tubular con nector for applying pressure to the connector in a direction parallel to the length of the slit to thereby spread apart the sides of the slit.

6. The instrument of claim 5, wherein the lugs comprise thickened wall portions on the outside of the connector.

7. The instrument of claim 2, wherein the vacuum delivery tube and the vacuum supply tube are integrally connected to form one continuous tubular member.

8. The instrument of claim 2, wherein the vacuum delivery tube and vacuum supply tube fit into one another to provide connection between the tubes.

9. The instrument of claim 2, wherein the connecting means includes a second resilient tubular connector the vacuum supply tube with the vacuum delivery tube.

10. The instrument of claim 9, wherein the second tubular connector is integrally connected with the first tubular connector to provide a unitary structure for interconnecting the working tip with the supply handle structure.

11. The instrument of claim 10, including a vacuum relief hole in the second tubular connector.

12. The instrument of claim 11, wherein the tubular connectors are arranged in vertical relationship with the first tubular connector on top and the finger engaging lugs and valve slit arranged in a generally horizontal direction and the vacuum relief hole on the bottom of the second tubular connector.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification604/34, 137/846, 251/342
International ClassificationA61C17/08, A61M27/00, A61M39/22, A61M1/00
Cooperative ClassificationA61M2001/0045, A61M39/22, A61M1/0084, A61M1/0047, A61M1/0064
European ClassificationA61M39/22, A61M1/00K4
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 22, 1983AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: STEWART RESEARCH, INC., A CORP OF FL
Owner name: XOMED INC., 6743 SOUTHPOINT DRIVE NORTH, JACKSONVI
Effective date: 19821118
Aug 22, 1983ASAssignment
Owner name: XOMED INC., 6743 SOUTHPOINT DRIVE NORTH, JACKSONVI
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:STEWART RESEARCH, INC., A CORP OF FL;REEL/FRAME:004162/0104
Effective date: 19821118
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:STEWART RESEARCH, INC., A CORP OF FL;REEL/FRAME:004162/0104
Owner name: XOMED INC., A CORP. OF DE,FLORIDA