Title:
Device for cleaning a cautery tip of an electrosurgical unit
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a device for cleaning cautery tips of electrosurgical units. Briefly described, the device includes a central porous pad having top and bottom surfaces that are substantially parallel and a portion of plastic mesh disposed on the top surface.



Inventors:
Martin, Wallace F. (Lawrenceville, GA, US)
Application Number:
10/011788
Publication Date:
06/12/2003
Filing Date:
12/07/2001
Assignee:
MARTIN WALLACE F.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/229.11, 15/244.3, 15/218.1
International Classes:
A61B19/00; (IPC1-7): A47L25/00
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Primary Examiner:
KARLS, SHAY LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THOMAS | HORSTEMEYER, LLP (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:
1. A device for cleaning cautery tips of electrosurgical units, comprising: a central porous pad having a top surface and a bottom surface, said top and bottom surfaces being substantially parallel; and a portion of plastic mesh disposed on said top surface.

2. The device of claim 1, further comprising an adhesive means disposed on said bottom surface for attaching said device to a support surface.

3. The device of claim 1, further comprising a portion of abrasive material disposed on said top surface.

4. The device of claim 2, wherein said adhesive means further comprises a double-sided tape.

5. The device of claim 1, wherein said portion of plastic mesh covers said top surface.

6. The device of claim 3, wherein said portion of plastic mesh covers a first half of said top surface and said portion of abrasive material covers a second half of said top surface.

7. The device of claim 1, wherein said top and bottom surfaces are rectangular.

8. The device of claim 1, wherein said plastic mesh further comprises prolene.

9. The device of claim 1, wherein said plastic mesh further comprises marlex.

10. A device for cleaning cautery tips of electrosurgical units, comprising: a central porous pad having a top surface and a bottom surface, said top and bottom surfaces being both substantially parallel; an abrasive surface disposed on said top surface; and a mesh surface fixedly disposed on said abrasive surface.

11. The device of claim 10, further comprising an adhesive means disposed on said bottom surface for attaching said device to a support surface.

12. The device of claim 10, wherein said mesh surface is comprised of plastic.

13. The device of claim I 0, wherein said mesh surface covers said abrasive surface.

14. The device of claim 10, wherein said mesh surface covers a portion of said abrasive surface.

15. The device of claim 10, wherein said mesh surface is fixedly disposed on said abrasive surface by a adhesive.

16. The device of claim 10, wherein said mesh surface is comprised of prolene.

17. The device of claim 10, wherein said mesh surface is comprised of marlex.

18. The device of claim 11, wherein said adhesive means includes an adhesive tape having a peel away surface to protect said adhesive tape.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to cleaning medical devices. More particularly, the present invention relates to a device for cleaning cautery tips used with electrosurgical units.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Electrosurgical units are commonly used in surgery for making and cauterizing incisions and wounds. These electrosurgical units typically have a flat blade or needle-shaped cautery tip, depending on the size of the incision or amount of cauterization that is required.

[0003] During use of the electrosurgical unit, coagulated blood, small bits of flesh and other debris tend to build up on the cautery tip. As the coagulum builds up on the cautery tip, the effectiveness of the electrosurgical unit is degraded and the surgeon's view of both the cautery tip and the surrounding area are obscured. As such, it becomes necessary for the coagulum to be removed from the cautery tip. Typically, the surgeon achieves this by repeatedly wiping the cautery tip on a piece of sandpaper-like material, that is quite frequently attached to the patient's surgical drape.

[0004] This method is somewhat satisfactory with tips comprised of steel or other metals. However, in an attempt to prevent the build up of coagulum during use, cautery tips have been introduced that include a protective non-stick coating, such as Teflon®. By so coating the cautery tips, the overall build up of coagulum is lessened and the need to clean the cautery tip is less frequently required. However, even with a non-stick coating, the cautery tip will eventually require cleaning. It has been found that the sandpaper-like material typically used to clean metal cautery tips destroys the protective coating, which markedly reduces the effectiveness of the cautery tip. Other types of cautery tips including protective plastic sheaths are also frequently used with electrosurgical units. The protective plastic sheaths extend from the base of the cautery tip toward its front end, and limit the extent to which the cautery tip is exposed allowing precise use of the tip without inadvertent injury to the surrounding tissue. The sandpaper-like material has also been known to damage these plastic protective sheaths when attempting to clean the cautery tips.

[0005] Thus, a heretofore unaddressed need exists to address the aforementioned deficiencies and inadequacies.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention provides a device for cleaning cautery tips of electrosurgical units. Briefly described, the device includes a central porous pad having top and bottom surfaces that are substantially parallel and may include a portion of plastic mesh and/or an abrasive material disposed on the top surface.

[0007] These and other objects and advantages of the details of construction will become apparent upon reading the following description of the illustrative embodiment describing the principles of the present invention with reference to the attached drawings wherein like reference numerals have been used to refer to like parts throughout the several figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a cautery tip cleaning device of the present invention.

[0009] FIGS. 2A and 2B are top plan views of the cautery tip cleaning device as shown in FIG. 1, showing alternative configurations of the mesh surface.

[0010] FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the cautery tip cleaning device as shown in FIG. 1, taken along line 3-3, being used to clean a cautery tip.

[0011] FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the cautery tip cleaning device shown in FIG. 1, shown without an abrasive surface.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0012] Referring now to FIG. 1, a cautery tip cleaner 10 of the present invention is shown. Ideally, the cautery tip cleaner 10 comprises a central pad 12, an optional abrasive surface 14, an adhesive surface 16, and a mesh surface 18.

[0013] The central pad 12 is preferably constructed from a compressible, resilient material, such as foam rubber, sponge, neoprene, etc. Using a compressible, resilient material improves the efficiency with which the cautery tip 20 (FIG. 3) is cleaned, as is described below. The central pad 12 is adapted for mounting the cautery tip cleaner 10 to a surface within reach of the surgeon. As such, an adhesive means 16 is disposed on the bottom surface 15 of the central pad 12. Ideally, the adhesive means 16 allows the cautery tip cleaner 10 to be adhesively attached to both fabric surfaces (i.e., a surgical drape, patient's garment) and solid surfaces (i.e., surgical trays, operating table). Although any number of adhesive substances would be suitable for this purpose, a tape strip including a removable protective coating has been found to be convenient. The tape strip can be either single-sided or double-sided. Note, however, the cautery tip cleaner 10 need not include the adhesive means 16 since the cautery tip cleaner 10 can be attached to a fabric or other surface using a mechanical fastening device, such as a safety pin; hook and loop fastener; etc.

[0014] A preferred embodiment of the cautery tip cleaner 10 includes an abrasive surface 14 attached to the top surface 17 of the central pad 10. The abrasive surface 14 may be attached by gluing, stitching, etc. The abrasive surface 14 assists in removing coagulum and other debris from metal cautery tips. A mesh surface 18 is attached to the abrasive surface 14 to assist in cleaning all types of cautery tips, especially those that include a protective coating, such as Teflon®, to prevent the build up of coagulum, or which include plastic protective sheaths that prevent the cautery tip from inadvertently injuring the surrounding tissue. The mesh surface 18 is constructed of materials such as plastic (prolene, marlex, etc.), nylon, polymers, etc. These materials allow cautery tips to be cleaned without damaging the non-stick coatings or protective sheaths. In the preferred embodiment of the cautery tip cleaner 10, the mesh surface 18 is attached to the abrasive surface 14 by gluing, although various other means are acceptable, such as stitching. In a preferred embodiment, the mesh surface 18 has the appearance of expanded metal, including wide interstices for both scraping and trapping coagulum from the cautery tips. The abrasive surface 14 is not required in all embodiments of the present invention. In those embodiments where an abrasive surface 14 is not included, the mesh surface 18 is attached directly to the central pad 12 as shown in FIG. 4.

[0015] It may be desirable to have the mesh surface 18 cover only a portion of the abrasive surface 14. This is particularly true when both metal and either Teflon® coated or protective sheath cautery tips are to be used concurrently during surgery. FIGS. 2A and 2B show embodiments of the present invention wherein the mesh surface 18 covers a portion of the abrasive surface, representative examples being approximately ½ and ¼ of the abrasive surface 14, respectively.

[0016] As shown in FIG. 3, to clean a cautery tip 20, the user simply applies light downward pressure to the cautery tip 20 as it is drawn across either the mesh surface 18 or the abrasive surface 14. Because a resilient, compressible material is preferably used to construct the central pad 12, as pressure is applied to the cautery tip 20, both the central pad 12 and the mesh surface 18 will conform slightly to the shape and curvature of the cautery tip 20. This provides more efficient cleaning of the cautery tip 20 as it is drawn across the mesh surface 18. As the cautery tip 20 is drawn across the mesh surface 18, coagulum and debris is scraped from the cautery tip 20 and becomes trapped in the wide interstices of the mesh surface 18. Effective cleaning of the cautery tips 20 may also be achieved even when the central pad 12 is not constructed of a resilient, compressible material. Because the cautery tip cleaner 10 is constructed of relatively inexpensive materials, it is simply disposed of after its use during an operation.

[0017] It should be emphasized that the above-described embodiments of the present invention, particularly, any “preferred” embodiments, are merely possible examples of implementations, merely set forth for a clear understanding of the principles of the invention. Many variations and modifications may be made to the above-described embodiment(s) of the invention without departing substantially from the spirit and principles of the invention. All such modifications and variations are intended to be included herein within the scope of this disclosure and the present invention and protected by the following claims.