This patent application is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "This invention relates to a surgical implant instrument and system and, more particularly, to an instrument and system having an implant holder having a joint that is adapted to permit the implant holder to be loosened, moved or pivoted to a desired position and tightened before, during and after such movement or pivoting.
"In the past, surgical instruments were provided for applying or inserting implants between adjacent vertebrae in a vertebral column. The implant was positioned or fixed at the end of the instrument usually in a fixed or rigidly connected position.
"In some prior art instruments, the tool permitted a variable adjustable alignment of the implant in relation to the instrument. For example, some instruments had a non-pivotable threaded screw that screwed directly into the implant and held the implant in a fixed position at the end of the instrument. In one prior art device, the implant had a pivotable threaded sleeve that permitted the implant to be pivoted relative to an end of the instrument.
"In U.S. Pat. No. 6,830,574 B2, another prior art instrument is shown having a holder that is pivotably mounted relative to a shank and is fixable in its position.
"One problem with the prior art devices is their complexity and that they either did not permit pivoting of the implant or required multiple components to permit the implant to be pivoted and separate components to fix the implant to the instrument after the implant was pivoted to the desired position.
"Another problem with some prior art devices was that the cage implant had to be custom fit to the holder and standard cage implants could not be used. These custom cages oftentimes required an attaching joint that reduced or interfered with the graft space in the case because of the joint in the cage or implant.
"What is needed, therefore, is a simplified instrument that is easy to use, improves over the designs of the prior art and/or reduces the number of components necessary to enable a user or surgeon to pivot the implant with respect to the tool and then fix the position of the implant with respect to the tool."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "It is, therefore, an object of one embodiment of the invention to provide a surgical instrument and system that is adapted for fixing to an implant and that permits a loosening of the implant for adjustment, movement or pivoting and then a tightening of the implant on the surgical instrument once the implant is positioned where desired.
"Another object of one embodiment of the invention is to provide a surgical instrument and system that utilizes a single device or means for loosening and pivoting the implant and then fixing, locking or clamping the implant to the tool.
"Still another object of one embodiment of the invention is to provide a surgical instrument having a universal joint that provides a connector or driving connection that permits the implant holder to be both pivoted and rotated before, during and after pivoting.
"Yet another object of one embodiment of the invention is to provide a system having a surgical instrument that is adapted to permit a threaded projection to be secured to an implant, loosened, and pivoted and that is also adapted to rotatably drive the threaded projection prior to, during and after the pivoting of the threaded projection or implant.
"Another object of an embodiment of the invention is to provide a surgical instrument having a single rotatable drive member or grip that is adapted to permit both a pivoting of an implant on the instrument and a locking, clamping, securing or fixing of the implant to the surgical instrument after it has been moved or pivoted to a desired position.
"Another object of an embodiment of the invention is to provide a universal joint for use in a surgical instrument wherein the universal joint is adapted to permit multiple functions, including pivoting and rotating of an implant holder, to facilitate securing, locking, fixing or clamping of an implant to the instrument.
"Another object of another embodiment of the invention is to provide an implant holder that has a pivot joint in the holder and that is adapted to permit a standardized cage to be used.
"In one aspect, one embodiment of the invention comprises a surgical instrument for inserting an implant comprising a housing having a first end and a second end, a rotatable member rotatably positioned in the housing, the rotatable member having an elongated member comprising a grip associated with the first end, an implant holder having a securing member that extends through the second end and that is adapted to receive and hold the implant; and a universal joint coupling the implant holder and the elongated member, and the universal joint being situated between the grip and the implant holder, the universal joint being adapted to permit a user to rotatably drive the implant holder when the implant holder is in a pivoted position.
"In another aspect, another embodiment of the invention comprises a surgical implant system comprising an implant, a surgical instrument comprising a housing, a drive member rotatably mounted within the housing, an implant holder, a joint rotatably and pivotally coupling the drive member to the implant holder, the joint being adapted to permit a loosing of the implant on the implant holder so that the implant holder may be pivoted or moved to a desired position and being responsive to rotational movement of the drive member to enable said implant to be loosened and pivoted and to cause the implant to become clamped, fixed or locked to the implant holder after the implant holder is pivoted or moved to the desired position.
"These and other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description, the accompanying drawings and the appended claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"FIGS. 1A-1D are various views of a surgical instrument and system in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;
"FIGS. 2A and 2B are sectional and exploded views, respectively, of the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1A-1D;
"FIG. 3A is a fragmentary and partially exploded view illustrating the device or means for pivotably affixing or securing an abutment member to a housing of the surgical instrument;
"FIG. 3B is a fragmentary view of an end of the housing, showing teeth or serrations;
"FIG. 4 is a fragmentary sectional view showing various details of a universal joint used in the embodiments shown in FIGS. 1-3B;
"FIG. 5 is an exploded view showing various details of the universal joint used in one embodiment of the invention;
"FIG. 6 is an exploded sectional view showing various details of the universal joint housing and abutment member illustrated in FIG. 5;
"FIGS. 7A-7F are various sectional and fragmentary views that cooperate to show a pivotable movement of an implant holder and then a fixing, clamping or securing and locking of the implant to the implant holder after it has been pivoted and further showing the implant being clamped, fixed, locked or fastened in a pivoted position;
"FIG. 8A is a fragmentary sectional view of a ball of the universal joint showing a butterfly or bow tie channel or aperture in one embodiment of the invention;
"FIG. 8B is a view diagrammatically illustrating or outlining the butterfly or bow tie channel or aperture in the ball of the universal joint; and
"FIGS. 9A-9D are fragmentary sectional views illustrating a rotatable movement of a fastener or threaded projection during a pivot of a threaded projection, thereof."
URL and more information on this patent application, see: Kirschman,
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