US20180168648A1 - Durability features for end effectors and firing assemblies of surgical stapling instruments - Google Patents

Durability features for end effectors and firing assemblies of surgical stapling instruments Download PDF

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Publication number
US20180168648A1
US20180168648A1 US15/386,226 US201615386226A US2018168648A1 US 20180168648 A1 US20180168648 A1 US 20180168648A1 US 201615386226 A US201615386226 A US 201615386226A US 2018168648 A1 US2018168648 A1 US 2018168648A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
staple
outer layer
anvil
patent application
staples
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Pending
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US15/386,226
Inventor
Frederick E. Shelton, IV
Jerome R. Morgan
Jason L. Harris
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Ethicon LLC
Ethicon Endo Surgery LLC
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Ethicon LLC
Ethicon Endo Surgery LLC
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Application filed by Ethicon LLC, Ethicon Endo Surgery LLC filed Critical Ethicon LLC
Priority to US15/386,226 priority Critical patent/US20180168648A1/en
Assigned to ETHICON ENDO-SURGERY, LLC reassignment ETHICON ENDO-SURGERY, LLC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: SHELTON, FREDERICK E., IV, MORGAN, JEROME R., HARRIS, JASON L.
Assigned to ETHICON LLC reassignment ETHICON LLC CHANGE OF NAME (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: ETHICON ENDO-SURGERY, LLC
Publication of US20180168648A1 publication Critical patent/US20180168648A1/en
Application status is Pending legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B17/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets
    • A61B17/068Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps
    • A61B17/072Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps for applying a row of staples in a single action, e.g. the staples being applied simultaneously
    • A61B17/07207Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps for applying a row of staples in a single action, e.g. the staples being applied simultaneously the staples being applied sequentially
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B17/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets
    • A61B17/064Surgical staples, i.e. penetrating the tissue
    • A61B17/0644Surgical staples, i.e. penetrating the tissue penetrating the tissue, deformable to closed position
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B17/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets
    • A61B17/068Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps
    • A61B17/0682Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps for applying U-shaped staples or clamps, e.g. without a forming anvil
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B34/00Computer-aided surgery; Manipulators or robots specially adapted for use in surgery
    • A61B34/30Surgical robots
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B17/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets
    • A61B2017/00017Electrical control of surgical instruments
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B17/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets
    • A61B2017/0023Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets disposable
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B17/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets
    • A61B2017/0046Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets with a releasable handle; with handle and operating part separable
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B17/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets
    • A61B2017/0046Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets with a releasable handle; with handle and operating part separable
    • A61B2017/00473Distal part, e.g. tip or head
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B17/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets
    • A61B2017/00477Coupling
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B17/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets
    • A61B2017/00526Methods of manufacturing
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
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    • A61B2017/00831Material properties
    • A61B2017/00964Material properties composite
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B17/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets
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    • A61B17/072Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps for applying a row of staples in a single action, e.g. the staples being applied simultaneously
    • A61B2017/07214Stapler heads
    • A61B2017/07228Arrangement of the staples
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
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    • A61B17/072Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps for applying a row of staples in a single action, e.g. the staples being applied simultaneously
    • A61B2017/07214Stapler heads
    • A61B2017/07235Stapler heads containing different staples, e.g. staples of different shapes, sizes or materials
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
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    • A61B17/072Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps for applying a row of staples in a single action, e.g. the staples being applied simultaneously
    • A61B2017/07214Stapler heads
    • A61B2017/07242Stapler heads achieving different staple heights during the same shot, e.g. using an anvil anvil having different heights or staples of different sizes
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
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    • A61B17/068Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps
    • A61B17/072Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps for applying a row of staples in a single action, e.g. the staples being applied simultaneously
    • A61B2017/07214Stapler heads
    • A61B2017/07257Stapler heads characterised by its anvil
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
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    • A61B17/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets
    • A61B17/068Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps
    • A61B17/072Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps for applying a row of staples in a single action, e.g. the staples being applied simultaneously
    • A61B2017/07214Stapler heads
    • A61B2017/07271Stapler heads characterised by its cartridge
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B17/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets
    • A61B17/068Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps
    • A61B17/072Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps for applying a row of staples in a single action, e.g. the staples being applied simultaneously
    • A61B2017/07214Stapler heads
    • A61B2017/07278Stapler heads characterised by its sled or its staple holder
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B17/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets
    • A61B17/068Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps
    • A61B17/072Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps for applying a row of staples in a single action, e.g. the staples being applied simultaneously
    • A61B2017/07214Stapler heads
    • A61B2017/07285Stapler heads characterised by its cutter
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B17/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets
    • A61B17/28Surgical forceps
    • A61B17/29Forceps for use in minimally invasive surgery
    • A61B2017/2926Details of heads or jaws
    • A61B2017/2932Transmission of forces to jaw members
    • A61B2017/2933Transmission of forces to jaw members camming or guiding means
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B90/00Instruments, implements or accessories specially adapted for surgery or diagnosis and not covered by any of the groups A61B1/00 - A61B50/00, e.g. for luxation treatment or for protecting wound edges
    • A61B90/03Automatic limiting or abutting means, e.g. for safety
    • A61B2090/038Automatic limiting or abutting means, e.g. for safety during shipment

Abstract

A surgical instrument includes an end effector that has a staple cartridge having staples, and an anvil including staple forming pockets. The surgical instrument further includes a firing assembly movable to cause the staples to be deformed against the forming pockets. The firing assembly includes a firing member having a first engagement member configured to movably engage the anvil, and a second engagement member configured to movable engage the staple cartridge to transition the end effector to the closed configuration. The firing assembly also includes a laminated firing bar that has a first outer layer, a second outer layer, and an intermediate layer sandwiched between the first outer layer and the second outer layer, wherein the intermediate layer is thicker than the first outer layer, and wherein the intermediate layer is thicker than the second outer layer.

Description

    BACKGROUND
  • The present invention relates to surgical instruments and, in various arrangements, to surgical stapling and cutting instruments and staple cartridges for use therewith that are designed to staple and cut tissue.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Various features of the embodiments described herein are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The various embodiments, however, both as to organization and methods of operation, together with advantages thereof, may be understood in accordance with the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings as follows:
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a staple for use with a surgical stapling instrument in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the staple of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 3 is a top view of the staple of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the staple of FIG. 1 taken along line 4-4 in FIG. 3;
  • FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a staple cartridge assembly in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 6 is a plan view of the staple cartridge assembly of FIG. 5 without a bottom pan;
  • FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of an end effector including a staple cartridge assembly and an anvil in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of a sled of the end effector of FIG. 7;
  • FIG. 9 is an elevational view of staples with different unformed heights in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 10 is an elevational view of staples with different formed heights in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 11 is an elevational view of staples with different formed heights in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a staple cartridge assembly including tissue retention features in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 13 is a top view of the staple cartridge assembly of FIG. 12;
  • FIG. 14 is a top view of a staple cartridge assembly including tissue retention features in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 15 is a top view of a staple cartridge assembly including gap setting members in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 16 is a cross-sectional view of an end effector including a staple cartridge assembly and an anvil in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 17 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of an end effector including a staple cartridge assembly and an anvil in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 18 is a perspective view of a staple cartridge assembly including gap setting pins in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 19 is a perspective view of a staple cartridge assembly including gap setting features in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 20 is a perspective view of a staple cartridge assembly including a staple cartridge and a staple retainer held against a cartridge deck of the staple cartridge by a hairpin retainer;
  • FIG. 21 is an exploded view of the staple cartridge assembly of FIG. 20;
  • FIG. 22 is a cross-sectional view of the staple cartridge assembly of FIG. 20 where the hairpin retainer is fully inserted into an elongate slot of the staple cartridge;
  • FIG. 23 is a cross-sectional view of the staple cartridge assembly of FIG. 20 where the hairpin retainer is partially inserted into the elongate slot of the staple cartridge;
  • FIG. 24 is a perspective view of a staple cartridge assembly including stepped deck surfaces in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 25 is a plan view of the staple cartridge assembly of FIG. 24 without a bottom pan;
  • FIG. 26 is a perspective view of a quadruple staple driver of the staple cartridge assembly of FIG. 25;
  • FIG. 27 is a partial perspective view of the staple cartridge assembly of FIG. 24;
  • FIG. 28 is a cross-sectional view as taken along the lines 28-28, of FIG. 27;
  • FIG. 29 is a perspective view of a quadruple staple driver including deformable retention features in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 30 is a partial perspective view of a staple cartridge assembly including deformable retention features in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 31 is a cross-sectional view as taken along the lines 31-31, of FIG. 30;
  • FIG. 32 is a plan view of a staple cavity of the staple cartridge assembly of FIG. 30;
  • FIG. 33 is a partial perspective view of an anvil of a surgical stapling and cutting instrument in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 34 is a partial perspective view of an anvil of a surgical stapling and cutting instrument in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 35 is a partial perspective view of a firing assembly and a firing bar of a surgical stapling and cutting instrument in accordance with the at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 36 is a partial perspective view of the firing bar of FIG. 35;
  • FIG. 37 is a cross-sectional view of a firing bar of a surgical stapling and cutting instrument in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 38 is a cross-sectional view of a firing bar of a surgical stapling and cutting instrument in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 39 is a cross-sectional view of an end effector of a surgical stapling and cutting instrument in a closed configuration;
  • FIG. 40 is a cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 39 in an open configuration;
  • FIG. 41 is a cross-sectional view of an end effector of a surgical stapling and cutting instrument in a closed configuration;
  • FIG. 42 is a cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 41 in an open configuration;
  • FIG. 43 is an elevational view of a disposable loading unit in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 44 is an elevational view of a disposable loading unit in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 45 is an elevational view of a disposable loading unit in accordance with at least one embodiment; and
  • FIG. 46 is an exploded view of an intermediate shaft assembly in accordance with at least one embodiment.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Applicant of the present application owns the following U.S. Patent Applications that were filed on Dec. 21, 2016 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/386,185, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS AND REPLACEABLE TOOL ASSEMBLIES THEREOF;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/386,230, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/386,221, entitled LOCKOUT ARRANGEMENTS FOR SURGICAL END EFFECTORS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/386,209, entitled SURGICAL END EFFECTORS AND FIRING MEMBERS THEREOF;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/386,198, entitled LOCKOUT ARRANGEMENTS FOR SURGICAL END EFFECTORS AND REPLACEABLE TOOL ASSEMBLIES; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/386,240, entitled SURGICAL END EFFECTORS AND ADAPTABLE FIRING MEMBERS THEREFOR.
  • Applicant of the present application owns the following U.S. Patent Applications that were filed on Dec. 21, 2016 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,939, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGES AND ARRANGEMENTS OF STAPLES AND STAPLE CAVITIES THEREIN;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,941, entitled SURGICAL TOOL ASSEMBLIES WITH CLUTCHING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SHIFTING BETWEEN CLOSURE SYSTEMS WITH CLOSURE STROKE REDUCTION FEATURES AND ARTICULATION AND FIRING SYSTEMS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,943, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS AND STAPLE-FORMING ANVILS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,950, entitled SURGICAL TOOL ASSEMBLIES WITH CLOSURE STROKE REDUCTION FEATURES;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,945, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGES AND ARRANGEMENTS OF STAPLES AND STAPLE CAVITIES THEREIN;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,946, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS AND STAPLE-FORMING ANVILS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,951, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH JAW OPENING FEATURES FOR INCREASING A JAW OPENING DISTANCE;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,953, entitled METHODS OF STAPLING TISSUE;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,954, entitled FIRING MEMBERS WITH NON-PARALLEL JAW ENGAGEMENT FEATURES FOR SURGICAL END EFFECTORS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,955, entitled SURGICAL END EFFECTORS WITH EXPANDABLE TISSUE STOP ARRANGEMENTS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,948, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS AND STAPLE-FORMING ANVILS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,956, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH POSITIVE JAW OPENING FEATURES;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,958, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH LOCKOUT ARRANGEMENTS FOR PREVENTING FIRING SYSTEM ACTUATION UNLESS AN UNSPENT STAPLE CARTRIDGE IS PRESENT;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,947, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGES AND ARRANGEMENTS OF STAPLES AND STAPLE CAVITIES THEREIN.
  • Applicant of the present application owns the following U.S. Patent Applications that were filed on Dec. 21, 2016 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,896, entitled METHOD FOR RESETTING A FUSE OF A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT SHAFT;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,898, entitled STAPLE FORMING POCKET ARRANGEMENT TO ACCOMMODATE DIFFERENT TYPES OF STAPLES;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,899, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING IMPROVED JAW CONTROL;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,901, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE AND STAPLE CARTRIDGE CHANNEL COMPRISING WINDOWS DEFINED THEREIN;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,902, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING A CUTTING MEMBER;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,904, entitled STAPLE FIRING MEMBER COMPRISING A MISSING CARTRIDGE AND/OR SPENT CARTRIDGE LOCKOUT;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,905, entitled FIRING ASSEMBLY COMPRISING A LOCKOUT;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,907, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT SYSTEM COMPRISING AN END EFFECTOR LOCKOUT AND A FIRING ASSEMBLY LOCKOUT;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,908, entitled FIRING ASSEMBLY COMPRISING A FUSE; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,909, entitled FIRING ASSEMBLY COMPRISING A MULTIPLE FAILED-STATE FUSE.
  • Applicant of the present application owns the following U.S. Patent Applications that were filed on Dec. 21, 2016 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,920, entitled STAPLE FORMING POCKET ARRANGEMENTS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,913, entitled ANVIL ARRANGEMENTS FOR SURGICAL STAPLERS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,914, entitled METHOD OF DEFORMING STAPLES FROM TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF STAPLE CARTRIDGES WITH THE SAME SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENT;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,893, entitled BILATERALLY ASYMMETRIC STAPLE FORMING POCKET PAIRS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,929, entitled CLOSURE MEMBERS WITH CAM SURFACE ARRANGEMENTS FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH SEPARATE AND DISTINCT CLOSURE AND FIRING SYSTEMS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,911, entitled SURGICAL STAPLERS WITH INDEPENDENTLY ACTUATABLE CLOSING AND FIRING SYSTEMS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,927, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS WITH SMART STAPLE CARTRIDGES;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,917, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE COMPRISING STAPLES WITH DIFFERENT CLAMPING BREADTHS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,900, entitled STAPLE FORMING POCKET ARRANGEMENTS COMPRISING PRIMARY SIDEWALLS AND POCKET SIDEWALLS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,931, entitled NO-CARTRIDGE AND SPENT CARTRIDGE LOCKOUT ARRANGEMENTS FOR SURGICAL STAPLERS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,915, entitled FIRING MEMBER PIN ANGLE;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,897, entitled STAPLE FORMING POCKET ARRANGEMENTS COMPRISING ZONED FORMING SURFACE GROOVES;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,922, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT WITH MULTIPLE FAILURE RESPONSE MODES;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,924, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT WITH PRIMARY AND SAFETY PROCESSORS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,912, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH JAWS THAT ARE PIVOTABLE ABOUT A FIXED AXIS AND INCLUDE SEPARATE AND DISTINCT CLOSURE AND FIRING SYSTEMS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,910, entitled ANVIL HAVING A KNIFE SLOT WIDTH;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,903, entitled CLOSURE MEMBER ARRANGEMENTS FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,906, entitled FIRING MEMBER PIN CONFIGURATIONS.
  • Applicant of the present application owns the following U.S. Patent Applications that were filed on Dec. 21, 2016 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/386,188, entitled STEPPED STAPLE CARTRIDGE WITH ASYMMETRICAL STAPLES;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/386,192, entitled STEPPED STAPLE CARTRIDGE WITH TISSUE RETENTION AND GAP SETTING FEATURES;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15,386,206, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE WITH DEFORMABLE DRIVER RETENTION FEATURES;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/386,222, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS HAVING END EFFECTORS WITH POSITIVE OPENING FEATURES; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/386,236, entitled CONNECTION PORTIONS FOR DISPOSABLE LOADING UNITS FOR SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS.
  • Applicant of the present application owns the following U.S. Patent Applications that were filed on Dec. 21, 2016 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,887, entitled METHOD FOR ATTACHING A SHAFT ASSEMBLY TO A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT AND, ALTERNATIVELY, TO A SURGICAL ROBOT;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,889, entitled SHAFT ASSEMBLY COMPRISING A MANUALLY-OPERABLE RETRACTION SYSTEM FOR USE WITH A MOTORIZED SURGICAL INSTRUMENT SYSTEM;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,890, entitled SHAFT ASSEMBLY COMPRISING SEPARATELY ACTUATABLE AND RETRACTABLE SYSTEMS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,891, entitled SHAFT ASSEMBLY COMPRISING A CLUTCH CONFIGURED TO ADAPT THE OUTPUT OF A ROTARY FIRING MEMBER TO TWO DIFFERENT SYSTEMS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,892, entitled SURGICAL SYSTEM COMPRISING A FIRING MEMBER ROTATABLE INTO AN ARTICULATION STATE TO ARTICULATE AN END EFFECTOR OF THE SURGICAL SYSTEM;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,894, entitled SHAFT ASSEMBLY COMPRISING A LOCKOUT; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,895, entitled SHAFT ASSEMBLY COMPRISING FIRST AND SECOND ARTICULATION LOCKOUTS.
  • Applicant of the present application owns the following U.S. Patent Applications that were filed on Dec. 21, 2016 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,916, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEMS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,918, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEMS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,919, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEMS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,921, entitled SURGICAL STAPLE CARTRIDGE WITH MOVABLE CAMMING MEMBER CONFIGURED TO DISENGAGE FIRING MEMBER LOCKOUT FEATURES;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,923, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEMS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,925, entitled JAW ACTUATED LOCK ARRANGEMENTS FOR PREVENTING ADVANCEMENT OF A FIRING MEMBER IN A SURGICAL END EFFECTOR UNLESS AN UNFIRED CARTRIDGE IS INSTALLED IN THE END EFFECTOR;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,926, entitled AXIALLY MOVABLE CLOSURE SYSTEM ARRANGEMENTS FOR APPLYING CLOSURE MOTIONS TO JAWS OF SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,928, entitled PROTECTIVE COVER ARRANGEMENTS FOR A JOINT INTERFACE BETWEEN A MOVABLE JAW AND ACTUATOR SHAFT OF A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,930, entitled SURGICAL END EFFECTOR WITH TWO SEPARATE COOPERATING OPENING FEATURES FOR OPENING AND CLOSING END EFFECTOR JAWS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,932, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL END EFFECTOR WITH ASYMMETRIC SHAFT ARRANGEMENT;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,933, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENT WITH INDEPENDENT PIVOTABLE LINKAGE DISTAL OF AN ARTICULATION LOCK;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,934, entitled ARTICULATION LOCK ARRANGEMENTS FOR LOCKING AN END EFFECTOR IN AN ARTICULATED POSITION IN RESPONSE TO ACTUATION OF A JAW CLOSURE SYSTEM;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,935, entitled LATERALLY ACTUATABLE ARTICULATION LOCK ARRANGEMENTS FOR LOCKING AN END EFFECTOR OF A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT IN AN ARTICULATED CONFIGURATION; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,936, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH ARTICULATION STROKE AMPLIFICATION FEATURES.
  • Applicant of the present application owns the following U.S. Patent Applications that were filed on Jun. 24, 2016 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/191,775, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE COMPRISING WIRE STAPLES AND STAMPED STAPLES;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/191,807, entitled STAPLING SYSTEM FOR USE WITH WIRE STAPLES AND STAMPED STAPLES;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/191,834, entitled STAMPED STAPLES AND STAPLE CARTRIDGES USING THE SAME;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/191,788, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE COMPRISING OVERDRIVEN STAPLES; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/191,818, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE COMPRISING OFFSET LONGITUDINAL STAPLE ROWS.
  • Applicant of the present application owns the following U.S. Patent Applications that were filed on Jun. 24, 2016 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. Design patent application Ser. No. 29/569,218, entitled SURGICAL FASTENER;
  • U.S. Design patent application Ser. No. 29/569,227, entitled SURGICAL FASTENER;
  • U.S. Design patent application Ser. No. 29/569,259, entitled SURGICAL FASTENER CARTRIDGE; and
  • U.S. Design patent application Ser. No. 29/569,264, entitled SURGICAL FASTENER CARTRIDGE.
  • Applicant of the present application owns the following patent applications that were filed on Apr. 1, 2016 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,325, entitled METHOD FOR OPERATING A SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,321, entitled MODULAR SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING A DISPLAY;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,326, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING A DISPLAY INCLUDING A RE-ORIENTABLE DISPLAY FIELD;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,263, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT HANDLE ASSEMBLY WITH RECONFIGURABLE GRIP PORTION;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,262, entitled ROTARY POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENT WITH MANUALLY ACTUATABLE BAILOUT SYSTEM;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,277, entitled SURGICAL CUTTING AND STAPLING END EFFECTOR WITH ANVIL CONCENTRIC DRIVE MEMBER;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,296, entitled INTERCHANGEABLE SURGICAL TOOL ASSEMBLY WITH A SURGICAL END EFFECTOR THAT IS SELECTIVELY ROTATABLE ABOUT A SHAFT AXIS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,258, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING A SHIFTABLE TRANSMISSION;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,278, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM CONFIGURED TO PROVIDE SELECTIVE CUTTING OF TISSUE;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,284, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING A CONTOURABLE SHAFT;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,295, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING A TISSUE COMPRESSION LOCKOUT;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,300, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING AN UNCLAMPING LOCKOUT;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,196, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING A JAW CLOSURE LOCKOUT;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,203, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING A JAW ATTACHMENT LOCKOUT;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,210, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING A SPENT CARTRIDGE LOCKOUT;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,324, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING A SHIFTING MECHANISM;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,335, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENT COMPRISING MULTIPLE LOCKOUTS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,339, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENT;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,253, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM CONFIGURED TO APPLY ANNULAR ROWS OF STAPLES HAVING DIFFERENT HEIGHTS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,304, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING A GROOVED FORMING POCKET;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,331, entitled ANVIL MODIFICATION MEMBERS FOR SURGICAL STAPLERS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,336, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGES WITH ATRAUMATIC FEATURES;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,312, entitled CIRCULAR STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING AN INCISABLE TISSUE SUPPORT;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,309, entitled CIRCULAR STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING ROTARY FIRING SYSTEM; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/089,349, entitled CIRCULAR STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING LOAD CONTROL.
  • Applicant of the present application also owns the U.S. Patent Applications identified below which were filed on Dec. 31, 2015 which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/984,488, entitled MECHANISMS FOR COMPENSATING FOR BATTERY PACK FAILURE IN POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/984,525, entitled MECHANISMS FOR COMPENSATING FOR DRIVETRAIN FAILURE IN POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/984,552, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH SEPARABLE MOTORS AND MOTOR CONTROL CIRCUITS.
  • Applicant of the present application also owns the U.S. Patent Applications identified below which were filed on Feb. 9, 2016 which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/019,220, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT WITH ARTICULATING AND AXIALLY TRANSLATABLE END EFFECTOR;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/019,228, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH MULTIPLE LINK ARTICULATION ARRANGEMENTS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/019,196, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT ARTICULATION MECHANISM WITH SLOTTED SECONDARY CONSTRAINT;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/019,206, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH AN END EFFECTOR THAT IS HIGHLY ARTICULATABLE RELATIVE TO AN ELONGATE SHAFT ASSEMBLY;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/019,215, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH NON-SYMMETRICAL ARTICULATION ARRANGEMENTS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/019,227, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH SINGLE ARTICULATION LINK ARRANGEMENTS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/019,235, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH TENSIONING ARRANGEMENTS FOR CABLE DRIVEN ARTICULATION SYSTEMS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/019,230, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH OFF-AXIS FIRING BEAM ARRANGEMENTS; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/019,245, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH CLOSURE STROKE REDUCTION ARRANGEMENTS.
  • Applicant of the present application also owns the U.S. Patent Applications identified below which were filed on Feb. 12, 2016 which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/043,254, entitled MECHANISMS FOR COMPENSATING FOR DRIVETRAIN FAILURE IN POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/043,259, entitled MECHANISMS FOR COMPENSATING FOR DRIVETRAIN FAILURE IN POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/043,275, entitled MECHANISMS FOR COMPENSATING FOR DRIVETRAIN FAILURE IN POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/043,289, entitled MECHANISMS FOR COMPENSATING FOR DRIVETRAIN FAILURE IN POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS.
  • Applicant of the present application owns the following patent applications that were filed on Jun. 18, 2015 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/742,925, entitled SURGICAL END EFFECTORS WITH POSITIVE JAW OPENING ARRANGEMENTS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/742,941, entitled SURGICAL END EFFECTORS WITH DUAL CAM ACTUATED JAW CLOSING FEATURES;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/742,914, entitled MOVABLE FIRING BEAM SUPPORT ARRANGEMENTS FOR ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/742,900, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH COMPOSITE FIRING BEAM STRUCTURES WITH CENTER FIRING SUPPORT MEMBER FOR ARTICULATION SUPPORT;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/742,885, entitled DUAL ARTICULATION DRIVE SYSTEM ARRANGEMENTS FOR ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/742,876, entitled PUSH/PULL ARTICULATION DRIVE SYSTEMS FOR ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS.
  • Applicant of the present application owns the following patent applications that were filed on Mar. 6, 2015 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/640,746, entitled POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0256184;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/640,795, entitled MULTIPLE LEVEL THRESHOLDS TO MODIFY OPERATION OF POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/02561185;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/640,832, entitled ADAPTIVE TISSUE COMPRESSION TECHNIQUES TO ADJUST CLOSURE RATES FOR MULTIPLE TISSUE TYPES, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0256154;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/640,935, entitled OVERLAID MULTI SENSOR RADIO FREQUENCY (RF) ELECTRODE SYSTEM TO MEASURE TISSUE COMPRESSION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0256071;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/640,831, entitled MONITORING SPEED CONTROL AND PRECISION INCREMENTING OF MOTOR FOR POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0256153;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/640,859, entitled TIME DEPENDENT EVALUATION OF SENSOR DATA TO DETERMINE STABILITY, CREEP, AND VISCOELASTIC ELEMENTS OF MEASURES, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0256187;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/640,817, entitled INTERACTIVE FEEDBACK SYSTEM FOR POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0256186;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/640,844, entitled CONTROL TECHNIQUES AND SUB-PROCESSOR CONTAINED WITHIN MODULAR SHAFT WITH SELECT CONTROL PROCESSING FROM HANDLE, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0256155;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/640,837, entitled SMART SENSORS WITH LOCAL SIGNAL PROCESSING, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0256163;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/640,765, entitled SYSTEM FOR DETECTING THE MIS-INSERTION OF A STAPLE CARTRIDGE INTO A SURGICAL STAPLER, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0256160;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/640,799, entitled SIGNAL AND POWER COMMUNICATION SYSTEM POSITIONED ON A ROTATABLE SHAFT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0256162; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/640,780, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING A LOCKABLE BATTERY HOUSING, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0256161.
  • Applicant of the present application owns the following patent applications that were filed on Feb. 27, 2015, and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/633,576, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT SYSTEM COMPRISING AN INSPECTION STATION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0249919;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/633,546, entitled SURGICAL APPARATUS CONFIGURED TO ASSESS WHETHER A PERFORMANCE PARAMETER OF THE SURGICAL APPARATUS IS WITHIN AN ACCEPTABLE PERFORMANCE BAND, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0249915;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/633,560, entitled SURGICAL CHARGING SYSTEM THAT CHARGES AND/OR CONDITIONS ONE OR MORE BATTERIES, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0249910;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/633,566, entitled CHARGING SYSTEM THAT ENABLES EMERGENCY RESOLUTIONS FOR CHARGING A BATTERY, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0249918;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/633,555, entitled SYSTEM FOR MONITORING WHETHER A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT NEEDS TO BE SERVICED, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0249916;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/633,542, entitled REINFORCED BATTERY FOR A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0249908;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/633,548, entitled POWER ADAPTER FOR A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0249909;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/633,526, entitled ADAPTABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENT HANDLE, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0249945;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/633,541, entitled MODULAR STAPLING ASSEMBLY, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0249927; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/633,562, entitled SURGICAL APPARATUS CONFIGURED TO TRACK AN END-OF-LIFE PARAMETER, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0249917.
  • Applicant of the present application owns the following patent applications that were filed on Dec. 18, 2014 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/574,478, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT SYSTEMS COMPRISING AN ARTICULATABLE END EFFECTOR AND MEANS FOR ADJUSTING THE FIRING STROKE OF A FIRING MEMBER, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0174977;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/574,483, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT ASSEMBLY COMPRISING LOCKABLE SYSTEMS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0174969;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/575,139, entitled DRIVE ARRANGEMENTS FOR ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0174978;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/575,148, entitled LOCKING ARRANGEMENTS FOR DETACHABLE SHAFT ASSEMBLIES WITH ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL END EFFECTORS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0174976;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/575,130, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT WITH AN ANVIL THAT IS SELECTIVELY MOVABLE ABOUT A DISCRETE NON-MOVABLE AXIS RELATIVE TO A STAPLE CARTRIDGE, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0174972;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/575,143, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH IMPROVED CLOSURE ARRANGEMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0174983;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/575,117, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH ARTICULATABLE END EFFECTORS AND MOVABLE FIRING BEAM SUPPORT ARRANGEMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0174975;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/575,154, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH ARTICULATABLE END EFFECTORS AND IMPROVED FIRING BEAM SUPPORT ARRANGEMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0174973;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/574,493, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT ASSEMBLY COMPRISING A FLEXIBLE ARTICULATION SYSTEM, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0174970; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/574,500, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT ASSEMBLY COMPRISING A LOCKABLE ARTICULATION SYSTEM, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0174971.
  • Applicant of the present application owns the following patent applications that were filed on Mar. 1, 2013 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/782,295, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH CONDUCTIVE PATHWAYS FOR SIGNAL COMMUNICATION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0246471;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/782,323, entitled ROTARY POWERED ARTICULATION JOINTS FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0246472;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/782,338, entitled THUMBWHEEL SWITCH ARRANGEMENTS FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0249557;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/782,499, entitled ELECTROMECHANICAL SURGICAL DEVICE WITH SIGNAL RELAY ARRANGEMENT, now U.S. Pat. No. 9,358,003;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/782,460, entitled MULTIPLE PROCESSOR MOTOR CONTROL FOR MODULAR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0246478;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/782,358, entitled JOYSTICK SWITCH ASSEMBLIES FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Pat. No. 9,326,767;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/782,481, entitled SENSOR STRAIGHTENED END EFFECTOR DURING REMOVAL THROUGH TROCAR, now U.S. Pat. No. 9,468,438;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/782,518, entitled CONTROL METHODS FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH REMOVABLE IMPLEMENT PORTIONS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0246475;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/782,375, entitled ROTARY POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH MULTIPLE DEGREES OF FREEDOM, now U.S. Pat. No. 9,398,911; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/782,536, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT SOFT STOP, now U.S. Pat. No. 9,307,986.
  • Applicant of the present application also owns the following patent applications that were filed on Mar. 14, 2013 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/803,097, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING A FIRING DRIVE, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263542;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/803,193, entitled CONTROL ARRANGEMENTS FOR A DRIVE MEMBER OF A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Pat. No. 9,332,987;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/803,053, entitled INTERCHANGEABLE SHAFT ASSEMBLIES FOR USE WITH A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263564;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/803,086, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING AN ARTICULATION LOCK, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/803,210, entitled SENSOR ARRANGEMENTS FOR ABSOLUTE POSITIONING SYSTEM FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263538;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/803,148, entitled MULTI-FUNCTION MOTOR FOR A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263554;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/803,066, entitled DRIVE SYSTEM LOCKOUT ARRANGEMENTS FOR MODULAR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263565;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/803,117, entitled ARTICULATION CONTROL SYSTEM FOR ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Pat. No. 9,351,726;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/803,130, entitled DRIVE TRAIN CONTROL ARRANGEMENTS FOR MODULAR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Pat. No. 9,351,727; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/803,159, entitled METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR OPERATING A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0277017.
  • Applicant of the present application also owns the following patent application that was filed on Mar. 7, 2014 and is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/200,111, entitled CONTROL SYSTEMS FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263539.
  • Applicant of the present application also owns the following patent applications that were filed on Mar. 26, 2014 and are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/226,106, entitled POWER MANAGEMENT CONTROL SYSTEMS FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272582;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/226,099, entitled STERILIZATION VERIFICATION CIRCUIT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272581;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/226,094, entitled VERIFICATION OF NUMBER OF BATTERY EXCHANGES/PROCEDURE COUNT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272580;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/226,117, entitled POWER MANAGEMENT THROUGH SLEEP OPTIONS OF SEGMENTED CIRCUIT AND WAKE UP CONTROL, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272574;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/226,075, entitled MODULAR POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENT WITH DETACHABLE SHAFT ASSEMBLIES, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272579;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/226,093, entitled FEEDBACK ALGORITHMS FOR MANUAL BAILOUT SYSTEMS FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272569;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/226,116, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT UTILIZING SENSOR ADAPTATION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272571;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/226,071, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT CONTROL CIRCUIT HAVING A SAFETY PROCESSOR, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272578;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/226,097, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING INTERACTIVE SYSTEMS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272570;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/226,126, entitled INTERFACE SYSTEMS FOR USE WITH SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272572;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/226,133, entitled MODULAR SURGICAL INSTRUMENT SYSTEM, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272557;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/226,081, entitled SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR CONTROLLING A SEGMENTED CIRCUIT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0277471;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/226,076, entitled POWER MANAGEMENT THROUGH SEGMENTED CIRCUIT AND VARIABLE VOLTAGE PROTECTION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0280424;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/226,111, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENT SYSTEM, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272583; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/226,125, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING A ROTATABLE SHAFT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0280384.
  • Applicant of the present application also owns the following patent applications that were filed on Sep. 5, 2014 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/479,103, entitled CIRCUITRY AND SENSORS FOR POWERED MEDICAL DEVICE, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0066912;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/479,119, entitled ADJUNCT WITH INTEGRATED SENSORS TO QUANTIFY TISSUE COMPRESSION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0066914;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/478,908, entitled MONITORING DEVICE DEGRADATION BASED ON COMPONENT EVALUATION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0066910;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/478,895, entitled MULTIPLE SENSORS WITH ONE SENSOR AFFECTING A SECOND SENSOR'S OUTPUT OR INTERPRETATION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0066909;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/479,110, entitled POLARITY OF HALL MAGNET TO DETECT MISLOADED CARTRIDGE, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0066915;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/479,098, entitled SMART CARTRIDGE WAKE UP OPERATION AND DATA RETENTION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0066911;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/479,115, entitled MULTIPLE MOTOR CONTROL FOR POWERED MEDICAL DEVICE, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0066916; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/479,108, entitled LOCAL DISPLAY OF TISSUE PARAMETER STABILIZATION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0066913.
  • Applicant of the present application also owns the following patent applications that were filed on Apr. 9, 2014 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/248,590, entitled MOTOR DRIVEN SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH LOCKABLE DUAL DRIVE SHAFTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0305987;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/248,581, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING A CLOSING DRIVE AND A FIRING DRIVE OPERATED FROM THE SAME ROTATABLE OUTPUT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0305989;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/248,595, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT SHAFT INCLUDING SWITCHES FOR CONTROLLING THE OPERATION OF THE SURGICAL INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0305988;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/248,588, entitled POWERED LINEAR SURGICAL STAPLER, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0309666;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/248,591, entitled TRANSMISSION ARRANGEMENT FOR A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0305991;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/248,584, entitled MODULAR MOTOR DRIVEN SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH ALIGNMENT FEATURES FOR ALIGNING ROTARY DRIVE SHAFTS WITH SURGICAL END EFFECTOR SHAFTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0305994;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/248,587, entitled POWERED SURGICAL STAPLER, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0309665;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/248,586, entitled DRIVE SYSTEM DECOUPLING ARRANGEMENT FOR A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0305990; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/248,607, entitled MODULAR MOTOR DRIVEN SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH STATUS INDICATION ARRANGEMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0305992.
  • Applicant of the present application also owns the following patent applications that were filed on Apr. 16, 2013 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/812,365, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT WITH MULTIPLE FUNCTIONS PERFORMED BY A SINGLE MOTOR;
  • U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/812,376, entitled LINEAR CUTTER WITH POWER;
  • U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/812,382, entitled LINEAR CUTTER WITH MOTOR AND PISTOL GRIP;
  • U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/812,385, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT HANDLE WITH MULTIPLE ACTUATION MOTORS AND MOTOR CONTROL; and
  • U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/812,372, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT WITH MULTIPLE FUNCTIONS PERFORMED BY A SINGLE MOTOR.
  • Numerous specific details are set forth to provide a thorough understanding of the overall structure, function, manufacture, and use of the embodiments as described in the specification and illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Well-known operations, components, and elements have not been described in detail so as not to obscure the embodiments described in the specification. The reader will understand that the embodiments described and illustrated herein are non-limiting examples, and thus it can be appreciated that the specific structural and functional details disclosed herein may be representative and illustrative. Variations and changes thereto may be made without departing from the scope of the claims.
  • The terms “comprise” (and any form of comprise, such as “comprises” and “comprising”), “have” (and any form of have, such as “has” and “having”), “include” (and any form of include, such as “includes” and “including”) and “contain” (and any form of contain, such as “contains” and “containing”) are open-ended linking verbs. As a result, a surgical system, device, or apparatus that “comprises,” “has,” “includes” or “contains” one or more elements possesses those one or more elements, but is not limited to possessing only those one or more elements. Likewise, an element of a system, device, or apparatus that “comprises,” “has,” “includes” or “contains” one or more features possesses those one or more features, but is not limited to possessing only those one or more features.
  • The terms “proximal” and “distal” are used herein with reference to a clinician manipulating the handle portion of the surgical instrument. The term “proximal” refers to the portion closest to the clinician and the term “distal” refers to the portion located away from the clinician. It will be further appreciated that, for convenience and clarity, spatial terms such as “vertical”, “horizontal”, “up”, and “down” may be used herein with respect to the drawings. However, surgical instruments are used in many orientations and positions, and these terms are not intended to be limiting and/or absolute.
  • Various exemplary devices and methods are provided for performing laparoscopic and minimally invasive surgical procedures. However, the reader will readily appreciate that the various methods and devices disclosed herein can be used in numerous surgical procedures and applications including, for example, in connection with open surgical procedures. As the present Detailed Description proceeds, the reader will further appreciate that the various instruments disclosed herein can be inserted into a body in any way, such as through a natural orifice, through an incision or puncture hole formed in tissue, etc. The working portions or end effector portions of the instruments can be inserted directly into a patient's body or can be inserted through an access device that has a working channel through which the end effector and elongate shaft of a surgical instrument can be advanced.
  • A surgical stapling system can comprise a shaft and an end effector extending from the shaft. The end effector comprises a first jaw and a second jaw. The first jaw comprises a staple cartridge. The staple cartridge is insertable into and removable from the first jaw; however, other embodiments are envisioned in which a staple cartridge is not removable from, or at least readily replaceable from, the first jaw. The second jaw comprises an anvil configured to deform staples ejected from the staple cartridge. The second jaw is pivotable relative to the first jaw about a closure axis; however, other embodiments are envisioned in which the first jaw is pivotable relative to the second jaw. The surgical stapling system further comprises an articulation joint configured to permit the end effector to be rotated, or articulated, relative to the shaft. The end effector is rotatable about an articulation axis extending through the articulation joint. Other embodiments are envisioned which do not include an articulation joint.
  • The staple cartridge comprises a cartridge body. The cartridge body includes a proximal end, a distal end, and a deck extending between the proximal end and the distal end. In use, the staple cartridge is positioned on a first side of the tissue to be stapled and the anvil is positioned on a second side of the tissue. The anvil is moved toward the staple cartridge to compress and clamp the tissue against the deck. Thereafter, staples removably stored in the cartridge body can be deployed into the tissue. The cartridge body includes staple cavities defined therein wherein staples are removably stored in the staple cavities. The staple cavities are arranged in six longitudinal rows. Three rows of staple cavities are positioned on a first side of a longitudinal slot and three rows of staple cavities are positioned on a second side of the longitudinal slot. Other arrangements of staple cavities and staples may be possible.
  • The staples are supported by staple drivers in the cartridge body. The drivers are movable between a first, or unfired position, and a second, or fired, position to eject the staples from the staple cavities. The drivers are retained in the cartridge body by a retainer which extends around the bottom of the cartridge body and includes resilient members configured to grip the cartridge body and hold the retainer to the cartridge body. The drivers are movable between their unfired positions and their fired positions by a sled. The sled is movable between a proximal position adjacent the proximal end and a distal position adjacent the distal end. The sled comprises a plurality of ramped surfaces configured to slide under the drivers and lift the drivers, and the staples supported thereon, toward the anvil.
  • Further to the above, the sled is moved distally by a firing member. The firing member is configured to contact the sled and push the sled toward the distal end. The longitudinal slot defined in the cartridge body is configured to receive the firing member. The anvil also includes a slot configured to receive the firing member. The firing member further comprises a first cam which engages the first jaw and a second cam which engages the second jaw. As the firing member is advanced distally, the first cam and the second cam can control the distance, or tissue gap, between the deck of the staple cartridge and the anvil. The firing member also comprises a knife configured to incise the tissue captured intermediate the staple cartridge and the anvil. It is desirable for the knife to be positioned at least partially proximal to the ramped surfaces such that the staples are ejected ahead of the knife.
  • Various staples disclosed herein comprise a flat-formed staple which can be cut and/or stamped from a sheet of material, for example. The sheet of material can be metallic and can comprise stainless steel and/or titanium, for example. In at least one instance, outlines can be traced, etched, and/or cut into the sheet of material which are machined and/or laser cut to form the staples into a manufactured shape.
  • The staples comprise a pair of staple legs and a staple base portion, or crown, from which the staple legs extend. Each staple leg comprises a staple tip, or piercing portion, which is configured to pierce the tissue and contact a corresponding forming pocket of the anvil of the surgical stapling instrument. The staple legs are configured to change shape to achieve a formed configuration to fasten the tissue. The staple base portion defines a first plane and the staple legs define a second plane which is laterally offset from but at least substantially parallel to the first plane. Embodiments are envisioned where the first and second planes are not parallel.
  • The flat-formed staple 100 depicted in FIGS. 1-4 comprises a proximal staple leg 110, a distal staple leg 120, and a staple base portion 130. The staple 100 further comprises vertical transition portions, or bends, 118, 128 and lateral transition portions, or bends, 116, 126. The vertical transition portions 118, 128 bend, or extend, the legs 110, 120 vertically, or upward, from the staple base portion 130. The lateral transition portions 116, 126 extend the staple legs 110, 120 laterally outward, or at least substantially perpendicularly with respect to the staple base portion 130. The staple legs 110, 120 define a first plane and the staple base portion 130 defines a second plane. Together, the vertical transition portions 118, 128 and the lateral transition portions 116, 126 permit the staple legs 110, 120 to be laterally offset and parallel with respect to the staple base portion 130.Stated another way, the first plane is offset from and at least substantially parallel to the second plane. In FIGS. 1-4, the first plane is offset in the negative Y direction. Other staples may be used in conjunction with a plurality of staples 100 where the other staples comprise a first plane which is offset in the positive Y direction. The use of both types of staples permits staple rows to be nested, or interwoven, where staple legs of neighboring rows may be at least substantially aligned and/or share a common longitudinal axis. In various instances, the staple rows can be nested to provide denser staple rows.
  • The proximal staple leg 110 and the distal staple leg 120 comprise staple tips 112, 122 and corners 114, 124, respectively. The tips 112, 122 are configured to pierce tissue and contact a forming pocket of an anvil of a surgical stapling instrument. The tips 112, 122 contact the anvil when the staple 100 receives a driving force to eject the staple 100 from a corresponding staple cavity in the staple cartridge. The tips 112, 122 and/or legs 110, 120 of the staple 100 will then begin forming from an unfired configuration to a fired configuration. The proximal staple leg 120 further comprises a leading engagement foot 117 comprising a chamfered surface, or edge, 119. As the sled contacts the staple 100 upon the sled's distal translation, a feature of the sled can engage the leading engagement foot 117 to aid in preventing longitudinal staple roll, or rotation, for example. The engagement foot 117 can comprise a push point that is configured to be pushed on to load the staple 100 into a staple cartridge.
  • Since the staple 100 is a flat-formed staple, the staple legs 110, 120, tips 112, 122, and/or other portions of the staple 100 can be further developed, or worked, after being stamped from a flat, or at least substantially flat, stock. Further developing the staple 100 can provide specific properties creating and/or altering preferential bending planes, toughness, and/or elasticity, for example. Traditional wire-formed staples comprise desirable properties advantageous for surgical fastening and can be implemented with the staple 100. Methods for constructing the corners 114, 124 and/or tips 112, 122, for example, may include any suitable process including cold working, for example. A specific process may include coining by working the corners 114, 124 into a rounded, angled, oblique, and/or parabolic profile, for example. The staple tips 112, 122 can also be worked using similar methods to provide an adequate tip configured to pierce tissue and form against a corresponding forming pocket of the anvil.
  • The staple base portion 130 comprises an inclined drive surface 132, a final drive surface 131, and a distal wall 133. In various instances, the staple 100 is supported in a staple cartridge by a pan where the final drive surface 131 is configured to rest on the pan. In various other instances where a staple cartridge is pan-less, the final drive surface does not rest on a pan; rather, the final drive surface comprises an initial position residing above a bottom surface of the pan-less staple cartridge. This would allow a bottom surface of the sled and the bottom surface of the pan-less staple cartridge to be at least substantially flush as the sled translates through the cartridge. The drive surface 132 of each staple base portion 130 is configured to receive the driving force FS from the sled of the surgical stapling instrument. When the sled translates distally through the staple cartridge, the sled contacts the drive surface 132 to lift the staple 100 out of the cartridge and, in addition, contact the final drive surface 131 to form the staple 100 into its fired configuration.
  • The distal wall 133 acts as a distal-most wall of the staple base portion 130 and is positioned proximal of the distal staple leg 120 resulting in a lack of any portion of the staple base portion 130 underneath the distal staple leg 120.Having a greater amount of mass in the base portion 130 of the staple 100 increases the ability of the staple 100 to resist rotational motion caused by the moment MS applied by the sled. Increasing the moment of inertia of the staple base portion 130 increases the ability to resist rotational motion. As a result, a greater torque, or larger moment, would be required to cause longitudinal staple roll.
  • The staple base portion 130 further comprises a top surface, or compression surface, 136 comprising a proximal surface 139, an intermediate surface 138, and a distal surface 137. The proximal surface 139 is angled, or slanted, upward toward the proximal leg 110. The distal surface 137 is angled, or slanted, upward toward the distal leg 120. The intermediate surface 138 is at least substantially parallel to the final drive surface 131. This valley-like configuration limits the stress concentration of tissue captured near the transition portions 118, 128, 116, 126 where the legs 110, 120 extend from the staple base portion 130. In various instances, these surfaces 137, 138, 139 can be curved to create a concave surface. In traditional staples, when formed, the connections where the legs meet the staple base produce locations responsible for highly localized tissue stress. This is especially true in the event that such a traditional staple buckles, or is crushed, or flattened, rather than formed into a true “B” configuration. In various instances, the dynamics of the staple 100 are predictable when ejected from a staple cartridge. As the staple 100 is ejected from its corresponding staple cavity, a driving force Fs from the sled generates a moment MS. One preventive measure for preventing staple roll includes increasing the moment of inertia of the staple 100, discussed above, which is configured to prevent, as illustrated in FIG. 2, longitudinal roll, or rotation of the staple. In the event that the staple 100 rolls longitudinally in the distal direction, or, in other words, rotates counterclockwise about the Y axis, outer, longitudinal staple leg surfaces 115, 125 of the staple 100 will contact the guide surfaces, or sidewalls, of the staple cartridge. This contact produces corresponding reaction forces FC1 and FC2.More particularly, as the staple 100 is driven out of the staple cavity and rotated about the Y axis, the wall 115 of the proximal staple leg 110 contacts a proximal sidewall of the staple cartridge producing a reaction force FC2 which acts upon the staple leg 110 below the center of mass. The wall 125 of the distal staple leg 120 contacts a distal sidewall of the staple cartridge producing a reaction force FC1 which acts upon the staple leg 120 above the center of mass. Both reaction forces, FC1 and FC2, contribute to a reactional moment MRC to counteract, or balance, the applied moment MS acting on the staple 100.The reaction forces discussed herein may be distributed loads acting upon a surface area of each of the staple legs 110, 120. In certain instances, the reaction force FC2 can be about 0.
  • The moment of inertia of the staple 100 is also configured to prevent, as illustrated in FIG. 4, lateral roll, or rotation of the staple 100. The staple base portion 130 comprises a notch 134 defined in the top surface 136 on a side of the staple base portion 130 closest to the legs 110, 120.The notch 134 contributes to the predictability of the dynamics of the staple 100 before formation and upon formation when ejected from the staple cartridge. For example, referring primarily to FIG. 4, the notch 134 is configured to induce rotation of the staple 100 toward a particular cavity sidewall. In the event that the staple 100 rolls laterally, or, in other words, rotates in the direction of the applied moment MS, outer, lateral staple leg walls 111, 121 of the staple 100 will contact the guide surfaces, or sidewalls, of the staple cartridge producing corresponding reaction forces FC1 and FC2. For example, as the staple 100 is driven out of the staple cavity and rotated in the direction of the applied moment MS, the walls 111, 121 of the staple legs 110, 120 contact a corresponding sidewall of the staple cartridge producing a reaction force FC1 which act upon the staple legs 110, 120 above the center of mass. An outer lateral wall 135 of the staple base portion 130 contacts another corresponding sidewall of the staple cartridge producing a reaction force FC2 which acts upon the staple base portion 130 below the center of mass. Reaction forces FC1 and FC2 produce a reactional moment MRC to counteract, or balance, the applied moment MS acting on the staple 100 from the sled. The reaction forces discussed herein may be distributed loads acting upon a surface area of each of the staple legs 110, 120 and the staple base portion 130.In various instances, the staple 100 is encouraged to roll laterally in the direction of the applied moment MS to control which walls of the staple cavity are going to be contacted for staple guidance as the staple 100 is ejected from the staple's 100 corresponding staple cavity.
  • A staple cartridge assembly 240 is illustrated in FIGS. 5-6. The staple cartridge assembly 240 comprises a cartridge body 242.The cartridge body 242 is positionable in and removable from a jaw of a surgical stapling instrument. As a result, the staple cartridge 240 is replaceable; however, other instances are envisioned in which the staple cartridge 240 is not replaceable. The cartridge body 242 comprises a proximal end 246, a distal end 247, and a deck 245 extending between the proximal end 246 and the distal end 247. The deck 245 is configured to support the tissue of a patient when the tissue is compressed against the deck 245.
  • The cartridge body 242 further comprises a plurality of staple cavities 244 defined therein. The staple cavities 244 are arranged in six longitudinal rows extending between the proximal end 246 and the distal end 247; however, any suitable arrangement of staple cavities 244 can be utilized. A staple, such as staple 100 (FIG. 1), for example, can be removably stored in each staple cavity 244. As discussed in greater detail below, the staples are ejected from the staple cavities 244 by a firing member when the firing member is moved from the proximal end 246 of the cartridge body 242 toward the distal end 247.
  • Further to the above, the staples are moved from an unfired position to a fired position by the firing member. The firing member lifts the staples toward an anvil, such as anvil 250 (FIG. 7), for example, to deform the staples between an unfired, undeformed configuration and a fired, deformed configuration. The cartridge body 242 further comprises a elongate slot 243 defined therein. The elongate slot 243 is configured to receive the staple firing member and/or a tissue cutting member therein when the staples are ejected from the staple cavities 244.
  • As illustrated in FIGS. 5-6, the cartridge body 2010 comprises steps 245′ and 245″ which extend upwardly from the deck 245. More specifically, the steps 245′ extend upwardly from the deck 245 and the steps 245″ extend upwardly from the steps 245′. As a result, three discrete deck surfaces 245 a, 245 b, 245 c are defined in the deck 245, wherein the deck surface 245 a may apply a larger compressive pressure to the tissue than the deck surface 245 b, and wherein the deck surface 245 b may apply a larger compressive pressure to the tissue than the deck surface 245 c. As illustrated in FIGS. 5-6, the deck surface 245 c is shorter than the deck surfaces 245 a and 245 b. In addition, the deck surface 245 b is shorter than the deck surface 245 a. Said another way, the deck surfaces 245 a, 245 b, 245 c comprise first, second, and third heights, respectively, relative to a plane define by a bottom surface 248 (FIG. 7) of the staple cartridge 240, wherein the first height is greater than the second height, and wherein the second height is greater than the third height. Furthermore, the deck surfaces 245 a, 245 b, 245 c are laterally offset from one another relative to the elongate slot 243. The deck surface 245 a is positioned closer to the elongate slot 243 than the deck surface 245 b. In addition, the deck surface 245 b is positioned closer to the elongate slot 243 than the deck surface 245 c. That said, any suitable arrangement of the deck surfaces 245 a, 245 b, 245 c can be utilized.
  • Further to the above, as illustrated in FIGS. 5-6, the staple cavities 244 comprise an inner row of staple cavities 244 a defined in the deck surface 245 a, an intermediate row of staple cavities 244 b defined in the deck surface 245 b, and an outer row of staple cavities 244 c defined in the deck surface 245 c. As a result, the inner row of staple cavities 244 a is positioned closer to the elongate slot 243 than the intermediate row of staple cavities 244 b, and the intermediate row of staple cavities 244 b is positioned closer to the elongate slot 243 than the outer row of staple cavities 244 c.
  • The staple cavities 244 c are similar to the staple cavities 244 a, 244 b in many respects. For instance, the staple cavities, 244 a, 244 b, 244 c each comprise a central slot 249 having a proximal end and a distal end, a proximal staple leg guide 249′ extending laterally from the proximal end of the central slot 249, and a distal staple leg guide 249″ extending laterally from the distal end of the central slot 249.That said, the staple cavities 244 b and the staple cavities 244 c are oriented in different directions. More particularly, the staple leg guides 249′, 249″ of the staple cavities 244 b extend toward the staple cavities 244 a, while the staple leg guides 249′, 249″ of the staple cavities 100 c extend away from the staple cavities 100 a; however, any suitable arrangement can be utilized.
  • The various instances of the staple cartridge assemblies disclosed herein can have any suitable number of staples and/or any suitable size of staples. In certain instances, all of the staples stored in the staple cartridge assembly 240 (FIG. 5) have the same, or at least substantially the same, size. Referring to FIG. 1, each staple 100 comprises an unformed, or unfired, overall height H1 defined between the bottom of the base 130 and the tips of the staple legs 112, 122. Similarly, each staple 100 comprises a tissue capture area defined between the top of the base 130 and the tips of the staple legs 112, 122 which have the same height H2 when the staple 100 is in its unformed height.
  • In contrast to the above, a first group of staples stored in the staple cartridge 240 can have a first unformed height H1 and a second group of staples can have a second unformed height H2 which is different than the first unformed height H1. Also in contrast to the above, a first group of staples stored in the staple cartridge 240 can have a first tissue capture height H1 and a second group of staples can have a second tissue capture height H2 which is different than the first tissue capture height H2.
  • Referring to FIGS. 7-11, the staples 100 comprise a first row of staples 100 a removably stored in the inner row of staple cavities 244 a, a second row of staples 100 b removably stored in the intermediate row of staple cavities 244 b, and a third row of staples 100 c removably stored in the outer row of staple cavities 244 c. The rows of staples 100 a, 100 b, 100 c comprise different unformed heights; however, in other arrangements, the rows of staples 100 a, 100 b, 100 c may comprise the same unformed height H1. Also, the rows of staples 100 a, 100 b, 100 c comprise different tissue capturing heights; however, in other arrangements, the rows of staples 100 a, 100 b, 100 c may comprise the same tissue capturing height H2.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 9, the staples 100 c comprise an unformed height 103 which is greater than an unformed height 102 of the staple 100 b. Also, the unformed height 102 of the staples 100 b is greater than an unformed height 101 of the staples 100 a. In addition, the staples 100 c comprise a tissue capturing height 106 which is greater than a tissue capturing height 105 of the staple 100 b in an unformed configuration. Also, the tissue capturing height 105 of the staples 100 b is greater than a tissue capturing height 104 of the staples 100 a in the unformed configuration. As a result, the staples 100 c comprise a tissue capturing area which is greater than a tissue capturing area of the staple 100 b in an unformed configuration. In addition, the tissue capturing area of the staples 100 b is greater than the tissue capturing area of the staples 100 a in the unformed configuration.
  • The staples 100 are driven between unfired positions and fired positions by a firing member, such as sled 290 (FIG. 8), for example. The sled 290 comprises ramps or wedges 291 a, 291 b, 291 c which are configured to directly engage the staples 100 a, 100 b, 100 c, respectively, and lift the staples 100 a, 100 b, 100 c toward an anvil, such as anvil 250, for example, as illustrated in FIG. 7. The sled 290 utilizes a wedge for each longitudinal row of staples 100 a, 100 b, 100 c; however, the sled 290 may have any suitable number of wedges. Each of the wedges 291 a, 291 b, 291 c comprises an angled drive surface which slides under the staples 100 a, 100 b, 100 c as the sled 290 is advanced from the proximal end 246 of the staple cartridge 240 toward the distal end 247 of the staple cartridge 240.The base 130 of each staple 100 a, 100 b, 100 c comprises an angled drive surface 132 which is directly contacted by the drive surface of the wedges 291 a, 291 b, 291 c. Stated another way, each staple 100 a, 100 b, 100 c comprises its own integrally-formed driver having a drive surface 132.The staples 100 a, 100 b, 100 c are comprised of metal and, as a result, the integrally-formed driver is also comprised of metal. That said, the staples disclosed herein can be comprised of any suitable material.
  • Further to the above, the drive surfaces of the wedges 291 a, 291 b, 291 c comprise apex portions defining peak drive surfaces 292 a, 292 b, 292 c. As illustrated in FIG. 8, the wedges 291 a, 291 b, 291 c comprise different heights. The wedge 291 c is shorter than the wedge 291 b, and the wedge 291 b is shorter than the wedge 291 a. The wedge 291 a comprises a first height 294 defined between a bottom surface 293 of the sled 290 and the peak drive surface 292 a. Likewise, the wedge 291 b comprises a second height 295 defined between the bottom surface 293 of the sled 290 and the peak drive surface 292 b. Also, the wedge 291 c comprises a third height 296 defined between the bottom surface 293 of the sled 290 and the peak drive surface 292 c. As illustrated in FIG. 8, the heights 294, 295, 296 are different. The first height 294 is shorter than the second height 295, and the second height 295 is shorter than the third height 296. In other instances, however, the heights 294, 295, 296 can be the same, or at least substantially the same, size.
  • Referring to FIG. 7, an end effector 220 is depicted in a closed configuration. A forming gap is defined between the cartridge deck 245 and the anvil 250. A first gap height (A) is defined between the deck surface 245 a and anvil pockets 254 a which are configured to deform the staples 100 a. A second gap height (B) is defined between the deck surface 245 b and anvil pockets 254 b which are configured to deform the staples 100 b. A third gap height (C) is defined between the deck surface 245 c and anvil pockets 254 c which are configured to deform the staples 100 c. The gap height (A) is shorter than the gap height (B), and the gap height (B) is shorter than the gap height (C). This arrangement improves fluid flow through tissue captured by the end effector 220 in a direction away from the elongate slot 243 by creating a pressure gradient where more pressure is applied to the tissue closer to the cut-line or the elongate slot 243. In other instances, however, the forming gap may comprise a constant, or at least substantially constant, height between the cartridge deck 245 and the anvil 250.
  • Referring to FIGS. 7-11, the sled 290 and the anvil 250 cooperate to form the staples 100 a, 100 b, 100 c to different formed heights 107, 108, 109, respectively. As illustrated in FIG. 10, the staples 100 a, 100 b, 100 c can be proportionally formed by the sled 290 and the anvil 250. As illustrated in FIG. 10, the staples 100 a, 100 b, 100 c comprise different unformed heights, and are fully or completely formed to a standard “B” shaped formation. The difference in unformed height between the staples 100 a, 100 b, 100 c causes the staples 100 a, 100 b, 100 c to comprise different tissue capturing areas in the formed configuration even though the staples 100 a, 100 b, 100 c are proportionally formed.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 10, a formed staple 100 a comprises a smaller tissue capturing area than a formed staple 100 b, and a formed staple 100 b comprises a smaller tissue capturing area than a formed staple 100 c. In such instances, the formed staple 100 a exerts more pressure on tissue captured by the formed staple 100 a than the pressure exerted by the formed staple 100 b on tissue captured by the formed staple 100 b. In addition, the pressure exerted by the formed staple 100 b on the tissue captured by the formed staple 100 b is greater than the pressure exerted by the staple 100 c on tissue captured by the formed staple 100 c.
  • In certain instances, a first group of staples, a second group of staples, and/or a third group of staples may comprise the same unformed height but are deformed to different deformed heights by utilizing a sled that comprises wedges with different heights such as, for example, the sled 290. The sled 290 may cause the first group of staples to be fully formed, the second group of staples to be partially formed, and the third group of staples to be partially formed to a lesser degree than the second group of staples. This is the result of the wedges 291 a, 291 b, 291 c of the sled 290 having different heights 294, 295, 296, respectively. In such instances, the first group of staples can apply a larger pressure to the tissue than the second group of staples and, similarly, the second group of staples can apply a larger pressure to the tissue than the third group of staples.
  • Referring to FIG. 11, the staples 100 d, 100 e, 100 f comprise the same unformed height. Yet the staples 100 d, 100 e, 100 f can be formed to different formed heights by causing the staples 100 d, 100 e, 100 f to formed to different degrees. For example, the staples 100 d are more tightly formed than the staples 100 e, and the staples 100 e are more tightly formed than the staples 100 f. In result, the formed staples 100 d comprise a smaller tissue capturing area than the formed staples 100 e, and the formed staples 100 e comprise a smaller tissue capturing area than a formed staple 100 f. In such instances, the formed staple 100 d exerts more pressure on tissue captured by the formed staple 100 d than the pressure exerted by the formed staple 100 e on tissue captured by the formed staple 100 e. In addition, the pressure exerted by the formed staple 100 e on the tissue captured by the formed staple 100 e is greater than the pressure exerted by the staple 100 f on tissue captured by the formed staple 100 f.
  • In various instances, the height of the base 130 (FIG. 1) can be varied such that a first group of staples, a second group of staples, and/or a third group of staples may comprise different base heights. For example, the row of staples 100 a may comprise a first base height greater than a corresponding base height of the row of staples 100 b, and the row of staples 100 b may comprise a base height greater than a corresponding base height of the row of staples 100 c.
  • Various other suitable staples, staple cartridge, and end effectors for use with the present disclosure can be found in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/836,036, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE ASSEMBLY WITHOUT A BOTTOM COVER, and filed Aug. 26, 2015, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 12-17, various staple cartridges 340 (FIG. 12), 340′ (FIG. 14), 340″ (FIG. 15) are depicted. The staple cartridges 340, 340′, 340″ are similar in many respects to the staple cartridge 240. For example, the staple cartridges 340, 340′, 340″ comprise a cartridge body 342, staple cavities 344, a cartridge deck 345, a proximal portion 346, a distal portion 347, and an elongate slot 343 extending longitudinally from the proximal portion 346 to the distal portion 347. The cartridge deck 345 includes steps 345′, 345″ that define stepped deck surfaces 345 a, 345 b, 345 c, which comprise rows of staple cavities 344 a, 344 b, 344 c, respectively.
  • Referring to FIGS. 12-14, the staple cartridges 340, 340′ are provided with stepped deck surfaces that are equipped tissue retention features or cleats 348. The stepped deck surfaces provide several advantages such as facilitating fluid outflow during a tissue stapling procedure; however, the stepped nature of the deck surfaces reduces traction against the tissue gripped between a staple cartridge and an anvil. To resist tissue slippage, stepped deck surfaces of staple cartridges 340 (FIG. 12), 340′ (FIG. 14) are equipped with tissue retention features or cleats 348 that are strategically placed in various arrangements that improve traction against the tissue without significantly interfering with or reducing the functionality of the stepped deck surfaces.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 12, the cartridge deck 345 includes pyramid-shaped cleats 348. The pyramid-shaped cleats 348 may include square and/or triangular bases and sloping sides that may extend generally away from cartridge deck 345. As illustrated in FIG. 12, the cleats 348 generally comprise a base 351 defined in the cartridge deck 345, and a peak 341 narrower than the base 351. In certain instances, the cartridge deck 345 may include pillar-shaped cleats which may include square and/or rectangle bases and substantially perpendicular sides extending generally away from the deck surfaces 345 a, 345 b, 345 c. In certain instances, the cartridge deck 345 may include cone-shaped cleats and/or dome-shaped cleats 1042. Cleats with other suitable shapes and sizes can also be utilized.
  • The cleats 348 can be made, or at least partially made, from the same material or materials as the cartridge deck 345. Alternatively, the cleats 348 may comprise a different material composition than the cartridge deck 345. In various instances, the cleats 348 can be made from a plastic or a ceramic material. In certain instances, the cleats 348 may comprise one or more biocompatible elastomeric polymers. In certain instances, the cleats are made, or at least partially made, from a medical grade plastic material such as, for example, a glass filled poly-carbonate material. In certain instances, the cleats 348 are made, or at least partially made, from one or more resilient materials. In certain instances, the cleats 348 are more flexible than the cartridge deck 345 to ensure an atraumatic interaction with the tissue.
  • Cleats 348 can be spatially arranged onto the cartridge deck 345 in a predetermined pattern or array. For example, cleats 348 can be spatially arranged onto the cartridge deck 345 in multiple rows which may extend longitudinally along a length of the cartridge deck 345, which can be in parallel with one another.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 12, the cleats 348 are spatially arranged in a cleat pattern 350 configured to define a perimeter around the staple cavities 344. The cleats 348 of the cleat pattern 350 are positioned outside the area of the cartridge deck 345 occupied by the staple cavities 344. The cleats 348 on one side of a plane defined by the elongate slot 343 are mirror images of corresponding cleats 348 on an opposite side of the plane. More of the cleats 348 of the cleat pattern 350 are positioned on the external deck surfaces 345 c than the internal deck surfaces 345 b, 345 a. This creates a barrier against tissue slippage while minimizing interference with the fluid outflow functionality of the stepped cartridge deck 345. In the same vein, the cleats 348 that are positioned on the deck surfaces 345 c are limited to external area of the deck surfaces 345 c, as illustrated in FIG. 12.
  • Further to the above, as illustrated in FIG. 13, the cleat pattern 350 is more tightly formed at the distal portion 347 and/or the proximal portion 346 than an intermediate portion 349 that includes the staple cavities 344. The distance between adjacent cleats 348 of the intermediate portion 349 is greater than the distance between adjacent cleats 348 of the distal portion 347. Likewise, the distance between adjacent cleats 348 of the intermediate portion 349 is greater than the distance between adjacent cleats 348 of the proximal portion 346. Furthermore, the cleats 348 in the deck surfaces 345 a, 345 b, are positioned proximal and/or distal to the rows of staple cavities 344 a, 344 b.This arrangement of the cleat pattern 350 is designed to improve tissue traction without significantly interfering with or reducing the functionality of the stepped deck surfaces, as described above.
  • Referring to FIG. 14, a cleat pattern 360 is utilized with the staple cartridge 340′. The cleats 348 of the cleat pattern 360 are limited to the proximal portion 346 and distal portion 347 of the staple cartridge 340 that are void of the staple cavities 344. In other words, the cleats 348 of the cleat pattern 360 are positioned outside the intermediate portion 349 that includes the staple cavities 344. The cleats 348 of the cleat pattern 360 are distributed on the cartridge deck 345 in areas that are void of the staple cavities 344 which are proximal and distal to the intermediate portion 349.
  • Referring again to FIG. 14, the cleats 348 of the cleat pattern 360 are arranged in rows 348 a, 348 b, 348 c which extend or protrude from deck surfaces 345 a, 345 b, 345 c, respectively. The rows 348 a, 348 b, 348 c are aligned with the rows of the staple cavities 344 a, 344 b, 344 c, respectively, to provide appropriate traction against tissue slippage that is caused by the stepped nature of the stepped cartridge deck 345. The cleats of the cleat rows 348 a, 348 b, 348 c are spatially arranged on the deck surfaces 345 a, 345 b, 345 c, respectively, at positions that are proximal and distal to the rows of staple cavities 344 a, 344 b, 344 c, respectively. The number, size, and/or shape of the cleats in each of the cleat rows 348 a, 348 b, 348 c can be adjusted to provide an appropriate amount of traction against the tissue slippage at each of the deck surfaces 345 a, 345 b, 345 c, for example.
  • In various instances, the cleats of the deck surfaces 345 a, 345 b, 345 c include different cleat heights. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 16, the cleats of the cleat row 348 a may comprise a first cleat height H1 smaller than a second cleat height H2 of corresponding cleats of the cleat row 348 b, which is smaller than a third cleat height H3 of corresponding cleats of the cleat row 348 c. That said, cleats with other cleat height arrangements can be utilized.
  • Referring again to FIG. 16, the cleat heights of the cleat rows 348 a, 348 b, 348 c can be selected to compensate for the difference in height between the deck surfaces 345 a, 345 b, 345 c. As a result, the peaks 341 of the cleat rows 348 a, 348 b, 348 c can define a plane extending in parallel, or substantially in parallel, with the deck surfaces 345 a, 345 b, 345 c. In other words, the combined height of the deck surfaces 345 a, 345 b, 345 c and corresponding cleats from the cleat rows 348 a, 348 b, 348 c, respectively, may amount to the same, or substantially the same, height, for example. In certain instances, external cleats may comprise greater heights than internal cleats to provide a greater traction at peripheral portions of the cartridge deck 345. As illustrated in FIG. 16, the tissue traction provided by cleats of the cleat row 348 c at the external deck surface 345 c is greater than the tissue traction provided by cleats of the cleat row 348 b at the intermediate deck surface 345 b, which is greater than the tissue traction provided by cleats of the cleat row 348 a at the internal deck surface 345 a. As a result, the cleat pattern 350 creates a tissue-traction gradient where tissue closer to the elongate slot 343 experiences a greater traction than tissue further away from the elongate slot 343.
  • Referring again to FIG. 16, an end effector 220′ includes a staple cartridge 340′ and an anvil 250. The end effector 220′ is similar in many respects to the end effector 220 (FIG. 7). The end effector 220′ is depicted in a closed configuration. A forming gap is defined between the cartridge deck 345 and the anvil 250. The cleat rows 348 a, 348 b, 348 c protrude from the deck surfaces 345 a, 345 b, 345 c, respectively, toward the forming gap between the cartridge deck 345 and the anvil 250. The cleat rows 348 a, 348 b, 348 c are configured to provide appropriate traction for tissue captured between the anvil 250 and the cartridge deck 340 to resist slippage of the captured tissue. In various instances, the peaks 341 of corresponding cleats of the cleat rows 348 a, 348 b, 348 c are the same or, at least substantially the same, distance from a datum in the anvil 250. In various instances, one or more of the cleats 348 can function as gap setting members configured to set a minimum forming gap between a cartridge deck of a staple cartridge and anvil in a closed configuration.
  • FIGS. 15 and 17 illustrate a staple cartridge 340″ which is similar in many respects to other staple cartridges described herein such as, for example, the staple cartridge 340. The staple cartridge 340″ comprises gap setting members 370 configured to set a minimum forming gap between the staple cartridge 340″ and an anvil 250. In a fully closed configuration, the anvil 250 is configured to rest against the gap setting members 370. A predetermined minimum gap is set between the anvil 250 and the cartridge deck 340″ by the transverse gap setting members 370 in the fully closed configuration.
  • The number, height, size, arrangement, and/or shape of the gap setting members 370 can be selected to set a suitable minimum gap between the anvil 250 and the cartridge deck 340. As illustrated in FIGS. 15 and 17, the gap setting members 370 comprise a proximal gap setting member 370 a extending transversely in a proximal portion 346 of the staple cartridge 340″, an intermediate gap setting member 370 b extending transversely in an intermediate portion 349 of the staple cartridge 340″, and a distal gap setting member 370 c extending transversely in a distal portion 347 of the staple cartridge 340″. As illustrated in FIG. 17, the gap setting members 370 a, 370 b, 370 c comprise different heights. In other instances, however, the gap setting members 370 a, 370 b, 370 c may comprise the same, or substantially the same, height.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 17, the distal gap setting member 370 c is greater in height than the intermediate gap setting member 370 b, which is greater in height than the proximal gap setting member 370 a. As a result, a minimum forming gap 372 that comprises a size gradient is formed between the cartridge deck 340 and the anvil 250 in the fully closed configuration. The minimum forming gap 372 comprises a first volume at the proximal portion 346 of the staple cartridge 340″, a second volume at the intermediate portion 349 of the staple cartridge 340″, and a third volume at the distal portion 347 of the staple cartridge 340″, wherein the first volume is greater than the second volume, and wherein the second volume is greater than the third volume. In certain instances, however, the distal gap setting member 370 c can be smaller in height than the intermediate gap setting member 370 b, which can be smaller in height than the proximal gap setting member 370 a. In such instances, the first volume can be smaller than the second volume, and the second volume can be smaller than the first volume.
  • The gap setting members 370 a, 370 b, 370 c are spaced apart. As illustrated in FIG. 15, the gap setting member 370 a is positioned proximal to the staple cavities 344 and the gap setting member 370 c is positioned distal to the staple cavities 344 while the gap setting member 370 b is positioned between adjacent staple cavities 344. Each of the gap setting members 370 a, 370 b, 370 c extends across the elongate slot 343 in a direction perpendicular, or substantially perpendicular, to a longitudinal axis extending along the elongate slot 343. In other instances, one or more of the gap setting members 370 a, 370 b, 370 c may not extend across the elongate slot 343. In various instances, the staple cartridge 340″ may comprise more or less than three gap setting members, for example.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 18 and 19, staple cartridges 440 and 440′ are depicted. The staple cartridges 440 and 440′ are similar in many respects to other staple cartridge disclosed herein such as, for example, the staple cartridge 240. For example, the staple cartridges 440 and 440′ comprise a cartridge body 442, a cartridge deck 445, staple cavities 444, a proximal portion 346, a distal portion 347, and an elongate slot 343 extending longitudinally from the proximal portion 346 to the distal portion 347. The cartridge deck 445 includes steps 445′, 445″ that define stepped deck surfaces 445 a, 445 b, 445 c. The staple cavities 444 are arranged in rows 444 a, 444 b, 44 c which are defined in deck surfaces 445 a, 445 b, 445 c, respectively.
  • Referring to FIG. 18, the staple cartridge 440 comprises gap setting pins 470 configured to set a minimum forming gap between the staple cartridge 440 and an anvil 250. In a fully closed configuration, the anvil 250 is configured to rest against the gap setting pins 470. A predetermined minimum gap is set between the anvil 250 and the cartridge deck 445 by the gap setting pins 470 in the fully closed configuration.
  • The gap setting pins 470 are positioned at a distal portion 347 of the staple cartridge 440. Said another way, the gap setting pins 470 are positioned distal to the staple cavities 444. As illustrated in FIG. 18, the gap setting pins 470 comprise a cylindrical, or at least substantially cylindrical, shape, and are positioned on opposite sides of a plane defined by the elongate slot 343. The gap setting pins 470 are equidistant from the elongate slot 343 to balance the anvil 250 in the closed configuration and resist any tilting that may occur in the anvil 250 as the anvil 250 is pressed against tissue captured between the anvil 250 and the staple cartridge 440. The number, height, size, arrangement, and/or shape of the gap setting pins 470 can be selected to set a suitable minimum gap between the anvil 250 and the cartridge deck 445.
  • The gap setting members 370 and or the gap setting pins 470 can be made from a plastic or a ceramic material. In certain instances, the gap setting members 370 and or the gap setting pins 470 may comprise one or more biocompatible elastomeric polymers. In certain instances, the gap setting members 370 and or the gap setting pins 470 are made, or at least partially made, from a medical grade plastic material. In certain instances, the gap setting members 370 and or the gap setting pins 470 are made, or at least partially made, from one or more resilient materials. In certain instances, the gap setting members 370 and or the gap setting pins 470 are more flexible than the cartridge deck 345 to ensure an atraumatic interaction with the tissue.
  • Referring to FIG. 19, the staple cartridge 440′ comprises a shell 402 configured to receive a cartridge body 442. Retention features 403 and 405 secure the cartridge body 442 to the shell 402. To assemble the cartridge body 442 with the shell 402, the cartridge body 442 is inserted into the shell 402 until the retention features 403 and 405 snap into engagement with corresponding openings 404 and 406 in the shell 402. Furthermore, the shell 402 includes elevated portions 480 that extend above the cartridge deck 445 to set a minimum gap between the cartridge deck 445 and an anvil 250 in a fully closed configuration. The elevated portions 480 comprise distal flanges 480 a and intermediate flanges 480 b that protrude through corresponding openings 481 a, 481 b in the cartridge deck 445. The distal flanges 480 a and intermediate flanges 480 b are bent away from the elongate slot 343. The elevated portions 480 further include proximal flanges 482 that are bent toward the elongated slot 343. Other elevated portions suitable for maintaining a minimum gap between the cartridge deck 445 and the anvil 250 in a fully closed configuration can be utilized.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 20-21, a staple retainer 502 is affixed to a cartridge deck 545 of a staple cartridge 540. The staple retainer 502 extends between a proximal end 546 and a distal end 547 of the staple cartridge 540. The staple retainer 502 may be configured to mimic the surface of the cartridge deck 545. The staple cartridge 540 comprises an elongate slot 543 centered among rows of staple cavities 544. The elongate slot 543 may be configured to receive a cutting member. The staple retainer 502 may be labeled with various information to assist the surgeon in selecting the appropriate cartridge for use with the surgical instrument. Such information can also include descriptions regarding the orientation of the staple cartridge 540 or instructions for attachment or removal of the staple retainer 502.
  • It is desirable to secure the staple retainer 502 to the staple cartridge 540 to ensure that the staples of the staple cartridge 540 remain within their respective staple cavities 544. The staple retainer 502 may be secured to the staple cartridge 540 through various means including a biasing member in the form of a spring latch 501. The spring latch 501 includes two eject arms 506 and a hairpin retainer 507. The hairpin retainer 507 can be configured to pass through an aperture 508 on the proximal end 546 of the staple retainer 502 that is aligned with the elongate slot 543 of the staple cartridge 540. Thus, the hairpin retainer 507 passes into the elongate slot 543 when the staple retainer 502 is attached to the staple cartridge 540. The two eject arms 506 of the spring latch 501 may engage with a pair of wire cleats 505, configured to secure and retain the eject arms 506. As illustrated, the spring latch 501 may be located on the proximal end 546 of the staple retainer 502. However, a spring latch 501 can be located on the distal end 547 of the staple retainer 502. Other suitable positions for the spring latch 501 are contemplated by the present disclosure.
  • Additional attachment features, including side wings or flanges 510, are utilized to strengthen the retention connection of the staple retainer 502 to the staple cartridge 540. Such flanges 510 may contact corresponding indentations on the cartridge body 542 of the staple cartridge 540. Flanges 510 may engage with the cartridge body 542 in various ways, including but not limited to snap-fit or pressure-fit connections, for example.
  • The staple retainer 502 further comprises a handle portion 520 for facilitating removal of the staple retainer 502 from the staple cartridge 540. The handle portion 520 extends past the end of the staple cartridge 540 to facilitate grasping the handle portion 520. As a lifting motion is applied to the handle 520, the upward forces can overcome the retention forces holding the spring latch 501 in place. Such upward forces are also capable of overcoming any additional retention forces from the side wings or flanges 510.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 22-23, the elongate slot 543 of the staple cartridge 540 comprises inner sidewalls 550 with channel detents 551 to facilitate the retention of the hairpin retainer 507 of the spring latch 501. The hairpin retainer 507 has outward-extending curves that fit within the channel detents 551 on the inner sidewalls 550 of the elongate slot 543. As illustrated in FIG. 22, when holding the staple retainer 502 in place, the hairpin retainer 507 is configured to enter the elongate slot 543 to a degree where the staple retainer 502 lies flush against the cartridge deck 545 of the staple cartridge 540. In this position, a portion of the hairpin retainer 507 extends beyond the channel detents 551 of the sidewalls 550, while the eject arms 506 rest in the wire cleats 505 of the staple retainer 502.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 23, when the surgeon begins to lift up on the handle 520 of the staple retainer 502, the staple retainer 502 presses up against the eject arms 506 of the spring latch 501. When the eject arms 506 are subjected to such an upward ejection force, they begin to buckle inwardly, disengaging the hairpin retainer 507 from its connection with the channel detents 551 of the elongate slot 543. The spring latch 501 may remain attached to the staple retainer 502 throughout attachment and detachment because of the retention of the eject arms 506 within the wire cleats 505. This ensures that the spring latch 501 is removed with the staple retainer 502.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 24-28, a staple cartridge 640 is similar in many respects to other staple cartridges disclosed herein such as, for example, the staple cartridges 240, 440. For example, the staple cartridge 640 comprises a cartridge body 642, a cartridge deck 645, staple cavities 644, staples 600, a proximal portion 346, a distal portion 347, and an elongate slot 343 extending longitudinally from the proximal portion 346 to the distal portion 347. The cartridge deck 645 includes steps 645′, 645″ that define stepped deck surfaces 645 a, 645 b, 645 c. The staple cavities 444 are arranged in rows 444 a, 444 b, 44 c which are defined in the stepped deck surfaces 445 a, 445 b, 445 c, respectively.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 24, the staple cartridge 640 further comprises a plurality of staple drivers 602, 603, 604 which can each be configured to support one or more staples 600 (FIG. 27) within the staple cavities 444 when the staples 600 and the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 are in their predetermined starting positions. Each of the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 comprises cradles, or troughs, 607, for example, which are configured to support the staples 600. A staple-firing sled can be moved from a proximal portion 346 to a distal portion 347 of the staple cartridge 640 in order to sequentially lift the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 and the staples 100 from their predetermined starting positions toward an anvil 250 positioned opposite the staple cartridge 640.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 25, the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 are arranged in different regions of the cartridge body 642. A proximal region 646 includes the staple drivers 602 which comprise each two pushers 602 a, 602 b supporting two staples 600 in the inner and intermediate cavity rows 644 a, 644 b. In addition, an intermediate region 649 includes the staple drivers 603 which comprise each three pushers 603 a, 603 b, 603 c supporting three staples 600 in the inner, intermediate, and outer cavity rows 644 a, 644 b, 644 c. Furthermore, a distal region 647 includes the staple drivers 604 which comprise each four pushers 604 a, 604 b, 604 c supporting four staples 600 in the inner, intermediate, and outer cavity rows 644 a, 644 b, 644 c.
  • Like the staple cartridge 440, the staple cartridge 640 comprises an outer shell that defines a bottom surface of the staple cartridge 640. During assembly, staple drivers 602, 603, 604 are inserted into predetermined starting positions within the cartridge body 642. Then, the cartridge body 642 is assembled with the outer shell of the staple cartridge 640. To minimize shifting of the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 from their predetermined starting positions, which occur during and/or after the assembly process, the present disclosure provides various retention features that are configured to maintain the assembled staple drivers 602, 603, 604 at their predetermined starting positions. This is especially useful in staple cartridges such as the staple cartridge 640 where multiple staples from different deck surfaces are configured to be simultaneously driven by the same staple driver. Minor shifting motion of such staple drivers from their predetermined starting positions may compromise the alignment of the staples with the staple driver which can compromise the successful deployment of the staples.
  • FIG. 25 illustrates the staple cartridge 640 with the outer shell being removed exposing the staple drivers 602, 603, 604. The cartridge body 642 comprises deformable or crushable retention features 610 that maintain the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 in their predetermined starting positions, as illustrated in FIG. 25. The deformable retention features 610 project or protrude from the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 and/or in the cartridge body 642 providing a friction fit between the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 and the cartridge body 642. In addition, the deformable retention features 610 extend along a predefined direction of motion of the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 within the staple cavities 644. In various instances, the deformable retention features 610 can be in the form of ribs or columns extending in a direction transverse to a plane defined by the cartridge deck 645. A deformable retention feature 610 may comprise a dome-shaped or triangular cross-sectional area. Other suitable shapes and sizes of the deformable retention features 610 can be utilized.
  • The deformable retention features 610 may comprise the same material composition as the cartridge body 642 and/or the staple drivers 602, 603, 604. Alternatively, the deformable retention features 610 may comprise a different material composition than the cartridge body 642 and/or the staple drivers 602, 603, 604. The deformable retention features 610 are sized and positioned such that they are partially deformed to create the friction fit needed to maintain the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 in their predetermined starting positions. When the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 are in their predetermined starting positions, an interference 611 between the deformable retention features 610 and corresponding staple drivers 602, 603, 604 is about 0.001″ to about 0.002″. That said, any suitable interference between the deformable retention features 610 and corresponding staple drivers 602, 603, 604 can be implemented. A suitable interference is one that maintains the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 in their predetermined starting positions but can be overcome by a staple deployment force or a firing force transmitted by a sled as the sled is advanced to motivate the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 to deploy the staples 600.
  • The deformable retention features 610 are slightly plastically deformed between the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 and the cartridge body 642. Elastic recovery of deformable retention features 610 around the edges of the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 maintain the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 at the predetermined starting position. In certain instances, the plastic deformation of the deformable retention features 610 is selected from a range of about 1% to about 40%. In certain instances, the plastic deformation of the deformable retention features 610 is selected from a range of about 5% to about 35%. In certain instances, the plastic deformation of the deformable retention features 610 is selected from a range of about 10% to about 30%.
  • In certain instances, a suitable interference can be selected from a range of about 0.0015″ to about 0.003″, for example. In certain instances, a suitable interference can be selected from a range of about 0.0013″ to about 0.0017″, for example. In certain instances, a suitable interference can be selected from a range of about 0.0014″ to about 0.0016″, for example. In certain instances, the deformable retention features 610 are molded on the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 and/or in the cartridge body 642. In certain instances, the deformable retention features 610 are attached to the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 and/or the cartridge body 642, for example. Any suitable manufacturing techniques can be utilized to prepare staple drivers 602, 603, 604 and/or cartridge bodies 642 that include the deformable retention features 610.
  • Referring to FIG. 24, the external pushers 602 c, 603 c, 604 c, 604 d that support staples 600 in the outer row of staple cavities 644 c comprise clearance tracks, recesses, or slots 605 that are configured to receive the deformable retention features 610. To assemble the staple cartridge 640, the outer pan or shell is removed, and the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 are inserted into their predetermined starting positions. The clearance slots 605 are slid against the deformable retention features 610 extending or protruding from side walls 608 of the staple cavities 644 c. This causes deformation of the deformable retention features 610 as the staple drivers 604 are moved toward their predetermined starting positions. When a pusher such as, for example, the pusher 604 c is at its predetermined starting position, the elastic recovery of deformed portions 610 a, 610 b of the deformable retention features 610 that are below a bottom surface 612 of the clearance slots 605 and above a top surface 612 of the clearance slots ensures that the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 remain at their predetermined starting positions in the absence of a firing force. The portions 610 a, 610 b partially wrap around the surfaces 606 and 612 of the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 at their predetermined starting positions resisting exposure of the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 to shifting motions that may occur during and/or after assembly of the staple cartridge 640.
  • In addition to the retention benefits, the clearance slots 605 cooperate with corresponding deformable retention features 610 to define a track that facilitates guiding the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 within the cartridge body 642 to their predetermined starting positions. In certain instances, however, the staple drivers 602, 603, 604 may lack the clearance slots 605. In such instances, the deformable retention features 610 can provide an interference 611 against other portions of the staple drivers 602, 603, 604.
  • Further to the above, the clearance slots 605 need not be limited to external pushers 602 b, 603 c, 604 c, 604 d. Other pushers such as, for example, pushers 602 a, 603 a, 603 b, 604 a, 604 b may comprise clearance slots 605 which can be pressed against corresponding deformable retention features 610 in the cartridge body 642, for example.
  • As illustrated in FIGS. 24 and 26, the clearance slots 605 extend along the entire height of the pushers 602 c, 603 c, 604 c, 604 d terminating at top surfaces 612 and bottom surfaces 606. In other instances, a clearance slot 605 can extend along a portion of the height of a pusher, for example. Furthermore, as illustrated in FIGS. 27, 28, the deformable retention features 610 extend along the entire height of corresponding staple cavities 644. Alternatively, a deformable retention feature 610 may extend along a portion of the height of a staple cavity 644. In various instances, the clearance slots 605 and corresponding deformable retention features 610 comprise complimenting shapes to facilitate a mating engagement therebetween.
  • In various instances, a cartridge body may include a retention feature sized such that a friction fit is defined between the retention feature and a corresponding clearance slot of a staple driver without visible deformation of the retention feature. The retention feature may gradually increase in size from an initial portion at point of first engagement between the retention feature and the clearance slot to an end portion at a point of last engagement between the retention feature and the clearance slot. The end portion comprises a larger cross-sectional area than the initial portion to provide an appropriate friction fit to maintain the staple driver at a predetermined starting position. The size gradient allows the clearance slot 605 to easily slide against a relatively narrow initial portion of the retention feature. A greater friction is realized between the clearance slot and the retention feature as the size of the retention feature increases on the way toward the predetermined starting position at the end portion.
  • In various instances, the staple drivers comprise the deformable retention features while the cartridge body comprises the corresponding clearance slots. As illustrated in FIG. 29, a staple driver such as, for example, the staple driver 604′ comprises deformable retention features 610 disposed on side walls of the pushers 604 c, 604 d in place of the clearance slots. A cartridge body may include corresponding clearance slots configured to receive the deformable retention features 610 of the staple driver 604′.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 30-32, a staple cartridge 740 is similar in many respects to other staple cartridges disclosed herein such as, for example, the staple cartridges 240, 440, 640. For example, the staple cartridge 640 comprises a cartridge body 742, a cartridge deck 745, staple cavities 744, a proximal portion 346, a distal portion 347, and an elongate slot 343 extending longitudinally from the proximal portion 346 to the distal portion 347. The cartridge deck 745 includes steps 745′, 745″ that define stepped deck surfaces 745 a, 745 b, 745 c. The staple cavities 744 are arranged in rows 744 a, 744 b, 744 c which are defined in the stepped deck surfaces 745 a, 745 b, 745 c, respectively.
  • Like the staple cartridge 240, the staple cartridge 740 comprises staples 100 (FIG. 30) that are removably stored in staple cavities 744. The staples 100 of the staple cartridge 740 are ejected from the staple cavities 744 by a firing member or sled 709 (FIG. 31) when the sled 709 is moved from the proximal portion 746 of the cartridge body 642 toward the distal portion 747. The sled 709 directly engages a base portion 130 of the staples 100 to sequentially lift the staples 100 from their predetermined starting positions in the staple cavities 744 toward an anvil 250 positioned opposite the staple cartridge 740.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 30, the cartridge body 742 comprises deformable or crushable retention features 710, which are similar in many respects to the deformable retention features 610. The deformable retention features 710 are configured to maintain the staples 100 in their predetermined starting positions in the absence of a firing force. The deformable retention features 710 project or protrude from the staples 100 and/or the cartridge body 742 providing a friction fit between the staples 100 and the cartridge body 742. In addition, the deformable retention features 710 extend along a predefined direction of motion of the staples within the staple cavities 744. In various instances, the deformable retention features 710 can be in the form of ribs or columns extending in a direction transverse to a plane defined by the cartridge deck 745. A deformable retention feature 710 may comprise a dome-shaped or triangular cross-sectional area. Other suitable shapes and sizes of the deformable retention features 610 can be utilized. As illustrated in FIG. 31, the deformable retention features 710 protrude from side walls 708 of the staple cavities 744 providing a friction fit between the base portions 130 of the staples 100 and the cartridge body 742 at the predetermined starting positions of the staples 100.
  • The deformable retention features 710 may comprise the same material composition as the cartridge body 742 and/or base portions 130. Alternatively, the deformable retention features 710 may comprise a different material composition than the cartridge body 742 and/or the base portions 130. The deformable retention features 710 are sized and positioned such that they are partially deformed to create the friction fit needed to maintain the staples 100 in their predetermined starting positions. When the staples 100 are at their predetermined starting positions, an interference 711 is defined between the deformable retention features 710 and corresponding base portions 130, and is measured at about 0.001″ to about 0.002″. That said, any suitable interference between the deformable retention features 710 and corresponding base portions 130 can be implemented. A suitable interference is one that maintains the staples 100 in their predetermined starting positions but can be overcome by a staple deployment force or a firing force transmitted by the sled 709 (FIG. 31) as the sled 709 is advanced against the base portions 130 to deploy the staples 100.
  • The deformable retention features 710 are slightly plastically deformed between the base portions 130 of the staples 100 and the cartridge body 742 at the predetermined starting positions. Elastic recovery of deformable retention features 710 around the edges of the base portions 130 maintains the staples 100 at the predetermined starting positions. In certain instances, the plastic deformation of the deformable retention features 710 is selected from a range of about 1% to about 40%. In certain instances, the plastic deformation of the deformable retention features 710 is selected from a range of about 5% to about 35%. In certain instances, the plastic deformation of the deformable retention features 710 is selected from a range of about 10% to about 30%.
  • In certain instances, a suitable interference between the deformable retention features 710 and corresponding base portions 130 can be selected from a range of about 0.0015″ to about 0.003″, for example. In certain instances, a suitable interference between the deformable retention features 710 and corresponding base portions 130 can be selected from a range of about 0.0013″ to about 0.0017″, for example. In certain instances, a suitable interference between the deformable retention features 710 and corresponding base portions 130 can be selected from a range of about 0.0014″ to about 0.0016″, for example.
  • In various instances, a surgical stapling and cutting instrument can include a pair of cooperating elongate jaw members, wherein each jaw member can be adapted to be inserted into a patient and positioned relative to tissue that is to be stapled and/or incised. One of the jaw members can support a staple cartridge with at least two laterally spaced rows of staples contained therein. Examples of suitable staple cartridges include but are not limited to the staple cartridges 240 (FIG. 5), 340 (FIG. 12), 440 (FIG. 18), 640 (FIG. 24). In addition, the other jaw member can support an anvil 850 (FIG. 33) with staple-forming pockets 856 (FIG. 33) aligned with the rows of staples in the staple cartridge.
  • Further to the above, the surgical stapling and cutting instrument can further include a firing assembly 800 (FIG. 35) which is slidable relative to the jaw members to sequentially eject the staples from the staple cartridge. During a firing stroke, the firing assembly 800 is configured to activate a plurality of staple drivers carried by the cartridge and associated with the staples in order to push the staples against the staple-forming pockets 856 of the anvil 850 and form laterally spaced rows of deformed staples in the tissue gripped between the jaw members.
  • A spent staple cartridge, which has been fired, can be removed and replaced with an unspent or unfired staple cartridge to allow the surgical stapling and cutting instrument to be reused. A limitation to the repeated use of a surgical stapling and cutting instrument arises from damage sustained by the anvil from interfacing a firing assembly 800 during a firing stroke. Anvils are typically manufactured from materials that can be easily stamped to create staple forming pockets. The material properties that allow anvils to be easily stamped reduce an anvil's resistance to the forces transmitted by the firing assembly 800 during the firing stroke.
  • The present disclosure provides an anvil 850 that is designed to resist damage caused by repeated firing of a surgical stapling and cutting instrument. As illustrated in FIG. 33, the anvil 850 is assembled from a plurality of discrete pieces that are designed to provide a localized reinforcement to portions of the anvil 850 that interface with the firing assembly 800 during a firing stroke. The reinforcement can be in the form of localized, strengthening, hardening, coating, and/or laminating of specific portions of the anvil 850, as described below in greater detail.
  • Referring to FIG. 33, the anvil 850 includes a first forming portion 854, a second forming portion 855, and a cover portion 851 interconnecting the first forming portion 854 and the second forming portion 855. The anvil 850 includes an anvil channel 857. The firing assembly 800 slidingly travels along the anvil channel 857 during a firing stroke. The anvil channel 857 includes an elongate slot 866 extending between the first forming portion 854 and the second forming portion 855. The elongate slot 866 inwardly opens along a longitudinal axis of the anvil 850.
  • Further to the above, the anvil channel 857 includes a first recess 867 defined between the cover portion 851 and the first forming portion 854. In addition, a second recess 868 of the anvil channel 857 is defined between the cover portion 851 and the second forming portion 855. The first recess 867 and the second recess 868 are sized to receive a first engagement portion 811 (FIG. 35) and a second engagement portion 812 (FIG. 35), respectively, of an engagement member 810 (FIG. 35) of the firing assembly 800.
  • Referring again to FIG. 33, a first reinforcement member 860 is attached to the first inner interface 858 of the first forming portion 854, and the second reinforcement member 861 is attached to a second inner interface 859 of the second forming portion 855. In addition, staple-forming pockets 856 are stamped into a first outer interface 858 of the first forming portion 854 and a second outer interface 859 of the second forming portion 855. During a firing stroke, the first engagement portion 811 and the second engagement portion 812 slidingly engage the first reinforcement member 860 and the second reinforcement member 861, respectively, as the firing assembly 800 is advanced along the anvil channel 857. The advancement of the firing assembly 800 causes the plurality of staples to be deployed into the tissue and to be deformed against the staple-forming pockets 856.
  • The reinforcement members 860, 861 protect the inner interfaces 858, 859 from deformation that may be caused by the engagement portions 811, 812 during a firing stroke. To do so, the reinforcement members 860, 861 are more able to resist deformation than the forming portions 854, 855. In certain instances, the reinforcement members 860, 861 are harder than the forming portions 854, 855. In certain instances, the reinforcement members 860, 861 are made from a material composition that is different from the material composition of the forming portions 854, 855. For example, the reinforcement members 860, 861 from titanium while the forming portions 854, 855 are made or at least partially made from stainless steel. Other suitable material compositions for the reinforcement members 860, 861 and the forming portions 854, 855 can be utilized.
  • Further to the above, the reinforcement members 860, 861 can be in the form of flat plates that are welded or mechanically bonded to the inner interfaces 858, 859, respectively. The flat plates comprise a thickness selected from a range of about 0.003″ to about 0.007″. In certain instances, the flat plates comprise a thickness selected from a range of about 0.00″ to about 0.006″. In certain instances, the flat plates comprise a thickness of about 0.005″, for example.
  • Due to size limitations, the anvil 850 is assembled in a manner that permits inclusion of the reinforcement members 860, 861. The anvil 850 is manufactured in separate portions 854, 855, 851 which are assembled after attachment of the reinforcement members 860, 861 to the forming portions 854, 855, respectively. In a first step of assembly, the first reinforcement member 860 is attached to the first inner interface 858 of the first forming portion 854, and the second reinforcement member 861 is attached to the second inner interface 859 of the second forming portion 854. In a second step of assembly, the cover portion 851 is attached to the first forming portion 854 and the second forming portion 855 at outer edges 852, 853, respectively.
  • Various attachment mechanisms can be utilized in assembly of the anvil 850 including but not limited to various welding and/or mechanical bonding techniques. In certain instances, laser welding is utilized in assembly of the anvil 850. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 33, spot laser welding 863 is utilized in attachment of the reinforcement members 860, 861 to the forming portions 854, 855. Due to size limitations, the spot laser welding 863 is performed prior to attachment of the cover portion 851 to the forming portions 854, 855, which can be achieved by continuous laser welding, for example, along the edges 852, 853.
  • In various instances, the reinforcement members 860, 861 and/or the inner interfaces 858, 859 can be treated to increase hardness and resistance to deformation. Various suitable treatments can be utilized to increase hardness of the reinforcement members 860, 861 and/or the inner interfaces 858, 859. In certain instances, the reinforcement members 860, 861 and/or the inner interfaces 858, 859 can be plasma coated, for example.
  • Referring to FIGS. 33 and 34, the cover portion 851 may experience deflective forces during a firing stroke. In certain instances, reinforcement members can be attached to an inner interface 862 of the cover portion 851 to protect against such deflective forces. Alternatively, as illustrated in FIG. 34, an anvil 850′ can be equipped with a cover portion 851′ designed to resist the deflective forces that are experienced during the firing stroke. The cover portion 851 comprises an atraumatic semi-circular outer interface 869 that facilitates insertion into a treatment site. In addition, the cover portion 851 comprises a flat, or at least substantially flat, inner interface 862′ which give the cover portion 851 a generally dome-shaped cross-sectional area that provides sufficient strength to resist the deflective forces that are experienced during the firing stroke.
  • Referring to FIG. 35, the firing assembly 800 includes an I-beam 802 extending distally from a laminated firing bar 804. The I-beam 802 facilitates closure and firing of the surgical stapling and cutting instrument during a firing stroke. In addition to any attachment treatment such as brazing or an adhesive, the I-beam 802 and laminated firing bar 804 are formed of a female vertical attachment aperture 806 distally formed in the laminated firing bar 804 that receives a corresponding male attachment member 807 proximally presented by the I-beam 802, allowing each portion to be formed of a selected material and process suitable for their disparate functions (e.g., strength, flexibility, friction).
  • The I-beam 802 may be advantageously formed of a material having suitable material properties for forming a pair of top engagement portions or pins 811, 812 and a bottom pin or foot 113, as well as a sharp cutting edge 814. The laminated firing bar 804 is formed of a plurality of layers or plates comprising different material compositions. As illustrated in FIG. 35, a laminated firing bar 804 includes a first outer layer 820, a second outer layer 822, and an intermediate layer 821 sandwiched between the outer layers 820, 822. The intermediate layer 821 comprises a thickness T2 that is greater than a thickness T1 of the first outer layer 820, and greater than a thickness T3 of the second outer layer 822. Furthermore, the thinner outer layers 820, 822 could be stainless steel making them more flexible and less capable of buckling resistance with the intermediate layer 821 being made of titanium and therefore more buckle resistant. The layers 820, 821, 822 can be made from other suitable materials. This design is particularly useful in resisting fatigue failure with repetitive firing of the surgical stapling and cutting instrument.
  • In certain instances, the ratio of the thickness T2 of the intermediate layer 821 to the thickness T1 of the first outer layer 820 is selected from a range of about 95% to about 5%. In certain instances, the ratio of the thickness T2 of the intermediate layer 821 to the thickness T1 of the first outer layer 820 is selected from a range of about 80% to about 30%. In certain instances, the ratio of the thickness T2 of the intermediate layer 821 to the thickness T1 of the first outer layer 820 is selected from a range of about 60% to about 40%. Other values for the ratio of the thickness T2 of the intermediate layer 821 to the thickness T1 of the first outer layer 820 are contemplated by the present disclosure.
  • Referring to FIGS. 36-38, various attachment mechanisms are utilized to attach the intermediate layer 821 to the outer layers 820, 822. In certain instances, various welding techniques are utilized in attachment of the layers 820, 821, 822. As illustrated in FIG. 36, an aperture 824 can be created in a laminated firing bar 804. The aperture 824 can be created through each of the layers 820, 821, 822 thus defining a through hole. The aperture 824 can be filled with melted portions of at least one of the outer layers 821, 822 to bond the layers 820, 821, 822 of the laminated firing bar 804. The aperture 824 is created by any suitable technique.
  • During assembly, the intermediate layer 821 is sandwiched between the outer layers 820, 822. In addition, portions of one or both of the outer layers 820, 822 are melted and permitted to flow through the aperture 824 to bridge the aperture 824 creating a bond between the layers 820, 821, 822 as the melted material is actively cooled, or permitted to cool down, to a temperature below a melting point. In certain instances, the outer layers 820, 822 are comprised of stainless steel that is melted to bridge the aperture 824.
  • In other instances, a filler material 826 can be utilized to bridge the aperture 824 and bond layers 820, 821, 822 of a laminated firing bar 804″, as illustrated in FIG. 38. The filler material 826 can be inserted into the aperture 824 either in a melted form or in an unmelted form that is then melted within the aperture 824. The filler material 826 is then actively cooled, or allowed to cool down, to a temperature below the melting point of the filler material 826 to bond the layers 820, 821, 822.
  • Referring to FIG. 37, an attachment member 827 can be utilized to join layers or plates of a laminated firing bar 804′ comprised of different materials. For example, the laminated firing bar 804′ comprises a layer 820 made, or at least partially made, from stainless steel and a layer 821 made, or at least partially made, from titanium. Other suitable materials can be utilized. The attachment member 827 comprises a first portion 827a greater in size than the aperture 824, and a second portion 827b sized to be received within the aperture 824, as illustrated in FIG. 37. The attachment member 827 can be made, or at least partially made, from the same material as the layer 820. The laminated firing bar 804′ is assembled by inserting the second portion 827b into the aperture 824 such that the first portion 827a abuts against the layer 821. Heat can then be introduced to partially melt at least a portion of the second portion 827b and/or a portion of the layer 820. Upon cooling to a temperature below the melting point, the resulting bond between the layer 820 and the attachment member 827 provides an attachment between the layers 820, 821.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 39 and 40, an end effector 900 of a surgical stapling and cutting instrument includes a shaft portion 901, an anvil 902 extending distally from the shaft portion 901, and an elongate channel 911 movably coupled to the shaft portion 901. A staple cartridge 940 is removably attached to the elongate channel 911. The staple cartridge 940 is similar in many respects to other staple cartridges disclosed herein such as, for example, the staple cartridge 240.
  • To operate the surgical stapling and cutting instrument, an unfired staple cartridge 940 is loaded by insertion into the elongate channel 911. The end effector 900 is then positioned around tissue. A firing bar 906 is then moved, during a firing stroke, to advance a firing assembly 904 distally to transition the end effector 900 to a closed configuration to capture the tissue. In addition the firing assembly 904 also causes staples from the staple cartridge 940 to be deployed into the captured tissue. The firing assembly 904 further includes a distal cutting edge 908 extending distally from a body 905, and configured to cut the stapled tissue. In certain instances, however, the firing assembly 904 may not include a cutting edge 908. The firing bar 906 extends proximally from the firing assembly 904 in a direction opposite the cutting edge 908.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 39, the anvil 902 is fixedly attached to the shaft portion 901. In certain instances, however, the anvil 902 can be movable relative to the shaft portion 901. In addition, the elongate channel 911 is rotatable about a channel pivot 912 to transition the staple cartridge 940 and the anvil 902 between an open configuration, as illustrated in FIG. 40, and a closed configuration, as illustrated in FIG. 39.
  • Further to the above, the firing assembly 904 further includes an anvil camming member 907 and a channel camming member 909 which cooperate to transition the end effector 900 to a closed configuration. As illustrated in FIG. 39, the anvil camming member 907 and the channel camming member 909 are configured to slidingly engage the anvil 902 and the elongate channel 911, respectively, as the firing assembly 904 is advanced distally during a firing stroke. The firing assembly 904 may distally translate a sled that facilitates the deployment of the staples into the captured tissue.
  • Upon completion of the firing stroke, the firing bar 906 is moved proximally to retract the firing assembly 904 to a neutral or dwell position where the anvil camming member 907 and the channel camming member 909 are no longer able to apply camming forces to the anvil 902 and the elongate channel 911. In other words, at the dwell position, the elongate channel 911 is free to open in order to release the stapled tissue. The end effector 900 can also be pulled away from the stapled tissue in order to free the stapled tissue. Yet, the spacing between the anvil 902 and the staple cartridge 940 at the dwell position may not be sufficiently wide to facilitate an atraumatic release of the stapled tissue by pulling the end effector 904 away from the stapled tissue. The present disclosure provided various mechanisms for positively opening the end effector 900 to increase the spacing between the anvil 902 and the staple cartridge 940 to facilitate an atraumatic release of the stapled tissue from the end effector 900.
  • Referring to FIGS. 39 and 40, the firing assembly 904 further comprises an engagement portion 910 which is sized and positioned to engage a camming member 914 during retraction of the firing assembly 904 by the firing bar 906. The engagement portion 910 is configured to motivate the camming member 914 to positively open the elongate channel 911 as the firing assembly 904 is moved proximally from the dwell position by the firing bar 906. Positive opening of the elongate channel 911 entails applying an external force to the elongate channel 911 that can gradually open the end effector 900 to a fully open configuration defined by a maximum spacing between the anvil 902 and a staple cartridge 940 attached to the elongate channel 911.
  • The gradual opening of the elongate channel 911 facilitates a gradual and/or controlled release of the stapled tissue from the end effector 900 which can reduce the tissue trauma. Such gradual opening of the elongate channel 911 is achieved by gradually retracting the firing bar 906 to move the firing assembly 904 proximally so that the engagement portion 910 gradually motivates the camming member 914 to gradually open the elongate channel 911.
  • As illustrated in FIGS. 39 and 40, the engagement portion 910 is configured to engage a first portion 916 of the camming member 914 which causes rotation of the camming member 914 about a pivot 915. The rotation of the camming member 914 causes a second portion 917 of the camming member 914 to slidingly engage a sloped surface 918 of an end portion 913 of the elongate channel 911. The end portion 913 is positioned proximal to the channel pivot 912. Once the engagement portion 910 is in contact with the first portion 916 and the second portion 917 is in contact with the end portion 913 of the elongate channel 911, any further retraction of the firing assembly 904 by the firing bar 906 results in a positive opening of the elongate channel 911.
  • Accordingly, the firing assembly 904 is movable proximally from the dwell position to a first proximal position where the engagement portion 910 contacts the first portion 916 of the camming member 914. The firing assembly 904 is also movable proximally from the first proximal position to a second proximal position, further away from the dwell position than the first proximal position. The movement of the firing assembly 904 toward the second proximal position causes the camming member 914 to rotate about the pivot 915 until the second portion 917 of the camming member 914 is brought into contact with the end portion 18 of the elongate channel 911. The firing assembly 904 is also movable proximally from the second proximal position to a third proximal position, further away from the dwell position than the second proximal position. The movement of the firing assembly 904 toward the second proximal position causes the camming member 914 to exert a camming force against the end portion 913 to positively open the elongate channel 911 which gradually transitions the end effector 900 to a fully open configuration, as illustrated in FIG. 40.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 39, a first angle is defined between the second portion 917 and the end portion 913 in the closed configuration. In addition, as illustrated in FIG. 40, a second angle is defined between the second portion 917 and the end portion 913 in the open configuration, wherein the second angle is greater than the first angle. Furthermore, the end portion 913 is partially wrapped around the channel pivot 912 which cooperates with the second portion 917 to define a maximum open configuration, as illustrated in FIG. 40.
  • In certain instances, the firing assembly 904 is movable distally from the dwell position to a first distal position and a second distal position further away from the dwell position than the first distal position. The movement of the firing assembly 904 toward the first distal position causes the end effector 900 to be transitioned to a closed configuration to capture tissue without deploying the staples from the staple cartridge 940. In addition, the movement of the firing assembly 904 from the first distal position toward the second distal position causes the staples to be deployed from the staple cartridge 940. A user of the surgical stapling a cutting instrument can capture and release tissue multiple times until an optimal tissue portion is captured by advancing and retracting the firing assembly 904 between the first distal position and the third proximal position.
  • In various instances, the engagement portion 910 is manufactured as one seamless piece with the firing assembly 904. In other instances, the engagement portion 910 can be coupled to the firing assembly 904 post manufacturing. Various suitable techniques can be employed to attach the engagement portion 910 to the firing assembly 904 including but not limited to welding, adhesives, and other mechanical, thermal, and/or chemical bonding techniques.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 39, the engagement portion 910 is coupled to the channel camming member 909, and extends proximally in parallel, or substantially in parallel, with the firing bar 906. The engagement portion 910 comprises a blunt end-portion 903 oriented to engage the first portion 916 of the camming member 914 as the firing assembly 904 is retracted proximally.
  • Further to the above, the camming member 914 comprises a triangular, or substantially triangular, cross-section. The first portion 916 extends in a first direction and the second portion 917 extends in a second direction defining an obtuse angle with the first direction. In a closed configuration of the end effector 900, as illustrated in FIG. 39, the first portion 916 of the camming member 914 protrudes through a horizontal plane defined by the elongate channel 911, wherein the first portion 916 and the engagement portion 910 are on the same side of the horizontal plane. In a fully open configuration of the end effector 900, as illustrated in FIG. 40, the engagement portion 910 rotates the first portion 916 causing the second portion 917 to apply a camming force against the end portion 913 of the elongate channel 911 to positively open the elongate channel 911.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 41 and 42, an end effector 900′ is similar in many respects to the end effector 900. For example, the end effector 900′ includes a shaft portion 901, an anvil 902 extending distally from the shaft portion 901, and an elongate channel 911′ movably coupled to the shaft portion 901. The end effector 900′ comprises a mechanism for positively opening the elongate channel 911′ that similar in many respects to the positive opening mechanism of the end effector 900. The end effector 900′ comprises a firing assembly 904′ comprising an engagement portion 910′ extending proximally in parallel, or at least substantially in parallel, with the firing bar 906. The engagement portion 910′ comprises a sloped end-portion 903′ sized and oriented to engage a head piece 921 of a lever arm 920. The sloped end-portion 903′ is configured to slide under the head piece 921 to lift the head piece 921 toward a bottom surface 918′ of the end portion 913′ of the elongate channel 911′.
  • In operation, the firing assembly 904′ is retracted proximally by the firing bar 906 from the dwell position to a first proximal position where the sloped end-portion 903′ establishes first contact with the head piece 921 of the lever arm 920. An additional proximal retraction of the firing assembly 904 to a second proximal position, further away from the dwell position than the first proximal position, causes the sloped end-portion 903′ to slide under the head piece lifting 921 the head piece 921 toward an initial contact with a bottom surface 918′ of the end portion 913′ of the elongate channel 911′. An additional proximal retraction of the firing assembly 904 to a third proximal position, further away from the dwell position than the second proximal position, causes the sloped end-portion 903′ to motivate the head piece 921 to exert an opening force that rotates the end portion 913′ about the channel pivot 912. This causes the elongate channel 911′ to open to a maximum open configuration that corresponds the head piece 921 reaching, or at least substantially reaching, the peak of the sloped end-portion 903′.
  • The above-described positive opening mechanism protects the end effector 900′ from excessive actuation forces that may be applied to the firing bar 906. Once a maximum open configuration is achieved, as illustrated in FIG. 42, an additional retraction of the firing assembly 904′ does not result in an additional lifting of the head piece 921 once the head piece 921 reaches the peak of the slope end portion 903′.
  • Further to the above, the sloped end-portion 903′ permits a gradual lifting of the head piece 921 as the sloped end-portion 903′ slidingly moves with respect to head piece 921. This results in a gradual opening of the elongate channel 911′ minimizing the tissue trauma to the stapled tissue captured between the staple cartridge 940 and the anvil 902 as the stapled tissue is released from the end effector 900′. The slope of the sloped end-portion 903′ can be adjusted to optimize the rate of opening of the end effector 900′. A greater slope of the sloped end-portion 903′ generally corresponds to a greater rate of opening of the end effector 900′.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 41, the head piece 921 is positioned below a horizontal plane defined by the elongate channel 911′ at a default or starting position. As the firing assembly 904′ is retracted, the engagement portion 910′ lifts the head piece 921 into a sliding engagement with the bottom surface 918′ of the end portion 913′ of the elongate channel 911′. The head piece 921 is lifted in a direction perpendicular, or at least substantially perpendicular, to a longitudinal axis 922, as illustrated in FIG. 42. In various instances, the lever arm 920 is spring biased to return the head piece to the default or starting position when the head piece 921 is released from the sloped end-portion 903′.
  • In various instances, a disposable loading unit (DLU) for a surgical stapling instrument can include an anvil, a staple cartridge, a staple cartridge channel for operably supporting the staple cartridge, and a connector portion for removably attaching the DLU to the surgical stapling instrument. A spent, or at least partially spent, staple cartridge can be replaced with a new staple cartridge facilitating use of the DLU in multiple firings. The repeated firing of the surgical stapling instrument may subject the DLU to excessive forces. The present disclosure provides DLU connector portions that are designed to withstand such forces. Examples of surgical stapling instruments suitable for use with the DLUs of the present disclosure are described in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0249921 entitled SURGICAL APPARATUS WITH CONDUCTOR STRAIN RELIEF, and published Sep. 1, 2016, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • Referring to FIGS. 43-45, DLUs 1010, 1030, 1050 comprise connector portions 1021, 1041, 1061, respectively, for releasable attachment to a surgical stapling instrument. The connector portions 1021, 1041, 1061 are designed to withstand the forces transmitted during multiple firings of a surgical stapling instrument. The connector portions 1021, 1041, 1061 comprise hollow bodies 1015, 1035, 1055, respectively, extending proximally from the DLUs 1010, 1030, 1050, respectively, along a longitudinal axis 1016. The hollow bodies 1015, 1035, 1055 are configured to accommodate actuation members that transmit actuation motions to the end effectors of the DLUs 1010, 1030, 1050.
  • Referring to FIG. 43, the connector portion 1021 comprises pins or connectors 1017, 1018, 1019, 1020 which protrude radially from the hollow body 1015. The pins or connectors 1017, 1018, 1019, 1020 are configured to establish a bayonet connection with the surgical stapling instrument. The connector 1017 and the connector 1018 extend from the hollow body 1015 in opposite directions. Likewise, the connector 1019 and the connector 1020 extend from the hollow body 1015 in opposite directions. The hollow body 1015 comprises a first body portion 1012 and a second body portion 1014 on opposite sides of a plane that transects the hollow body 1015 and encompasses the longitudinal axis 1016. The plane is further defined by an articulation link 1013 that is slidably positioned between the first body portion 1012 and a second body portion 1014 and is adapted to engage an articulation mechanism of the surgical stapling instrument.
  • Further to the above, the connectors 1018, 1020 are spaced apart by a first distance, and protrude from the first body portion 1012. In addition, the connectors 1017, 1019 are spaced apart by a second distance, and protrude from the second body portion 1014. The first distance is equal, or substantially equal, to the second distance. As illustrated in FIG. 43, the connectors 1017, 1019 are positioned distally relative to the connectors 1019, 1020. In certain instances, the first distance is different than the second distance. For example, the first distance can be greater than the second distance. Alternatively, the first distance can be less than the second distance.
  • Further to the above, the connectors 1017, 1018, 1019, 1020 protrude from the hollow body 1015 in directions that are perpendicular, or at least substantially perpendicular, to the longitudinal axis 1016. As illustrated in FIG. 43, the connectors 1017, 1018 are aligned with each other defining a first axis 1022 intersecting the longitudinal axis 1016. In addition, the connectors 1019, 1020 are aligned with each other defining a second axis 1023 that also intersects the longitudinal axis 1016. A first angle is defined between the longitudinal axis 1016 and the first axis 1022, and a second angle is defined between the longitudinal axis 1016 and the second axis 1023, wherein the first angle is equal, or substantially equal, to the second angle. In certain instances, the first angle and/or the second angle can be about 90° , for example.
  • Furthermore, the connectors 1017, 1018, 1019, 1020 are symmetrical in shape and size. As illustrated in FIG. 43, the connectors 1017, 1018, 1019, 1020 each comprises a rectangular cross-section. However, connectors with other suitable shapes and sizes can be employed.
  • Referring now to FIG. 44, the connector portion 1041 comprises pins or connectors 1037, 1038, 1039, 1040 which protrude radially from the hollow body 1035. The connector 1037 and the connector 1038 extend from the hollow body 1035 in opposite directions. Likewise, the connector 1039 and the connector 1040 extend from the hollow body 1035 in opposite directions.
  • Further to the above, the connectors 1037, 1038, 1039, 1040 protrude from the hollow body 1035 in directions that are perpendicular, or at least substantially perpendicular, to the longitudinal axis 1016. As illustrated in FIG. 44, the connectors 1037, 1038 are aligned with each other defining a first axis 1042 intersecting the longitudinal axis 1016. In addition, the connectors 1039, 1040 are aligned with each other defining a second axis 1043 that also intersects the longitudinal axis 1016. The first axis 1042 and the longitudinal axis 1016 define a plane intersected by the second axis 1043 at an angle of about 90°, for example. In certain instances, the angle is selected from a range of about 0° to about 90°, for example.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 44, the connectors 1037, 1038 define a first engagement portion 1032, and the connectors 1039, 1040 define a second engagement portion 1034. The engagement portions 1032, 1034 are spaced apart, wherein the first engagement portion 1032 is distal to the second engagement portion 1034. In addition, the first engagement portion 1032 can be radially offset with respect to the second engagement portion 1034. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 44, the first engagement portion 1032 is oriented at a 90° angle with respect to the second engagement portion 1034 which provides a robust connection between the DLU 1030 and the surgical stapling instrument. Other suitable orientations of the first engagement portion 1032 with respect to the second engagement portion 1034 can be implemented.
  • Furthermore, the connectors 1037, 1038, 1039, 1040 are symmetrical in shape and size. As illustrated in FIG. 44, the connectors 1037, 1038, 1039, 1040 each comprises a rectangular cross-section. However, connectors with other suitable shapes and sizes can be employed.
  • Referring to FIG. 45, the connector portion 1061 comprises coupling flanges 1052 and 1054 disposed radially about an outer wall 1053 of the hollow body 1055. The outer wall 1053 includes a first portion 1056 and a second portion 1057 that is radially offset from the first portion 1056. The coupling flange 1052 protrudes from the first portion 1056 while the coupling flange 1054 protrudes from the second portion 1057. The coupling flanges 1052, 1054 are spaced apart from each other and define distal end portions that are different distances away from the end effector of the DLU 1050. Alternatively, in certain instances, the coupling flanges 1052, 1054 are combined into one seamless structure. In certain instances, a distal end portion of the coupling flange 1052 is positioned distally with respect to a distal end portion of the coupling flange 1054. In other instances, the distal end portion of the coupling flange 1052 is positioned proximally with respect to the distal end portion of the coupling flange 1054.
  • The coupling flanges 1052, 1054 are configured to establish a bayonet connection with corresponding features of a surgical stapling instrument. The coupling flanges 1052, 1054 cooperate with the corresponding features to drive the DLU 1050 into a final position where a proper connection is established between the DLU 1050 and the surgical stapling instrument.
  • In various instances, one or more of the connector portions 1010, 1030, 1050 can be manufactured by attaching a suitable ring around a corresponding hollow body. The ring can be manipulated to include the corresponding connectors. Then, the ring can be secured around the hollow body. The ring can be heat staked in place, overmolded, or fixed in place through other suitable means. In various instances, the ring can be a metal ring to improve the robustness of the connections portions 1010, 1030, 1050, for example.
  • Referring now to FIG. 46, an intermediate shaft assembly 1100 is releasably attachable to a handle assembly and a DLU of a surgical stapling instrument. Examples of handle assemblies and DLUs that are suitable for use with the intermediate shaft assembly 1100 are disclosed in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0095585, titled HANDHELD ELECTROMECHANICAL SURGICAL SYSTEM, and filed Sep. 24, 2015, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. FIG. 46 also depicts portions of proximal portions of a suitable DLU 1110 that are attachable to corresponding distal portions of the intermediate shaft assembly 1100 as described below in greater detail.
  • The intermediate shaft assembly 1100 comprises a clutch assembly 1104 configured to switch between an articulation output and a firing output. The clutch assembly 1104 comprises a shifter 1105 movable between a first position, where a drive input yields the articulation output, and a second position, where the drive input yields the firing output. The drive input is applied to a proximal portion 1106 of a firing rod 1107. When the intermediate shaft assembly 1100 is coupled to a hand assembly, the proximal portion 1106 of the firing rod 1107 is operably coupled to a drive assembly of the handle assembly that includes a motor configured to generate at least one rotational motion that is converted by the drive assembly into at least one axial motion that provides the drive input to the proximal portion 1106 of the firing rod.
  • Further to the above, a camming slot 1109 defined in an outer housing 1111 of the intermediate shaft assembly 1100 is configured to motivate the shifter 1105 to move between the first position and the second position. The outer housing 1111 is moved between a proximal position and a distal position to transition a jaw assembly of the DLU 1110 between an open configuration and a closed configuration. While the jaw assembly is in in the open configuration, the shifter 1105 is at the first position, where an articulation mechanism 1112 is engaged with the firing rod 1107 such that the drive input yields an articulation output. The articulation mechanism 1112 includes an articulation rod 1114 and an articulation engagement portion 1115 releasably coupled to a corresponding articulation engagement portion 1116 of the DLU 1110.
  • While the shifter 1105 is in the first position, the articulation rod 1114 is movable with the firing rod 1107 in response to the drive input. The movement of the firing rod 1107 in this stage is not sufficient to yield a firing output. However, the movement of the firing rod 1107 is sufficient to yield an articulation output by motivating the articulation engagement portion 1115 to cause articulation engagement portion 1116 of the DLU 1110 to be advanced distally, which causes articulation of the DLU 1110 about a longitudinal axis 1103 of the intermediate shaft assembly 1100.
  • Further to the above, as the outer housing is advanced distally to transition the jaw assembly of the DLU 1110 to a closed configuration, the shifter 1105 is transition to the second position which causes rotation of a clutch 1117. The rotation of the clutch 1117 disengages the firing rod 1107 from the articulation mechanism 1112 such that the drive input yields the firing output. The firing rod 1107 includes a distal portion 1108 releasably couplable to a firing mechanism 1120 of the DLU 1110. As illustrated in FIG. 46, the firing mechanism 1120 comprises an inner housing 1122 and a flexible drive beam 1119 having a proximal engagement section 1121 that includes diametrically opposed inwardly extending fingers that are configured to secure the distal portion 1108 of the firing rod 1107 to the flexible drive beam 1119. While the shifter 1105 is in the second position, the articulation mechanism 1112 is disengaged from the firing rod 1107, and advancement of the firing rod 1107 causes the firing mechanism 1120 to deploy a plurality of staples from a staple cartridge of the jaw assembly of the DLU 1110.
  • EXAMPLES Example 1
  • A staple cartridge assembly for use with a surgical stapling instrument including an anvil, wherein the staple cartridge comprises a cartridge body, a plurality of staple cavities, a plurality of staples housed in the cartridge body, and a sled. The cartridge body comprises a proximal portion, a distal portion, and an elongate slot extending between the proximal portion and the distal portion, and a bottom surface. The cartridge body further comprises a cartridge deck on an opposite side of the cartridge body from the bottom surface. The cartridge deck comprises a first deck surface, and a second deck surface laterally offset from the first deck surface in a direction away from the elongate slot, wherein the first deck surface is stepped up from the second deck surface relative to the bottom surface. The plurality of staple cavities comprise a first row of staple cavities defined in the first deck surface, and a second row of staple cavities defined in the second deck surface, wherein the first row of staple cavities is closer to the elongate slot than the second row of staple cavities. The plurality of staples comprise first staples deployable from the first row of staple cavities, and second staples deployable from the second row of staple cavities. Each of the plurality of staples comprises a base comprising an inclined drive surface, a first leg extending from the base, and a second leg extending from the base, wherein the base, the first leg and the second leg define a seamless unitary piece, and wherein the first legs of the first staples and the first legs of the second staples comprise different unformed heights. The sled comprises a first ramp configured to directly engage the inclined drive surface of the first staples to deploy the first staples from the first row of staple cavities, wherein the first ramp is configured to cooperate with the anvil to form the first staples to a first formed height, and a second ramp configured to directly engage the inclined drive surface of the second staples to deploy the second staples from the second row of staple cavities, wherein the second ramp is configured to cooperate with the anvil to form the second staples to a second formed height greater than the first formed height.
  • Example 2
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Example 1, wherein the inclined drive surface is positioned intermediate the first leg and the second leg.
  • Example 3
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 1 or 2, wherein the first leg and the second leg define a leg plane, wherein the inclined drive surface defines a drive plane, and wherein the drive plane is offset from the leg plane.
  • Example 4
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 1, 2, or 3, wherein the base is asymmetrical.
  • Example 5
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 1, 2, 3, or 4, wherein the first ramp and the second ramp comprise different heights.
  • Example 6
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5, wherein the first ramp comprises a first peak surface, wherein the second ramp comprises a second peak surface, and wherein the first peak surface is higher than the second peak surface.
  • Example 7
  • A staple cartridge assembly for use with a surgical stapling instrument including an anvil, wherein the staple cartridge comprises a cartridge body, a plurality of staple cavities, a plurality of staples housed in the cartridge body, and a sled. The cartridge body comprises a proximal portion, a distal portion, and an elongate slot extending between the proximal portion and the distal portion. The cartridge body further comprises a cartridge deck. The cartridge deck comprises a first deck surface defining a first deck height, and a second deck surface defining a second deck height, wherein the second deck height is shorter than the first deck height. The plurality of staple cavities comprise a first row of staple cavities defined in the first deck surface; and a second row of staple cavities defined in the second deck surface, wherein the first row of staple cavities is closer to the elongate slot than the second row of staple cavities. The plurality of staples comprise first staples deployable from the first row of staple cavities, wherein each of the first staples comprise an unformed height, and second staples deployable from the second row of staple cavities, wherein each of the second staples comprise the unformed height. Each of the plurality of staples comprises a base comprising a sloping drive surface, a first leg extending from the base, and a second leg extending from the base, wherein the first leg and the second leg define a first plane, wherein the drive surface extends along a portion of the base in a direction parallel to the first plane, wherein the sloping drive surface is laterally offset from the first plane. The sled comprises a first ramp configured to directly engage the sloping drive surface of the first staples to deploy the first staples from the first row of staple cavities, wherein the first ramp is configured to cooperate with the anvil to form the first staples to a first formed height, and a second ramp configured to directly engage the sloping drive surface of the second staples to deploy the second staples from the second row of staple cavities, wherein the second ramp is configured to cooperate with the anvil to form the second staples to a second formed height greater than the first formed height.
  • Example 8
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Example 7, wherein the sloping drive surface is positioned intermediate the first leg and the second leg.
  • Example 9
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 7 or 8, wherein the first leg and the second leg define a leg plane, wherein the sloping drive surface defines a drive plane, and wherein the drive plane is offset from the leg plane.
  • Example 10
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 7, 8, or 9, wherein the base is asymmetrical.
  • Example 11
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 7, 8, 9, or 10, wherein the first ramp and the second ramp comprise different heights.
  • Example 12
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 7, 8, 9, 10, or 11, wherein the first ramp comprises a first peak surface, wherein the second ramp comprises a second peak surface, and wherein the first peak surface is higher than the second peak surface.
  • Example 13
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12, wherein the base, the first leg, and the second leg define a unitary piece.
  • Example 14
  • A surgical stapling instrument comprising an anvil, a staple cartridge, and a sled. The anvil comprises a first row of pockets, and a second row of pockets, and at least one of the anvil and the staple cartridge is movable relative to the other between an open configuration and a closed configuration to capture tissue. The staple cartridge comprises a cartridge body, wherein the cartridge body comprises a proximal portion, a distal portion, and an elongate slot extending between the proximal portion and the distal portion. The cartridge body further comprises a cartridge deck, wherein the cartridge deck comprises a first deck surface, and a second deck surface positioned further away from the elongate slot than the first deck surface. The plurality of staple cavities comprise a first row of staple cavities defined in the first deck surface, wherein a first gap is defined between the first row of pockets and the first row of staple cavities in the closed configuration, and a second row of staple cavities defined in the second deck surface, wherein the first row of staple cavities is closer to the elongate slot than the second row of staple cavities, wherein a second gap is defined between the second row of pockets and the second row of staple cavities in the closed configuration, and wherein the second gap is greater than the first gap. The plurality of staples comprise first staples deployable from the first row of staple cavities, wherein the first staples comprise a first unformed height, and second staples deployable from the second row of staple cavities, wherein the second staples comprise a second unformed height greater than the first unformed height. Each of the plurality of staples comprises a leg, and an integral drive surface. The sled comprises a first ramp configured to directly engage the integral drive surface of the first staples to deploy the first staples from the first row of staple cavities. The first ramp is configured to form the first staples against the first row of pockets to a first formed height. The sled further comprises a second ramp configured to directly engage the integral drive surface of the second staples to deploy the second staples from the second row of staple cavities. The second ramp is configured to form the second staples against the second row of staple pockets to a second formed height different than the first formed height.
  • Example 15
  • The surgical instrument of Example 14, wherein the second formed height is greater than the first formed height.
  • Example 16
  • The surgical instrument of Examples 14 or 15, wherein the integral drive surface is positioned intermediate the first leg and the second leg.
  • Example 17
  • The surgical instrument of Examples 14, 15, or 16, wherein the first leg and the second leg define a leg plane, wherein the integral drive surface defines a drive plane, and wherein the drive plane is offset from the leg plane.
  • Example 18
  • The surgical instrument of Examples 14, 15, 16, or 17, wherein the base is asymmetrical.
  • Example 19
  • The surgical instrument of Examples 14, 15, 16, 17, or 18, wherein the first ramp and the second ramp comprise different heights.
  • Example 20
  • The surgical instrument of Examples 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, or 19, wherein the first ramp comprises a first peak surface, wherein the second ramp comprises a second peak surface, and wherein the first peak surface is higher than the second peak surface.
  • Example 21
  • A staple cartridge assembly for use with a surgical stapling instrument including an anvil, wherein the staple cartridge comprises a cartridge body. The cartridge body comprises a proximal portion, a distal portion, and an elongate slot extending between the proximal portion and the distal portion. The cartridge body also comprises a bottom surface, and a cartridge deck on an opposite side of the cartridge body from the bottom surface. The cartridge deck comprises a first deck surface, a second deck surface laterally offset from the first deck surface in a direction away from the elongate slot, wherein the first deck surface is stepped up from the second deck surface relative to the bottom surface. The cartridge deck also comprises a third deck surface laterally offset from the second deck surface in a direction away from the elongate slot, wherein the second deck surface is stepped up from the third deck surface relative to the bottom surface. The staple cartridge also comprises a plurality of staple cavities. The plurality of staple cavities comprise a first row of staple cavities defined in the first deck surface, and a second row of staple cavities defined in the second deck surface, wherein the first row of staple cavities is closer to the elongate slot than the second row of staple cavities. The plurality of staple cavities further comprise a third row of staple cavities defined in the third deck surface, wherein the second row of staple cavities is closer to the elongate slot than the third row of staple cavities. The staple cartridge also comprises a plurality of staples housed in the cartridge body, wherein the plurality of staples comprises first staples deployable from the first row of staple cavities, second staples deployable from the second row of staple cavities, and third staples deployable from the third row of staple cavities. The staple cartridge further comprises tissue retention features defining a perimeter around the plurality of staple cavities, wherein the tissue retention features protrude from at least two of the first deck surface, the second deck surface, and the third deck surface.
  • Example 22
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Example 21, wherein the tissue retention features protrude from the first deck surface, the second deck surface, and the third deck surface.
  • Example 23
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Example 21, wherein the cartridge deck is free from the tissue retention features in areas between the plurality of staple cavities.
  • Example 24
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 21 or 22, wherein each of the tissue retention features comprises a base defined in the cartridge deck, and a peak narrower than the base.
  • Example 25
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 21, 22, or 24, wherein the third deck surface comprises more of the retention features than the second deck surface.
  • Example 26
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 21, 22, or 24 wherein the first deck surface comprises more of the retention features than the second deck surface.
  • Example 27
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 21, 22, 24, 25, or 26, wherein the tissue retention members are comprised of an elastomer.
  • Example 28
  • A staple cartridge assembly for use with a surgical stapling instrument including an anvil, wherein the staple cartridge comprises a cartridge body comprising a proximal portion, a distal portion, and an elongate slot extending between the proximal portion and the distal portion. The cartridge body further comprises a cartridge deck comprising a first deck surface defining a first deck height, and a second deck surface defining a second deck height, wherein the second deck surface is laterally offset from the first deck surface in a direction away from the elongate slot, and wherein the second deck height is shorter than the first deck height. The staple cartridge also comprises a plurality of staple cavities comprising a first row of staple cavities defined in the first deck surface, and a second row of staple cavities defined in the second deck surface, wherein the first row of staple cavities is closer to the elongate slot than the second row of staple cavities. The staple cartridge also comprises a plurality of staples housed in the cartridge body, the plurality of staples comprising first staples deployable from the first row of staple cavities into tissue, and second staples deployable from the second row of staple cavities into the tissue. The staple cartridge further comprises cleats configured to resist movement of the tissue relative to the cartridge deck, wherein the cleats comprise first cleats extending from the first deck surface, wherein each of the first cleats comprises a first cleat height, and second cleats extending from the second deck surface. The second cleats are laterally offset from the first cleats in a direction away from the elongate slot, wherein each of the second cleats comprises a second cleat height, and wherein the first cleat height is different than the second cleat height.
  • Example 29
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Example 28, wherein the cartridge deck comprises a third deck surface defining a third deck height, wherein the third deck surface is laterally offset from the second deck surface in a direction away from the elongate slot, and wherein the third deck height is shorter than the second deck height.
  • Example 30
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 28 or 29, wherein the cleats comprise third cleats extending from the third deck surface, and wherein each of the third cleats comprises a third cleat height, and wherein the second cleat height is shorter than the third cleat height.
  • Example 31
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Example 30, wherein the first cleat height is shorter than the second cleat height.
  • Example 32
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 28, 29, 30, or 31, wherein the second deck surface comprises more of the cleats than the first deck surface.
  • Example 33
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 28, 29, 30, 31, or 32, wherein each of the cleats comprises a base defined in the cartridge deck, and a peak narrower than the base.
  • Example 34
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Example 33, wherein the peaks define a plane substantially parallel to the cartridge deck.
  • Example 35
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, or 34, wherein the cleats are comprised of an elastomer.
  • Example 36
  • A surgical stapling instrument, comprising an anvil and a staple cartridge. The anvil comprises a first row of pockets, and a second row of pockets, and at least one of the anvil and the staple cartridge is movable relative to the other between an open configuration and a closed configuration to capture tissue. The staple cartridge comprises a cartridge body, a plurality of staple cavities, a plurality of staples, and transverse gap-setting members. The cartridge body comprises a proximal portion, a distal portion, an intermediate portion between the proximal portion and the distal portion, and an elongate slot extending between the proximal portion and the distal portion. The cartridge body further comprises a cartridge deck comprising a first deck surface, and a second deck surface positioned further away from the elongate slot than the first deck surface. The plurality of staple cavities comprises a first row of staple cavities defined in the first deck surface, wherein a first gap is defined between the first row of pockets and the first row of staple cavities in the closed configuration. The plurality of staple cavities further comprises a second row of staple cavities defined in the second deck surface, wherein the first row of staple cavities is closer to the elongate slot than the second row of staple cavities, wherein a second gap is defined between the second row of pockets and the second row of staple cavities in the closed configuration, and wherein the second gap is greater than the first gap. The plurality of staples is housed in the cartridge body, and comprises first staples deployable from the first row of staple cavities into the tissue, and second staples deployable from the second row of staple cavities into the tissue. The transverse gap-setting members comprise a first transverse gap-setting member at the proximal portion, wherein the first transverse gap-setting member comprises a first height. The transverse gap-setting members also comprise a second transverse gap-setting member at the intermediate portion, wherein the second transverse gap-setting member comprises a second height greater than the first height. The transverse gap-setting members further comprise a third transverse gap-setting member at the distal portion, wherein the third transverse gap-setting member comprises a third height greater than the second height.
  • Example 37
  • The surgical instrument of Example 36, wherein the transverse gap-setting members extend across the elongate slot.
  • Example 38
  • The surgical instrument of Examples 36 or 37, wherein each of the transverse gap-setting members comprises a base defined in the cartridge deck, and a peak narrower than the base.
  • Example 39
  • The surgical instrument of Examples 36, 37, or 38, wherein the transverse gap-setting members are comprised of an elastomer.
  • Example 40
  • The surgical instrument of Examples 36, 37, 38, or 39, wherein the first transverse gap-setting member is positioned proximal to the plurality of staple cavities, and wherein the third transverse gap-setting member is positioned distal to the plurality of staple cavities.
  • Example 41
  • A staple cartridge assembly for use with a surgical stapling instrument including an anvil, wherein the staple cartridge comprises a cartridge body. The cartridge body comprises a proximal portion, a distal portion, an elongate slot extending between the proximal portion and the distal portion, and a bottom surface. The cartridge body also comprises a cartridge deck on an opposite side of the cartridge body from the bottom surface. The cartridge deck comprises a first deck surface, and a second deck surface laterally offset from the first deck surface in a direction away from the elongate slot, wherein the first deck surface is stepped up from the second deck surface relative to the bottom surface. The cartridge body also comprises staple pockets on opposite sides of the elongate slot, wherein the staple pockets comprise deformable retention features. The staple cartridge also comprises staples deployable from the staple pockets into tissue captured between the cartridge deck and the anvil. The staple cartridge further comprises staple drivers movable from a starting position to deploy the staples into the tissue, wherein the deformable retention features are configured to maintain the staple drivers at the starting positions.
  • Example 42
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Example 41, wherein the deformable retention features are deformable retention ribs.
  • Example 43
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 41 or 42, wherein the deformable retention ribs comprise interference portions.
  • Example 44
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 41, 42, or 43, wherein the staple drivers comprise clearance slots configured to receive the deformable retention features.
  • Example 45
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 41, 42, 43, or 44, further comprising a sled configured to move the staple drivers from the starting position by applying a deployment force to the staple drivers sufficient to deform the deformable retention features.
  • Example 46
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 41, 42, 43, 44, or 45, wherein the staples are integral with the staple drivers.
  • Example 47
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, or 46, wherein the deformable retention features are configured to maintain the staple drivers at the starting position in absence of the bottom surface.
  • Example 48
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, or 47, wherein the staple pockets comprise side walls, and wherein the deformable retention features protrude from the side walls.
  • Example 49
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Example 48, wherein the deformable retention features are more flexible than the side walls.
  • Example 50
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 48 or 49, wherein the deformable retention features comprise a different material composition that the side walls.
  • Example 51
  • A staple cartridge assembly for use with a surgical stapling instrument including an anvil, wherein the staple cartridge comprises a cartridge body. The cartridge body comprises a proximal portion, a distal portion, an elongate slot extending between the proximal portion and the distal portion, and a bottom surface. The cartridge body also comprises a cartridge deck on an opposite side of the cartridge body from the bottom surface. The cartridge deck comprises a first deck surface, and a second deck surface laterally offset from the first deck surface in a direction away from the elongate slot, wherein the first deck surface is further away from the second deck surface relative to the bottom surface. The cartridge body further comprises staple pockets on opposite sides of the elongate slot. The staple cartridge also comprises staples deployable from the staple pockets into tissue captured between the cartridge deck and the anvil. The staple cartridge further comprises staple drivers movable from a starting position to deploy the staples into the tissue, wherein the staple drivers comprise deformable retention features configured to maintain the staple drivers at the starting positions.
  • Example 52
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Example 51, wherein the deformable retention features are deformable retention ribs.
  • Example 53
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 51 or 52, further comprising a sled configured to move the staple drivers from the starting position by applying a deployment force to the staple drivers sufficient to deform the deformable retention features.
  • Example 54
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 51, 52, or 53, wherein the deformable retention features are integral with the staple drivers.
  • Example 55
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 51, 52, 53, or 54, wherein the staples are integral with the staple drivers.
  • Example 56
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 51, 52, 53, 54, or 55, wherein the deformable retention features are configured to maintain the staple drivers at the starting position in absence of the bottom surface.
  • Example 57
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, or 56, wherein the staple drivers comprise side walls, and wherein the deformable retention features protrude from the side walls.
  • Example 58
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Example 57, wherein the deformable retention features are more flexible than the side walls.
  • Example 59
  • The staple cartridge assembly of Examples 57 or 58, wherein the deformable retention features comprise a different material composition that the side walls.
  • Example 60
  • A staple cartridge assembly for use with a surgical stapling instrument including an anvil, wherein the staple cartridge comprises a cartridge body. The cartridge body comprises a proximal portion, a distal portion, and an elongate slot extending between the proximal portion and the distal portion. The cartridge body also comprises a bottom surface, a cartridge deck on an opposite side of the cartridge body from the bottom surface, and staple pockets on opposite sides of the elongate slot. The staple cartridge also comprises staples deployable from the staple pockets into tissue captured between the cartridge deck and the anvil. The staple cartridge further comprises staple drivers movable from a starting position to deploy the staples into the tissue, wherein the staple drivers comprise a quadruple staple driver. The quadruple staple driver comprises pushers configured to simultaneously deploy four of the staples into the tissue, wherein the pushers comprise side walls, and deformable retention features protruding from the side walls, wherein the deformable retention features cooperate to maintain the quadruple staple driver at the starting position.
  • Example 61
  • A surgical instrument comprising a staple firing member and an end effector. The staple firing member comprises a cutting member and an engagement member. The engagement member comprises a first engagement portion protruding in a first direction and a second engagement portion protruding in a second direction opposite the first direction. The end effector comprises a staple cartridge comprising a plurality of staples and an anvil, wherein at least one of the staple cartridge and the anvil is movable to capture tissue between the staple cartridge and the anvil. The anvil comprises a first forming portion, comprising a first outer interface comprising first staple forming pockets and a first inner interface and a second forming portion spaced apart from the first forming portion. The second forming portion comprises a second outer interface comprising second staple forming pockets and a second inner interface. The anvil further comprises an anvil channel, wherein the staple firing member is advanced along the anvil channel to cause the plurality of staples to be deployed into the tissue and to be deformed against the first staple forming pockets and the second staple forming pockets. The anvil channel comprises an elongate slot inwardly open along a longitudinal axis of the anvil, wherein the elongate slot extends longitudinally between the first forming portion and the second forming portion. The anvil channel further comprises a first recess extending longitudinally adjacent the first inner interface, wherein the first recess is sized to receive the first engagement portion and a second recess extending longitudinally adjacent the second inner interface, wherein the second recess is sized to receive the second engagement portion. The anvil further comprises a first reinforcement member attached to the first inner interface, wherein the first engagement portion is configured to slidingly engage the first reinforcement member during the advancement of the staple firing member and a second reinforcement member attached to the second inner interface, wherein the elongate slot extends longitudinally between the first reinforcement member and the second reinforcement member. The second reinforcement member is configured to engage the second reinforcement member during the advancement of the staple firing member.
  • Example 62
  • The surgical instrument of Example 61, wherein the first reinforcement member has a different material composition than the first forming portion.
  • Example 63
  • The surgical instrument of Examples 61 or 62, wherein the first reinforcement member is harder than the first forming portion.
  • Example 64
  • The surgical instrument of Examples 61, 62, or 63, wherein the second reinforcement member has a different material composition than the second forming portion.
  • Example 65
  • The surgical instrument of Examples 61, 62, 63, or 64, wherein the second reinforcement member is harder than the second forming portion.
  • Example 66
  • The surgical instrument of Examples 61, 62, 63, 64, or 65, wherein the first reinforcement member is welded to the first inner interface, and wherein the second reinforcement member is welded to the second inner surface.
  • Example 67
  • The surgical instrument of Examples 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, or 66, wherein the anvil further comprises an anvil cover welded to the first forming portion and the second forming portion.
  • Example 68
  • A surgical instrument comprising an end effector transitionable between an open configuration and a closed configuration and a firing assembly. The end effector comprises a staple cartridge comprising a plurality of staples and an anvil comprising a plurality of staple forming pockets, wherein at least one of the staple cartridge and the anvil is movable to capture tissue between the staple cartridge and the anvil. The firing assembly is movable to cause the plurality of staples to be deployed into the tissue and to be deformed against the plurality of staple forming pockets. The firing assembly comprises a firing member and a laminated firing bar extending proximally from the firing member. The firing member comprises a cutting edge, a first engagement member configured to movably engage the anvil, and a second engagement member configured to movably engage the staple cartridge, wherein the first engagement member and the second engagement member cooperate to transition the end effector to the closed configuration. The laminated firing bar comprises a first outer layer, a second outer layer, and an intermediate layer sandwiched between the first outer layer and the second outer layer, wherein the intermediate layer is thicker than the first outer layer, and wherein the intermediate layer is thicker than the second outer layer.
  • Example 69
  • The surgical instrument of Example 68, wherein the intermediate layer comprises a different material composition than at least one of the first outer layer and the second.
  • Example 70
  • The surgical instrument of Examples 68 or 69, wherein the intermediate layer is at least partially made from titanium.
  • Example 71
  • The surgical instrument of Examples 68, 69, or 70, wherein at least one of the first outer layer and the second outer layer is at least partially made from stainless steel.
  • Example 72
  • The surgical instrument of Examples 68, 69, 70, or 71, wherein the laminated firing bar comprises a transverse aperture extending through the first outer layer, the intermediate layer, and the second outer layer, wherein the transverse aperture is at least partially filled with melted portions of at least one of the first outer layer and the second outer layer.
  • Example 73
  • The surgical instrument of Example 72, wherein the melted portions extend through the intermediate layer.
  • Example 74
  • The surgical instrument of Examples 68, 69, 70, or 71, wherein the laminated firing bar comprises a transverse aperture extending through the first outer layer, the intermediate layer, and the second outer layer, wherein the transverse aperture is at least partially filled with a filler material configured to weld the intermediate layer to the first outer layer and the second outer layer.
  • Example 75
  • The surgical instrument of Example 74, wherein at least one of the first outer layer and the second outer layer is at least partially made from the filler material.
  • Example 76
  • A surgical instrument comprising an end effector transitionable between an open configuration and a closed configuration and a firing assembly. The end effector comprises a staple cartridge comprising a plurality of staples and an anvil comprising a plurality of staple forming pockets, wherein at least one of the staple cartridge and the anvil is movable to capture tissue between the staple cartridge and the anvil. The firing assembly is a firing assembly movable to cause the plurality of staples to be deployed into the tissue and to be deformed against the plurality of staple forming pockets. The firing assembly comprises a firing member and a laminated firing bar extending proximally from the firing member. The firing member comprises a cutting edge, a first engagement member configured to movably engage the anvil, and a second engagement member configured to movable engage the staple cartridge, wherein the first engagement member and the second engagement member cooperate to transition the end effector to the closed configuration. The laminated firing bar comprises a first outer layer, a second outer layer, and an intermediate layer sandwiched between the first outer layer and the second outer layer, wherein the intermediate layer is harder than the first outer layer, and wherein the intermediate layer is harder than the second outer layer.
  • Example 77
  • The surgical instrument of Example 76, wherein the laminated firing bar comprises a transverse aperture extending through the first outer layer, the intermediate layer, and the second outer layer, wherein the transverse aperture is at least partially filled with melted portions of at least one of the first outer layer and the second outer layer.
  • Example 78
  • The surgical instrument of Example 77, wherein the melted portions extend through the intermediate layer.
  • Example 79
  • The surgical instrument of Example 76, wherein the laminated firing bar comprises a transverse aperture extending through the first outer layer, the intermediate layer, and the second outer layer, wherein the transverse aperture is at least partially filled with a filler material configured to weld the intermediate layer to the first outer layer and the second outer layer.
  • Example 80
  • The surgical instrument of Example 79, wherein at least one of the first outer layer and the second outer layer is at least partially made from the filler material.
  • Example 81
  • An end effector for use with a surgical instrument, wherein the end effector comprises a shaft portion, an anvil extending distally from the shaft portion, a staple cartridge comprising a plurality of staples, an elongate channel, and a firing member. The elongate channel is configured to receive the staple cartridge, wherein the elongate channel is movable relative to the anvil between an open configuration and a closed configuration to capture tissue between the anvil and the staple cartridge. The firing member is configured to cause the plurality of staples to be deployed into the tissue, wherein the firing member is movable distally to positively transition the elongate channel to a closed configuration, and wherein the firing member is movable proximally to positively transition the elongate channel to the open configuration.
  • Example 82
  • The end effector of Example 81, wherein the anvil is fixedly attached to the shaft portion.
  • Example 83
  • The end effector of Examples 81 or 82, further comprising a pivot, wherein the elongate channel is rotatable about the pivot.
  • Example 84
  • The end effector of Example 83, wherein the elongate channel comprises a channel hook movably coupled to the pivot.
  • Example 85
  • The end effector of Examples 81, 82, 83, or 84, wherein the staple cartridge is removably attached to the elongate channel.
  • Example 86
  • The end effector of Examples 81, 82, 83, 84, or 85, wherein the staple cartridge comprises a stepped deck.
  • Example 87
  • The end effector of Examples 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, or 86, wherein the firing member comprises a cutting edge.
  • Example 88
  • An end effector for use with a surgical instrument, wherein the end effector comprises a shaft portion, an anvil extending distally from the shaft portion, a staple cartridge comprising a plurality of staples, an elongate channel, and a firing member. The elongate channel is configured to receive the staple cartridge, wherein the elongate channel is movable relative to the anvil between an open configuration and a closed configuration to capture tissue between the anvil and the staple cartridge. The firing member is movable relative to the elongate channel to cause the plurality of staples to be deployed into the tissue, wherein the firing member is configured to apply a closing force that transitions the elongate channel to the closed configuration, and wherein the firing member is configured to apply an opening force that transitions the elongate channel to the open configuration.
  • Example 89
  • The end effector of Example 88, wherein the anvil is fixedly attached to the shaft portion.
  • Example 90
  • The end effector of Examples 88 or 89, further comprising a pivot, wherein the elongate channel is rotatable about the pivot.
  • Example 91
  • The end effector of Example 90, wherein the elongate channel comprises a channel hook movably coupled to the pivot.
  • Example 92
  • The end effector of Examples 88, 89, 90, or 91, wherein the staple cartridge is removably attached to the elongate channel.
  • Example 93
  • The end effector of Examples 88, 89, 90, 91, or 92, wherein the staple cartridge comprises a stepped deck.
  • Example 94
  • The end effector of Examples 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, or 93, wherein the firing member comprises a cutting edge.
  • Example 95
  • An end effector for use with a surgical instrument, wherein the end effector comprises a shaft portion, an anvil extending distally from the shaft portion, a staple cartridge comprising a plurality of staples, and an elongate channel. The end effector further comprises an opening cam movably engaged with the elongate channel, a firing member, and a firing bar. The elongate channel is configured to receive the staple cartridge, wherein the elongate channel is movable relative to the anvil between an open configuration and a closed configuration to capture tissue between the anvil and the staple cartridge. The firing member is movable relative to the elongate channel to cause the plurality of staples to be deployed into the tissue. The firing bar extends proximally from the firing member, wherein a retraction of the firing bar moves the opening cam to positively open the elongate channel.
  • Example 96
  • The end effector of Example 95, wherein the anvil is fixedly attached to the shaft portion.
  • Example 97
  • The end effector of Examples 95 or 96, further comprising a channel pivot, wherein the elongate channel is rotatable about the channel pivot.
  • Example 98
  • The end effector of Example 97, wherein the opening cam is positioned proximal to the channel pivot.
  • Example 99
  • The end effector of Examples 95, 96, 97, or 98, further comprising a cam pivot, wherein the opening cam is rotatable about the cam pivot.
  • Example 100
  • The end effector of Example 99, wherein the cam pivot is positioned proximal to the channel pivot.
  • Example 101
  • A disposable loading unit for use with a surgical instrument, wherein the disposable loading unit comprises an end effector and a connector portion extending proximally from the end effector. The end effector comprises an anvil, an elongate channel, and a staple cartridge removably coupled to the elongate channel, wherein at least one of the anvil and the elongate channel is movable to capture tissue between the anvil and the staple cartridge. The connector portion comprises a hollow body defining a longitudinal axis therethrough. The hollow body comprises a first body portion on a first side of a plane transecting the hollow body, wherein the plane encompasses the longitudinal axis, a second body portion on a second side of the plane, and a plurality of connectors. The plurality of connectors comprise a first connector protruding from the first body portion, a second connector protruding from the first body portion, a third connector protruding from the second body portion, and a fourth connector protruding from the second body portion, wherein the plurality of connectors cooperate to releasably connect the disposable loading unit to the surgical instrument.
  • Example 102
  • The disposable loading unit of Example 101, wherein the first connector and the third connector define a first axis transecting the longitudinal axis.
  • Example 103
  • The disposable loading unit of Example 102, wherein the first axis is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis.
  • Example 104
  • The disposable loading unit of Examples 102 or 103, wherein the second connector and the fourth connector define a second axis transecting the longitudinal axis.
  • Example 105
  • The disposable loading unit of Example 104, wherein the second axis is parallel to the first axis.
  • Example 106
  • The disposable loading unit of Example 104, wherein the second axis is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis.
  • Example 107
  • The disposable loading unit of Example 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, or 106, wherein the first connector is spaced apart from the second connector by a first distance, and wherein the third connector is spaced apart from the fourth connector by a second distance.
  • Example 108
  • The disposable loading unit of Example 107, wherein the first distance is equal to the second distance.
  • Example 109
  • A disposable loading unit for use with a surgical instrument, wherein the disposable loading unit comprises an end effector and a connector portion extending proximally from the end effector. The end effector comprises an anvil, an elongate channel, and a staple cartridge removably coupled to the elongate channel, wherein at least one of the anvil and the elongate channel is movable to capture tissue between the anvil and the staple cartridge. The connector portion extends proximally from the end effector. The connector portion comprises a hollow body defining a longitudinal axis therethrough. The hollow body comprises a first engagement portion and a second engagement portion. The first engagement portion comprises a first connector protruding from the hollow body and a second connector protruding from the hollow body in a direction away from the first connector. The second engagement portion comprises a third connector protruding from the hollow body and a fourth connector protruding from the hollow body in a direction away from the third connector, wherein the first engagement portion is radially offset from the second engagement portion, and wherein the first engagement portion and the second engagement portion cooperate to releasably connect the disposable loading unit to the surgical instrument.
  • Example 110
  • The disposable loading unit of Example 109, wherein the first engagement portion is oriented at a 90° angle with respect to the second engagement portion.
  • Example 111
  • The disposable loading unit of Examples 109 or 110, wherein the first engagement portion defines a first axis transecting the longitudinal axis.
  • Example 112
  • The disposable loading unit of Example 111, wherein the first axis is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis.
  • Example 113
  • The disposable loading unit of Examples 111 or 112, wherein the second engagement portion defines a second axis transecting the longitudinal axis.
  • Example 114
  • The disposable loading unit of Example 113, wherein the second axis is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis.
  • Example 115
  • The disposable loading unit of Examples 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, or 114, wherein the first engagement portion is spaced apart from the second engagement portion.
  • Example 116
  • A disposable loading unit for use with a surgical instrument, wherein the disposable loading unit comprises an end effector and a connector portion extending proximally from the end effector. The end effector comprises an anvil, an elongate channel, and a staple cartridge removably coupled to the elongate channel, wherein at least one of the anvil and the elongate channel is movable to capture tissue between the anvil and the staple cartridge. The connector portion comprises a tubular member, wherein the tubular member comprises an outer wall, a first coupling flange, and a second coupling flange. The outer wall comprises a first portion and a second portion radially offset from the first portion. The first coupling flange is radially disposed on the first portion of the outer wall. The second coupling flange is radially disposed on the second portion of the outer wall, wherein the first coupling flange and the second coupling flange cooperate to releasably connect the disposable loading unit to the surgical instrument.
  • Example 117
  • The disposable loading unit of Example 116, wherein the first coupling flange comprises a first distal portion, wherein the second coupling flange comprises a second distal portion, and wherein the first distal portion is positioned distally with respect to the second distal portion.
  • Example 118
  • The disposable loading unit of Examples 116 or 117, wherein the first coupling flange comprises a first proximal portion, wherein the second coupling flange comprises a second proximal portion, and wherein the first proximal portion is positioned proximally with respect to the second proximal portion.
  • Example 119
  • The disposable loading unit of Examples 116, 117, or 118, wherein the first coupling flange is spaced apart from the second coupling flange.
  • Many of the surgical instrument systems described herein are motivated by an electric motor; however, the surgical instrument systems described herein can be motivated in any suitable manner. In various instances, the surgical instrument systems described herein can be motivated by a manually-operated trigger, for example. In certain instances, the motors disclosed herein may comprise a portion or portions of a robotically controlled system. Moreover, any of the end effectors and/or tool assemblies disclosed herein can be utilized with a robotic surgical instrument system. U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/118,241, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS WITH ROTATABLE STAPLE DEPLOYMENT ARRANGEMENTS, now U.S. Pat. No. 9,072,535, for example, discloses several examples of a robotic surgical instrument system in greater detail.
  • The surgical instrument systems described herein have been described in connection with the deployment and deformation of staples; however, the embodiments described herein are not so limited. Various embodiments are envisioned which deploy fasteners other than staples, such as clamps or tacks, for example. Moreover, various embodiments are envisioned which utilize any suitable means for sealing tissue. For instance, an end effector in accordance with various embodiments can comprise electrodes configured to heat and seal the tissue. Also, for instance, an end effector in accordance with certain embodiments can apply vibrational energy to seal the tissue.
  • The entire disclosures of:
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,403,312, entitled ELECTROSURGICAL HEMOSTATIC DEVICE, which issued on Apr. 4, 1995;
  • U.S. Pat. No. 7,000,818, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENT HAVING SEPARATE DISTINCT CLOSING AND FIRING SYSTEMS, which issued on Feb. 21, 2006;
  • U.S. Pat. No. 7,422,139, entitled MOTOR-DRIVEN SURGICAL CUTTING AND FASTENING INSTRUMENT WITH TACTILE POSITION FEEDBACK, which issued on Sep. 9, 2008;
  • U.S. Pat. No. 7,464,849, entitled ELECTRO-MECHANICAL SURGICAL INSTRUMENT WITH CLOSURE SYSTEM AND ANVIL ALIGNMENT COMPONENTS, which issued on Dec. 16, 2008;
  • U.S. Pat. No. 7,670,334, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT HAVING AN ARTICULATING END EFFECTOR, which issued on Mar. 2, 2010;
  • U.S. Pat. No. 7,753,245, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS, which issued on Jul. 13, 2010;
  • U.S. Pat. No. 8,393,514, entitled SELECTIVELY ORIENTABLE IMPLANTABLE FASTENER CARTRIDGE, which issued on Mar. 12, 2013;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/343,803, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT HAVING RECORDING CAPABILITIES; now U.S. Pat. No. 7,845,537;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/031,573, entitled SURGICAL CUTTING AND FASTENING INSTRUMENT HAVING RF ELECTRODES, filed Feb. 14, 2008;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/031,873, entitled END EFFECTORS FOR A SURGICAL CUTTING AND STAPLING INSTRUMENT, filed Feb. 15, 2008, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,980,443;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/235,782, entitled MOTOR-DRIVEN SURGICAL CUTTING INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Pat. No. 8,210,411;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/249,117, entitled POWERED SURGICAL CUTTING AND STAPLING APPARATUS WITH MANUALLY RETRACTABLE FIRING SYSTEM, now U.S. Pat. No. 8,608,045;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/647,100, entitled MOTOR-DRIVEN SURGICAL CUTTING INSTRUMENT WITH ELECTRIC ACTUATOR DIRECTIONAL CONTROL ASSEMBLY, filed Dec. 24, 2009; now U.S. Pat. No. 8,220,688;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/893,461, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE, filed Sep. 29, 2012, now U.S. Pat. No. 8,733,613;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/036,647, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENT, filed Feb. 28, 2011, now U.S. Pat. No. 8,561,870;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/118,241, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS WITH ROTATABLE STAPLE DEPLOYMENT ARRANGEMENTS, now U.S. Pat. No. 9,072,535;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/524,049, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING A FIRING DRIVE, filed on Jun. 15, 2012; now U.S. Pat. No. 9,101,358;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/800,025, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE TISSUE THICKNESS SENSOR SYSTEM, filed on Mar. 13, 2013, now U.S. Pat. No. 9,345,481;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/800,067, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE TISSUE THICKNESS SENSOR SYSTEM, filed on Mar. 13, 2013, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263552;
  • U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2007/0175955, entitled SURGICAL CUTTING AND FASTENING INSTRUMENT WITH CLOSURE TRIGGER LOCKING MECHANISM, filed Jan. 31, 2006; and
  • U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2010/0264194, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENT WITH AN ARTICULATABLE END EFFECTOR, filed Apr. 22, 2010, now U.S. Pat. No. 8,308,040, are hereby incorporated by reference herein.
  • Although various devices have been described herein in connection with certain embodiments, modifications and variations to those embodiments may be implemented. Particular features, structures, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more embodiments. Thus, the particular features, structures, or characteristics illustrated or described in connection with one embodiment may be combined in whole or in part, with the features, structures or characteristics of one ore more other embodiments without limitation. Also, where materials are disclosed for certain components, other materials may be used. Furthermore, according to various embodiments, a single component may be replaced by multiple components, and multiple components may be replaced by a single component, to perform a given function or functions. The foregoing description and following claims are intended to cover all such modification and variations.
  • The devices disclosed herein can be designed to be disposed of after a single use, or they can be designed to be used multiple times. In either case, however, a device can be reconditioned for reuse after at least one use. Reconditioning can include any combination of the steps including, but not limited to, the disassembly of the device, followed by cleaning or replacement of particular pieces of the device, and subsequent reassembly of the device. In particular, a reconditioning facility and/or surgical team can disassemble a device and, after cleaning and/or replacing particular parts of the device, the device can be reassembled for subsequent use. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that reconditioning of a device can utilize a variety of techniques for disassembly, cleaning/replacement, and reassembly. Use of such techniques, and the resulting reconditioned device, are all within the scope of the present application.
  • The devices disclosed herein may be processed before surgery. First, a new or used instrument may be obtained and, when necessary, cleaned. The instrument may then be sterilized. In one sterilization technique, the instrument is placed in a closed and sealed container, such as a plastic or TYVEK bag. The container and instrument may then be placed in a field of radiation that can penetrate the container, such as gamma radiation, x-rays, and/or high-energy electrons. The radiation may kill bacteria on the instrument and in the container. The sterilized instrument may then be stored in the sterile container. The sealed container may keep the instrument sterile until it is opened in a medical facility. A device may also be sterilized using any other technique known in the art, including but not limited to beta radiation, gamma radiation, ethylene oxide, plasma peroxide, and/or steam.
  • While this invention has been described as having exemplary designs, the present invention may be further modified within the spirit and scope of the disclosure. This application is therefore intended to cover any variations, uses, or adaptations of the invention using its general principles.
  • Any patent, publication, or other disclosure material, in whole or in part, that is said to be incorporated by reference herein is incorporated herein only to the extent that the incorporated materials do not conflict with existing definitions, statements, or other disclosure material set forth in this disclosure. As such, and to the extent necessary, the disclosure as explicitly set forth herein supersedes any conflicting material incorporated herein by reference. Any material, or portion thereof, that is said to be incorporated by reference herein, but which conflicts with existing definitions, statements, or other disclosure material set forth herein will only be incorporated to the extent that no conflict arises between that incorporated material and the existing disclosure material.

Claims (20)

What is claimed is:
1. A surgical instrument, comprising:
a staple firing member, comprising:
a cutting member; and
an engagement member, comprising:
a first engagement portion protruding in a first direction; and
a second engagement portion protruding in a second direction opposite the first direction; and
an end effector, comprising:
a staple cartridge comprising a plurality of staples; and
an anvil, wherein at least one of the staple cartridge and the anvil is movable to capture tissue between the staple cartridge and the anvil, and wherein the anvil comprises:
a first forming portion, comprising:
a first outer interface comprising first staple forming pockets; and
a first inner interface;
a second forming portion spaced apart from the first forming portion, wherein the second forming portion comprises:
a second outer interface comprising second staple forming pockets; and
a second inner interface;
an anvil channel, wherein the staple firing member is advanced along the anvil channel to cause the plurality of staples to be deployed into the tissue and to be deformed against the first staple forming pockets and the second staple forming pockets, and wherein the anvil channel comprises:
an elongate slot inwardly open along a longitudinal axis of the anvil, wherein the elongate slot extends longitudinally between the first forming portion and the second forming portion;
a first recess extending longitudinally adjacent the first inner interface, wherein the first recess is sized to receive the first engagement portion; and
a second recess extending longitudinally adjacent the second inner interface, wherein the second recess is sized to receive the second engagement portion;
a first reinforcement member attached to the first inner interface, wherein the first engagement portion is configured to slidingly engage the first reinforcement member during the advancement of the staple firing member; and
a second reinforcement member attached to the second inner interface, wherein the elongate slot extends longitudinally between the first reinforcement member and the second reinforcement member; and wherein the second reinforcement member is configured to engage the second reinforcement member during the advancement of the staple firing member.
2. The surgical instrument of claim 1, wherein the first reinforcement member has a different material composition than the first forming portion.
3. The surgical instrument of claim 2, wherein the first reinforcement member is harder than the first forming portion.
4. The surgical instrument of claim 3, wherein the second reinforcement member has a different material composition than the second forming portion.
5. The surgical instrument of claim 4, wherein the second reinforcement member is harder than the second forming portion.
6. The surgical instrument of claim 5, wherein the first reinforcement member is welded to the first inner interface, and wherein the second reinforcement member is welded to the second inner surface.
7. The surgical instrument of claim 1, wherein the anvil further comprises an anvil cover welded to the first forming portion and the second forming portion.
8. A surgical instrument, comprising:
an end effector transitionable between an open configuration and a closed configuration, wherein the end effector comprises:
a staple cartridge comprising a plurality of staples; and
an anvil comprising a plurality of staple forming pockets, wherein at least one of the staple cartridge and the anvil is movable to capture tissue between the staple cartridge and the anvil; and
a firing assembly movable to cause the plurality of staples to be deployed into the tissue and to be deformed against the plurality of staple forming pockets, wherein the firing assembly comprises:
a firing member, comprising:
a cutting edge;
a first engagement member configured to movably engage the anvil; and
a second engagement member configured to movably engage the staple cartridge, wherein the first engagement member and the second engagement member cooperate to transition the end effector to the closed configuration; and
a laminated firing bar extending proximally from the firing member, wherein the laminated firing bar comprises:
a first outer layer;
a second outer layer; and
an intermediate layer sandwiched between the first outer layer and the second outer layer, wherein the intermediate layer is thicker than the first outer layer, and wherein the intermediate layer is thicker than the second outer layer.
9. The surgical instrument of claim 8, wherein the intermediate layer comprises a different material composition than at least one of the first outer layer and the second.
10. The surgical instrument of claim 8, wherein the intermediate layer is at least partially made from titanium.
11. The surgical instrument of claim 10, wherein at least one of the first outer layer and the second outer layer is at least partially made from stainless steel.
12. The surgical instrument of claim 8, wherein the laminated firing bar comprises a transverse aperture extending through the first outer layer, the intermediate layer, and the second outer layer, wherein the transverse aperture is at least partially filled with melted portions of at least one of the first outer layer and the second outer layer.
13. The surgical instrument of claim 12, wherein the melted portions extend through the intermediate layer.
14. The surgical instrument of claim 8, wherein the laminated firing bar comprises a transverse aperture extending through the first outer layer, the intermediate layer, and the second outer layer, wherein the transverse aperture is at least partially filled with a filler material configured to weld the intermediate layer to the first outer layer and the second outer layer.
15. The surgical instrument of claim 14, wherein at least one of the first outer layer and the second outer layer is at least partially made from the filler material.
16. A surgical instrument, comprising:
an end effector transitionable between an open configuration and a closed configuration, wherein the end effector comprises:
a staple cartridge comprising a plurality of staples; and
an anvil comprising a plurality of staple forming pockets, wherein at least one of the staple cartridge and the anvil is movable to capture tissue between the staple cartridge and the anvil; and
a firing assembly movable to cause the plurality of staples to be deployed into the tissue and to be deformed against the plurality of staple forming pockets, wherein the firing assembly comprises:
a firing member, comprising:
a cutting edge;
a first engagement member configured to movably engage the anvil; and
a second engagement member configured to movably engage the staple cartridge, wherein the first engagement member and the second engagement member cooperate to transition the end effector to the closed configuration; and
a laminated firing bar extending proximally from the firing member, wherein the laminated firing bar comprises:
a first outer layer;
a second outer layer; and
an intermediate layer sandwiched between the first outer layer and the second outer layer, wherein the intermediate layer is harder than the first outer layer, and wherein the intermediate layer is harder than the second outer layer.
17. The surgical instrument of claim 16, wherein the laminated firing bar comprises a transverse aperture extending through the first outer layer, the intermediate layer, and the second outer layer, wherein the transverse aperture is at least partially filled with melted portions of at least one of the first outer layer and the second outer layer.
18. The surgical instrument of claim 17, wherein the melted portions extend through the intermediate layer.
19. The surgical instrument of claim 16, wherein the laminated firing bar comprises a transverse aperture extending through the first outer layer, the intermediate layer, and the second outer layer, wherein the transverse aperture is at least partially filled with a filler material configured to weld the intermediate layer to the first outer layer and the second outer layer.
20. The surgical instrument of claim 19, wherein at least one of the first outer layer and the second outer layer is at least partially made from the filler material.
US15/386,226 2016-12-21 2016-12-21 Durability features for end effectors and firing assemblies of surgical stapling instruments Pending US20180168648A1 (en)

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WO2018118482A2 (en) 2018-06-28
WO2018118482A3 (en) 2018-08-23
EP3338654A3 (en) 2018-08-29

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