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Priority for this application is hereby claimed under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) to commonly owned and co-pending U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/830,035 which was filed on Jul. 1 1, 2006. The content of all of the aforementioned application is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.
The present invention relates in general to surgical instruments, and more particularly to manually-operated surgical instruments that are intended for use in minimally invasive surgery or other forms of surgical or medical procedures or techniques. The instrument described herein is primarily for a laparoscopic procedure, however, it is to be understood that the instrument of the present invention can be used for a wide variety of other procedures, including intraluminal procedures.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Endoscopic and laparoscopic instruments currently available in the market are extremely diflicult to learn to operate and use, mainly due to a lack of dexterity in their use. For instance, when using a typical laparoscopic instrument during surgery, the orientation of the tool of the instrument is solely dictated by the locations of the target and the incision. These instruments generally function with a fulcrum effect using the patients own incision area as the fulcrum. As a result, common tasks such as suturing, knotting and fine dissection have become challenging to master. Various laparoscopic instruments have been developed over the years to overcome this deficiency, usually by providing an extra articulation often controlled by a separately disposed control member for added control. However, even so these instruments still do not provide enough dexterity to allow the surgeon to perform common tasks such as suturing, particularly at any arbitrarily selected orientation. Also, existing instruments of this type do not provide an effective way to hold the instrument in a particular position. Moreover, existing instruments require the use of both hands in order to effectively control the instrument.
Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to provide an improved laparoscopic or endoscopic surgical instrument that allows the surgeon to manipulate the tool end of the surgical instrument with greater dexterity.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved surgical or medical instrument that has a wide variety of applications, through incisions, through natural body orifices or intraluminally.
A further object of the present invention is to provide an improved medical instrument that is characterized by the ability to lock the instrument in a pre-selected particular position.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a locking feature that is an important adjunct to the other controls of the instrument enabling the surgeon to lock the instrument once in the desired position. This makes it easier for the surgeon to thereafter perfonn surgical procedures without having to, at the same time, hold the instrument in a particular bent configuration.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide an improved medical instrument that can be effectively controlled with a single hand of the user.
Still a further object of the present invention is to provide an improved medical instrument in which both locking and rotation features of the instrument are controlled from a single control element.
To accomplish the foregoing and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention there is provided a surgical instrument that includes an instrument shaft having proximal and distal ends; a tool disposed from the distal end of the instrument shaft; a control handle disposed from the proximal end of the instrument shaft; a distal motion member for coupling the distal end of said instrument shaft to said tool; a proximal motion member for coupling the proximal end of said instrument shaft to said handle; actuation means extending between said distal and proximal motion members for coupling motion of said proximal motion member to said distal motion member for controlling the positioning of said tool; a rotation knob disposed adjacent the control handle and rotatable relative to the control handle for causing a corresponding rotation of the instrument shaft and tool; and a locking mechanism for fixing the position of the tool at a selected position and having locked and unlocked states. The rotation knob has a first position in which the locking mechanism is controlled to be in its locked state and a second position in which the locking mechanism is released to its unlocked state so as to allow tool positioning.
In accordance with other aspects of the present invention at least the proximal motion member comprises a proximal bendable member and the rotation knob is adapted to rotate the tool about a distal tool roll axis; the control handle comprises a pistol grip handle having an engagement hom to assist in holding the handle; the rotation knob is disposed at the distal end of the handle and the horn is disposed proximally of the rotation knob and on the top of the pistol grip handle; including an actuation lever supported from the pistol grip handle at a pivot point at the proximal end of the handle; the actuation lever has a free end with a finger loop for receiving a users finger to control the lever; further including a release button on the handle in juxtaposition to the lever and for releasing the lever from an actuated to released position; the rotation knob is supported relative to the handle so as to rotate about a rotation knob axis, and wherein the rotation knob is moved axially from the first to second positions; the rotation knob is moved toward the handle to activate the locking mechanism and is moved away from the handle to release the locking mechanism; including a tool actuation cable that extends from the tool to the handle, a slider for capturing the proximal end of said tool actuation cable and an actuation lever supported at the handle for controlling the translation of the slider; including a slideway for receiving the slider, a pair of springs disposed in the slider and a rotational barrel disposed between the springs and for holding the proximal end of the tool actuation cable; the locking mechanism comprises a follower mechanism disposed proximally of the rotation knob, the proximal motion member comprising a proximal bendable member and a plurality of locking cables that intercouple between the follower mechanism and the proximal bendable member; the locking mechanism further comprises an expandable sphere for supporting the locking cables and a plunger engaging with a center passage of the expandable sphere, the plunger supported from the rotation knob.