US 3600806 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
I United States Patent 1 3,600,806
[mentor EdmundRNIccesh I56) ReferencesCited 733 N. Vermont St., Arlington. Va. 22203 UNITED STATES PATENTS 2 m0 2,370,440 2/1945 Beavin 10/289 f d 1"" ml 2,597,564 5/1952 Bugg, /0108 2,693,641 11/1954 Omoto /294 2.865374 12/1958 Brownetalu 128/305 ,V 3,212,187 10/1965 Benedict... 30/165 3365.798 lll968 Cunningham 30/294x SL'TURE-REMOVING INSTRUMENT 9Cl\ims.8 Drawing Figs.
U.S.Cl. .1 30/294 Int. Cl. 1 .B26b27/00. A61!) 19/00 Field lSearcl'r. v 1111111 5 30/282, 286. 289, 294 356, DIG 8.161309, 314, 318; 128/305 Primary Examiner Robert C. Riordon Arlarney$mith, Michael, Bradford & Gardiner SUTURE-REMOVING INSTRUMENT The invention is concerned with medical instruments. In particular it is concerned with the provision of a relatively inexpensive conveniently packaged instrument for removing sutures or stitches after a wound or surgical incision has healed sufficiently to be self-adherent.
The common practice today, despite the availability of suture-removing tools such as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,2 l 2,187, is for the surgeon to remove sutures with scissors and forceps. The scissors are generally of the type wherein one blade is provided with a rounded or somewhat dull point which must be inserted beneath the suture against the wound without damage thereto. Once inserted the suture is cut and the whole process is repeated until all sutures are cut one by one and are removed by tugging gently with forceps.
While there are a variety of type of sutures and techniques of sewing an open wound occasioned by surgery or accident, the suture must extend across the wound area generally transverse to the wound area. Since this portion of the suture generally remains free of tissue it is generally this portion of the suture material that is cut prior to removal with forceps. Obviously, since the sutures are tightly drawn across the wound, it is necessary to press against the wound area to insert the blade of a scissor beneath the cross portion of the suture to cut same for removal. This action can not only cause considerable discomfort, as mentioned, but the risk of infection is always present since the scissors are used repeatedly on different patients. While every effort is made to assure sterilization of all surgical instruments the fact remains that sterilization may be incomplete or that, through oversight the instruments may not be sterilized at all.
With the disadvantages of prior practices established, it is an object of the present invention to provide a suture-cutting instrument.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a sutureremoving instrument which is inexpensive and thus may be discarded immediately after use.
It is still another object of the invention to produce a sutureremoving medical instrument that can be readily manipulated with great familiarity by the professional user.
An additional object of the invention is to produce a suture removal instrument that minimizes danger of infection by contact with the patient.
These and other objects of the invention, not necessarily specifically recited herein, but readily apparent to those skilled in the art, are accomplished by providing a thin curved needlelike clement with a blunt tip end and a very sharp edge facing inwardly toward the axis of the curve. The opposite end of the needlelike element may be provided with a flat area or handle, while the cutting edge may be fashioned integrally with the element or separately therefrom. A portion of either the needlelike element or the cutting edge may be provided with a very narrow V-shaped notch which will engage and grasp the cut end of a suture to enable its removal from the body tissue ofa patient.
With a general description of the invention set forth, atten tion is now directed to the drawings appended hereto and also to the detailed descriptive material related thereto and wherein:
FIG. I is a side view of the most elementary form of suture removing instrument enlarged considerably for illustrative purposes.
FIG. 2 is a front end view of the article shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged side view ofa modification ofthe elementary instrument.
FIG. 4 is still another modification of the instrument of FIG. 1 again shown in enlarged side view.
FIG. 5 is a further modification of the FIG. 3 form of the invention also shown as an enlarged side view partly in section.
FIG. 6 shows in side elevation an improved form of the invention and FIG. 7 is a further enlarged view of the circuit circumscribed area shown in FIG. 6.
FIG. 8 is a view similar to FIG. I, ofa further modification of the basic structure.
Turning attention to FIG. 1 it may be seen that the instrument is defined by a thin needlelike rod I. The needlelike rod I is curved into a generally U-shaped configuration. Preferably the curve would define an arc ofa circle.
One end 3 of the needlelike rod is blunted. Preferably this blunted end is capped by a bulbous mass 5 which may be generally finished to the form of a sphere. The spherical mass may be formed separately and forced onto the blunt end 3 or it may be an integral part of the curved rod I an option dictated primarily by the type of materials used and manufacturing convenience.
As shown clearly in FIGS. 1 and 2, the needlelike rod is sharpened to a knife edge 7 extending along the entire arcuate inner surface. Thus, in its simplest form the invention comprises a curved needlelike rod of elliptical cross section, having a blunted end and the inner surface of the ellipse ground to razor sharpness to define a cutting edge. This form of the invention would be fabricated of metal of the same quality as that used in manufacturing surgical needles. The spherical end 5 may be fabricated of any suitable material and forced over the end of the rod or made integrally therewith as manufacturing techniques may dictate.
Use of the instrument is quite simple. The rod is grasped with a needle holder or Kelly clamp. The spherical end is carefully inserted between the suture in and the surface skin of the patient. As the instrument is moved beneath the suture the sharp edge contacts the suture and quickly severs same. Because of its small size the insertion beneath the suture is quite easily and quickly affected without discomfort to the patient. There is little or no danger of puncture of the wound beneath the suture because the spherical or bulbous end cap 5 is readily guided against the skin.
One very distinctive advantage of the instrument is the fact that it is similar in configuration to a conventional surgeon's needle. Thus, the feel" of the instrument to the user is quite familiar thus enabling its use with complete confidence by the user.
A further form of the invention is shown in FIG. 3. Again the instrument comprises a needlelike rod 31 having a bulbous or spherical end 35. In this instance the needlelike rod is cylindrical in form and instead of sharpening the rod 31 itself a generally segmental blade 37 is affixed to the needlelike rod. The blade 37 has a sharp edge 39 facing inwardly of the curved rod 31. The blade may be affixed in position and bonded to the needlelike rod 31 by any suitable manufacturing technique.
FIG. 4 is illustrative of another form of the invention. In this modification of the very elementary structure of FIG. 1, the end ll of the rod la, opposite the bulbous tip 5a, is flattened to form a handlelike area. This configuration is most convenient to use being similar to the conventional suture-applying needle used by a majority of surgeons. The flat area II provides a convenient means to grasp the instrument with the conventional surgeon's needle holder or clamp in the event the user desires to avoid the change of contact of his own hands with the wound. In this modification, the cutting means is a very fine wire as distinguished from a blade as shown in FIG. 3. Preferably the handle like area ll would be incorporated with any embodiment of the invention either previously or about to be described herein after.
In FIG. 5 a further form of the basic instrument is disclosed, partly in section. This more sophisticated structure lends itself quite readily to prevailing manufacturing techniques and facilitates the use of modern materials. In this form of the invention, the needlelike rod SI may particularly lend itself to fabrication from a high strength, rigid, synthetic material. One such material is high impact polystyrene a material well known in the plastics industry and available from a variety of manufacturers.
After fabrication into the basic curved configuration by known techniques, the curved needlelike rod is slit in the area bounded by points 590 and 59b to define a slot 59 which extends through the needlelike rod toward the center of the arc which it defines.
A suitable blade like element 57 having a sharpened edge 57a is inserted into the slot to define the suture cutting means. This blade element can be manufactured of stainless steel or the like by known techniques such as used in the manufacture of razor blades or the like.
In FIGS. 6 and 7 there is illustrated a modification of the invention shown in FIG. 5. It should be realized that this modification has utility in either or any of the various structural forms illustrated. As shown the blade element is provided with a very narrow notch 61 in its edge adjacent the handle end of the needlelike rod element.
This notch 61 serves as a means whereby the loose ends of the cut suture may be caught and gently pulled to remove the suture from the wound area. Because even after severance, the suture will not grow slack and because, unavoidably, some tension must be exerted to pull the suture from the body tissue, the notch 61 will catch and hold the suture end. Since the blade is quite thin hence the edges of the notch are quite well defined and quite close together.
A further modified form of the structure is disclosed in FIG. 8. The needlelike rod 63 is provided with curved lower portion 63 holding blade 65. The working end 67 of rod 61 is bulbous. The remaining portion 69 of the needlelike rod 69 forms a handle. This form of the invention may be preferred since the place where it is grasped is even further removed from the wound area during use.
The invention having been described and illustrated in its basic and more sophisticated structural forrn, attention is directed to the claims defining the spirit and scope of thereof and wherein:
What I claim is:
l. A suture-removing article comprising an arcuately curved needlelike rod, :1 bulbous end defining the terminus at one end thereof and a cutting means carried by the needlelike rod, the cutting edge facing toward the center of the arc defined by the rod.
2. A suture-removing article as set forth in claim 1, wherein the rod is elliptical in cross section and said cutting means is formed integrally therewith.
3. A suture-removing article as defined in claim I where the other terminal end of the needlelike rod is flattened to define a handle like area.
4. A suture-removing article as defined in claim I wherein the cutting means comprises a blade attached to the needlelike rod element.
5. The structure defined in claim I wherein the cutting means is a fine wire bisecting the curved needlelike rod.
6. The structure as defined in claim I wherein an elongated handle is defined by a portion of said needlelike rod.
7. A suture-removing article as defined in claim 1 wherein said needlelike rod is longitudinally slit and said blade is frictionally engaged thereto by insertion through the slit.
8. A suture-moving article as defined in claim I wherein the one end of the needlelike rod is flattened to define a handlelike area.
9. A suture-removing article as defined in claim 4 wherein said blade is provided with a notch disposed adjacent the rod at a point remote from the bulbous end of the rod.