Title:
Myringotomy drain tube
United States Patent 3871380


Abstract:
A drain tube for inserting into a myringotomy opening in the tympanic membrane of the ear to allow drainage of the middle ear through the external auditory canal. The drain tube includes a hollow body adapted to extend between the middle ear and the external auditory canal to allow drainage therethrough. A head portion is provided on the forward end of the body for inserting through the myringotomy opening to prevent accidental extraction of the drain tube from the middle ear. The head portion is collapsible for allowing it to be inserted and extracted through the myringotomy opening without enlarging the myringotomy opening.



Inventors:
HEROS RICARDO J
Application Number:
05/421144
Publication Date:
03/18/1975
Filing Date:
12/03/1973
Assignee:
RICHARDS MANUFACTURING COMPANY
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A61F11/00; (IPC1-7): A61M27/00
Field of Search:
128/151,152,329,343,348,349,350,351,2Z,305 3
View Patent Images:



Other References:

Richards Manufacturing Company Catalogue, 1966, p. 1, Form 04966..
Primary Examiner:
Gaudet, Richard A.
Assistant Examiner:
Opitz, Rick
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Walker III, John R.
Claims:
I claim

1. A drain tube for inserting into a myringotomy opening in a patient's tympanic membrane to allow drainage of the patient's middle ear through his external auditory canal, said drain tube comprising:

2. The drain tube of claim 1 in which the cross-sectional thickness of the wall of said conical shaped flange portion is less than the cross-sectional thickness of the wall of said hollow body for aid in making said head means collapsible.

3. The drain tube of claim 1 in which is included stop means fixedly attached to the rearward end of said hollow body for preventing migration of said drain tube into the middle ear.

4. The drain tube of claim 3 in which said stop means includes a rearwardly directed tab portion for aid in inserting and extracting said drain tube.

5. The drain tube of claim 4 in which said hollow body, said head means, and said stop means are integrally constructed of a silicone elastomer.

6. A drain tube for inserting into a myringotomy opening in a patient's tympanic membrane to allow drainage of the patient's middle ear through his external auditory canal, said drain tube comprising:

7. The drain tube of claim 6 in which the cross-sectional thickness of the wall of said conical-shaped flange portion is less than the cross-sectional thickness of the wall of said hollow body for aid in making said conical-shaped flange portion collasible.

8. The drain tube of claim 6 in which said stop means includes a rearwardly directed tab portion for aid in inserting and extracting said drain tube.

9. The drain tube of claim 8 in which said hollow body, said head means, and said stop means are integrally constructed of a silicone elastomer.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to drain tubes which are placed in incisions in the tympanic membrane of the ear.

2. Description of the Prior Art

The following U.S. Pat. Nos. are known to relate generally to the present invention: Majoros, 3,530,860 and Capote, 3,645,268. The '860 reference discloses drain tubes 22,90. The '268 reference discloses a drain tube 10. Neither of the above patents disclose or suggest the present invention.

The use of hollow tubing to maintain a myringotomy opening in the tympanic membrane of the ear for allowing drainage or ventilation therethrough as a treatment for serious otitis or the like is well known to those skilled in the art. These prior drain tubes have been either a straight tube, a straight tube with a flange on one end, a straight tube with a flange on one end and a split second end, or a straight tube with flanges on both ends. However, all prior drain tubes have been disadvantageous. Drain tubes without flanges on either end, although being easy to insert into the myringotomy opening, are disadvantageous because of the possibility of the drain tube being accidentally extracted from the tympanic membranes On the other hand, while drain tubes having flanges on one or both ends overcome to a great extent the possiblity of the drain tube being accidentally extracted from the tympanic membrane, they are disadvantageous in that they are difficult to insert into and extract from the myringotomy openings and tend to enlarge the myringotomy openings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed towards overcoming the problems and disadvantages in previous myringotomy drain tubes. The concept of the present invention is to provide a drain tube having a hollow body for extending between the middle ear and the external auditory canal through the myringotomy opening to allow the middle ear to drain or ventilate therethrough and having collapsible head means fixedly attached to the forward end of the body for inserting through the myringotomy opening to prevent accidental extraction of the drain tube from the middle ear and for allowing insertion and extraction thereof through the myringotomy opening without enlarging the myringotomy opening.

The collapsible head means includes a conical-shaped flange portion. The conical-shaped flange portion is normally rearwardly directed for allowing easy insertion of the head means through the myringotomy opening. However, the conical-shaped flange portion is reversible to a forwardly directed position when extracted through the myringotomy opening for allowing easy extraction therethrough.

Brief Description of the Drawings

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the drain tube of the present invention shown in use in a patient's ear.

FIG. 2 is a bottom view of the drain tube of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is an end view of the drain tube of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a sectional view of a portion of the drain tube of the present invention showing the conical-shaped flange portion in the rearwardly directed position in solid lines and in the collapsed, rearwardly directed position in phantom lines.

FIG. 5 is a section view of a portion of the drain tube of the present invention similar to FIG. 4 but showing the conical-shaped flange portion in the forwardly directed position in solid lines and in the collapsed, forwardly directed position in phantom lines.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The drain or ventilation tube 11 of the present invention is for inserting into a myringotomy opening 13 in the tympanic membrane 15 of a patient's ear to allow drainage and/or ventilation of the middle ear 17 through the external auditory canal 19. The drain tube 11 prevents the myringotomy opening 13 from closing and aids in the drainage and ventilation therethrough.

In general, the drain tube 11 of the present invention comprises a body 21, a head means 23, and a stop means 25. The body 21 includes a forward end 27 for inserting through the tympanic membrane 15 into the middle ear 17 and includes a rearward end 29 for remaining in the external auditory canal 19 (see FIG. 1). The body 21 includes an aperture 31 extending between the forward end 27 and the rearward end 29 to allow the middle ear 17 to drain and ventilate therethrough.

The head means 23 is fixedly attached to the forward end 27 of the body 21 for inserting through the myringotomy opening 13 to prevent accidental extraction of the drain tube 11 from the middle ear 17. More specifically, the head means 23 includes a conical-shaped flange portion 33 being normally directed towards the rearward end 29 of the body 21 (see FIG. 4) to allow easy insertion through the myringotomy opening 13. However, the conical-shaped flange portion 33 is reversible to a forwardly directed position away from the rearward end 29 of the body 21 (see FIG. 5) when extracted through the myringotomy opening 13 for allowing easy extraction therethrough. The conical-shaped flange portion 33 is collapsible to a low profile position (see the phantom line showings in FIGS. 4 and 5) for allowing insertion and extraction through the myringotomy opening 13 without enlarging the myringotomy opening 13 and has substantial elastic recovery for returning to a high profile position after insertion through the myringotomy opening 13 to prevent accidental extraction therefrom. Preferably, the cross-sectional thickness of the wall of the conical-shaped flange portion 33 is less than the cross-sectional thickness of the wall of the body 21 to aid in making the conical-shape flange portion 33 collapsible and reversible.

The stop means 25 includes a flange portion 35 fixedly attached to the rearward end 29 of the body 21 to prevent migration of the drain tube 11 into the middle ear 17. More specifically, if the drain tube 11 does start to migrate into the middle ear 17 the flange portion 35 of the stop means 25 contacts the tympanic membrane 15 around the myringotomy opening 13 to prevent further migration thereof. The stop means 25 preferably includes a rearwardly directed tab portion 37 for aid in inserting and extracting the drain tube from the myringotomy opening 13.

Preferably, the body 21, head means 23, and stop means 25 are integrally constructed of a silicone elastomer. The silicone elastomer provides the drain tube 11 with the substantial elastic recovery to allow the conical-shaped flange portion 33 to return to the high profile position after being compressed to the low profile position for allowing insertion and extraction through the myringotomy opening 13.

The insertion of the drain tube 11 is quite simple. After the myringotomy opening 13 is made in the tympanic membrane 15 by means well known to those skilled in the art, the drain tube 11 is picked up preferably by means of small alligator forceps or the like grasping the rearwardly directed tab 37. Next, the head means 23 is inserted through the myringotomy opening 13. It should be understood that the head means 23 collapses to the low profile position as it is inserted through the myringotomy opening 13 and returns to the high profile position after it is inserted through the myringotomy opening 13 to prevent accidental extraction therefrom. Thus, the drain tube 11 allows drainage and ventilation of the patient's middle ear 17 past his tympanic membrane 15 through the aperture 31 and into his external auditory canal 19. After sufficient drainage has taken place, the drain tube 11 can be removed by simply grasping the rearwardly directed tab 37 with the forceps and extracting the head means 23 through the myringotomy opening 13. It should be understood that when the head means 23 is extracted through the myringotomy opening 13, it is reversed to the forwardly directed position and is collapsed to the low profile position for allowing extraction through the myringotomy opening 13 without enlarging the myringotomy opening 13 to insure quick healing of the myringotomy opening 13.

Although the invention has been described and illustrated with respect to a preferred embodiment thereof, it is not to be so limited since changes and modifications may be made therein which are within the full intended scope of the invention.