The patent's assignee for patent number 8648932 is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The disclosure relates generally to imaging devices used during surgical procedures to visualize a surgical area, and more particularly, but not necessarily entirely, to an imaging device for use with and communicating with a control unit and a system, method and process of communicating between an imaging device and a control unit.
"Endoscopic surgery is experiencing rapid growth in the medical field. Endoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that is used to analyze the interior of a body cavity or interior surfaces of an organ by inserting a tubular member into the body cavity through a minor or minimal incision. A conventional endoscope is generally an instrument with a light source and an image sensor or device for visualizing the interior a body cavity. A wide range of applications have been developed for the general field of endoscopes including, but not necessarily limited to: arthroscope, angioscope, bronchoscope, choledochoscope, colonoscope, cytoscope, duodenoscope, enteroscope, esophagogastro-duodenoscope (gastroscope), laparoscope, laryngoscope, nasopharyngo-neproscope, sigmoidoscope, thoracoscope, and utererscope (hereinafter referred to generally as 'endoscope'). The advantages of endoscopy include smaller surgical incisions and less soft tissue damage. As a result, there is significantly less discomfort and pain for the patient as well as a decrease in recovery time.
"The advantages of minimally invasive surgery performed with the help of an endoscope are well known and understood in the medical field. As a result, there have been a growing number of devices for use with endoscopes for delivering, for example, diagnostic, monitoring, treatment, operating instruments, tools, and accessories (collectively, 'tools') into the observation field and working space of the physician's endoscope.
"As part of forming an image of the surgical site, the endoscope includes a light source and an image sensor. Endoscopes may also incorporate more than one tubular member for observation or operation within the body, such as a working channel for passing diagnostic, monitoring, treatment, or surgical tools through the endoscope. Endoscopes include glass lenses and an adjustable ocular or eye piece, a lateral connection for a light conductor, an adaptor that allows focusing, and a camera head. This configuration is also called a video endoscope.
"It is axiomatic that strict sterilization of the operating room and surgical equipment is required during any surgery. The strict hygiene and sterilization conditions required in a 'surgical theater,' i.e., operating or treatment room, necessitate the highest possible sterility of all medical devices and equipment. Part of that sterilization process is the need to sterilize anything that comes in contact with the patient, including the endoscope and its attachments and components. In recent years there has been a trend of providing a single use endoscope and components as a packaged, sterilized product, similar to a package containing a surgical implant, such as a knee or hip implant. In terms of endoscopy, instead of using endoscopes that have been reconditioned for each new surgery through traditional sterilization procedures, it means using a single use endoscope and components that are delivered to the hospital in a sterilized package. Due to this trend, it has become increasingly difficult to ensure that each endoscope and its components are properly cared for, used and sterilized for single use and not simply re-sterilized using traditional sterilization procedures.
"Traditional drawbacks or problems of video endoscopes include a lack of image quality, the need for sterilization and high manufacturing cost. To address these and potentially other problems, the disclosure utilizes unique imaging devices or sensors in addition to a unique method, system and process for providing and reclaiming single use imaging devices.
"The features and advantages of the disclosure will be set forth in the description that follows, and in part will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by the practice of the disclosure without undue experimentation. The features and advantages of the disclosure may be realized and obtained by means of the instruments and combinations particularly pointed out herein."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "An embodiment may comprise a single use camera used for general purpose surgical procedures including, but not limited to: arthroscopic, laparoscopic, gynecologic, and urologic. An embodiment may comprise an imaging device that is a sterile and designed to ensure single use. An embodiment may be an imaging device that comprises a single imaging sensor, either CCD (charge coupled device) or CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor), encased in a molded plastic housing. The imaging device may further comprise the means to be attached to an optical coupling device, using C-Mount and CS-Mount threads or another proprietary or unique connection method. It is within the disclosure to include integrated optical systems, such that no specific coupling means is required. The imaging device may further comprise a cable or wireless method to transmit data to and from a camera control unit.
"In an embodiment, information will be recorded in the memory of the imaging device each time it is used in a procedure or quality control (QC) checked at the manufacturer. This information may be used to evaluate usage time, expiration date, etc. An embodiment may comprise features to ensure that the imaging device is only used once and that the imaging device is safe for use. In an embodiment the imaging device may be fully covered in plastic with a neutral sensor heat sink exposed to ensure the camera head meets cardiac floating (CF) and body floating (BF) ISO standards. An embodiment may comprise an imaging device that may be stamped with the current time when plugged into a console in the field after a quality control check has been performed. This time may be used as a baseline for usage. If the imaging device is powered off for a predetermined period of time, which may be equivalent to a sterilization cycle, then the imaging device will not function. The imaging device may display an onscreen message telling the user that the camera has already been used and will not allow current operation. These features ensure the imaging device will not be used more than one time per sterilization cycle and further ensures that proper sterilization is performed by the manufacturer or other authorized source. This function is to protect the patient and the doctor from an invalid or unsafe use.
"In an embodiment of an active imaging device may be attached to a control unit. The control unit will check the last sterilization date and ensure that the imaging device is no older than a predetermined safety date. If the imaging device is older than the required date, an onscreen warning will tell the user that the imaging device has expired and is unsafe for use. These features will protect the patient and the doctor from using a non-sterile imaging device.
"In an embodiment a security code or some other means of identifying, and validating for use, an imaging device by a control unit maybe provided in order to verify that the imaging device is authorized for use. A validating security code or procedure of validation may be distributed to control units from a central database over the internet, by direct transfer from portable storage device such as USB device containing memory, another computer, or other storage device."
For additional information on this patent, see:
Keywords for this news article include: Surgery, Treatment, Medical Devices,
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