GB2360944A - Body brace - Google Patents

Body brace Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2360944A
GB2360944A GB0008380A GB0008380A GB2360944A GB 2360944 A GB2360944 A GB 2360944A GB 0008380 A GB0008380 A GB 0008380A GB 0008380 A GB0008380 A GB 0008380A GB 2360944 A GB2360944 A GB 2360944A
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GB
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Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
shell
body brace
brace according
torso
body
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Withdrawn
Application number
GB0008380A
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GB0008380D0 (en )
Inventor
Denise Ann Evans
Original Assignee
Denise Ann Evans
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61FFILTERS IMPLANTABLE INTO BLOOD VESSELS; PROSTHESES; DEVICES PROVIDING PATENCY TO, OR PREVENTING COLLAPSING OF, TUBULAR STRUCTURES OF THE BODY, E.G. STENTS; ORTHOPAEDIC, NURSING OR CONTRACEPTIVE DEVICES; FOMENTATION; TREATMENT OR PROTECTION OF EYES OR EARS; BANDAGES, DRESSINGS OR ABSORBENT PADS; FIRST-AID KITS
    • A61F5/00Orthopaedic methods or devices for non-surgical treatment of bones or joints; Nursing devices; Anti-rape devices
    • A61F5/01Orthopaedic devices, e.g. splints, casts or braces
    • A61F5/30Pressure-pads
    • A61F5/34Pressure pads filled with air or liquid
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61FFILTERS IMPLANTABLE INTO BLOOD VESSELS; PROSTHESES; DEVICES PROVIDING PATENCY TO, OR PREVENTING COLLAPSING OF, TUBULAR STRUCTURES OF THE BODY, E.G. STENTS; ORTHOPAEDIC, NURSING OR CONTRACEPTIVE DEVICES; FOMENTATION; TREATMENT OR PROTECTION OF EYES OR EARS; BANDAGES, DRESSINGS OR ABSORBENT PADS; FIRST-AID KITS
    • A61F5/00Orthopaedic methods or devices for non-surgical treatment of bones or joints; Nursing devices; Anti-rape devices
    • A61F5/01Orthopaedic devices, e.g. splints, casts or braces
    • A61F5/02Orthopaedic corsets
    • A61F5/024Orthopaedic corsets having pressure pads connected in a frame for reduction or correction of the curvature of the spine

Abstract

A body brace comprises a one-piece shell 10 of semi-rigid or substantially flexible material, and at least one inflatable pressure exerting member 20 and 22 retained within said shell. The shell may include expansion windows 26 in the form of a cut-away portion to allow for expansion and movement of the torso. The shell preferably has an extended portion 40 at the top or bottom to provide additional support other than to the torso.

Description

2360944 Body Brace This invention relates to a body brace for providing

support for spinal abnormalities and deformities,such as scoliosis or muscular atrophy.

It is well known in the art to provide a body brace for treatment of patients having certain spinal abnormalities or deformities, such as scoliosis and the like. One such body brace is described in US patent 5474523, and comprises a rigid one-piece shell with a vertically extending split portion so as to allow the shell to be placed around the patient's torso. The shell is moulded to exactly fit the is patient's shape and condition, and is tightened, in use, by means of straps and buckles which span the split portion at the front. However, with this type of body brace, it is necessary to mould and fit a new brace whenever the patient grows slightly or changes shape. This is not only costly and inconvenient, it can also lead to substantial as growth and shape-change cannot always be predicted accurately, so that the patient may continue to use an ill-fitting body brace for a period of time.

discomfort for the patient US patent 455993 describes a corset for use in the treatment of chronic lumbar diseases and difficult sciaticas, comprising two rigid half-shells to be placed around either side of a patient's torso. The half-shells are held together at the back (with a gap between them) by a semi-rigid band which forms a hinge, and at the front by straps. An inflatable pad across the hinge provides lumbar compression as required. The intention is to provide the two half -shells in a small number of standard sizes, and allowing the fitter to set the size of the finished corset by varying the width of the gap at the back.

The devices described in both US patents 5474523 and 4559933 are formed of shells having an outer layer of hard plastic material and an inner layer of compressible material, such as foam, providing a complete brace or corset which is rigid. It will be appreciated that the wearing of a rigid corset or brace for any significant period of time is uncomfortable, and may even cause is substantial pain, which often prevents patients from wearing the devices for the required length of time, thereby reducing their effectiveness.

US patent 5072725 describes a body brace comprising a shell formed of two layers of soft compressible plastic with a plurality of sleeves sandwiched between the two layers.

Once again, the shell has a vertically extending split portion at the front with releasable fasteners across it.

The brace can be customised to meet the specific shape of the intended wearer by bending semi-rigid stays to conform to the shape of the intended wearer, inserting the stays in the sleeves between the inner and outer layers of the shell, and then sealing the sleeves to prevent removal of the seals. This is a time-consuming process which needs to be carried out by a fully trained professional, because any errors might cause discomfort for the patient, and reduce the effectiveness of the brace.

A disadvantage of all of the body braces and corsets described above is that, once the size and general shape of the brace has been set to accommodate a particular patient, it is fixed and cannot easily be changed. This has two main disadvantages, as follows. Firstly, when the patient first starts wearing the brace, he or she is forced to try and become accustomed to the brace in its final form, which exerts substantial pressure on certain parts of the patient's body and can cause increased discomfort during the initial periods of use. Furthermore, the patient may have to endure extended periods of discomfort, or avoid wearing a brace altogether for a period of time, while waiting for a new brace to be fitted to allow for growth or shape change.

I have now devised an arrangement which overcomes all of the problems outlined above.

In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a body brace for providing support for spinal abnormalities or deformities, the brace comprising a one-piece shell of semi-rigid or substantially flexible material shaped to be worn. in use, around a person's torso, and at least one inflatable pressure exerting member retained within said shell for exerting press ure, in use, at a predetermined position of.said person's torso.

Beneficially the shell is of soft plastic material, preferably arranged to form a vertically extending gap, and provided with releasable fastening means, such as straps and buckles, which span the gap, to retain the shell on the person's torso when in use.

For treatment of some conditions, the brace is preferably provided with at least two inflatable pressure exerting members, one each on opposite sides of the shell, which exert pressure on opposite sides of the torso and act to pull the spine towards its correct position. In this case, one of the pressure exerting members is preferably in the lower half of one side of the shell and the other in the upper half of the opposite side of the shell, according to the needs of the person being treated.

The pressure exerting members beneficially comprise seamless, inflatable bladders of any convenient shape or size, preferably formed of soft rubber or the like, and are provided with air inlet means, e.g. a valve. The air inlet means preferably extends through an aperture in an appropriate part of the shell, and is preferably retained in the required position by a circumferential flange provided or formed on the air inlet means. The flange may be integrally formed with the air inlet means, in which case it is preferably compressible for insertion through an aperture in the shell such that the bladder is retained in the required position when the flange is released and returns to its original shape. A removable cover is preferably provided to cover the air inlet means when the latter is not in use.

The brace according to the invention may be provided with at least one expansion window in the form of a cut-away portion in the shell, to provide room for expansion, and movement, of parts of the torso in response to pressure being exerted thereon.

The shell may have an extended portion at the top and/or 10 bottom to provide additional support for, for example, a patient's shoulder, if required.

An exemplary embodiment of the invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 depicts the spinal curvature of a patient suffering from scoliosis and having a right-sided curve to the upper torso; Figure 2 is a rear view of a body brace according to an embodiment of the present invention for a patient having an upper right-handed curve; Figure 3 is a rear view of the body brace of Figure 2 when in use; Figure 4 is a plan view of the body brace of Figure 2 when the inflatable bladders are deflated; and 6- Figure 5 is a cross-sectional view of the bladder and valve arrangement used in the body brace of Figure 2.

Referring to Figure 1 of the drawings, scoliosis causes severe curvature of the spine, which produces a substantial strain on the patient's ribcage at one side, and a corresponding strain on the pelvis on the opposite side of the torso, as indicated by the arrows. On one side, the ribcage becomes convex, or "humped" (30a), and on the other side it becomes concave or "crushed" (3ob).

Referring to Figure 2 of the drawings, a body brace according to an embodiment of the present invention comprises a one-piece shell 10 formed of a relatively soft, semi-rigid or flexible plastic or rubber sheeting. The sheeting wraps around the torso leaving a vertically extending gap portion 12. Releasable fastening straps 14 and buckles 16 are provided across the gap 12 to secure the brace around the patient's torso during use, the straps 14 and the buckles 16 being secured on the outer surface of the shell 10 by means of, for example, rivets 18. The corners of the shell 10 are curved for improved comfort during use.

A first seamless inflatable bladder 20 is provided inside the shell 10 on the upper right-hand side thereof (the bladder 20 would be on the upper left-hand side for a patient with left-handed curve), and a second seamless inflatable bladder 22 is provided inside the shell 10 on t_he lower left-hand side thereof (the bladder 22 would be on the lower right-hand side for a patient with left-handed curve).

Referring to Figures 4 and 5 of the drawings, each inflatable bladder 20, 22 is provided with a respective air inlet aperture 70 and an air inlet valve 72,formed integrally therewith to allow air to either enter or leave the bladders 20, 22. The air inlet valve 72 extends through an aperture 74 in the shell 10 and is formed with a circumferential, preferably compressible, flange 76 to retain the bladders 20, 22 in position within the shell 10. A flexible cover 78, formed of, for example, cotton or leather, is provided which is removably retained over the air inlet valve 72 by a circumferential fixing which co- ls operates with an associated fixing on the outer surface of the shell 10. Such fixing conveniently comprises complementary hook and loop type fasteners.

An expansion window 24 is shown, in the form of a cut-away portion in the shell, to use the pressure from the bladder on the patient's humped ribcage, to allow the crushed ribcage to expand into the correct position. A second expansion window 26 is also provided in the illustrated embodiment, in the opposite side of the shell 10, to use pressure from the bladder on the patient's pelvis which pushes the patient's pelvis into the correct position in the expansion window.

The front portion of the shell 10 may be extended on one or 30 both sides to form a support plate 40 for patients whose shoulder tends to sag or fall forward. The support plate 40 may be provided with an inflatable bladder (not shown).

Referring now to Figure 3 of the drawings, in use, the body brace surrounds a patient's torso 30 and is fastened at the back by means of the straps 14, which may be adjustable, and buckles 16, so that it is a relatively snug fit around the torso. The patient might optionally wear a garment such as a seamless vest or t-shirt for comfort and to keep the inside of the brace clean.

Air, is pumped slowly (for comfort of the patient), but increasingly over time, into the bladders 20, 22, by mouth or by means of a hand pump (not shown) or any other type of pump, to inflate the bladders. As the bladder 20 inflates, the pressure on the ribcage on one side increases and pushes the humped ribcage, pulling the spine towards its correct central position, and the crushed ribcage is able to be pushed into the expansion window, aiding convection and improving breathing ability. Similarly, inflation of bladder 22 increases pressure on the pelvis, and pulls the spine towards its correct central position. The bladders 20, 22 are inflated until the required pressure is exerted at the correct positions to counteract the strain exerted on the patient's torso by an abnormal or deformed spine (as indicated by the arrows in Figure 1). Over time, i.e. daily/weekly say, the pressure is increased and each increase is measured and recorded. Thus, the position of the bladders 20, 22 relative to the torso, and the degree of inflation thereof, will vary according to each patient's needs. When the degree of inflation required is established, the air pressure is measured so that the correct degree of inflation is employed each time the body brace is worn. The bladders 20, 22 are deflated for removal of the brace.

It will be appreciated that the body brace of the present invention provides enhanced comfort and efficiency because:

(a) The shell is soft or semi-rigid so that undue pressure put on the skin surface of the patient's torso can be minimised; (b) The position and level of pressure exerted can be accurately co- ordinated to achieve optimum benefit for the patient; and (c) Once the bladders 20, 22 have been f itted at the correct positions within the shell 10 and the correct degree of inflation for each bladder 20, 22 has been determined, the patient can gradually, over a period of a few minutes, hours or even days of wearing the brace, build up to full pressure by gradually increasing the degree of inflation in the bladders to an optimum.

It will also be appreciated that the body brace of the present invention is easier and less costly to manufacture because:

(a) Only a few standard-sized shells with fasteners need to be manufactured - the optimum position of the bladders and the degree of inflation (which also determines the correct fit of the brace) is established by the patient's physician or physiotherapist or technician. The bladders 20, 22 can be easily fitted (and moved) because all that is needed is to form a small aperture in the soft plastic shell, to compress the flange 76 to insert the valve 74 through the aperture, and release the flange 76 to retain the bladder in place; and (b) The shell is formed of a unitary, integral piece of soft material Many modifications of the described embodiment are envisaged within the scope of the invention. It should be is noted that the aperture for receiving the air inlet valve of a bladder can be formed in the front of the brace, the side or the back, depending on the patient's requirements, the position of the valve relative to the bladder, or individual preference.

There is no restriction within the invention as to the size or shape of the bladder (s). They can be, for example, circular, oval, rectangular, tubular, or any other shape or size. Different sizes and/or different shapes can be used in the same body brace according to an individual patient's needs. The bladders are made of a pliable, air-tight material, such as soft rubber.

Claims (1)

  1. CLAIMS:
    A body brace for support for spinal abnormalities or deformities, the brace comprising a one-piece shell of semi-rigid or substantially flexible material shaped to be worn, in use, around a person's torso, and at least one inflatable pressure exerting member retained within said shell for exerting pressure, in use, at a predetermined position of said person's torso.
    A body brace according to claim 1, wherein said shell is of a soft plastic material.
    3. A body brace according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein 15 said shell is arranged to form a vertically extending gap, and is provided with releasable fastening means which span the gap to retain said shell on the person's torso when in use.
    4. A body brace according to claim 3, wherein said fastening means comprise straps and buckles.
    5. A body brace according to any one of the preceding claims, including at least two said inflatable pressure exerting members which, in use, exert pressure on opposite sides of the torso and act to pull the users spine towards a correct vertical position.
    A body brace according to claim 5, including a first said pressure exerting member in the lower half of one side of said shell, and a second pressure exerting member in the upper half of the opposite side of said shell.
    A body brace according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein said at least one pressure exerting member comprises an inflatable bladder.
    A body brace according to claim 7, wherein said inflatable bladder is substantially seamless.
    9.
    13.
    A body brace according to claim 7 or claim 8, wherein said inflatable bladder is of soft rubber.
    10. A body brace according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein said at least one inflatable pressure exerting member is provided with air inlet means.
    A body brace according to claim 10, wherein said air inlet means comprises a valve.
    A body brace according to claim 10 or claim 11, wherein said air inlet means extends through an aperture formed in said shell.
    A body brace according to claim 12, wherein said air inlet means is provided with a circumferential flange for retaining said at least one pressure exerting member in a required position within said shell.
    14. A body brace according to claim 13, wherein said circumferential flange is compressible for insertion through an aperture in said shell, and is such as to return to its original shape when released so as to retain said at least one pressure exerting member in the required position within said shell.
    15.A body brace according to any one of claims 9 to 14, including a removable cover for covering the air inlet means when said air inlet means is not in use.
    16. A body brace according to any one of the preceding claims, including an expansion window in the form of a cut-away portion in said shell, to provide, in use, room for expansion and movement of parts of the torso in response to pressure being exerted thereon.
    17. A body brace according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein said shell is formed with an extended portion at the top and/or bottom thereof, to provide, in use, additional support for parts of the patient's body other than the torso.
    18. A body brace substantially as herein described with reference to Figures 2 to 5 of the accompanying drawings.
GB0008380A 2000-04-06 2000-04-06 Body brace Withdrawn GB0008380D0 (en)

Priority Applications (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB0008380A GB0008380D0 (en) 2000-04-06 2000-04-06 Body brace

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB0008380A GB0008380D0 (en) 2000-04-06 2000-04-06 Body brace

Publications (2)

Publication Number Publication Date
GB0008380D0 GB0008380D0 (en) 2000-05-24
GB2360944A true true GB2360944A (en) 2001-10-10

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Family Applications (1)

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GB0008380A Withdrawn GB0008380D0 (en) 2000-04-06 2000-04-06 Body brace

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Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4682588A (en) * 1985-05-07 1987-07-28 Pneumedic Corp. Compound force therapeutic corset
US5062414A (en) * 1989-02-08 1991-11-05 Royce Medical Company Simplified orthopaedic back support
EP0479014A1 (en) * 1990-10-01 1992-04-08 FERD. HAUBER GmbH & CO. KG Inflatable air cushion for orthopedic devices such as support bandages
US5628721A (en) * 1996-03-29 1997-05-13 Royce Medical Company Back support assembly having an inflatable air cushion

Patent Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4682588A (en) * 1985-05-07 1987-07-28 Pneumedic Corp. Compound force therapeutic corset
US5062414A (en) * 1989-02-08 1991-11-05 Royce Medical Company Simplified orthopaedic back support
EP0479014A1 (en) * 1990-10-01 1992-04-08 FERD. HAUBER GmbH & CO. KG Inflatable air cushion for orthopedic devices such as support bandages
US5628721A (en) * 1996-03-29 1997-05-13 Royce Medical Company Back support assembly having an inflatable air cushion

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date Type
GB0008380D0 (en) 2000-05-24 grant

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WAP Application withdrawn, taken to be withdrawn or refused ** after publication under section 16(1)