FORCEPS FOR MEDICAL USE
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED
This is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/111,372, filed Sep. 10, 2002, now pending, which is a national stage of PCT International Application No. 01 /PCT/ IB00/01532 Al, filed Oct. 24, 2000, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,118, 586, and claims priority to Italian Application No. 10 CE99A000004, filed Oct. 25, 1999, the entirety of all of which are incorporated herein by reference.
The present invention relates to forceps for medical use, in particular for biopsy, for example, for endoscopic biopsy, 15 laparoscope gynaeocological applications and the like.
More specifically, a conventional forceps of this type comprises two half-shells, each of which has a front rim and a base wall, and which are mounted on a support element in a manner such that they can adopt a first, opened-out configuration 20 and a second, closed configuration.
In use, for example, during digestive endoscopy, the forceps is passed through the operating duct of an endoscope in the closed configuration and is brought into contact with the internal mucosa of the organ (for example, the oesophagus, 25 stomach, duodenum, or colon) to be biopsied.
Once the forceps has been positioned correctly, the halfshells are opened and then closed so as to cut off a sample of the mucosa which remains held between them. Given the intrinsically limited nature of the space available, the closed 30 half-shells can hold at most 2-3 biopsy samples.
However, pathological conditions frequently occur in which the number of samples taken has to be greater, as with gastric ulcers, or dysplasia or neoplasia in ulcerative pancolitis, which is a serious chronic disease of the colon. 35
In these cases, each time the space inside the half-shells is filled with biopsy samples, the forceps has to be withdrawn through the endoscope duct, emptied and reintroduced to the operation site. A large amount of wear and deformation of the duct thus takes place, with the risk of rupture and consequent 40 infiltration of liquid which may cause very serious damage to the endoscope.
Another problem connected with the need to perform a plurality of introductions and withdrawals of the forceps consists of the long duration of this procedure which is due, 45 among other things, to the need to empty the half-shells. Owing to the small size of the samples taken, this operation in fact takes the operator a considerable amount of time. In operative practice, however, the time available—in certain conditions, for example, with markedly intolerant patients 50 who are unable to take sedatives—may be very limited, so that the use of conventional forceps is difficult.
To prevent the problems of the prior art mentioned above, the subject of the present invention is forceps of the type described at the beginning of the present description and 55 characterized in that it has at least one container element having a cavity for receiving a plurality of biopsy samples.
The forceps of the invention can therefore be used to take all of samples necessary for a given pathological condition, in succession, by performing only one introduction and with- 60 drawal, thus considerably reducing the time required for the operation, as well as the wear of the endoscope duct.
Moreover, during the withdrawal stage, the container element keeps the biopsy samples isolated from the duct, which has the advantage of preventing any mixing with impurities or 65 with any scraps remaining from other samples taken, which may be present therein.
Further advantages and characteristics of the present invention will become clear from the following detailed description, provided by way of non-limiting example with reference to the appended drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a schematic plan view of a forceps of the invention,
FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the forceps of FIG. 1, FIG. 3 is a section view taken on the line III-III of FIG. 1, FIGS. 4 and 5 are respective plan views of each of the two half-shells of a forceps constituting an alternative embodiment of the invention,
FIG. 6 is a section taken on the line VI-VI of FIG. 4, FIG. 7 is a section view taken on the line VII-VII of FIG. 5, and
FIGS. 8 and 9 are views corresponding to FIGS. 5 and 7, respectively, of a further embodiment of a detail of a forceps of the invention.
A biopsy forceps, for example, for endoscopic biopsy, comprises (FIGS. 1-3) two half-shells 10a, 10b each having a front rim 12 and a base wall 14. The half-shells 10a, 10b are mounted in conventional manner, for example, on a support element 16 so that they can adopt a first, opened-out configuration (shown in the drawings) and a second, closed configuration in which the rims 12 of the two half-shells 10a, 10b are in contact with one another.
The half-shell 10b has, in its base wall 14, a hole 18 which communicates with the cavity 20 inside a beaker-shaped container element 22 associated therewith and having a plurality of through-openings 24 in its walls.
The material constituting the element 22 is not critical within the scope of the present invention and may be selected, without particular limitations, from those suitable for use in the medical field.
The half-shell 10a, on the other hand, is filled up to approximately a third of its height with filling material 25.
In use, the forceps is first of all passed through an endoscope duct (not shown in the drawings), with the half-shells 10a, 10b in the closed configuration, until the forceps is in the desired location close to the internal mucosa of the organ to be biopsied. Here, the half-shells 10a, 10b are opened out and closed again several times in succession so as to cut off a corresponding number of biopsy samples.
As these samples are taken one by one, they are urged towards the base of the container element 22 by the pressure exerted by the half-shell 10a.
The openings 24 allow air and any organic liquids which remain trapped in the cavity 20 of the element 22 to be discharged, further facilitating the movement of the biopsy samples inside the element 22.
Upon completion of the cutting of the samples, the halfshells 10a, 10b are closed again and the forceps, with its container element 22, can be withdrawn through the endoscope duct. The biopsy samples which are enclosed inside the cavity 20 do not therefore have any substantial contact with the duct, which could constitute a potential source of histological contamination.
FIGS. 4 to 7 show an alternative embodiment of the halfshells of a biopsy forceps according to the invention, which half-shells can be mounted on a support element in a manner similar to that described with reference to FIGS. 1-3.
In this embodiment, the half-shell 10a with which the container element 20 is not associated has (FIGS. 4 and 6) a base wall 14 having a central portion 26 which is raised substantially to the level of the rim 12, and an annular, recessed, peripheral portion 28.
The half-shell 106, on the other hand, (FIGS. 5 and 7) has, in its base wall 14, the hole 18 in which the end of the