Surgical blade abstract
A device for removing a surgical blade from a scalpel handle includes
a housing having an aperture. A surgical blade attached to a boss
of the handle is inserted into the aperture. The boss is pressed
downward into a narrow notch in the wall surrounding the aperture
so that the edges of the notch engage the shank of the blade, preventing
it from being moved into the notch with the boss and separating
the shank of the blade from the rear portion of the boss. Two spring
loaded pinch members extend from within the aperture so that they
can be pinched together by the fingers of a user and engage the
opposed edges of the blade, preventing it from moving as the handle
is pulled away from the blade, causing the boss to become disengaged
from the blade and withdrawn from an elongated hole in the shank
of the blade. When the pinch members are released, the blade falls
to the bottom of the interior of the housing, which serves as a
Surgical blade claims
1. A device for removing surgical blades from a handle, said handle
including a narrow-blade-engaging boss, the boss having a groove
portion for engaging a narrowed forward portion of a boss-engaging
aperture of said blade, said boss-engaging aperture also having
a widened rear portion, said blade having a shank with two opposed
edges, said device comprising in combination:
(a) a housing, said housing having therein an aperture for receiving
said blade and a portion of said boss when said blade is attached
to said boss;
(b) a boss receiving notch for receiving a portion of the boss,
and first and second shoulders adjacent to said boss receiving notch
for engaging said shank of said blade to cause separation of a rear
portion of said shank for said boss as a portion of said boss is
forced into said boss-receiving notch; and
(c) blade gripping means attached to said housing adjacent to said
boss receiving notch for gripping said opposed side edges of said
shank to retain said blade in place while said handle is disengaged
from said blade by pulling said handle away from said blade while
said separation of said rear portion of said shank from said boss
is maintained, said blade gripping means being manually actuable
to grip said opposed side edges of said blade and manually releasable
to disengage said opposed side edges of said blade to thereby release
said blade after said handle has been removed from said blade, said
blade gripping means being located so that the released blade falls
into the interior of said housing, said blade gripping means including
first and second post elements which can be manually urged together
to engage said opposed side edges of said shank to thereby grip
said shank, said first and second post elements being connected
to means for elastically biasing said first and second post elements
2. The device of claim 1 wherein said blade gripping means is attached
to said housing within said housing, a respective portion of each
of said post elements extending through said aperture of said housing.
3. The device of claim 2 wherein said boss receiving notch is disposed
in a wall of said housing adjacent to said aperture of said housing,
said boss receiving notch being sufficiently wide to receive said
boss but not sufficiently wide to receive said shank of said blade
when said blade is attached to said boss.
4. The device of claim 3 wherein said first and second post members
have upper portions extending through said aperture of said housing,
said first and second posts engaging said opposed side edges of
said shank when said upper portions of said first and second posts
members are squeezed toward each other.
5. The device of claim 4 wherein an upper portion of each of said
first and second post members is composed of resilient plastic material
to improve engagement with said opposed edges of said shank.
6. The device of claim 4 including a separator element attached
to said housing and extending between the lower portions of said
first and second post members and elastic means connected between
the lower portions of said first and second post means beneath said
separator means to elastically bias the lower portion of said blade
engaging means to tend to maintain the upper portions of said first
and second post members apart.
7. The device of claim 4 wherein said housing is composed of plastic.
8. The device of claim 7 wherein said housing is rectangular, and
has first and second portions and means for hingeably connecting
said first and second portions toallow opening of said housing to
facilitate emptying of used blades therefrom.
9. The device of claim 8 wherein said hinge means includes a label
adhesively attached to the top of said housing.
Surgical blade description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention: p The invention relates to devices for
safely removing surgical blades from scalpel handles.
2. Description of the Prior Art:
The typical commercially available surgical blade has a sharpened
tip and cutting edge and a shank extending to the rear portion of
the blade. An elongated aperture in the shank receives a mating
elongated boss on the forward tip portion of a scalpel handle. The
aperture of the blade has a widened rear portion and a narrow forward
portion to facilitate engagement of an undercut groove portion of
the boss with the narrow portion of the blade aperture after insertion
of the boss into the widened rear portion of the aperture. When
the boss is completely inserted within the blade aperture, the rear
edge of the aperture snaps over the rear portion of the boss, locking
the blade to the handle. To remove the blade from the handle, the
rear edge of the blade must be lifted away from the boss to allow
the handle to be drawn away from the blade so that the undercut
portion of the boss becomes disengaged from the narrow portion of
the blade aperture.
Hand removal of surgical blades from scalpel handles is time consuming
and unsafe. Numerous devices have been proposed to accomplish rapid
and safe removal of surgical blades from scalpel handles and for
providing convenient receptacles for storing used blades. However,
all of the known devices for removing surgical blades require an
undue amount of effort, care, and concentration by the user, so
the unsafe practice of removing surgical blades from handles by
hand continues to be used. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4106620
discloses, in FIGS. 6A and 6B, the use of a device including an
internally mounted notched retaining device. The surgical blade
and the boss portion of the handle are inserted into the device
through a small hole. The handle is manipulated so that the rear
end of the blade slips beneath outwardly projecting ears of the
retaining device. The handle then is manipulated to lift the rear
portion of the boss from the rear portion of the blade aperture
and withdraw the boss from the blade aperture. A great deal of difficulty
is experienced in slipping the rear portion of the blade beneath
the ears of the retaining element because the rear edge of a common
surgical blade abuts a widened portion of the handle. Therefore,
the device of U.S. Pat. No. 4106620 is generally unsatisfactory.
An undue amount of care and attention also is required by a user
to effectively and safely use the blade removing devices shown in
U.S. Pat. Nos. 4120397; 4180162 and 4168777. The device shown
in U.S. Pat. No. 4168777 requires that the scalpel handle be precisely
aligned with the body of the blade removing/receiving device to
ensure that the edge of the shank of the scalpel blade properly
engages a flange which retains the blade as the scalpel handle is
withdrawn. In the device of U.S. Pat. No. 4120396 the scalpel
blade must be carefully aligned with the body of the blade removing/receiving
device as the blade is inserted therein, and the orientation of
the handle relative to the body of the blade removing/receiving
device must be precisely varied and at the same time a member having
extensions for separating the shank of the blade from the blade
engaging boss must be depressed in order to cause the shank of the
blade to engage a retaining member as the handle is withdrawn. In
the device of U.S. Pat. No. 4180162 the scalpel must be deployed
to insert the blade into the blade removing/receiving device until
the tip of the blade is engaged between an internal boss and a rounded
internal corner; then the handle is moved to the right so that the
shank of the blade engages an internal blade disengaging projection
which causes the rear edge of the shank to engage a retaining member
as the scalpel handle is withdrawn. None of the above-mentioned
surgical blade removing/receptacle devices have found widespread
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Briefly described, and in accordance with one embodiment thereof,
the invention provides a blade remover-receptacle device for easily,
safely, and conveniently removing surgical blades having a boss
engaging aperture therein from a blade engaging boss of a scalpel
handle. In the described embodiment of the invention, the remover-receptacle
includes a housing having a narrow slot. A pair of pinch members
extend through the slot and are spring-loaded to be spaced apart
on either side of a narrow boss-receiving notch in a wall of the
housing surrounding the aperture. The pinch members extend beyond
the aperture to allow them to be gripped and pressed toward each
other. In use, the blade and part of the boss of a scalpel are inserted
into the slot, so that most of the blade is in the interior of the
housing, and a portion of the boss is positioned in the narrow boss-receiving
notch. As the handle is deployed to force the boss further into
the notch, the edges of the notch exclude or prevent the shank of
the blade from entering the notch, thereby causing the rear portion
of the shank to become separated from the rear portion of the boss.
The pinch members are squeezed toward each other to engage the opposed
edges of the shank of the blade, preventing movement of the blade.
The handle then is drawn away from the housing, causing the boss
to become disengaged from the blade. When the pinch members are
released, the blade falls to the bottom of the interior of the housing,
which serves as a receptacle for used blades. In the described embodiment
of the invention, a portion of the housing is hingeably connected
to the remainder of the housing to allow emptying of the blades
from the interior of the housing. In the described embodiment of
the invention, the pinch members each include a length of wood dowel
capped by a vinyl cap that extends through the slot in the housing.
The pinch members are separated in the housing by a separator member
attached to the interior of the housing. An elastic band tends to
pull the lower end portions of the respective pinch members together
beneath the separator member to cause the upper portions of the
pinch members to be spaced apart.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating use of the blade remover-receptacle
of the present invention. FIG. 2 is a partial cutaway section view
of the blade remover-receptacle shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a partial section view taken along section line 3--3
of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a top view of the blade remover-receptacle of FIG. 1.
FIG. 5 is a partial top view drawing useful in explaining the operation
of the blade remover-receptacle.
FIG. 6 is a partial section view similar to FIG. 3 and is useful
in explaining the operation of the invention.
FIG. 7 is a partial section view taken along section line 7--7
of FIG. 6.
FIG. 8 is a drawing illustrating the details of a surgical blade
and a blade engaging boss of a scalpel handle.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows the surgical blade
remover-dispenser 1 being utilized to remove a surgical blade 5
from a scalpel handle 3. Remover-dispenser 1 includes a housing
having a side wall 9A, a front wall 9B, a rear wall 9D (FIG. 3),
a top 9C and a side wall 9E.
A rectangular aperture or slot 7 in the top front portion of remover-dispenser
is bounded by the upper edges of walls 9A, 9B and 9E and is also
bounded by an edge of top 9C. A narrow, elongated boss-receiving
notch 21 is centrally disposed in the upper edge of front wall 9B.
A pair of pinch members 15 extend from within the housing of remover-receptacle
1 on either side of notch 21 through a sufficient distance to enable
the fingers of a user to engage pinch members 15 and squeeze them
together to engage the opposite edges of the shank of a surgical
blade 5 as shown in FIG. 1 and more fully explained hereinafter.
Pinch members 15 each include a post 15B and a sleeve or cap 15A.
In the described embodiment of the invention, posts 15B are composed
of sections of wooden dowel, and caps 15A are composed of vinyl.
The lower portions of posts 15 are positioned on either side of
a cylindrical separator member 23B. Cylindrical separator 23B is
part of a metal device 23 having a horizontal portion 23C attached
to the bottom of the interior of the housing or remover-separator
1 and a vertical portion 23A attached to horizontal portion 23C.
Cylindrical separator 23B is attached to the upper portion of vertical
member 23A and extends horizontally from vertical member 23A between
the lower portions of posts 15B. An elastic band 17 is resiliently
stretched to engage grooves 15C disposed at the lower end portions
of each of posts 15B, thereby providing a spring-loading or bias
which maintains the upper portion of pinch members 15 spaced apart,
as shown in FIG. 3 by urging the lower end portions of posts 15B
together, as also shown in FIG. 3. When caps 15A are squeezed together,
the presence of separator 23B causes elastic band 17 to be stretched,
as shown in FIG. 3.
As best seen in FIGS. 2 and 4 the housing of surgical blade remover-receptacle
1 includes a front portion 1' and a rear portion 1" that is
hingeably connected along its top surface 9C by means of a hinge
13. Arrow 19 in FIG. 2 illustrates how rear portion 1" can
be opened, allowing surgical blades which have been removed and
stored in the housing can be emptied out of the housing. In one
embodiment of the invention, the entire housing is composed of plastic,
and hinge 13 is simply a flexible label that is adhesively attached
to top surface 9C and extends on either side of joint 11 between
sections 1' and 1". As shown in FIG. 2 the joining portions
of front section 1' and rear section 1" include overlapping
portions 20 and 22 that fit together closely and overlap when the
housing is closed.
Use of the remover-receptacle 1 will be best explained after the
structure of a typical surgical blade 5 and a scalpel handle 3 are
understood precisely. Referring to FIG. 8 surgical blade 5 has
a cutting edge 5D, a top edge 5E, and a shank 5A, a boss-engaging
aperture 5' including a narrow front portion 5C and a wide and rear
portion 5B. Scalpel handle 3 includes a blade-engaging boss 3A that
includes an undercut groove 3B, indicated by dotted lines, that
extends from a point 3C on either side of boss 3A along the sides
and leading tip of boss 3A. When blade 5 is properly attached to
scalpel handle 3 boss 3A is inserted into the widened rear portion
5B of aperture 5', and the narrow forward portion 5C of aperture
5' slides into the groove 3B. A rear edge 3E of boss 3A snaps through
the rear portion of enlarged portion 5B of aperture 5' when boss
3A has slid as far forward as possible in narrow portion 5C of aperture
To remove blade 5 from handle 3 the user first inserts the leading
tip of blade 5 into rectangular opening 7 as indicated in FIG.
5 so that the forward portion of blade 5 indicated by dotted lines
5" in FIG. 5 extends beneath top 9C of the housing. The narrow
boss 3A is pushed downward into boss receiving notch 21 by pushing
handle 3 downward in a direction indicated by arrow 12 in FIGS.
1 and 7. Boss 3A then is separated from the shank 5A of blade 5
because the shank 5A is wider than notch 21. This separator in FIG.
The user then can use a thumb and index finger to engage the caps
15A of pinch members 15 and squeeze them together, as indicated
in FIG. 1 by arrows 16 so that pinch members 15 engage edges 5D
and 5E of blade 5 preventing it from moving. The user then pulls
scalpel handle 3 away from remover-receptacle 1 in the direction
indicated by arrow 14 in FIG. 1. Boss 3A then moves clear of the
rear edge of blade aperture 5', and groove 3B becomes disengaged
from narrowed aperture portion 5C of blade 5 as the handle is removed.
The user then simply releases pinch members 15 and blade 5 drops
to the bottom of the interior of retainer-receptacle 1. When a sufficient
number of used blades have been removed and released in the manner
described above, rear portion 1" can be opened to empty the
The vinyl caps 15A can engage the opposite edges of the shank 5A
of blade 5 as indicated in FIG. 6 in which case the resilient
material of which caps 15A are composed, yields somewhat to accomplish
effective gripping of the edges of the shanks 5A of blade 5. However,
effective operation also will result if caps 15A are shorter so
that posts 15B engage the opposite edges of shank 5A.
The described device is very economical to manufacture, since the
housing can be implemented by means of a Model 531 standard plastic
box made by AMAC Plastic Products Corporation, of Sausilito, Calif.
The box can be easily modified to provide aperture 7 install retaining
element 23 and provide boss engaging notch 21 and hinge label 13.
While the invention has been described with reference to a particular
embodiment thereof, those skiller in the art will be able to provide
numerous other box configurations and pincher element configurations
which manipulate to grip opposed edges of the shank of the surgical
blade without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention.
For example, a pinch mechanism could be mounted adjacent to the
outer surface of wall 9B instead of the inner wall, and slot 7 could
be made substantially narrower than indicated in the drawings. Furthermore,
the pinch members 15 could be modified such that they are entirely
internal to the housing, and the button-like mechanism on the adjacent
opposed sides of the housing could be provided, although at additional
expense, to urge the pinch members together to engage the shank
of the blade by squeezing the adjacent opposed sides of the housing
toward each other.