US 3906626 A
A unitary disposable surgical scalpel is disclosed which has a sheath for the blade and means for permanently sheathing the blade so that at the option of the operator the blade may be permanently covered for safe disposal.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 191 Riuli Sept. 23, 1975 1 DISPOSABLE SURGICAL SCALPEL  Inventor: Arduino Riuli, Wayne, NJ.
 Assignee: Becton, Dickinson and Company,
East Rutherford, NJ.
 Filed: Apr. 19, 1974 ] Appl. No.: 462,320
 US. Cl. 30/162; 30/320; 30/335; 30/339  Int. Cl. A61B 17/32; B26B l/O8; B26B 5/00  Field of Search 30/336, 335, 162, 320, 30/293, 151, 163, 164, 337, 338, 339, 329; 128/305  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 456,087 7/1891 Franklin 30/163 469,783 3/1892 Graves 30/162 1,853,672 4/1932 Dodson... 30/162 1,888,488 11/1932 Brown 30/337 X 8/1936 Christianson 30/320 Keeran 30/162 2,291,514 7/1942 Warner ell a1 30/162 2,611,178 9/1952 Whipple 'et a1.
2,735,176 2/1956 Costin,........'
3,025,598 3/1962 Nissen..
3,171,201 3/1965 Carifi 30/162 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 853,565 12/1939 France....., 30/162 Primary Examiner-Al Lawrence Smith Assistant Examiner.l. T. Zatarga Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Kane, Dalsimer, Kane, Sullivan and Kurucz [57 ABSTRACT A unitary disposable surgical scalpel is disclosed which has a sheath for the blade and means for permanently sheathing the blade so that at the option of the operator the blade may be permanently covered for safe disposal.
4 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures US Patent Sept. 23,1975 Sheet 2 of4 3,906,626
US Patent Sept. 23,1975 Sheet 3 of4 3,906,626
US Patent Sept. 23,1975 Sheet 4 OM 3,906,626
1 l DISPOSABLE SURGICAL SICALPEL B CKGROUND or THE INVENTION 1 basic designiln recent years'the commercially -important surgical scalpels have been those having disposable blade portions. Illustrative of this type of surgical scalpel is that disclosed in UIS. Pat. No. 3,412,467. In this type of scalpel the blade component is detachable from the handle component and disposed of by deposit in a special container which may thereafter be handled without hazard. It will be appreciated, however, that such disposable surgical. scalpels still present a hazard to the individual who must, detach and transfer the blade component. V I
US. Pat. No. 2,735,176 discloses a veterinary surgical knifewhich comprises a hollow handle component having a slidably extensible blade. A similar cutting instrument isdisclosedin US. Pat. No. 2,512,237. In effect, the latter instruments employthe handlecomponent as a sheath for the blade component when not in use- Su c;h sheathable blades are notcontemplated for disposal after a single use. Furthermore, such cutting instrumentsdo not provide a positive means for preventing an unsheathing of thevblade portion by a care- 7 :of the prior art problems. First, the surgical scalpel of this invention includes a means of sheathing the blade component without risking the hazards of blade re moval. Second, once sheathed, accesssto the blade component is permanently denied thereby assuring that the scalpel will never'be reused and will never offer a hazard to individuals charged with ultimate disposal of the scalpel.
SUMMARY OF THEINVENTION I The invention comprises a surgical scalpel which comprises; a handle, a cutting blade attached to said handle, a sheath for said blade and means for permanently sheathing said-blade with said sheath.
The term permanentl y sheathing the blade as used herein.means sheathing the blade component of the surgical scalpel in such a manner that it cannot be unsheathed without destroying the sheath comp onent.
- BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is anisome tric drawing of a preferred embodiment of the invention showing a surgical scalpel with sheath assembly. The sheath is shown in the position employed prior to use.
FIG. 2 is an isometric view of the scalpel shown in FIG. 1 but with the sheath in a retracted or operating position exposing the cutting blade.
"FIG. 1 with theshe ath locked in bl'y of FlG. lin disassembly a i v FIG; 5 is a cross-sectional viemak mopg IinesSf- S 2 FIG. 3 is an isometric view showing the scalpel of P m ent. b e
protecting position after use.
A 1 FIG. 4 is a schematic view showing the scalpeliassemofFIG. 1. v, u FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines'6f 6 of FIG.2. j F IG. 7 is 'a cross-sectional view taken along lines 77 0fFIG.3. p I y,
FIG. 8 is'a cross-sectionalview taken along line s.8-8 OfFIG. 2. I H I I FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional viewtaken along lines 99-9:
ofFIG.2. Y I I i v DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The apparatus ,of the invention is conveniently fabri cated by conventional and standard methods for pre-, paring surgical scalpels using conventional and standard materials. For example the blade component of the surgical scalpel may be the standard surgical steel blades conventionally employed. The handle and sheath components of the scalpel may be fabricated from conventionalpolymer materials such as, for example, polystyrene, polycarbonate, polyurethane, polyethylene, phenol-formaldehyde resins, polybutylene and the like. i v I The means employed for permanently sheathing the blade component of the scalpel of the invention may be any means whereby the sheath componentis firmly atfixed in a position covering the blade component. In general, this is conveniently accomplished by any locking means obtained by the cooperation of sheath and handle components. Fonexample, a deadbolt can be recessed in the handle and spring loaded. The sheath can then have arecess formed on itsinterior surface for receiving and engaging the deadbolt when aligned with that deadbolt. In operation then, the deadbolt is depressed and the sheath slid over it to a position wherein the sheath covers the blade component and engages the deadbolt soas to: become firmly and permanently fixed in .that position.
A preferredembodiment of the scalpel of the invention is one wherein thehandle, bladeand sheath comprise a unitary assembly The term unitary? as used herein means a single, one-part assembly. Thus, handle, bladeandsheath are all attachedin such a manner that theyv are inseparable,,one from the other. The advan tage of such a ;unitary construction resides in its convenience, and the fact that the sheath cannot become separated from the=blade and lostrln a particularly preferred embodiment within the scope of the invention the sheath forms a gripping surface for thehandle when the blade is .unsheathed. The term gripping surface" as used herein means a surface which by; itsdesign enhances and facilitates holding gers. t
the scalpel with one's fin- The apparatus. of the invention will now be further described and exemplified by referenceto the various specificembodiments set forth'in the' drawings.
FIG. 1 is an overall view of'a disposable unitary assembly embodiment of the invention. As shown in the illustration of FIG. 1, the surgical scalpel comprises a handle 10 which comprises a butt 12 and a shank 14 which is reduced in thickness and over which sheath 16 may slide. Sheath 16 is shown in a position covering the blade component of the surgical scalpel. The sheath position illustrated in FIG. 1 is for covering and protecting the blade component prior to use. It will be seen from FIG. 1 that the sheath has a resilient detent 26 which is forced out by the underlying shank 14 to a position whereitblocks forward movement of the sheath by meeting with cam' 28. Cam 28 is an integral part of shank 14. Details of this position locking mechanism are seen with greater clarity by referring now to FIG. 5. F lG. is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 5 5 ofFIGIl. FIG. 5 further shows the construction of the sheath 16 and the underlying portions of shank 14. Thus, sheath 16 is seen to be hollow having an opening 18 proximal to butt 12 and opening 20 proximal to theblade component. Sheath 16 fits over and encloses shank l4 and blade 24. Shank 14 is attached to. blade 24 by its blade supporting end 30. Shank 14 also has a resilient spring member 32 which is preferably integral'with shank 14. Spring 32 imposes a frictional force upon the inner surface 52 of sheath 16. This frictional force serves to hold sheath 16 in a given position. FIG. 5 also shows with greater clarity the blocking of sheath 16 movement forward by detent 26 meeting with cam 28.- 4
FIG. 2 is an overall view of the surgical scalpel apparatus of FIG. 1 showing the sheath 16 in a retracted position exposing blade 24 and blade supporting segment 30. As seen in FIG. 2, sheath 16 has raised surfaces 22 to facilitate gripping and in this rearward position forms a gripping surface for handle 10. v
The features hidden from view in FIG. 2 are seen with greater clarity by reference to FIG. 6, a cross section along lines 6-6 of FIG. 2.As shown in FIG. 6, with the sheath in a rearward position blade 24 is exposed together with the blade supporting end 30 of shank 14. Spring 32 and resilient cam 28 both exert a frictional force upon the inner surface 52 of sheath 16 (see FIG. 9, a cross-sectional view along lines 9-9 of FIG. 2). These frictional forces plus a frictional force from detent 26 exerted against shank l4 all'serve to hold sheath 16 in the operating position. In addition, shank 14 can be tapered so that it is thicker near the butt end 12. In this manner a tight frictional fit'into sheath 16 opening 18 holds the sheath in position. Shoulders 13 of butt 12 also serve as a stop to prevent removal of the sheath over the butt end of the handle Referring now to FIG. 3 the surgical scalpel of the invention is observed withthe sheath in a permanently fixed blade sheathed position. Following use, the sheath is moved forward to cover the blade 24. As shown in FIG. 3, when the sheath I6 is moved to an extreme position away from butt l2, cam 28 forces resilient detent 26 down underneath the surface of shank 14. Referring now to FIG. 7, a cross-sectional view of lines 7-7 of FIG. 3, the locking mechanism, is readily observed which locks sheath 16 permanently into a blade sheathing position. As observed in FIG. 7, detent 26 has been guided by cam 28 down and over the locking lug 50 which is an integral part of shank 14 so that hook 27 at the end of detent 16 is in firm engagement. In this position, sheath 16 can neither be moved forward nor rearward but is in a firmly lockedposition covering blade 24. It will also be observed from FIG. 7 that there is noway' of releasing detent 26 without physical destruction of the sheath 16. V l
Referring now to FIG. 4, the various components making up the surgical scalpelassem'bly of FlG. l are readily observed in their disassembled position. Thus, sheath 16 comprises an elongate sheath open at both ends 18, 20 and having frictional surfaces 22. Integral with sheath 16 is detent 26 having a hook 27 at the unattached end thereof. The handle 10 comprises a butt end 12 and a shank 14. The shank 14 preferably has a narrowed center portion l5,'a spring 32, cam 28 and a locking bar 50 which engages hook 27of detent 26 as previously described. An aperture 48 through shank 14 not only provides for access of the detent 26 when the sheath is moved into a blade protectingpositionbut also provides for a weakened area of shank 14. This weakened area having railings 14a and 14b are easily fractured when the sheath 16 is in a permanently locked blade protecting position. This provides an'easy method of breaking the handle prior to disposal of the surgical scalpel. FIG. 4 also shows the mounting of blade 24 on blade support 31 where it is held in place by bayonet lock 42 and covered by blademounting piece 33. As shown in FIG. 4, the blade 24' is fixedly attached bya bolt 46. However, in apreferred embodiment, blade 24 is permanently attached by ultrasonic welding of blade support3l to blademounting'piece 33 with the blade 24'interposed.
FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view takenalong lines 8-8 of FIG. 2 and more clearly shows the-"relationship of blade 24 held in position between blade support 31 and blade mounting piece 33. I
What is claimed is: 1
1. A surgical scalpel which comprises,
a handle; i
a cutting blade attached to said handle;
a sheath for said blade. said sheath forming a gripping surface for said I handle when said blade is unsheathed; and
means for permanently sheathing said blade with said sheath.
2. A scalpel of claim 1 wherein said handle, said blade and said sheathcomprise a unitary assembly.
3. A unitary surgical scalpel with sheath assembly which comprises: I
a cutting blade affixed to one end of said handle;-
a sheath movably attached to said handle;
means for releasably locking said sheath to said handle when said sheath is moved to a first blade sheathing position; 1
means for releasably locking said sheath to said handle when moved in a blade exposed position; and
means for permanently locking :said sheath to said to a-second handle when said sheath' is moved blade sheathing position." I
4. A scalpel of claim 3 wherein said sheath forms a 0 grippingsurface for said handle when in the bladeexposed position.