US 3908655 A
A cooling chamber is positioned over the face or other areas of the body to direct cold air onto the injured tissues to retard or prevent swelling following plastic surgery. The device includes a domed wall or helmet which accommodates the head or body portion. Cold air from an air conditioning unit passes through a flexible hose into an inlet in the domed wall which widens into an open ended chamber. The air is distributed around the chamber by radial partitions or an inner porous wall which forms an air passageway for directing air into the desired areas. Hinged sections may provide selective compartments in the chamber to direct the air flow to specific facial areas. The unit may be adjustable, transportable and self-contained or attached to a wheeled table or bed.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
1 5] Sept. 30, 1975 Primary Examiner-Lawrence W. Trapp  ABSTRACT A cooling chamber is positioned over the face or other areas of the body to direct cold air onto the injured tissues to retard or prevent swelling following plastic surgery. The device includes a domed wall or helmet which accommodates the head or body portion. Cold air from an air conditioning unit passes through a flexible hose into an inlet in the domed wall which widens into an open ended chamber. The air is distributed around the chamber by radial partitions or an inner porous wall which forms an air passageway for directing air into the desired areas. Hinged sections may provide selective compartments in the chamber to di- POST-OPERATHVE COOLING DEVICE Helen B. Lund, 14 Houston Rd, Little Falls, NJ. 07424 Filed: Sept. 7, 1973 Appl. No.: 394,976
US. 128/256; 128/375; 128/402 Int. A61F 7/00; A61H 33/06 Field of Search 128/256, 399, 368, 400, 128/375, 402; 2/1712, 171.3
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Unite States Patent Lund  Inventor:
root the air flow to specific facial areas. The unit may be adjustable, transportable and self-contained or attached to a wheeled table or bed.
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COND/T/O/V'R AND F/LTER U.S. Patent Sept. 30,1975 Sheet20f2 3,908Q655 POST-OPERATIVE COOLING DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention concerns a device for providing cold air to body surfaces following plastic surgery to retard or prevent swelling and promote healing of tissues, and particularly to a novel domed chamber which directs the cold air onto desired areas.
2. Description of the Prior Art Generally, in order to reduce pain and swelling of body or facial tissues after plastic surgery, the usual procedure is to apply cold moist cloth compresses to the affected areas. The cold lowers the tissue temperature, lessens the possibility of scarring and promotes faster healing. However, the compresses become warm and dry and require frequent replacement and constant attention to maintain the desired cold temperature. Ice bags have also been utilized, but these are bulky, heavy and difficult to hold in a particular position. A known device which has a somewhat related purpose is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,696,814 issued Oct. 10, 1972. This device provides a band of absorbent material to be worn on the head and has liquid reservoirs to supply moisture for evaporative cooling. It is particularly useful for treating inflamed sinuses. Other devices such as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,680,557 issued Aug. I, 1972, concern incubators which enclose the entire head or body of the patient to supply oxygen within the chamber for therapeutic purposes. Another device is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,468,299 issued Sept. 23, I969. This is directed to an air conditioned garment and includes a hood having a porous inner lining through which cool air passes onto the head and body. None of these prior art devices however were concerned with directing cool air onto specific areas of the body or face for reducing swelling of tissues after plastic surgery.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is therefore the primary object of the present in vention to provide a cooling device for directing cold air onto particular body and facial areas after plastic surgery to reduce and retard swelling and promote healing of tissues.
This is accomplished by a novel air chamber in the shape of an open-ended domed wall or helmet which fits over the face or body portion and incudes means for distributing the cold air along the curved wall and means for directing the cold air onto specific areas affected by the surgery. A small air conditioning unit emits cold air into a flexible hose connected to an inlet in a curved wall providing the entrance to the air chamber. The wall has radial partitions or a porous inner wall to distribute the cold air around the chamber and hinged compartments direct the air onto specific surface areas of the face or body while blocking the air from other areas. Other objects and advantages will become apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I shows a transportable cooling chamber device in accordance with the present invention,
FIG. 2 shows a bottom view of a domed chamber having radial partitions for distributing air,
FIG. 3 shows another variation of the domed chamber having graduated holes in a porous inner wall for air distribution,
FIG. 4 shows a partial side view of a cooling chamber device attached to a movable table to accommodate the head of a patient,
FIG. 5 shows an end view of the cooling chamber attached to a movable table and including a plurality of hinged compartments,
FIG. 6 shows an isometric view of the cooling chamber including a shield to deflect cold air from portions of the face,
FIG. 7 shows another transportable cooling chamber unit which can be elevated to different positionsto rest at the end of a movable table, and
FIG. 8 shows a chamber utilizing refrigeration coils to provide cold air.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS As shown in FIG. 1, an air conditioning unit 10, including an air blower and filter, is connected to supply cold filtered air to a domed chamber 12. The unit is mounted on wheels to permit movement to various locations and is connected to a suitable source of power, such as an electrical outlet. A relatively rigid supporting conduit 13 is connected to the cold air unit 10 and to a flexible convoluted hose portion 14. The hose may be formed of a plurality of movable interlocking rings which maintain a given shape when set and connect the rigid portion to the inlet 16 of a domed wall 17 of chamber 12. The domed chamber is adapted to accommodate areas of the head or body of .a patient who has undergone plastic surgery or has suffered other surface injuries. Following an operation, such as for removal of wrinkled skin around the eyes, a patient may require application of cold wet compresses over the eye area to reduce swelling and promote healing of the tissues.
The present unit may therefore be rolled close to the wheeled table on which the patient is placed after the operation. The flexible neck portion may be adjusted to a desired height and the domed chamber is selectively positioned over the particular body area to direct cold air onto the wet compress to maintain the desired cold temperature on the skin surfaces. FIGS. 2 and 3 show alternative designs for evenly distributing the air from the inlet 16 along the curved inner surface 18 of the wall to the open end 20. This may be a series of radial partitions 22 such as shown in FIG. 2 or a plurality of graduated holes 24 in a curved porous inner wall 26, as in FIG. 3. The inner wall is spaced from the outer wall 17 to form a narrow passageway between the two walls. The holes provide openings into the chamber for the cool air which is directed onto the body surfaces. The two designs may also be used together with the inner wall fitting over the partitions.
FIG. 4 illustrates in partial cross-section another embodiment of the cooling device which may be attached to a wheeled table, partially shown. In this case the air conditioner, filter and blower unit 28 are secured under the table 30 at one end with a flexible hose 32 extending around the end to the upper area where it connects through an inlet 33 into the domed chamber 34. The chamber is mounted on a metal plate 35 and is secured to the table in a horizontal position to accommodate the head of a patient lying on a mattress 36 on the top of the table.
The head fits into the open end of the chamber so that the back of the head and neck rest on cushioned foam material 38. A porous inner wall 40, of the type shown in FIG. 3, provides a narrow curved air space 41 between the inner curved wall and outer domed plate 42. The domed plate is preferably of a sturdy transparent plastic material. The outer ends 43 of the chamber, enclosing the space 41 between the outer plate and inner wall 40 is also of a solid plastic. The inner wall extends around the entire chamber from the upper area near the eyes around the back and sides of the head to below the ears and jaw. It has graduated holes to distribute the air along the curved inner space between the walls into the main chamber area. The inner side of the inner wall also has a curved lining 44 of porous foam material so that the cold air is prevented from flowing directly onto the top of the head and is largely directed around the head through an inverted U- shaped passage 46, as shown more clearly in FIG. 5. The air passes over and around the face and eye area and under and along the side of the jaw and ear area of the patient.
The porous wall and foam lining also provide added filtering action to purify the air supply. An added cap of a thin plastic material may also be placed over the patients hair to provide further comfort and protection of the head from the cold air. The wet compress 48 in this example, is placed over the eyes, with the cold air directed thereon to provide and maintain the desired cooling and soothing of injured tissues.
As further shown more clearly in FIG. 5, the top and bottom of the chamber have two pairs of hinged sections 50, 52 and 54, 56 on opposite sides forming separate compartments which may be selectively opened and closed to direct air onto particular portions of the face and permit ease of entry of the patient into the domed chamber. Thus, side locking devices 58, 60, which may be of any suitable type, may be opened and lower compartments 54, 56 pivoted about horizontal hinges 62, 64 at opposite sides to swing down away from the face, while upper compartments 50, 52 remain in position to selectively direct cold air onto the eye area.
If the surgery is performed in the ear, neck or jaw area, the upper compartments 50, 52 are unlocked by opening side locks 58, 60 and upper lock 66 and pivoting compartments 50, 52 about vertical hinges 68, 70 to swing to the side and back, away from the face, while portions 54, 56 remain in place to direct cold air onto the lower facial areas. Any one or combination of these compartments may be utilized in this manner. The air flow in particular portions may also be blocked by other suitable means such as by placing a plastic shield or insert over areas of the porous inner wall or open ends of the chamber when selected compartments are opened.
As shown in FIG. 6, an additional face mask 72 of a relatively soft plastic material may be provided to fit over the nose of the patient as a shield to deflect cold air from the nostrils and prevent excessive inhalations of the cold air. For further comfort, the edge of the mask touching the face may have a contoured foamed strip 73 and the ends may have extended soft strips 74 which are secured under the chin by any suitable means such snaps, ties or an adhesive. The cold air is preferably maintained at as low a temperature as the patient can tolerate without undue discomfort. After an initial period, as the patient becomes acclimated to the cold air, the temperature can be reduced still further. It may also be possible to eliminate the use of the Wet compress entirely if the patient can tolerate sufficiently cold air temperatures.
FIG. 7 shows another transportable adjustable domed chamber which can be rolled to any table or bed to fit over the end and accommodate the head of the patient. The cooling chamber is similar to that shown in FIG. 4 and 5 except that it is self-contained and supported on an adjustable wheeled housing 75 which can be elevated and lowered to different heights from the base 76. The air conditioning unit 77 and flexible hose 78 are in the upper portion which includes a support plate 79 that extends over and rests on the table end. The domed chamber unit 80 is mounted on the plate to receive the patients head in a horizontal position.
A further embodiment of a cooling chamber is shown in FIG. 8. In this case coils 82 for conducting a liquid refrigerant are mounted in the helmet 84 such as that of FIG. 4, in place of the air passage between the inner and outer walls. The coils provide cold air directly into the'chamber without requiring an external air conditioner, blower and hose connection. This reduces the discomfort of the patient from cold air being blown onto the face and nose. The coils are suitably insulated and may have a further protective cloth cover lining the dome in addition to or in place of the inner porous wall, to prevent direct contact with the cold coils. Separate coils 86, 88 may be provided for the refrigerant flowing in the chamber portions over the upper and lower areas as indicated. 1
The present invention thus provides a novel postoperative air chamber which applies cold air to selected body portions to reduce swelling and promote rapid healing of injured tissues. Best results are obtained when the cold is applied to the skin surfaces immediately after plastic or other surgery, or as soon as possible following accidental injuries. While several embodiments have been illustrated and described, it is apparent that many other variations may be made in the particular design and configuration without departing from the scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
l. A cooling device comprising:
a chamber having a domed wall open at one end and an inlet spaced from said open end, said open end being adapted to receive a portion of a body,
cooling means supplying cold air to said inlet,
a flexible conduit connected between said cooling means and said inlet,
means for distributing said cold air around said domed wall, and
a plurality of hinged compartments extending over the head and facial areas of said body to direct said cold air to selective portions of said head and facial areas.
2. The device of claim 1 wherein said distributing means includes a plurality of partitions extending radially around said inlet toward said open end.
3. The device of claim 1 wherein said distributing means includes an' inner curved wall spaced from said domed wall andproviding an air passageway between said walls, and a plurality of apertures in said inner wall passing said cold air into said chamber, said device further including a wheeled base, said cooling means, flexible conduit and chamber being mounted on said wheeled base.
4. The device of claim 3 including means for blocking air flow through portions of said inner wall.
5. The device of claim 3 including a wheeled table, and means for supporting said chamber in a horizontal position at an end of said table to accommodate the head of a person lying on said table.
6. The device of claim 5 including pairs of upper and lower hinged compartments extending over respective upper and lower facial areas, each compartment being pivotably secured to the domed wall of said chamber to be positioned over and be movable away from said facial areas, and means for locking said compartments in positions over said respective facial areas.
7. The device of claim 5 wherein said table is said wheeled base.
8. The device of claim 5 wherein said base is adjustable in height and movable to position said chamber onto the end of said table.
9. The device of claim 5 including a detachable contoured mask to shield the nose and mouth areas from the flow of cold air.
10. The device of claim 5 including a resilient porous lining over said inner curved wall of said chamber to prevent said cold air from flowing onto the upper and rear portions of the head.
11. The device of claim 10 including resilient porous material in the lower portion of said chamber to provide a head support.
12. The device of claim 1 wherein said flexible conduit is adjustable in height to support said chamber in different positions.