News Column

Patent Issued for Adjustable Foot Pedal Control for Ophthalmic Surgery

June 25, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- Abbott Medical Optics Inc. (Santa Ana, CA) has been issued patent number 8749188, according to news reporting originating out of Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews editors.

The patent's inventors are Tran, Tuan (Tom) M. (Stanton, CA); Gerg, James B. (Lake Forest, CA); De Silva, Praveen (Irvine, CA).

This patent was filed on November 6, 2009 and was published online on June 10, 2014.

From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "Ophthalmic surgical apparatus such as phacoemulsification apparatus typically include operating controls for regulating parameters or functions of the apparatus. Such phacoemulsification apparatus is particularly directed for surgically removing the natural, crystalline lenses from cataractic eyes prior to the insertion of an artificial intraocular lens.

"Such apparatus typically includes a control cabinet, power supply, one or more pumps as well as associated electronic hardware for operating a multifunction handheld surgical implement in order to sonically emulsify eye tissue, irrigate the eye with a saline solution and aspirate the emulsified lens from the eye.

"In view of the handheld instrumentation necessary for a phacoemulsification procedure, foot controls are frequently provided in order to facilitate use of the handpiece by delegating other control functions to the foot pedal device.

"Any number of foot pedal device systems have been utilized which included a variety of pneumatic and electrical actuators to control the ophthalmic surgical apparatus. For instance, improved foot pedal control systems such as that described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,983,901 provide for a virtually unlimited number of control variations and modes for operating phacoemulsification apparatus. One popular type of foot control is termed a dual-control foot pedal because of the two directions of foot movement to actuate the controls. A treadle (the actual pedal) may be pivoted in a vertical plane, as in a standard car accelerator-type pedal, while also rotated in a horizontal plane or yaw direction. In addition to the dual treadle control, one or more other foot-actuated switches placed close to the treadle are often provided for easy access.

"The foot pedal must be user friendly in order to provide a surgeon comfort and reliability in its use so as not to initiate disruption of the surgeon's concentration when performing surgery. During control of the foot pedal the surgeon's posture is influenced by efforts to prevent losing contact with the foot pedal, which is achieved by keeping one foot flexed above the pedal and loading the body weight on the other foot. This causes a non-ergonomic posture which can lead to physical discomfort, and sometimes mistakes in control of the foot pedal.

"Furthermore, as may be expected, different types of foot pedals are preferred by different surgeons, with some surgeons preferring an accelerator-type pedal in which the sole of the surgeon's foot is utilized for depression, while others desire a pedal engageable by the surgeon's toe in order to depress the pedal. This, of course, leads to the development of a multitude of foot pedal devices of diverse configuration in order to provide the comfort and reliability desired by individual surgeons. For instance, U.S. Pat. No. 6,360,630 to Holtorf discloses a dual position foot pedal rotatably mounted to a base in order to be operated by the toe or sole of a user's foot. However, even with such flexible designs, a change in foot pedals is often required when phacoemulsification apparatus is utilized in sequence by different physicians, which is inconvenient and may require recalibration of the apparatus. In addition, such alternative foot pedals may not be available or even offered by a manufacturer.

"Despite the availability of a number of relatively effective foot pedal designs, there is a need for a more ergonomically flexible foot pedal that enhances surgeon comfort and concentration."

Supplementing the background information on this patent, VerticalNews reporters also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The present application discloses a foot pedal control for a surgical system (e.g., an ophthalmic surgery system) that adjusts to a number of different sizes of users' shoes. The foot pedal control has a treadle on which a user places his or her foot and a sensor that tracks the movements thereof. Adjustable lateral guides mount to the treadle and conform to both sides of the foot. The guides are shaped and positioned to conform to a wide variety of feet or shoes, and may easily be adjusted between users. A retractable heel stop converts between up for reference and down to enhance movement of the user's foot. A convertible handle may be stowed in a down position parallel to a base or pivoted up over the treadle for protection and ease of movement of the foot pedal control. The foot pedal control may be wireless and have various other electronic controls, and may have a dual-control treadle.

"In accordance with one embodiment, a foot pedal control for a surgical system comprises a base, a treadle mounted for rotational yaw movement relative to the base and having a generally planar foot platform, and a sensor that tracks the yaw movements of the treadle and generates an electronic signal therefor. A pair of guides mounted on the treadle flank and extend upward from the foot platform, wherein at least one of the guides is movable to adjust the lateral spacing therebetween and accommodate variable foot widths on the foot platform therebetween.

"In one embodiment, both of the guides are adjustable, and the guides may be adjustable independent of one another or move in tandem. The guides may each mount to articulate on the treadle with at least two adjustable segments. Preferably, both of the guides are also adjustable in an anterior-posterior direction, however at least one adjustable guide is preferably adjustable in an anterior-posterior direction and translates along an angled slot in the treadle. The angled slot desirably extends from a posterior point outward in an anterior direction at an angle of between about 15.degree. and 45.degree. from the longitudinal axis of the treadle. Further, the guide may be configured to move along the angled slot in a ratcheted fashion so as to have a series of stop positions distinguished by audible and/or tactile clicks.

"The treadle may be a dual-motion treadle also mounted for vertical pivoting movement relative to the base, and the control further includes a sensor that tracks the pivoting movements and generates an electronic signal therefor. In one embodiment, the guides have a rail extending upward to a height generally perpendicular to the foot platform of between about 15 mm (0.6 inches) and 38 mm (1.5 inches). Desirably, the guides are elongated in an anterior-posterior direction and each includes a lip extending toward the other guide and generally parallel to the foot platform, and a rail extending upward from the lip generally perpendicular to the foot platform. The guides may be elongated in an anterior-posterior direction and S-shaped so as to have convex and concave inner faces to conform to different areas of users' feet. In one version, the treadle further includes a heel stop at the posterior end of the foot platform, the heel stop being convertible from a first position extending upward from the foot platform and a second position at or below the level of the foot platform.

"Another aspect of the present application is a system for surgery including a surgery unit having a hand-held operative tip connected to a console. A foot pedal control in electronic communication with the console features a base and a treadle mounted for rotational yaw movement relative to the base and having a generally planar foot platform. The foot pedal control has a built-in sensor that tracks the yaw movements of the treadle and generates an electronic signal for communication to the console and subsequent control of the operative tip. The treadle has a pair of guides mounted thereon flanking and extending upward from the foot platform, wherein at least one of the guides is movable to adjust the lateral spacing therebetween and accommodate variable foot widths on the foot platform therebetween.

"In one embodiment, the surgery unit is for ophthalmic surgery and the operative tip is adapted for insertion into an eye and includes a lumen for aspiration. Variations of the foot pedal control in the surgical system are described above.

"Another system for surgery disclosed herein comprises a surgery unit including an operative tip connected to a console, and a foot pedal control in electronic communication with the console. The foot pedal control has a base with an undercarriage arranged to lie flat on a ground surface, and a treadle mounted for vertical pivoting movement relative to the base. The foot pedal control has a built-in sensor that tracks the pivoting movement of the treadle and generates an electronic signal for communication to the console and subsequent control of the operative tip. A carrying handle connects to the base and converts between at least two positions--a first position above the treadle and generally perpendicular to the undercarriage of the base, and a second position out of the way of the treadle and generally parallel to the undercarriage of the base.

"In one embodiment, the surgery unit is for ophthalmic surgery and the operative tip is adapted for insertion into an eye and includes a lumen for aspiration. Variations of the foot pedal control in the surgical system are described above.

"In one embodiment, the carrying handle is mounted to the base to lock into the two positions. Preferably, the carrying handle has two ends mounted to the base at two pivot points, and each pivot point features an actuator for unlocking the carrying handle for rotation, wherein both actuators must be activated to convert the carrying handle between positions. The carrying handle may mount to the base to pivot about an axis parallel but offset with respect to the plane defined by the undercarriage of the base, wherein in the first position above the treadle and generally perpendicular to the undercarriage of the base the carrying handle defines a curvilinear side strut that is convex in the anterior direction."

For the URL and additional information on this patent, see: Tran, Tuan; Gerg, James B.; De Silva, Praveen. Adjustable Foot Pedal Control for Ophthalmic Surgery. U.S. Patent Number 8749188, filed November 6, 2009, and published online on June 10, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8749188.PN.&OS=PN/8749188RS=PN/8749188

Keywords for this news article include: Abbott Medical Optics Inc.

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Source: Journal of Engineering


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