US 3852833 A
A breast prosthesis comprises a semi-rigid flat bottom portion with a first inner covering portion extending over the bottom and connected adjacent its periphery to the bottom and being inflatable outwardly therefrom and a second cover portion extending over the first cover portion and being secured at its periphery either to the first cover portion or the bottom and being filled with a liquid. The space between the inner covering and the bottom comprises an inflatable chamber which is inflated through an opening defined at the breast-like structure and it includes a sealing member having a filling opening therein which is closed interiorly by superposed flap members which may be spread apart to permit insertion of a gas filling tube.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Elie States Patent [191 Kiineke et a1.
[451 Dec. 10, 1974 BREAST PROSTHESIS  Inventors: Ernst-Wilhelm Kiineke, Wettmar;
- Wilhelm Miihl, Grossburgwedel, both of Germany  Assignee: Firma Otto Thamert Textilund Kunststoff GmbH & Co KG, Grossburgwedel, Germany  Filed: May 8, 1973  Appl. No.: 358,316
 Foreign Application Priority Data May 23, 1972 Germany 2224963 521 U.S. Cl. 3/36  Int. Cl. A6lf1/24, A41c 3/10  Field of Search 3/36; 128/462, 478, 479, 128/481; 2/267, 268
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,516,129 7/1950 Leo et al 128/462 3,067,431 12/1962 Kausch 3/36 Pangman 3/36 Mohl et al. 3/36 [5 7] ABSTRACT A breast prosthesis comprises a semi-rigid flat bottom portion with a first inner covering portion extending over the bottom and connected adjacent its periphery to the bottom and being inflatable outwardly therefrom and a second cover portion extending over the first cover portion and being secured at its periphery either to the first cover portion or the bottom and being filled with a liquid. The space between the inner covering and the bottom comprises an inflatable chamber which is inflated through an opening defined at the breast-like structure and it includes a sealing member having a filling opening therein which is closed interiorly by superposed flap members which may be spread apart to permit insertion of a gas filling tube.
9 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention I This invention relates in general to the construction of artificial devices for use with the human body and, in particular, to a new and useful breast prosthesis which comprises an inflatable bag divided into two superposed chambers, one of the chambers being filled with the liquid and the other being inflatable.
2. Description of the Prior Art A known type of breast prosthesis includes a liquid filled bag portion which is developed as an inner bag completely embraced by an outer bag which is inflatable by means of a valve. When the outer bag is inflated, an intense stretching of the bag can be caused in order to obtain a delicately stepped adaptation of the bag to the anatomic configuration of the wearer. In spite of this adaptation, the weight of the prosthesis predetermined by the quantity of liquid, will always remain the same. Aside from these advantages, the known prosthesis has the disadvantage that the outer bag can be only inflated as a balloon, and ,when the inflation becomes great, the flatly designed bottom of the prosthesis which is oriented toward the body, tends to arch outwardly so that there is an unfavorable fitting form. If the inflation becomes too great the stretching of the outer bag causes an unnatural aspect of the prosthesis.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention provides a prosthesis which is capable of maintaining a delicately stepped adaptation to the anatomical conditions of the bearer and a most favorable form fitting configuration is achieved along the highest possible naturalness when the prosthesis is utilized. i
The invention provides a breast prosthesis which comprises an inflatable bag construction with two superposed chambers, the inner one of which is inflatable and the outer one of which carries liquid. When the inner chamber is blown up it displaces the liquid in the outer chamber so that only that part of the prosthesis that is connected to the air filled chamber can stretch, while the liquid filled part of the prosthesis remains compressible due to the fact that it is not fully filled with liquid and therefore shows a natural form comportment. In the preferred arrangement a bottom portion of the breast prosthesis comprises a semi-rigid member in the general oval outline of a breast which is adapted to be placed against the body of the wearer. A first covering portion over the bottom defines an inflatable chamber between it and the bottom and a second covering portion over the first covering portion is filled with liquid. The liquid filled chamber can be adapted by its size to the anatomic configuration of the .wearer and the weight of the liquid in the outer portion adds to the natural aspect of the prosthesis. A further advantage is that the arrangement insures that the prosthesis will not have the disadvantages of the known types which are subject to movement and friction'and motion sounds between the two bags when they are moved relatively.
A particularly advantageous arrangement, is a construction in which the first covering portion defining -the inflatable chamber with the bottom is secured around its periphery to thebottom but at a spaced location from the edge of the bottom so that the outer cover may be secured peripherily t0 the bottom and filled with the liquid which extends outwardly around the entire marginal edge of the device. In this way the liquid filled chamber reaches substantially to the outer edges of the bottom and to the body of the wearer and the upper and lower portion of the prosthesis will show a form compartment which corresponds to the natural configuration of the wearer. By such a construction when the inner chamber is fully inflated, there is still a marginal layer filled with liquid around the inflatable portionat all locations. In the preferred arrangement the bottom of the device is formed with a semi rigid material or reinforced material and in order to reduce the tendency of the device to arch toward the body of the wearer. For such purpose the bottom may be formed of a double lining which is filled with a rigidifying insert of foam material or the like. This rigidifying insert may be covered toward the inner side of the inflatable chamber by an intermediate bottom.
In the preferred arrangement, the device is formed in an oval form and includes a fitting at the upper or top end at the narrow end of the oval configuration which defines a filling opening for the inflation gas. The filling opening includes two superposed flaps which are held together around the opening and which overlap and close the opening on the interior, but which may be separated in order to insert an inflation tube.
Naturally it is possible to arrange for several inflatable and liquid filled chambers within the device arranged to produce various body simulated aspects. In such arrangements several valves may be employed on the device for inflating the various chambers. Forv example, the prosthesis may be separated interiorly into two chambers approximately perpendicular to the prosthesis bottom and parallel to the prosthesis longitu dinal axis, so that in the state of utilization one of the chambers lies in the upper part and the other chamber in the lower part. It is also possible to form an inflatable chamber in a hose-like configuration adjacent the bottom whereby the inflatable chamber may consist of two parallel sections of relatively narrow dimension that merge in an area of thenarrow oval side of the prosthe- SIS.
Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to provide a breast prosthesis which comprises an inflatable bag with two superposed chambers, the outer one of which is filled with liquid and the inner one of which is inflatable.
A further object of,the invention is to provide a breast prosthesis which includes a semi-rigid bottom portion with a first covering thereover defining an inflatable chamber therebetween having valve means for tion, reference is made to the following description of typical embodiments thereof as illustrated in the ac-' companying drawing. I j
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING In the Drawing:
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to the drawings in particular, the invention embodied therein comprises a breast prosthesis generally designated 1 which is divided into a liquid filled chamber or outer chamber 2 and an inner air or gas filled chamber or inflatable chamber 3. The chamber 3 is inflatable through a blowing tube 4 which is inserted into an inlet opening 5 of a valve fitting which is secured to the upper end of an oval shaped bottom generally designated 8. The fitting 20 carries two inwardly extending flat triangularly shaped flaps 6 and 7 which are secured at the fitting 20 around the opening 5 and which overlap tightly and seal the opening at the interior of the inflatable chamber 3. Any inflation pressure within the chamber 3 maintains the flaps 6 and 7 in tight sealing juxtaposition closing the opening 5.
The preferred construction includes a bottom generally designated 8 which is of general oval shape configuration, similar to the breast of a person and with a wider curved lower end and narrow curved upper end. A first or inner cover member 22 is secured at its periphery to the bottom 8 and it advantageously includes an outer marginal edge 3a which is sized so that it reaches to the edge 1 l of the bottom 8 so that all parts may be heat sealed together in common. The bottom advantageously includes a rigidifying insert 9 which is made of a foam material or similar material and it is held in position by an outer covering 10. The covering 10 is also advantageously made of a material such that it may be heat sealed along the marginal area 11.
A second cover or outer cover 12 extends over the first cover 22 and it is also sealed around its periphery in the marginal edge area ll. The space between the outer cover 12 and the inner cover 22 defines a liquid chamber which is filled with a liquid, for example such as a gel in a quantity to insure that there is a small vacant space in the chamber 2 when the chamber 3 is fully inflated. In this remaining space the air which remains may be compressed during the expansion of the chamber 3. The liquid chamber 2 is such that it covers the inflation chamber 3 both exteriorly and around its periphery.
In FIG. 2 the blow tube 4 for inflating the chamber 3 is shown in position extending through the opening 5 at the narrow curved end of the oval shaped prosthesis. FIG. 2 indicates that the outer liquid chamber 2 substantially entirely embraces the inflatable chamber 3.
In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, there is shown a prosthesis generally designated 1" wherein the liquid chamber 2' is separated from the inflatable chamber 3' by a centrally disposed wall or partition 13. The wall extends substantially perpendicular to the bottom 8' and parallel to the axis of the prosthesis. It includes an edge which is sealed liquid tightly with the bottom and the outer cover of the breast-prosthesis. The separation may also be made perpendicular to the prosthesis longitudinal axis.
In FIG. 4 a still further embodiment, a prosthesis generally designated 1" is shown which includes an inflatable chamber 3" made up of two approximately parallel hoselike sections 14 and 15 that merge in the area of the narrow oval side 16 and which can be inflated by the common blowing tube 4".
While specific embodiments of the invention have been shown and described in detail to illustrate the application of the principles of the invention, it will be understood that the invention may be embodied otherwise without departing from such principles.
What is claimed is:
1. A breast prosthesis comprising an inflatable bag divided into superposed chambers, one of said chambers having liquid therein and the other being inflatable, said bag including a flat bottom adapted to be oriented toward the body, a first inner expansible covering extending over the bottom and defining the inflatable chamber between said first covering and said bottom, said inflation chamber being inflatable to expand said first inner covering outwardly from said bottom and a second outer expansible covering overlying the whole of said first covering and secured around its periphery over said first covering and to said bottom, the space between said first and second expansible covering defining a liquid chamber having liquid therein, said first inner covering portion being expandable upon inflation into the liquid of said liquid chamber to at least partly modify the shape of said liquid chamber and said second outer expansible covering.
2. A breast prosthesis, according to claim 1, wherein said first inner covering and said second outer covering include marginal edges which are sealed to said bottom, said bottom being of oval shaped configuration.
3. A breast prosthesis, according to claim 1, wherein said bottom includes a rigidifying insert made of foam material.
4. A breast prosthesis, according to claim 3, including a covering extending over said foam material on the interior side of said bottom which is adapted to bear against the wearer.
5. A breast prosthesis, according to claim 1, including means defining an inflation inlet opening between said inner covering and said bottom including two superposed flaps on the interior of said inflation chamber covering the opening on the interior but being deflectable apart to permit insertion of a filling tube.
6. Abreast prosthesis, according to claim 1, wherein said-first inner covering portion extends substantially perpendicular to said prosthesis bottom.
7. A breast prosthesis, according to claim 1, wherein said first inner covering includes a lower bifurcated end portion.
8. A breast prosthesis, according to claim 7, wherein said bottom portion is of oval shaped configuration with a large curved lower portion and a small curved upper portion, said first covering having a bifurcated lower portion forming two inflatable areas communicating with a central upper portion.
9. A breast prosthesis, according to claim 1, wherein said first and second coverings are heat sealed to said bottom around a marginal edge of said bottom.