US20180368844A1 - Staple forming pocket arrangements - Google Patents

Staple forming pocket arrangements Download PDF

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Publication number
US20180368844A1
US20180368844A1 US15/634,076 US201715634076A US2018368844A1 US 20180368844 A1 US20180368844 A1 US 20180368844A1 US 201715634076 A US201715634076 A US 201715634076A US 2018368844 A1 US2018368844 A1 US 2018368844A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
staple
cup
end effector
forming
patent application
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Pending
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US15/634,076
Inventor
Gregory J. Bakos
Frederick E. Shelton, IV
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Ethicon LLC
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Ethicon LLC
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Publication date
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Priority to US15/634,076 priority Critical patent/US20180368844A1/en
Priority to US15/634,099 priority patent/US20180368846A1/en
Priority to US15/634,090 priority patent/US20180368845A1/en
Priority to US15/634,117 priority patent/US20180368847A1/en
Assigned to ETHICON LLC reassignment ETHICON LLC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: BAKOS, GREGORY J., SHELTON, FREDERICK E., IV
Publication of US20180368844A1 publication Critical patent/US20180368844A1/en
Application status is Pending legal-status Critical

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    • 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
    • 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
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    • A61B17/0644Surgical staples, i.e. penetrating the tissue penetrating the tissue, deformable to closed position
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    • A61B2017/00367Details of actuation of instruments, e.g. relations between pushing buttons, or the like, and activation of the tool, working tip, or the like
    • A61B2017/00398Details of actuation of instruments, e.g. relations between pushing buttons, or the like, and activation of the tool, working tip, or the like using powered actuators, e.g. stepper motors, solenoids
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    • A61B2017/00473Distal part, e.g. tip or head
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    • A61B2017/07214Stapler heads
    • A61B2017/07257Stapler heads characterised by its anvil
    • A61B2017/07264Stapler heads characterised by its anvil characterised by its staple forming cavities, e.g. geometry or material
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    • A61B2017/07214Stapler heads
    • A61B2017/07271Stapler heads characterised by its cartridge
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
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    • A61B2017/07214Stapler heads
    • A61B2017/07278Stapler heads characterised by its sled or its staple holder
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
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    • A61B2017/07214Stapler heads
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
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    • A61B17/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets
    • A61B17/28Surgical forceps
    • A61B17/2812Surgical forceps with a single pivotal connection
    • A61B17/282Jaws
    • A61B2017/2825Inserts of different material in jaws
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    • A61B2017/2926Details of heads or jaws
    • A61B2017/2927Details of heads or jaws the angular position of the head being adjustable with respect to the shaft
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    • A61B2017/2926Details of heads or jaws
    • A61B2017/2927Details of heads or jaws the angular position of the head being adjustable with respect to the shaft
    • A61B2017/2929Details of heads or jaws the angular position of the head being adjustable with respect to the shaft with a head rotatable about the longitudinal axis of the shaft
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    • A61B2017/2926Details of heads or jaws
    • A61B2017/2932Transmission of forces to jaw members
    • A61B2017/2933Transmission of forces to jaw members camming or guiding means

Abstract

An end effector is disclosed. The end effector can include a staple cartridge comprising a staple comprising a leg. The end effector can also include an anvil comprising a tissue compression surface, wherein a plurality of pockets are defined in the tissue compression surface, and wherein the plurality of pockets comprises a pocket comprising a cup configured to form the leg. The cup can comprise a boundary surface comprising a perimeter, a depth profile defining the depth of the cup along the length thereof, a first curved sidewall extending from the perimeter toward the depth profile, and a second curved sidewall extending from the perimeter toward the depth profile. The first and second curved sidewalls can intersect the perimeter at a constant angle along a majority of the length thereof.

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, 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 side elevational view of a surgical system comprising a handle assembly and multiple interchangeable surgical tool assemblies that may be used therewith;
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one of the interchangeable surgical tool assemblies of FIG. 1 operably coupled to the handle assembly of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 3 is an exploded assembly view of portions of the handle assembly and interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 1 and 2;
  • FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another one of the interchangeable surgical tool assemblies depicted in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 5 is a partial cross-sectional perspective view of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIG. 4;
  • FIG. 6 is another partial cross-sectional view of a portion of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 4 and 5;
  • FIG. 7 is an exploded assembly view of a portion of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 4-6;
  • FIG. 7A is an enlarged top view of a portion of an elastic spine assembly of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIG. 7;
  • FIG. 8 is an exploded assembly view of a portion of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 4-7;
  • FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional perspective view of a surgical end effector portion of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 4-8;
  • FIG. 10 is an exploded assembly view of the surgical end effector portion of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly depicted in FIG. 9;
  • FIG. 11 is a perspective view, a side elevational view and a front elevational view of a firing member that may be employed in the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 4-10;
  • FIG. 12 is a perspective view of an anvil that may be employed in the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 4-11;
  • FIG. 13 is a cross-sectional side elevational view of the anvil of FIG. 12;
  • FIG. 14 is a bottom view of the anvil of FIGS. 12 and 13;
  • FIG. 15 is a cross-sectional side elevational view of a portion of a surgical end effector and shaft portion of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIG. 4 with an unspent surgical staple cartridge properly seated within an elongate channel of the surgical end effector;
  • FIG. 16 is a cross-sectional side elevational view of the surgical end effector and shaft portion of FIG. 15 after the surgical staple cartridge has been fired during a staple firing stroke and a firing member being retracted to a starting position after the staple firing stroke;
  • FIG. 17 is another cross-sectional side elevational view of the surgical end effector and shaft portion of FIG. 16 after the firing member has been fully retracted back to its starting position;
  • FIG. 18 is a top cross-sectional view of the surgical end effector and shaft portion depicted in FIG. 15 with the unspent surgical staple cartridge properly seated with the elongate channel of the surgical end effector;
  • FIG. 19 is another top cross-sectional view of the surgical end effector of FIG. 15 with a fired surgical staple cartridge mounted therein illustrating the firing member retained in a locked position;
  • FIG. 20 is a partial cross-sectional view of portions of the anvil and elongate channel of the interchangeable tool assembly of FIG. 4;
  • FIG. 21 is an exploded side elevational view of portions of the anvil and elongate channel of FIG. 20;
  • FIG. 22 is a rear perspective view of an anvil mounting portion of an anvil in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 23 is a rear perspective view of an anvil mounting portion of another anvil in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 24 is a rear perspective view of an anvil mounting portion of another anvil in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 25 is a perspective view of an anvil in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 26 is an exploded perspective view of the anvil of FIG. 25;
  • FIG. 27 is a cross-sectional end view of the anvil of FIG. 25;
  • FIG. 28 is a perspective view of another anvil in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 29 is an exploded perspective view of the anvil embodiment of FIG. 28;
  • FIG. 30 is a top view of a distal end portion of an anvil body portion of the anvil of FIG. 28;
  • FIG. 31 is a top view of a distal end portion of an anvil body portion of another anvil in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 32 is a cross-sectional end perspective view of the anvil of FIG. 31;
  • FIG. 33 is a cross-sectional end perspective view of another anvil in accordance with at least one embodiment;
  • FIG. 34 is a cross-sectional perspective view of a staple forming pocket arrangement comprising a proximal forming pocket and a distal forming pocket, wherein each forming pocket comprises a forming surface having an entry zone and an exit zone comprising different radii of curvature;
  • FIG. 35 is a plan view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 34;
  • FIG. 36 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 34 taken along line 36-36 in FIG. 35;
  • FIG. 37 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 34 taken along line 37-37 in FIG. 35;
  • FIG. 38 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 34 taken along line 38-38 in FIG. 35;
  • FIG. 39 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 34 taken along line 39-39 in FIG. 35;
  • FIG. 40 is a cross-sectional perspective view of a staple forming pocket arrangement comprising a proximal forming pocket, a distal forming pocket, and primary sidewalls, wherein each forming pocket comprises a pair of contoured sidewalls;
  • FIG. 41 is a plan view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 40;
  • FIG. 42 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 40 taken along line 42-42 in FIG. 41;
  • FIG. 43 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 40 taken along line 43-43 in FIG. 41;
  • FIG. 44 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 40 taken along line 44-44 in FIG. 41;
  • FIG. 45 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 40 taken along line 45-45 in FIG. 41;
  • FIG. 46 depicts a staple formed with the forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 40 in a fully formed configuration, wherein the staple contacted the forming pockets in an aligned state;
  • FIG. 47 depicts a staple formed with the forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 40 in a fully formed configuration, wherein the staple contacted the forming pockets in a misaligned state;
  • FIG. 48 is a cross-sectional perspective view of a staple forming pocket arrangement comprising a proximal forming pocket and a distal forming pocket;
  • FIG. 49 is a cross-sectional perspective view of a portion of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 48;
  • FIG. 50 is a plan view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 48;
  • FIG. 51 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 48 taken along line 51-51 in FIG. 50;
  • FIG. 52 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 48 taken along line 52-52 in the entry zone of the distal forming pocket of FIG. 50;
  • FIG. 53 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 48 taken along line 53-53 in the transition zone of the distal forming pocket in FIG. 50;
  • FIG. 54 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 48 taken along line 54-54 in the exit zone of the distal forming pocket of FIG. 50;
  • FIG. 54A is a partial negative view of a forming pocket of the staple forming pocket arrangements of FIG. 48, wherein the partial negative view comprises various slices taken in multiple planes along the forming pocket which are perpendicular to a tissue-facing surface of the staple forming pocket arrangement and a pocket axis of the staple forming pocket arrangement;
  • FIG. 54B is a table comprising the dimensions of the slices of FIG. 54A which are labeled in FIG. 54A;
  • FIG. 54C is a cross-sectional view of the forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 48 taken along a pocket axis of the forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 48, wherein various dimensions of the forming pocket arrangement are labeled thereon;
  • FIG. 55 is a cross-sectional perspective view of a staple forming pocket arrangement comprising a proximal forming pocket and a distal forming pocket;
  • FIG. 56 is a plan view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 55;
  • FIG. 57 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 55 taken along line 57-57 in FIG. 56;
  • FIG. 58 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 55 taken along line 58-58 in the entry zone of the distal forming pocket of FIG. 56;
  • FIG. 59 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 55 taken along line 59-59 in the transition zone of the distal forming pocket of FIG. 56;
  • FIG. 60 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 55 taken along line 60-60 in the exit forming zone of the distal forming pocket of FIG. 56;
  • FIG. 60A is a partial negative view of a forming pocket of the staple forming pocket arrangements of FIG. 55, wherein the partial negative view comprises various slices taken in multiple planes along the forming pocket which are perpendicular to a tissue-facing surface of the staple forming pocket arrangement and a pocket axis of the staple forming pocket arrangement;
  • FIG. 60B is a table comprising the dimensions of the slices of FIG. 60A which are labeled in FIG. 60A;
  • FIG. 60C is a cross-sectional view of the forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 55 taken along a pocket axis of the forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 55, wherein various dimensions of the forming pocket arrangement are labeled thereon;
  • FIG. 61 is a cross-sectional perspective view of a staple forming pocket arrangement comprising a proximal forming pocket and a distal forming pocket;
  • FIG. 62 is a plan view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 61;
  • FIG. 63 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 61 taken along line 63-63 in FIG. 62;
  • FIG. 64 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 61 taken along line 64-64 in the entry forming zone of the distal forming pocket of FIG. 62;
  • FIG. 65 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 61 taken along line 65-65 in the entry forming zone of the distal forming pocket of FIG. 62;
  • FIG. 66 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 61 taken along line 66-66 in the transition zone of the distal forming pocket of FIG. 62;
  • FIG. 67 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 61 taken along line 67-67 in the exit forming zone of the distal forming pocket of FIG. 62;
  • FIG. 67A is a partial negative view of a forming pocket of the staple forming pocket arrangements of FIG. 61, wherein the partial negative view comprises various slices taken in multiple planes along the forming pocket which are perpendicular to a tissue-facing surface of the staple forming pocket arrangement and a pocket axis of the staple forming pocket arrangement;
  • FIG. 67B is a table comprising the dimensions of the slices of FIG. 67A which are labeled in FIG. 67A;
  • FIG. 67C is a cross-sectional view of the forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 61 taken along a pocket axis of the forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 61, wherein various dimensions of the forming pocket arrangement are labeled thereon;
  • FIG. 68 is a plan view of a staple formed with the forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 55 in a fully formed configuration, wherein the staple contacted the forming pockets in a misaligned state;
  • FIG. 69 is an elevation view of the staple of FIG. 68;
  • FIG. 70 is a cross-sectional elevation view of a surgical end effector with various components removed depicting an anvil and a staple cartridge having a plurality of staples, further depicting the end effector in a closed position in which a uniform tissue gap is defined between the staple cartridge and the anvil, and further depicting the staples fired from the staple cartridge and formed to a uniform height by forming pockets in the anvil;
  • FIG. 71 is a cross-sectional elevation view of a surgical end effector with various components removed depicting an anvil and a staple cartridge having a plurality of staples, wherein the anvil comprises a stepped tissue compression surface, further depicting the end effector in a closed position in which a variable tissue gap is defined between the staple cartridge and the anvil, and further depicting the staples fired from the staple cartridge and formed to a uniform height by forming pockets in the anvil;
  • FIG. 72 is a cross-sectional elevation view of a surgical end effector with various components removed depicting an anvil and a staple cartridge having a plurality of staples and a stepped tissue compression surface, further depicting the end effector in a closed position in which a variable tissue gap is defined between the staple cartridge and the anvil, and further depicting the staples fired from the staple cartridge and formed to a uniform height by forming pockets in the anvil;
  • FIG. 73 is a cross-sectional elevation view of a surgical end effector with various components removed depicting an anvil and a staple cartridge having a plurality of staples, wherein the anvil and the staple cartridge comprise stepped tissue compression surfaces, further depicting the end effector in a closed position in which a variable tissue gap is defined between the staple cartridge and the anvil, and further depicting the staples fired from the staple cartridge and formed to a uniform height by forming pockets in the anvil;
  • FIG. 74 is a partial cross-sectional perspective view of an articulation joint for a surgical tool assembly with various components removed depicting the articulation joint in an unarticulated position;
  • FIG. 75 is a partial cross-sectional plan view of the articulation joint of FIG. 74 in the unarticulated configuration;
  • FIG. 76 is a partial cross-sectional plan view of the articulation joint of FIG. 74 in a partially articulated configuration;
  • FIG. 77 is a partial cross-sectional plan view of the articulation joint of FIG. 74 in a fully articulated configuration; and
  • FIG. 77A is a detail view of a reinforcement feature of the articulation joint of FIG. 74 in the fully articulated configuration of FIG. 77.
  • Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views. The exemplifications set out herein illustrate various embodiments of the invention, in one form, and such exemplifications are not to be construed as limiting the scope of the invention in any manner.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Applicant of the present application owns the following U.S. patent applications that were filed on even date herewith and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______, entitled SURGICAL ANVIL MANUFACTURING METHODS; Attorney Docket No. END8165USNP/170079M;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______, entitled SURGICAL ANVIL ARRANGEMENTS; Attorney Docket No. END8168USNP/170080;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______, entitled SURGICAL ANVIL ARRANGEMENTS; Attorney Docket No. END8170USNP/170081;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______, entitled SURGICAL ANVIL ARRANGEMENTS; Attorney Docket No. END8164USNP/170082;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______, entitled SURGICAL FIRING MEMBER ARRANGEMENTS; Attorney Docket No. END8169USNP/170083;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______, entitled STAPLE FORMING POCKET ARRANGEMENTS; Attorney Docket No. END8232USNP/170086;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______, entitled SURGICAL END EFFECTORS AND ANVILS; Attorney Docket No. END8166USNP/170087; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______, entitled ARTICULATION SYSTEMS FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS; Attorney Docket No. END8171USNP/170088.
  • 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;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/386,240, entitled SURGICAL END EFFECTORS AND ADAPTABLE FIRING MEMBERS THEREFOR;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,909, entitled FIRING ASSEMBLY COMPRISING A MULTIPLE FAILED-STATE FUSE;
  • 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 STAPLE/FASTENERS;
  • 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 STAPLE/FASTENERS 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 STAPLE/FASTENERS;
  • 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. 15/385,906, entitled FIRING MEMBER PIN CONFIGURATIONS;
  • 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. 15/386,226, entitled DURABILITY FEATURES FOR END EFFECTORS AND FIRING ASSEMBLIES OF SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/386,222, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS HAVING END EFFECTORS WITH POSITIVE OPENING FEATURES;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/386,236, entitled CONNECTION PORTIONS FOR DEPOSABLE LOADING UNITS FOR SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS;
  • 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;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,895, entitled SHAFT ASSEMBLY COMPRISING FIRST AND SECOND ARTICULATION LOCKOUTS;
  • 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/FASTENER 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 entirety:
  • 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 STAPLE/FASTENERS;
  • 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 entirety:
  • 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 entirety:
  • 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 entirety:
  • 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 entirety:
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/742,925, entitled SURGICAL END EFFECTORS WITH POSITIVE JAW OPENING ARRANGEMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0367256;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/742,941, entitled SURGICAL END EFFECTORS WITH DUAL CAM ACTUATED JAW CLOSING FEATURES, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0367248;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/742,914, entitled MOVABLE FIRING BEAM SUPPORT ARRANGEMENTS FOR ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0367255;
  • 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, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0367254;
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/742,885, entitled DUAL ARTICULATION DRIVE SYSTEM ARRANGEMENTS FOR ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0367246; and
  • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/742,876, entitled PUSH/PULL ARTICULATION DRIVE SYSTEMS FOR ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0367245.
  • 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 entirety:
  • 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 STAPLE/FASTENER, 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 entirety:
  • 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 entirety:
  • 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 entirety:
  • 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. Pat. No. 9,554,794;
  • 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 entirety:
  • 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. Pat. No. 9,629,623;
  • 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. Pat. No. 9,629,629.
  • 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 entirety:
  • 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 entirety:
  • 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 entirety:
  • 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. Pat. No. 9,649,110;
  • 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 STAPLE/FASTENER, 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 STAPLE/FASTENER, 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 entirety:
  • 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.
  • FIG. 1 depicts a motor-driven surgical system 10 that may be used to perform a variety of different surgical procedures. As can be seen in that Figure, one example of the surgical system 10 includes four interchangeable surgical tool assemblies 100, 200, 300, and 1000 that are each adapted for interchangeable use with a handle assembly 500. Each interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100, 200, 300, and 1000 may be designed for use in connection with the performance of one or more specific surgical procedures. In another surgical system embodiment, the interchangeable surgical tool assemblies may be effectively employed with a tool drive assembly of a robotically controlled or automated surgical system. For example, the surgical tool assemblies disclosed herein may be employed with various robotic systems, instruments, components and methods such as, but not limited to, those disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 9,072,535, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS WITH ROTATABLE STAPLE DEPLOYMENT ARRANGEMENTS, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates one form of an interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 that is operably coupled to the handle assembly 500. FIG. 3 illustrates attachment of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 to the handle assembly 500. The attachment arrangement and process depicted in FIG. 3 may also be employed in connection with attachment of any of the interchangeable surgical tool assemblies 100, 200, 300, and 1000 to a tool drive portion or tool drive housing of a robotic system. The handle assembly 500 may comprise a handle housing 502 that includes a pistol grip portion 504 that can be gripped and manipulated by the clinician. As will be briefly discussed below, the handle assembly 500 operably supports a plurality of drive systems that are configured to generate and apply various control motions to corresponding portions of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100, 200, 300, and/or 1000 that is operably attached thereto.
  • Referring now to FIG. 3, the handle assembly 500 may further include a frame 506 that operably supports the plurality of drive systems. For example, the frame 506 can operably support a first or closure drive system, generally designated as 510, which may be employed to apply closing and opening motions to the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100, 200, 300, and 1000 that is operably attached or coupled to the handle assembly 500. In at least one form, the closure drive system 510 may include an actuator in the form of a closure trigger 512 that is pivotally supported by the frame 506. Such an arrangement enables the closure trigger 512 to be manipulated by a clinician such that, when the clinician grips the pistol grip portion 504 of the handle assembly 500, the closure trigger 512 may be pivoted from a starting or “unactuated” position to an “actuated” position and more particularly to a fully compressed or fully actuated position. In various forms, the closure drive system 510 further includes a closure linkage assembly 514 that is pivotally coupled to the closure trigger 512 or otherwise operably interfaces therewith. As will be discussed in further detail below, the closure linkage assembly 514 includes a transverse attachment pin 516 that facilitates attachment to a corresponding drive system on the surgical tool assembly. To actuate the closure drive system, the clinician depresses the closure trigger 512 towards the pistol grip portion 504. As described in further detail in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/226,142, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING A SENSOR SYSTEM, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272575, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety herein, the closure drive system is configured to lock the closure trigger 512 into the fully depressed or fully actuated position when the clinician fully depresses the closure trigger 512 to attain the full closure stroke. When the clinician desires to unlock the closure trigger 512 to permit the closure trigger 512 to be biased to the unactuated position, the clinician simply activates a closure release button assembly 518 which enables the closure trigger to return to unactuated position. The closure release button 518 may also be configured to interact with various sensors that communicate with a microcontroller 520 in the handle assembly 500 for tracking the position of the closure trigger 512. Further details concerning the configuration and operation of the closure release button assembly 518 may be found in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272575.
  • In at least one form, the handle assembly 500 and the frame 506 may operably support another drive system referred to herein as a firing drive system 530 that is configured to apply firing motions to corresponding portions of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly that is attached thereto. As was described in detail in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272575, the firing drive system 530 may employ an electric motor (not shown in FIGS. 1-3) that is located in the pistol grip portion 504 of the handle assembly 500. In various forms, the motor may be a DC brushed driving motor having a maximum speed of approximately 25,000 RPM, for example. In other arrangements, the motor may include a brushless motor, a cordless motor, a synchronous motor, a stepper motor, or any other suitable electric motor. The motor may be powered by a power source 522 that in one form may comprise a removable power pack. The power pack may support a plurality of Lithium Ion (“LI”) or other suitable batteries therein. A number of batteries may be connected in series may be used as the power source 522 for the surgical system 10. In addition, the power source 522 may be replaceable and/or rechargeable.
  • The electric motor is configured to axially drive a longitudinally movable drive member 540 in distal and proximal directions depending upon the polarity of the voltage applied to the motor. For example, when the motor is driven in one rotary direction, the longitudinally movable drive member 540 the will be axially driven in the distal direction “DD”. When the motor is driven in the opposite rotary direction, the longitudinally movable drive member 540 will be axially driven in a proximal direction “PD”. The handle assembly 500 can include a switch 513 which can be configured to reverse the polarity applied to the electric motor by the power source 522 or otherwise control the motor. The handle assembly 500 can also include a sensor or sensors that are configured to detect the position of the drive member 540 and/or the direction in which the drive member 540 is being moved. Actuation of the motor can be controlled by a firing trigger 532 (FIG. 1) that is pivotally supported on the handle assembly 500. The firing trigger 532 may be pivoted between an unactuated position and an actuated position. The firing trigger 532 may be biased into the unactuated position by a spring or other biasing arrangement such that, when the clinician releases the firing trigger 532, the firing trigger 532 may be pivoted or otherwise returned to the unactuated position by the spring or biasing arrangement. In at least one form, the firing trigger 532 can be positioned “outboard” of the closure trigger 512 as was discussed above. As discussed in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272575, the handle assembly 500 may be equipped with a firing trigger safety button to prevent inadvertent actuation of the firing trigger 532. When the closure trigger 512 is in the unactuated position, the safety button is contained in the handle assembly 500 where the clinician cannot readily access the safety button and move it between a safety position preventing actuation of the firing trigger 532 and a firing position wherein the firing trigger 532 may be fired. As the clinician depresses the closure trigger 512, the safety button and the firing trigger 532 pivot downwardly where they can then be manipulated by the clinician.
  • In at least one form, the longitudinally movable drive member 540 may have a rack of teeth formed thereon for meshing engagement with a corresponding drive gear arrangement that interfaces with the motor. Further details regarding those features may be found in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272575. In at least one form, the handle assembly 500 also includes a manually-actuatable “bailout” assembly that is configured to enable the clinician to manually retract the longitudinally movable drive member 540 should the motor become disabled. The bailout assembly may include a lever or bailout handle assembly that is stored within the handle assembly 500 under a releasable door 550. The lever is configured to be manually pivoted into ratcheting engagement with the teeth in the drive member 540. Thus, the clinician can manually retract the drive member 540 by using the bailout handle assembly to ratchet the drive member 5400 in the proximal direction “PD”. 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, the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein, discloses bailout arrangements that may also be employed with the various surgical tool assemblies disclosed herein.
  • Turning now to FIG. 2, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 includes a surgical end effector 110 that comprises a first jaw and a second jaw. In one arrangement, the first jaw comprises an elongate channel 112 that is configured to operably support a surgical staple cartridge 116 therein. The second jaw comprises an anvil 114 that is pivotally supported relative to the elongate channel 112. The interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 also includes a lockable articulation joint 120 which can be configured to releasably hold the end effector 110 in a desired position relative to a shaft axis SA. Details regarding various constructions and operation of the end effector 110, the articulation joint 120 and the articulation lock are set forth in 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, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. As can be further seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 can include a proximal housing or nozzle 130 and a closure tube assembly 140 which can be utilized to close and/or open the anvil 114 of the end effector 110. As discussed in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272575, the closure tube assembly 140 is movably supported on a spine 145 which supports an articulation driver arrangement 147 configured to apply articulation motions to the surgical end effector 110. The spine 145 is configured to, one, slidably support a firing bar 170 therein and, two, slidably support the closure tube assembly 140 which extends around the spine 145. In various circumstances, the spine 145 includes a proximal end that is rotatably supported in a chassis 150. See FIG. 3. In one arrangement, for example, the proximal end of the spine 145 is attached to a spine bearing that is configured to be supported within the chassis 150. Such an arrangement facilitates the rotatable attachment of the spine 145 to the chassis 150 such that the spine 145 may be selectively rotated about a shaft axis SA relative to the chassis 150.
  • Still referring to FIG. 3, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 includes a closure shuttle 160 that is slidably supported within the chassis 150 such that the closure shuttle 160 may be axially moved relative to the chassis 150. As can be seen in FIG. 3, the closure shuttle 160 includes a pair of proximally-protruding hooks 162 that are configured to be attached to the attachment pin 516 that is attached to the closure linkage assembly 514 in the handle assembly 500. A proximal closure tube segment 146 of the closure tube assembly 140 is rotatably coupled to the closure shuttle 160. Thus, when the hooks 162 are hooked over the pin 516, actuation of the closure trigger 512 will result in the axial movement of the closure shuttle 160 and, ultimately, the closure tube assembly 140 on the spine 145. A closure spring may also be journaled on the closure tube assembly 140 and serves to bias the closure tube assembly 140 in the proximal direction “PD” which can serve to pivot the closure trigger 512 into the unactuated position when the shaft assembly 100 is operably coupled to the handle assembly 500. In use, the closure tube assembly 140 is translated distally (direction DD) to close the anvil 114 in response to the actuation of the closure trigger 512. The closure tube assembly 140 includes a distal closure tube segment 142 that is pivotally pinned to a distal end of a proximal closure tube segment 146. The distal closure tube segment 142 is configured to axially move with the proximal closure tube segment 146 relative to the surgical end effector 110. When the distal end of the distal closure tube segment 142 strikes a proximal surface or ledge 115 on the anvil 114, the anvil 114 is pivoted closed. Further details concerning the closure of anvil 114 may be found in the aforementioned U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541 and will be discussed in further detail below. As was also described in detail in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541, the anvil 114 is opened by proximally translating the distal closure tube segment 142. The distal closure tube segment 142 has a horseshoe aperture 143 therein that defines a downwardly extending return tab that cooperates with an anvil tab 117 formed on the proximal end of the anvil 114 to pivot the anvil 114 back to an open position. In the fully open position, the closure tube assembly 140 is in its proximal-most or unactuated position.
  • As was also indicated above, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 further includes a firing bar 170 that is supported for axial travel within the shaft spine 145. The firing bar 170 includes an intermediate firing shaft portion that is configured to be attached to a distal cutting portion or knife bar that is configured for axial travel through the surgical end effector 110. In at least one arrangement, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 includes a clutch assembly which can be configured to selectively and releasably couple the articulation driver to the firing bar 170. Further details regarding the clutch assembly features and operation may be found in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541. As discussed in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541, distal movement of the firing bar 170 can move the articulation driver arrangement 147 distally and, correspondingly, proximal movement of the firing bar 170 can move the articulation driver arrangement 147 proximally when the clutch assembly is in its engaged position. When the clutch assembly is in its disengaged position, movement of the firing bar 170 is not transmitted to the articulation driver arrangement 147 and, as a result, the firing bar 170 can move independently of the articulation driver arrangement 147. The interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 may also include a slip ring assembly which can be configured to conduct electrical power to and/or from the end effector 110 and/or communicate signals to and/or from the end effector 110. Further details regarding the slip ring assembly may be found in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541. U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/800,067, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE TISSUE THICKNESS SENSOR SYSTEM, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263552 is incorporated by reference in its entirety. U.S. Pat. No. 9,345,481, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE TISSUE THICKNESS SENSOR SYSTEM, is also hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • Still referring to FIG. 3, the chassis 150 has one or more tapered attachment portions 152 formed thereon that are adapted to be received within corresponding dovetail slots 507 formed within a distal end of the frame 506. Each dovetail slot 507 may be tapered or, stated another way, may be somewhat V-shaped to seatingly receive the tapered attachment portions 152 therein. As can be further seen in FIG. 3, a shaft attachment lug 172 is formed on the proximal end of the firing shaft 170. When the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 is coupled to the handle assembly 500, the shaft attachment lug 172 is received in a firing shaft attachment cradle 542 formed in the distal end of the longitudinally movable drive member 540. The interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 also employs a latch system 180 for releasably latching the shaft assembly 100 to the frame 506 of the handle assembly 500. In at least one form, the latch system 180 includes a lock member or lock yoke 182 that is movably coupled to the chassis 150, for example. The lock yoke 182 includes two proximally protruding lock lugs 184 that are configured for releasable engagement with corresponding lock detents or grooves 509 in the distal attachment flange of the frame 506. In various forms, the lock yoke 182 is biased in the proximal direction by spring or biasing member. Actuation of the lock yoke 182 may be accomplished by a latch button 186 that is slidably mounted on a latch actuator assembly that is mounted to the chassis 150. The latch button 186 may be biased in a proximal direction relative to the lock yoke 182. As will be discussed in further detail below, the lock yoke 182 may be moved to an unlocked position by biasing the latch button 186 the in distal direction DD which also causes the lock yoke 182 to pivot out of retaining engagement with the distal attachment flange of the frame 506. When the lock yoke 182 is in retaining engagement with the distal attachment flange of the frame 506, the lock lugs 184 are retainingly seated within the corresponding lock detents or grooves 509 in the distal end of the frame 506. Further details concerning the latching system may be found in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541.
  • To attach the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 to the handle assembly 500 A clinician may position the chassis 150 of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 above or adjacent to the distal end of the frame 506 such that the tapered attachment portions 152 formed on the chassis 150 are aligned with the dovetail slots 507 in the frame 506. The clinician may then move the surgical tool assembly 100 along an installation axis IA that is perpendicular to the shaft axis SA to seat the tapered attachment portions 152 in operable engagement with the corresponding dovetail receiving slots 507 in the distal end of the frame 506. In doing so, the shaft attachment lug 172 on the firing shaft 170 will also be seated in the cradle 542 in the longitudinally movable drive member 540 and the portions of pin 516 on the closure link 514 will be seated in the corresponding hooks 162 in the closure shuttle 160. As used herein, the term “operable engagement” in the context of two components means that the two components are sufficiently engaged with each other so that, upon application of an actuation motion thereto, the components carry out their intended action, function, and/or procedure.
  • Returning now to FIG. 1, the surgical system 10 includes four interchangeable surgical tool assemblies 100, 200, 300, and 1000 that may each be effectively employed with the same handle assembly 500 to perform different surgical procedures. The construction of an exemplary form of interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 was briefly discussed above and is discussed in further detail in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541. Various details regarding interchangeable surgical tool assemblies 200 and 300 may be found in the various U.S. patent applications which have been incorporated by reference herein. Various details regarding interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 will be discussed in further detail below.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 1, each of the surgical tool assemblies 100, 200, 300, and 1000 includes a pair of jaws wherein at least one of the jaws is movable to capture, manipulate, and/or clamp tissue between the two jaws. The movable jaw is moved between open and closed positions upon the application of closure and opening motions applied thereto from the handle assembly or the robotic or automated surgical system to which the surgical tool assembly is operably coupled. In addition, each of the illustrated interchangeable surgical tool assemblies includes a firing member that is configured to cut tissue and fire staples from a staple cartridge that is supported in one of the jaws in response to firing motions applied thereto by the handle assembly or robotic system. Each surgical tool assembly may be uniquely designed to perform a specific procedure, for example, to cut and fasten a particular type of and thickness of tissue within a certain area in the body. The closing, firing and articulation control systems in the handle assembly 500 or robotic system may be configured to generate axial control motions and/or rotary control motions depending upon the type of closing, firing, and articulation system configurations that are employed in the surgical tool assembly. In one arrangement, one of the closure system control components moves axially from an unactuated position to its fully actuated position when a closure control system in the handle assembly or robotic system is fully actuated. The axial distance that the closure tube assembly moves between its unactuated position to its fully actuated position may be referred to herein as its “closure stroke length”. Similarly, one of the firing system control components moves axially from its unactuated position to its fully actuated or fired position when a firing system in the handle assembly or robotic system is fully actuated. The axial distance that the longitudinally movable drive member moves between its unactuated position and its fully fired position may be referred to herein as its “firing stroke length”. For those surgical tool assemblies that employ articulatable end effector arrangements, the handle assembly or robotic system may employ articulation control components that move axially through an “articulation drive stroke length”. In many circumstances, the closure stroke length, the firing stroke length, and the articulation drive stroke length are fixed for a particular handle assembly or robotic system. Thus, each of the surgical tool assemblies must be able to accommodate control movements of the closure, firing, and/or articulation components through each of their entire stroke lengths without placing undue stress on the surgical tool components which might lead to damage the surgical tool assembly.
  • Turning now to FIGS. 4-10, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 includes a surgical end effector 1100 that comprises an elongate channel 1102 that is configured to operably support a staple cartridge 1110 therein. The end effector 1100 may further include an anvil 1130 that is pivotally supported relative to the elongate channel 1102. The interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 may further include an articulation joint 1200 and an articulation lock 1210 (FIGS. 5 and 8-10) which can be configured to releasably hold the end effector 1100 in a desired articulated position relative to a shaft axis SA. Details regarding the construction and operation of the articulation lock 1210 may be found in in 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, the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein. Additional details concerning the articulation lock may also be found in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/019,196, filed Feb. 9, 2016, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT ARTICULATION MECHANISM WITH SLOTTED SECONDARY CONSTRAINT, the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein. As can be seen in FIG. 7, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 can further include a proximal housing or nozzle 1300 comprised of nozzle portions 1302, 1304 as well as an actuator wheel portion 1306 that is configured to be coupled to the assembled nozzle portions 1302, 1304 by snaps, lugs, and/or screws, for example. The interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 can further include a closure tube assembly 1400 which can be utilized to close and/or open the anvil 1130 of the end effector 1100 as will be discussed in further detail below. Primarily referring now to FIGS. 8 and 9, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 can include a spine assembly 1500 which can be configured to support the articulation lock 1210. The spine assembly 1500 comprises an “elastic” spine or frame member 1510 which will be described in further detail below. A distal end portion 1522 of the elastic spine member 1510 is attached to a distal frame segment 1560 that operably supports the articulation lock 1210 therein. As can be seen in FIGS. 7 and 8, the spine assembly 1500 is configured to, one, slidably support a firing member assembly 1600 therein and, two, slidably support the closure tube assembly 1400 which extends around the spine assembly 1500. The spine assembly 1500 can also be configured to slidably support a proximal articulation driver 1700.
  • As can be seen in FIG. 10, the distal frame segment 1560 is pivotally coupled to the elongate channel 1102 by an end effector mounting assembly 1230. In one arrangement, the distal end 1562 of the distal frame segment 1560 has a pivot pin 1564 formed thereon, for example. The pivot pin 1564 is adapted to be pivotally received within a pivot hole 1234 formed in pivot base portion 1232 of the end effector mounting assembly 1230. The end effector mounting assembly 1230 is attached to the proximal end 1103 of the elongate channel 1102 by a spring pin 1108 or other suitable member. The pivot pin 1564 defines an articulation axis B-B that is transverse to the shaft axis SA. See FIG. 4. Such an arrangement facilitates pivotal travel (i.e., articulation) of the end effector 1100 about the articulation axis B-B relative to the spine assembly 1500.
  • Still referring to FIG. 10, the articulation driver 1700 has a distal end 1702 that is configured to operably engage the articulation lock 1210. The articulation lock 1210 includes an articulation frame 1212 that is adapted to operably engage a drive pin 1238 on the pivot base portion 1232 of the end effector mounting assembly 1230. In addition, a cross-link 1237 may be linked to the drive pin 1238 and articulation frame 1212 to assist articulation of the end effector 1100. As indicated above, further details regarding the operation of the articulation lock 1210 and the articulation frame 1212 may be found in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/803,086, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541. Further details regarding the end effector mounting assembly and a crosslink may be found in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/019,245, filed Feb. 9, 2016, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH CLOSURE STROKE REDUCTION ARRANGEMENTS, the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein. In various circumstances, the elastic spine member 1510 includes a proximal end 1514 which is rotatably supported in a chassis 1800. In one arrangement, the proximal end 1514 of the elastic spine member 1510 has a thread 1516 formed thereon for threaded attachment to a spine bearing that is configured to be supported within the chassis 1800, for example. Such an arrangement facilitates rotatable attachment of the elastic spine member 1510 to the chassis 1800 such that the spine assembly 1500 may be selectively rotated about a shaft axis SA relative to the chassis 1800.
  • Referring primarily to FIG. 7, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 includes a closure shuttle 1420 that is slidably supported within the chassis 1800 such that the closure shuttle 1420 may be axially moved relative to the chassis 1800. In one form, the closure shuttle 1420 includes a pair of proximally-protruding hooks 1421 that are configured to be attached to the attachment pin 516 that is attached to the closure linkage assembly 514 of the handle assembly 500 as was discussed above. A proximal end 1412 of a proximal closure tube segment 1410 is rotatably coupled to the closure shuttle 1420. For example, a U-shaped connector 1424 is inserted into an annular slot 1414 in the proximal end 1412 of the proximal closure tube segment 1410 and is retained within vertical slots 1422 in the closure shuttle 1420. See FIG. 7. Such an arrangement serves to attach the proximal closure tube segment 1410 to the closure shuttle 1420 for axial travel therewith while enabling the closure tube assembly 1400 to rotate relative to the closure shuttle 1420 about the shaft axis SA. A closure spring is journaled on the proximal end 1412 of the proximal closure tube segment 1410 and serves to bias the closure tube assembly 1400 in the proximal direction PD which can serve to pivot the closure trigger 512 on the handle assembly 500 (FIG. 3) into the unactuated position when the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 is operably coupled to the handle assembly 500.
  • As indicated above, the illustrated interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 includes an articulation joint 1200. Other interchangeable surgical tool assemblies, however, may not be capable of articulation. As can be seen in FIG. 10, upper and lower tangs 1415, 1416 protrude distally from a distal end of the proximal closure tube segment 1410 which are configured to be movably coupled to an end effector closure sleeve or distal closure tube segment 1430 of the closure tube assembly 1400. As can be seen in FIG. 10, the distal closure tube segment 1430 includes upper and lower tangs 1434, 1436 that protrude proximally from a proximal end thereof. An upper double pivot link 1220 includes proximal and distal pins that engage corresponding holes in the upper tangs 1415, 1434 of the proximal closure tube segment 1410 and distal closure tube segment 1430, respectively. Similarly, a lower double pivot link 1222 includes proximal and distal pins that engage corresponding holes in the lower tangs 1416 and 1436 of the proximal closure tube segment 1410 and distal closure tube segment 1430, respectively. As will be discussed in further detail below, distal and proximal axial translation of the closure tube assembly 1400 will result in the closing and opening of the anvil 1130 relative to the elongate channel 1102.
  • As mentioned above, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 further includes a firing member assembly 1600 that is supported for axial travel within the spine assembly 1500. The firing member assembly 1600 includes an intermediate firing shaft portion 1602 that is configured to be attached to a distal cutting portion or knife bar 1610. The firing member assembly 1600 may also be referred to herein as a “second shaft” and/or a “second shaft assembly”. As can be seen in FIGS. 7-10, the intermediate firing shaft portion 1602 may include a longitudinal slot 1604 in the distal end thereof which can be configured to receive a tab on the proximal end of the knife bar 1610. The longitudinal slot 1604 and the proximal end of the knife bar 1610 can be sized and configured to permit relative movement therebetween and can comprise a slip joint 1612. The slip joint 1612 can permit the intermediate firing shaft portion 1602 of the firing member assembly 1600 to be moved to articulate the end effector 1100 without moving, or at least substantially moving, the knife bar 1610. Once the end effector 1100 has been suitably oriented, the intermediate firing shaft portion 1602 can be advanced distally until a proximal sidewall of the longitudinal slot 1604 comes into contact with the tab on the knife bar 1610 to advance the knife bar 1610 and fire the staple cartridge 1110 positioned within the elongate channel 1102. As can be further seen in FIGS. 8 and 9, the elastic spine member 1520 has an elongate opening or window 1525 therein to facilitate the assembly and insertion of the intermediate firing shaft portion 1602 into the elastic spine member 1520. Once the intermediate firing shaft portion 1602 has been inserted therein, a top frame segment 1527 may be engaged with the elastic spine member 1520 to enclose the intermediate firing shaft portion 1602 and knife bar 1610 therein. Further description of the operation of the firing member assembly 1600 may be found in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/803,086, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541.
  • Further to the above, the interchangeable tool assembly 1000 can include a clutch assembly 1620 which can be configured to selectively and releasably couple the articulation driver 1700 to the firing member assembly 1600. In one form, the clutch assembly 1620 includes a lock collar, or sleeve 1622, positioned around the firing member assembly 1600 wherein the lock sleeve 1622 can be rotated between an engaged position in which the lock sleeve 1622 couples the articulation driver 1700 to the firing member assembly 1600 and a disengaged position in which the articulation driver 1700 is not operably coupled to the firing member assembly 1600. When the lock sleeve 1622 is in its engaged position, distal movement of the firing member assembly 1600 can move the articulation driver 1700 distally and, correspondingly, proximal movement of the firing member assembly 1600 can move the articulation driver 1700 proximally. When the lock sleeve 1622 is in its disengaged position, movement of the firing member assembly 1600 is not transmitted to the articulation driver 1700 and, as a result, the firing member assembly 1600 can move independently of the articulation driver 1700. In various circumstances, the articulation driver 1700 can be held in position by the articulation lock 1210 when the articulation driver 1700 is not being moved in the proximal or distal directions by the firing member assembly 1600.
  • Referring primarily to FIG. 7, the lock sleeve 1622 can comprise a cylindrical, or an at least substantially cylindrical, body including a longitudinal aperture 1624 defined therein configured to receive the firing member assembly 1600. The lock sleeve 1622 can comprise diametrically-opposed, inwardly-facing lock protrusions 1626, 1628 and an outwardly-facing lock member 1629. The lock protrusions 1626, 1628 can be configured to be selectively engaged with the intermediate firing shaft portion 1602 of the firing member assembly 1600. More particularly, when the lock sleeve 1622 is in its engaged position, the lock protrusions 1626, 1628 are positioned within a drive notch 1605 defined in the intermediate firing shaft portion 1602 such that a distal pushing force and/or a proximal pulling force can be transmitted from the firing member assembly 1600 to the lock sleeve 1622. When the lock sleeve 1622 is in its engaged position, the second lock member 1629 is received within a drive notch 1704 defined in the articulation driver 1700 such that the distal pushing force and/or the proximal pulling force applied to the lock sleeve 1622 can be transmitted to the articulation driver 1700. In effect, the firing member assembly 1600, the lock sleeve 1622, and the articulation driver 1700 will move together when the lock sleeve 1622 is in its engaged position. On the other hand, when the lock sleeve 1622 is in its disengaged position, the lock protrusions 1626, 1628 may not be positioned within the drive notch 1605 of the intermediate firing shaft portion 1602 of the firing member assembly 1600 and, as a result, a distal pushing force and/or a proximal pulling force may not be transmitted from the firing member assembly 1600 to the lock sleeve 1622. Correspondingly, the distal pushing force and/or the proximal pulling force may not be transmitted to the articulation driver 1700. In such circumstances, the firing member assembly 1600 can be slid proximally and/or distally relative to the lock sleeve 1622 and the proximal articulation driver 1700. The clutching assembly 1620 further includes a switch drum 1630 that interfaces with the lock sleeve 1622. Further details concerning the operation of the switch drum and lock sleeve 1622 may be found in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/803,086, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541, and Ser. No. 15/019,196. The switch drum 1630 can further comprise at least partially circumferential openings 1632, 1634 defined therein which can receive circumferential mounts 1305 that extend from the nozzle halves 1302, 1304 and permit relative rotation, but not translation, between the switch drum 1630 and the proximal nozzle 1300. See FIG. 6. Rotation of the nozzle 1300 to a point where the mounts reach the end of their respective slots 1632, 1634 in the switch drum 1630 will result in rotation of the switch drum 1630 about the shaft axis SA. Rotation of the switch drum 1630 will ultimately result in the movement of the lock sleeve 1622 between its engaged and disengaged positions. Thus, in essence, the nozzle 1300 may be employed to operably engage and disengage the articulation drive system with the firing drive system in the various manners described in further detail in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/803,086, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541, and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/019,196, which have each been herein incorporated by reference in their respective entirety.
  • In the illustrated arrangement, the switch drum 1630 includes a an L-shaped slot 1636 that extends into a distal opening 1637 in the switch drum 1630. The distal opening 1637 receives a transverse pin 1639 of a shifter plate 1638. In one example, the shifter plate 1638 is received within a longitudinal slot that is provided in the lock sleeve 1622 to facilitate the axial movement of the lock sleeve 1622 when engaged with the articulation driver 1700. Further details regarding the operation of the shifter plate and shift drum arrangements may be found in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/868,718, filed Sep. 28, 2015, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENT WITH SHAFT RELEASE, POWERED FIRING AND POWERED ARTICULATION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2017/0086823, the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein.
  • As also illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8, the interchangeable tool assembly 1000 can comprise a slip ring assembly 1640 which can be configured to conduct electrical power to and/or from the end effector 1100, and/or communicate signals to and/or from the end effector 1100, back to a microprocessor in the handle assembly or robotic system controller, for example. Further details concerning the slip ring assembly 1640 and associated connectors may be found in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/803,086, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541, and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/019,196 which have each been herein incorporated by reference in their respective entirety as well as in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/800,067, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE TISSUE THICKNESS SENSOR SYSTEM, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263552, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. As also described in further detail in the aforementioned patent applications that have been incorporated by reference herein, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 can also comprise at least one sensor that is configured to detect the position of the switch drum 1630.
  • Referring again to FIG. 7, the chassis 1800 includes one or more tapered attachment portions 1802 formed thereon that are adapted to be received within corresponding dovetail slots 507 formed within the distal end portion of the frame 506 of the handle assembly 500 as was discussed above. As can be further seen in FIG. 7, a shaft attachment lug 1605 is formed on the proximal end of the intermediate firing shaft 1602. As will be discussed in further detail below, the shaft attachment lug 1605 is received in a firing shaft attachment cradle 542 that is formed in the distal end of the longitudinal drive member 540 when the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 is coupled to the handle assembly 500. See FIG. 3.
  • Various interchangeable surgical tool assemblies employ a latch system 1810 for removably coupling the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 to the frame 506 of the handle assembly 500. In at least one form, as can be seen in FIG. 7, the latch system 1810 includes a lock member or lock yoke 1812 that is movably coupled to the chassis 1800. The lock yoke 1812 has a U-shape with two spaced downwardly extending legs 1814. The legs 1814 each have a pivot lug formed thereon that are adapted to be received in corresponding holes 1816 formed in the chassis 1800. Such an arrangement facilitates the pivotal attachment of the lock yoke 1812 to the chassis 1800. The lock yoke 1812 may include two proximally protruding lock lugs 1818 that are configured for releasable engagement with corresponding lock detents or grooves 509 in the distal end of the frame 506 of the handle assembly 500. See FIG. 3. In various forms, the lock yoke 1812 is biased in the proximal direction by a spring or biasing member 1819. Actuation of the lock yoke 1812 may be accomplished by a latch button 1820 that is slidably mounted on a latch actuator assembly 1822 that is mounted to the chassis 1800. The latch button 1820 may be biased in a proximal direction relative to the lock yoke 1812. The lock yoke 1812 may be moved to an unlocked position by biasing the latch button 1820 the in distal direction which also causes the lock yoke 1812 to pivot out of retaining engagement with the distal end of the frame 506. When the lock yoke 1812 is in retaining engagement with the distal end of the frame 506, the lock lugs 1818 are retainingly seated within the corresponding lock detents or grooves 509 in the distal end of the frame 506.
  • In the illustrated arrangement, the lock yoke 1812 includes at least one and preferably two lock hooks 1824 that are adapted to contact corresponding lock lug portions 1426 that are formed on the closure shuttle 1420. When the closure shuttle 1420 is in an unactuated position, the lock yoke 1812 may be pivoted in a distal direction to unlock the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 from the handle assembly 500. When in that position, the lock hooks 1824 do not contact the lock lug portions 1426 on the closure shuttle 1420. However, when the closure shuttle 1420 is moved to an actuated position, the lock yoke 1812 is prevented from being pivoted to an unlocked position. Stated another way, if the clinician were to attempt to pivot the lock yoke 1812 to an unlocked position or, for example, the lock yoke 1812 was in advertently bumped or contacted in a manner that might otherwise cause it to pivot distally, the lock hooks 1824 on the lock yoke 1812 will contact the lock lugs 1426 on the closure shuttle 1420 and prevent movement of the lock yoke 1812 to an unlocked position.
  • Still referring to FIG. 10, the knife bar 1610 may comprise a laminated beam structure that includes at least two beam layers. Such beam layers may comprise, for example, stainless steel bands that are interconnected by, for example, welds and/or pins at their proximal ends and/or at other locations along the length of the bands. In alternative embodiments, the distal ends of the bands are not connected together to allow the laminates or bands to splay relative to each other when the end effector is articulated. Such an arrangement permits the knife bar 1610 to be sufficiently flexible to accommodate articulation of the end effector. Various laminated knife bar arrangements are disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/019,245. As can also be seen in FIG. 10, a middle support member 1614 is employed to provide lateral support to the knife bar 1610 as it flexes to accommodate articulation of the surgical end effector 1100. Further details concerning the middle support member and alternative knife bar support arrangements are disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/019,245. As can also be seen in FIG. 10, a firing member or knife member 1620 is attached to the distal end of the knife bar 1610.
  • FIG. 11 illustrates one form of a firing member 1660 that may be employed with the interchangeable tool assembly 1000. The firing member 1660 comprises a body portion 1662 that includes a proximally extending connector member 1663 that is configured to be received in a correspondingly shaped connector opening 1614 in the distal end of the knife bar 1610. See FIG. 10. The connector 1663 may be retained within the connector opening 1614 by friction, welding, and/or a suitable adhesive, for example. Referring to FIGS. 15-17, the body portion 1662 protrudes through an elongate slot 1104 in the elongate channel 1102 and terminates in a foot member 1664 that extends laterally on each side of the body portion 1662. As the firing member 1660 is driven distally through the surgical staple cartridge 1110, the foot member 1664 rides within a passage in the elongate channel 1102 that is located under the surgical staple cartridge 1110. As can be seen in FIG. 11, the firing member 1660 may further include laterally protruding central tabs, pins, or retainer features 1680. As the firing member 1660 is driven distally through the surgical staple cartridge 1110, the central retainer features 1680 ride on the inner surface 1106 of the elongate channel 1102. The body portion 1662 of the firing member 1660 further includes a tissue cutting edge or feature 1666 that is disposed between a distally protruding shoulder 1665 and a distally protruding top nose portion 1670. As can be further seen in FIG. 11, the firing member 1660 may further include two laterally extending top tabs, pins or anvil engagement features 1665. See FIGS. 13 and 14. As the firing member 1660 is driven distally, a top portion of the body 1662 extends through a centrally disposed anvil slot 1138 (FIG. 14) and the top anvil engagement features 1672 ride on corresponding ledges 1136 formed on each side of the anvil slot 1134.
  • Returning to FIG. 10, the firing member 1660 is configured to operably interface with a sled 1120 that is supported within the body 1111 of the surgical staple cartridge 1110. The sled 1120 is slidably displaceable within the surgical staple cartridge body 1111 from a proximal starting position adjacent the proximal end 1112 of the cartridge body 1111 to an ending position adjacent a distal end 1113 of the cartridge body 1111. The cartridge body 1111 operably supports therein a plurality of staple drivers (not shown in FIG. 10) that are aligned in rows on each side of a centrally disposed slot 1114. The centrally disposed slot 1114 enables the firing member 1660 to pass therethrough and cut the tissue that is clamped between the anvil 1130 and the staple cartridge 1110. The drivers are associated with corresponding pockets 1115 that open through the upper deck surface of the cartridge body. Each of the staple drivers supports one or more surgical staples or fasteners thereon. The sled 1120 includes a plurality of sloped or wedge-shaped cams 1122 wherein each cam 1122 corresponds to a particular line of fasteners or drivers located on a side of the slot 1114. In the illustrated example, one cam 1122 is aligned with one line of “double” drivers that each support two staples or fasteners thereon and another cam 1122 is aligned with another line of “single” drivers on the same side of the slot 1114 that each support a single surgical staple or fastener thereon. Thus, in the illustrated example, when the surgical staple cartridge 1110 is “fired”, there will be three lines of staples on each lateral side of the tissue cut line. However, other cartridge and driver configurations could also be employed to fire other staple/fastener arrangements. The sled 1120 has a central body portion 1124 that is configured to be engaged by the shoulder 1665 of the firing member 1660. When the firing member 1660 is fired or driven distally, the firing member 1660 drives the sled 1120 distally as well. As the firing member 1660 moves distally through the cartridge 1110, the tissue cutting feature 1666 cuts the tissue that is clamped between the anvil assembly 1130 and the cartridge 1110 and, also, the sled 1120 drives the drivers upwardly in the cartridge which drive the corresponding staples or fasteners into forming contact with the anvil assembly 1130.
  • In embodiments where the firing member includes a tissue cutting surface, it may be desirable for the elongate shaft assembly to be configured in such a way so as to prevent the inadvertent advancement of the firing member unless an unspent staple cartridge is properly supported in the elongate channel 1102 of the surgical end effector 1100. If, for example, no staple cartridge is present at all and the firing member is distally advanced through the end effector, the tissue would be severed, but not stapled. Similarly, if a spent staple cartridge (i.e., a staple cartridge wherein at least some of the staples have already been fired therefrom) is present in the end effector and the firing member is advanced, the tissue would be severed, but may not be completely stapled, if at all. It will be appreciated that such occurrences could lead to undesirable results during the surgical procedure. U.S. Pat. No. 6,988,649 entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENT HAVING A SPENT CARTRIDGE LOCKOUT, U.S. Pat. No. 7,044,352 entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENT HAVING A SINGLE LOCKOUT MECHANISM FOR PREVENTION OF FIRING, and U.S. Pat. No. 7,380,695 entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENT HAVING A SINGLE LOCKOUT MECHANISM FOR PREVENTION OF FIRING, and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/742,933, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS WITH LOCKOUT ARRANGEMENTS FOR PREVENTING FIRING SYSTEM ACTUATION WHEN A CARTRIDGE IS SPENT OR MISSING each disclose various firing member lockout arrangements. Each of those references is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety herein.
  • An “unfired”, “unspent”, “fresh” or “new” fastener cartridge 1110 means that the fastener cartridge 1110 has all of its fasteners in their “ready-to-be-fired positions”. The new cartridge 1110 is seated within the elongate channel 1102 and may be retained therein by snap features on the cartridge body that are configured to retainingly engage corresponding portions of the elongate channel 1102. FIGS. 15 and 18 illustrate a portion of the surgical end effector 1100 with a new or unfired surgical staple cartridge 1110 seated therein. As can be seen in FIGS. 15 and 18, the sled 1120 is in its starting position. To prevent the firing system from being activated and, more precisely, to prevent the firing member 1660 from being distally driven through the end effector 1110 unless an unfired or new surgical staple cartridge has been properly seated within the elongate channel 1102, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 employs a firing member lockout system generally designated as 1650.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 10 and 15-19, the firing member lockout system 1650 includes a movable lock member 1652 that is configured to retainingly engage the firing member 1660 when a new surgical staple cartridge 1110 is not seated properly within the elongate channel 1102. More specifically, the lock member 1652 comprises at least one laterally moving locking portion 1654 that is configured to retainingly engage a corresponding portion of the firing member 1660 when the sled 1120 is not present within the cartridge 1110 in its starting position. In fact, the lock member 1652 employs two laterally moving locking portions 1654 which each engage a laterally extending portion of the firing member 1660. Other lockout arrangements can be used.
  • The lock member 1652 comprises a generally U-shaped spring member where each laterally movable leg or locking portion 1654 extends from a central spring portion 1653 and is configured to move in lateral directions represented by “L” in FIGS. 18 and 19. It will be appreciated that the term “lateral directions” refers to directions that are transverse to the shaft axis SA (FIG. 2). The spring or lock member 1652 may be fabricated from high strength spring steel and/or a similar material, for example. The central spring portion 1653 is seated within a slot 1236 in the end effector mounting assembly 1230. See FIG. 10. As can be seen in FIGS. 15-17, each of the laterally movable legs or locking portions 1654 has a distal end 1656 with a locking window 1658 therein. When the locking member 1652 is in a locked position, the central retainer feature 1680 on each lateral side of the firing member 1660 extends into corresponding locking windows 1658 defined in the locking portions 1654 to retainingly prevent the firing member from being distally, or axially, advanced.
  • Operation of the firing member lock out system will be explained with reference to FIGS. 15-19. FIGS. 15 and 18 illustrate a portion of the surgical end effector 1100 with a new unfired cartridge 1110 properly installed therein. As can be seen in FIGS. 15 and 18, the sled 1120 includes an unlocking feature 1126 that corresponds to each of the laterally movable locking portions 1654. An unlocking feature 1126 is provided on or extends proximally from each of the central wedge-shaped cams 1122. In alternative arrangements, the unlocking feature 1126 may comprise a proximally protruding portion of the corresponding wedge-shaped cam 1122. As can be seen in FIG. 18, the unlocking features 1124 engage and bias the corresponding locking portions 1654 laterally in a direction that is transverse to the shaft axis SA (FIG. 2) when the sled 1120 is in its starting position. When the locking portions 1654 are in such unlocked orientations, the central retainer features 1680 are not in retaining engagement with the locking windows 1658. In such instances, the firing member 1660 may be distally, or axially, advanced (fired). However, when a cartridge is not present in the elongate channel 1102 or the sled 1120 has been moved out of its starting position (meaning the cartridge is partially or completely fired), the locking portions 1654 spring laterally into retaining engagement with the firing member 1660. In such instances, referring to FIG. 19, the firing member 1660 cannot be moved distally.
  • FIGS. 16 and 17 illustrate the retraction of the firing member 1660 back to its starting, or unfired, position after performing a staple firing stroke as discussed above. FIG. 16 depicts the initial reengagement of the retaining features 1680 into their corresponding locking windows 1658. FIG. 17 illustrates the retaining feature in its locked position when the firing member 1660 has been fully retracted back to its starting position. To assist in the lateral displacement of the locking portions 1654 when they are contacted by the proximally moving retaining features 1680, each of the retaining features 1680 may be provided with a proximally-facing, laterally-tapered end portion. Such a lockout system prevents the actuation of the firing member 1660 when a new unfired cartridge is not present or when a new unfired cartridge is present, but has not been properly seated in the elongate channel 1102. In addition, the lockout system may prevent the clinician from distally advancing the firing member in the case where a spent or partially fired cartridge has been inadvertently properly seated within the elongate channel. Another advantage that may be provided by the lockout system 1650 is that, unlike other firing member lock out arrangements that require movement of the firing member into and out of alignment with the corresponding slots/passages in the staple cartridge, the firing member 1660 remains in alignment with the cartridge passages while in the locked and unlocked positions. The locking portions 1654 are designed to move laterally into and out of engagement with corresponding sides of the firing member. Such lateral movement of the locking portions or portion is distinguishable from other locking arrangements that move in vertical directions to engage and disengage portions of the firing member.
  • Returning to FIGS. 13 and 14, the anvil 1130 includes an elongate anvil body portion 1132 and a proximal anvil mounting portion 1150. The elongate anvil body portion 1132 includes an outer surface 1134 that defines two downwardly extending tissue stop members 1136 that are adjacent to the proximal anvil mounting portion 1150. The elongate anvil body portion 1132 also includes an underside 1135 that defines an elongate anvil slot 1138. In the illustrated arrangement shown in FIG. 14, the anvil slot 1138 is centrally disposed in the underside 1135. The underside 1135 includes three rows 1140, 1141, 1142 of staple forming pockets 1143, 1144 and 1145 located on each side of the anvil slot 1138. Adjacent each side of the anvil slot 1138 are two elongate anvil passages 1146. Each passage 1146 has a proximal ramp portion 1148. See FIG. 13. As the firing member 1660 is advanced distally, the top anvil engagement features 1632 initially enter the corresponding proximal ramp portions 1148 and into the corresponding elongate anvil passages 1146.
  • Turning to FIGS. 12 and 13, the anvil slot 1138, as well as the proximal ramp portion 1148, extend into the anvil mounting portion 1150. Stated another way, the anvil slot 1138 divides or bifurcates the anvil mounting portion 1150 into two anvil attachment flanges 1151. The anvil attachments flanges 1151 are coupled together at their proximal ends by a connection bridge 1153. The connection bridge 1153 supports the anvil attachment flanges 1151 and can serve to make the anvil mounting portion 1150 more rigid than the mounting portions of other anvil arrangements which are not connected at their proximal ends. As can also be seen in FIGS. 12 and 14, the anvil slot 1138 has a wide portion 1139 to accommodate the top portion including the top anvil engagement features 1632, of the firing member 1660 when the firing member 1660 is in its proximal unfired position.
  • As can be seen in FIGS. 13 and 20-24, each of the anvil attachment flanges 1151 includes a transverse mounting hole 1156 that is configured to receive a pivot pin 1158 (FIGS. 10 and 20) therethrough. The anvil mounting portion 1150 is pivotally pinned to the proximal end 1103 of the elongate channel 1102 by the pivot pin 1158 which extends through mounting holes 1107 in the proximal end 1103 of the elongate channel 1102 and the mounting hole 1156 in anvil mounting portion 1150. Such an arrangement pivotally affixes the anvil 1130 to the elongate channel 1102 s that the anvil 1130 can be pivoted about a fixed anvil axis A-A which is transverse to the shaft axis SA. See FIG. 5. The anvil mounting portion 1150 also includes a cam surface 1152 that extends from a centralized firing member parking area 1154 to the outer surface 1134 of the anvil body portion 1132.
  • Further to the above, the anvil 1130 is movable between an open position and closed positions by axially advancing and retracting the distal closure tube segment 1430, as discussed further below. A distal end portion of the distal closure tube segment 1430 has an internal cam surface formed thereon that is configured to engage the cam surface 1552, or cam surfaces formed on the anvil mounting portion 1150, and move the anvil 1130. FIG. 22 illustrates a cam surface 1152 a formed on the anvil mounting portion 1150 so as to establish a single contact path 1155 a with the internal cam surface 1444, for example, on the distal closure tube segment 1430. FIG. 23 illustrates a cam surface 1152 b that is configured relative to the internal cam surface 1444 on the distal closure tube segment to establish two separate and distinct arcuate contact paths 1155 b between the cam surface 1152 on the anvil mounting portion 1150 and internal cam surface 1444 on the distal closure tube segment 1430. In addition to other potential advantages discussed herein, such an arrangement may better distribute the closure forces from the distal closure tube segment 1430 to the anvil 1130. FIG. 24 illustrates a cam surface 1152 c that is configured relative to the internal cam surface 1444 of the distal closure tube segment 1430 to establish three distinct zones of contact 1155 c and 1155 d between the cam surfaces on the anvil mounting portion 1150 and the distal closure tube segment 1430. The zones 1155 c, 1155 d establish larger areas of camming contact between the cam surface or cam surfaces on the distal closure tube segment 1430 and the anvil mounting portion 1150 and may better distribute the closure forces to the anvil 1130.
  • As the distal closure tube segment 1430 cammingly engages the anvil mounting portion 1150 of the anvil 1130, the anvil 1130 is pivoted about the anvil axis AA (FIG. 5) which results in the pivotal movement of the distal end of the end 1133 of elongate anvil body portion 1132 toward the surgical staple cartridge 1110 and the distal end 1105 of the elongate channel 1102. As the anvil body portion 1132 begins to pivot, it contacts the tissue that is to be cut and stapled which is now positioned between the underside 1135 of the elongate anvil body portion 1132 and the deck 1116 of the surgical staple cartridge 1110. As the anvil body portion 1132 is compressed onto the tissue, the anvil 1130 may experience considerable amounts of resistive forces and/or bending loads, for example. These resistive forces are overcome as the distal closure tube 1430 continues its distal advancement. However, depending upon their magnitudes and points of application to the anvil body portion 1132, these resistive forces could tend to cause portions of the anvil 1130 to flex away from the staple cartridge 1110 which may generally be undesirable. For example, such flexure may cause misalignment between the firing member 1660 and the passages 1148, 1146 within the anvil 1130. In instances wherein the flexure is excessive, such flexure could significantly increase the amount of firing force required to fire the instrument (i.e., drive the firing member 1660 through the tissue from its starting to ending position). Such excessive firing force may result in damage to the end effector, the firing member, the knife bar, and/or the firing drive system components, for example. Thus, it may be advantageous for the anvil to be constructed so as to resist such flexure.
  • FIGS. 25-27 illustrate an anvil 1130′ that includes features that improve the stiffness of the anvil body and its resistance to flexure forces that may be generated during the closing and/or firing processes. The anvil 1130′ may otherwise be identical in construction to the anvil 1130 described above except for the differences discussed herein. As can be seen in FIGS. 25-27, the anvil 1130′ has an elongate anvil body 1132′ that has an upper body portion 1165 that and anvil cap 1170 attached thereto. The anvil cap 1170 is roughly rectangular in shape and has an outer cap perimeter 1172, although the anvil cap 1170 can have any suitable shape. The perimeter 1172 of the anvil cap 1170 is configured to be inserted into a correspondingly-shaped opening 1137 formed in the upper body portion 1165 and positioned against axially extending internal ledge portions 1139 formed therein. See FIG. 27. The internal ledge portions 1139 are configured to support the corresponding long sides 1177 of the anvil cap 1170. In an alternative embodiment, the anvil cap 1170 may be slid onto the internal ledges 1139 through an opening in the distal end 1133 of the anvil body 1132′. In yet another embodiment, no internal ledge portions are provided. The anvil body 1132′ and the anvil cap 1170 may be fabricated from suitable metal that is conducive to welding. A first weld 1178 may extend around the entire cap perimeter 1172 of the anvil cap 1170 or it may only be located along the long sides 1177 of the anvil cap 1170 and not the distal end 1173 and/or proximal end 1175 thereof. The first weld 1178 may be continuous or it may be discontinuous or intermittent. In those embodiments where the first weld 1178 is discontinuous or intermittent, the weld segments may be equally distributed along the long sides 1177 of the anvil cap 1170, more densely spaced closer to the distal ends of the long sides 1177, and/or more densely spaced closer to the proximal ends of the long sides 1177. In certain arrangements, the weld segments may be more densely spaced in the center areas of the long sides 1177 of the anvil cap 1170.
  • FIGS. 28-30 illustrate an anvil cap 1170′ that is configured to be mechanically interlocked to the anvil body 1132′ as well as welded to the upper body portion 1165. In this embodiment, a plurality of retention formations 1182 are defined in the wall 1180 of the upper body portion 1165 that defines opening 1137. As used in this context, the term “mechanically interlocked” means that the anvil cap will remain affixed to the elongate anvil body regardless of the orientation of the elongate anvil body and without any additional retaining or fastening such as welding and/or adhesive, for example. The retention formations 1182 may protrude inwardly into the opening 1137 from the opening wall 1180, although any suitable arrangement can be used. The retention formations 1182 may be integrally formed into the wall 1180 or otherwise be attached thereto. The retention formations 1182 are designed to frictionally engage a corresponding portion of the anvil cap 1170′ when the anvil cap 1170′ is installed in the opening 1137 to frictionally retain the anvil cap 1170′ therein. The retention formations 1182 protrude inwardly into the opening 1137 and are configured to be frictionally received within a correspondingly shaped engagement area 1184 formed in the outer perimeter 1172′ of the anvil cap 1170′. The retention formations 1182 only correspond to the long sides 1177′ of the anvil cap 1170′ and are not provided in the portions of the wall 1180 that correspond to the distal end 1173 or proximal end 1175 of the anvil cap 1170′. In alternative arrangements, the retention formations 1182 may also be provided in the portions of the wall 1180 that correspond to the distal end 1173 and proximal end 1175 of the anvil cap 1170′ as well as the long sides 1177′ thereof. In still other arrangements, the retention formations 1182 may only be provided in the portions of the wall 1180 that correspond to one or both of the distal and proximal ends 1173, 1175 of the anvil cap 1170′. In still other arrangements, the retention formations 1182 may be provided in the portions of the wall 1180 corresponding to the long sides 1177′ and only one of the proximal and distal ends 1173, 1175 of the anvil cap 1170′. It will be further understood that the retention protrusions in all of the foregoing embodiments may be alternatively formed on the anvil cap with the engagement areas being formed in the elongate anvil body.
  • In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 28-30, the retention formations 1182 are equally spaced or equally distributed along the wall portions 1180 of the anvil cap 1170′. In alternative embodiments, the retention formations 1182 may be more densely spaced closer to the distal ends of the long sides 1177′ or more densely spaced closer to the proximal ends of the long sides 1177′. Stated another way, the spacing between those retention formations adjacent the distal end, the proximal end or both the distal and proximal ends may be less than the spacing of the formations located in the central portion of the anvil cap 1170′. In still other arrangements, the retention formations 1182 may be more densely spaced in the center areas of the long sides 1177′ of the anvil cap 1170′. In some alternative embodiments, the correspondingly shaped engagement areas 1184 may not be provided in the outer perimeter 1172′ or in portions of the outer perimeter 1172′ of the anvil cap 1170′. In other embodiments, the retention formations and correspondingly-shaped engagement areas may be provided with different shapes and sizes. In alternative arrangements, the retention formations may be sized relative to the engagement areas so that there is no interference fit therebetween. In such arrangements, the anvil cap may be retained in position by welding, and/or an adhesive, for example.
  • In the illustrated example, a weld 1178′ extends around the entire perimeter 1172′ of the anvil cap 1170′. Alternatively, the weld 1178′ is located along the long sides 1177′ of the anvil cap 1170′ and not the distal end 1173 and/or proximal end 1175 thereof. The weld 1178′ may be continuous or it may be discontinuous or intermittent. In those embodiments where the weld 1178′ is discontinuous or intermittent, the weld segments may be equally distributed along the long sides 1177′ of the anvil cap 1170′ or the weld segments may be more densely spaced closer to the distal ends of the long sides 1177′ or more densely spaced closer to the proximal ends of the long sides 1177′. In still other arrangements, the weld segments may be more densely spaced in the center areas of the long sides 1177′ of the anvil cap 1170′.
  • FIGS. 31 and 32 illustrate another anvil arrangement 1130″ that has an anvil cap 1170″ attached thereto. The anvil cap 1170″ is roughly rectangular in shape and has an outer cap perimeter 1172″; however, the anvil cap 1170″ can comprise of any suitable configuration. The outer cap perimeter 1172″ is configured to be inserted into a correspondingly-shaped opening 1137″ in upper body portion 1165 of the anvil body 1132″ and received on axially extending internal ledge portions 1139″ and 1190″ formed therein. See FIG. 32. The ledge portions 1139″ and 1190″ are configured to support the corresponding long sides 1177″ of the anvil cap 1170″. In an alternative embodiment, the anvil cap 1170″ is slid onto the internal ledges 1139″ and 1190″ through an opening in the distal end 1133″ of the anvil body 1132′. The anvil body 1132″ and the anvil cap 1170″ may be fabricated from metal material that is conducive to welding. A first weld 1178″ may extend around the entire perimeter 1172″ of the anvil cap 1170″ or it may only be located along the long sides 1177″ of the anvil cap 1170″ and not the distal end 1173″ and/or proximal end thereof. The weld 1178″ may be continuous or it may be discontinuous or intermittent. It will be appreciated that the continuous weld embodiment has more weld surface area due to the irregularly shape perimeter of the anvil cap 1170″ as compared to the embodiments with a straight perimeter sides such as the anvil caps shown in FIG. 26, for example. In those embodiments where the weld 1178″ is discontinuous or intermittent, the weld segments may be equally distributed along the long sides 1177″ of the anvil cap 1170″ or the weld segments may be more densely spaced closer to the distal ends of the long sides 1177″ or more densely spaced closer to the proximal ends of the long sides 1177″. In still other arrangements, the weld segments may be more densely spaced in the center areas of the long sides 1177″ of the anvil cap 1170″.
  • Still referring to FIGS. 31 and 32, the anvil cap 1170″ may be additionally welded to the anvil body 1132″ by a plurality of second discrete “deep” welds 1192″. For example, each weld 1192″ may be placed at the bottom of a corresponding hole or opening 1194″ provided through the anvil cap 1170″ so that a discrete weld 1192″ may be formed along the portion of the anvil body 1132″ between the ledges 1190″ and 1139″. See FIG. 32. The welds 1192″ may be equally distributed along the long sides 1177″ of the anvil cap 1170″ or the welds 1192″ may be more densely spaced closer to the distal ends of the long sides 1177″ or more densely spaced closer to the proximal ends of the long sides 1177″. In still other arrangements, the welds 1192″ may be more densely spaced in the center areas of the long sides 1177″ of the anvil cap 1170″.
  • FIG. 33 illustrates another anvil cap 1170′″ that is configured to be mechanically interlocked to the anvil body 1132′″ as well as welded to the upper body portion 1165. In this embodiment, a tongue-and-groove arrangement is employed along each long side 1177′″ of the anvil cap 1170′″. In particular, a laterally extending continuous or intermittent tab 1195′″ protrudes from each of the long sides 1177′″ of the anvil cap 1170′″. Each tab 1195″ corresponds to an axial slot 1197′″ formed in the anvil body 1132′″. The anvil cap 1170′″ is slid in from an opening in the distal end of the anvil body 1132′″ to “mechanically” affix the anvil cap to the anvil body 1132′″. The tabs 1195′″ and slots 1197′″ may be sized relative to each other to establish a sliding frictional fit therebetween. In addition, the anvil cap 1170′″ may be welded to the anvil body 1132′″. The anvil body 1132′″ and the anvil cap 1170′″ may be fabricated from metal that is conducive to welding. The weld 1178′″ may extend around the entire perimeter 1172′″ of the anvil cap 1170′″ or it may only be located along the long sides 1177′″ of the anvil cap 1170′″. The weld 1178′″ may be continuous or it may be discontinuous or intermittent. In those embodiments where the weld 1178′″ is discontinuous or intermittent, the weld segments may be equally distributed along the long sides 1177′″ of the anvil cap 1170′″ or the weld segments may be more densely spaced closer to the distal ends of the long sides 1177′″ or more densely spaced closer to the proximal ends of the long sides 1177′″. In still other arrangements, the weld segments may be more densely spaced in the center areas of the long sides 1177′″ of the anvil cap 1170′″.
  • The anvil embodiments described herein with anvil caps may provide several advantages. One advantage for example, may make the anvil and firing member assembly process easier. That is, the firing member may be installed through the opening in the anvil body while the anvil is attached to the elongate channel. Another advantage is that the upper cap may improve the anvil's stiffness and resistance to the above-mentioned flexure forces that may be experienced when clamping tissue. By resisting such flexure, the frictional forces normally encountered by the firing member 1660 may be reduced. Thus, the amount of firing force required to drive the firing member from its starting to ending position in the surgical staple cartridge may also be reduced.
  • FIGS. 34-39 depict a forming pocket arrangement 10200 that is configured to deform a staple during a surgical stapling procedure. The forming pocket arrangement 10200 and various alternative forming pocket arrangements are further described in 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, which was filed Dec. 21, 2016. U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,914 is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. The forming pocket arrangement 10200 comprises a proximal forming pocket 10210 and a distal forming pocket 10230 defined in a planar, or tissue-engaging, surface 10207 of an anvil 10201. The pockets 10210, 10230 are aligned along a longitudinal pocket axis 10203 of the forming pocket arrangement 10200. A staple is intended to be formed along the pocket axis 10203 by the forming pocket arrangement 10200 when deployed from a staple cartridge. Referring to FIGS. 35 and 36, the forming pocket arrangement 10200 further comprises a bridge portion 10205 defined between the forming pockets 10210, 10230. In this instance, the bridge portion 10205 is recessed with respect to the planar surface 10207 of the anvil 10201. The bridge portion 10205 comprises a bridge width “W” and a bridge depth “D”. The bridge depth “D” is the distance that the bridge portion 10205 is recessed with respect to the planar surface 10207. The forming pocket arrangement 10200 comprises a center “C” defined within the bridge portion 10205. The forming pocket arrangement 10200 is bilaterally symmetric with respect to the bridge portion 10205, bilaterally symmetric with respect to pocket axis 10203, and rotationally symmetric with respect to the center “C”.
  • The forming pocket arrangement 10200 further comprises a pair of primary sidewalls 10208 extending from the planar surface 10207 of the anvil 10201 toward the pockets 10210, 10230 and the bridge portion 10205. The primary sidewalls 10208 are angled at angle θ2 (FIG. 37) with respect to the planar surface 10207 of the anvil 10201. The forming pocket arrangement 10200 further comprises edge features 10215, 10235 which provide a transition feature between the outer edges of the pockets 10210, 10230 and the planar surface 10207, between the longitudinal edges of the pockets 10210, 10230 and the primary sidewalls 10208, and between the inner edges of pockets 10210, 10230 and the bridge portion 10205. These edges 10215, 10235 can be rounded, and/or chamfered, for example. The edge features 10215, 10235 may help prevent staple tips from sticking.
  • The forming pocket 10210 comprises a pair of pocket sidewalls 10213 and the forming pocket 10230 comprises a pair of pocket sidewalls 10233. The pocket sidewalls 10213, 10233 are configured to direct the staple tips and the legs of the staples toward the forming surfaces of the pockets 10210, 10230 in the event that the staple tips and/or the legs of the staples initially strike the sidewalls 10213, 10233 of the pockets 10210, 10230. The sidewalls 10213, 10233 extend from the transition edges 10215, 10235 toward the forming surfaces of each pocket 10210, 10230. The sidewalls 10213, 10233 of the forming pockets 10210, 10230 are angled with respect to the planar surface 10207 of the anvil 10201 at angle θ1 (FIG. 38) in order to direct, or channel, the legs and/or the staple tips of the staples toward the forming surfaces of the pockets 10210, 10230. The sidewalls 10213, 10233 are configured to encourage the staple tips and/or the legs of the staples to form along the pocket axis 10203 as the staples are formed against the forming surfaces of the pockets 10210, 10230. Collectively, the primary sidewalls 10208 and the pocket sidewalls 10213, 10233 can provide a funnel-like configuration for directing staple tips. Referring to FIGS. 37 and 38, the angle θ1 is greater than the angle θ2.
  • The pockets 10210, 10230 further comprise transition edges 10214, 10234 which provide a transition feature between the pocket sidewalls 10213, 10233 and the forming surfaces, as discussed in greater detail below. In various instances, the transition edges 10214, 10234 can comprise a similar profile as the transition edges 10215, 10235. In other instances, the transition edges 10214, 10234 can comprise a different profile than the transition edges 10215, 10235. That said, the edges 10214, 10234 can be rounded, or chamfered, for example. The edges 10214, 10234 comprise a first end where the edges 10214, 10234 meet the outer ends of the pockets 10210, 10230 and a second end where the edges 10214, 10234 approach the bridge portion 10205, or the inner ends of the pockets 10210, 10230. The edges 10214, 10234 may transition into the transition edges 10215, 10235 near the bridge portion 10205. The edge features 10214, 10234 may also help prevent staple tips from sticking in the pockets 10210, 10230 when forming.
  • Referring again to FIG. 35, the forming surfaces of the pockets 10210, 10230 comprise an entry zone forming surface 10211, 10231 and an exit zone forming surface 10212, 10232, respectively. In this instance, the amount of surface area of the forming surfaces that the entry zone forming surfaces 10211, 10231 cover is greater than the amount of surface area of the forming surfaces that the exit zone forming surfaces 10212, 10232 cover. As a result, the entry zone forming surfaces 10211, 10231 do not transition to the exit zone forming surfaces 10212, 10232 in the center of each pocket 10210, 10230. Rather, the transition points where the entry zones 10211, 10231 transition to the exit zones 10212, 10232 are closer to the bridge portion 10205. The transitions between the entry zone forming surfaces 10211, 10231 and the exit zone forming surfaces 10212, 10232 define a valley, or trough of each pocket 10210, 10230. The valleys of the forming pockets 10210, 10230 define a portion, or segment, of the forming surfaces having the greatest vertical distance from the planar surface 10207.
  • Referring to FIG. 36, the forming surfaces of each pocket 10210, 10230 comprise more than one radius of curvature. Specifically, the pocket 10210 comprises an entry radius of curvature 10217 corresponding to the entry zone forming surface 10211 and an exit radius of curvature 10218 corresponding to the exit zone forming surface 10212. Similarly, the pocket 10230 comprises an entry radius of curvature 10237 corresponding to the entry zone forming surface 10231 and an exit radius of curvature 10238 corresponding to the exit zone forming surface 10232. In this instance, the entry radii of curvature 10217, 10237 are larger than the exit radii of curvature 10218, 10238, respectively. Specific relationships between the radii of curvature and various pocket features along with some potential advantages and patterns of the specific relationships are further described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,914.
  • In addition to defining the transition points where the entry zones transition to the exit zones, the valleys of the forming pockets 10210, 10230 also define the narrowest portion of the forming surfaces of each pocket 10210, 10230. The outer edges of each pocket 10210, 10230, also referred to as entry edges because they define the beginning of the entry zone forming surfaces 10211, 10231, comprise an entry width. The inner edges of each pocket 10210, 10230, also referred to as exit edges because they define the end of the exit zone forming surfaces 10212, 10232, comprise an exit width. In this instance, the entry width is greater than the exit width. Also, the exit width is greater than the valley width, or the narrowest portion of the forming surfaces. FIG. 38 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming pocket 10230 taken along line 38-38 in FIG. 35. This view illustrates the valley, or trough, of the distal forming pocket 10230. This valley, or trough, is also the transition between the entry zone forming surface 10231 and the exit zone forming surface 10232. FIG. 37 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the distal forming pocket 10230 taken along line 37-37 in FIG. 35 which is located within the exit zone forming surface 10232 of the forming pocket 10230. FIG. 39 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming pocket 10230 taken along line 39-39 in FIG. 35 which is within the entry zone forming surface 10232 of the distal forming pocket 10230.
  • The forming pocket arrangement 10200, and various other forming pocket arrangements disclosed herein, are configured to be used with staples with various diameters. The diameters of staples to be used with the forming pocket arrangement 10200 can vary between about 0.0079 inches and about 0.0094 inches, for example. Additionally, the entry radius of curvature and the exit radius of curvature of each forming surface comprise a ratio of about 1.5:1 to about 3:1 when the entry radius is between about 8× the staple diameter and 10× the staple diameter, for example. In at least one instance, the entry radius of curvature and the exit radius of curvature of each forming surface comprise a ratio of about 2:1 when the entry radius is 9× the staple diameter, for example. In other instances, the entry radius of curvature and the exit radius of curvature of each forming surface comprise a ratio of about 1.5:1 to about 3:1 when the entry radius is above about 0.6× the staple crown length and the ridge, or bridge, width is less than 1× the staple diameter, for example. In at least one instance, the entry radius of curvature and the exit radius of curvature of each forming surface comprise a ratio of about 2:1 when the entry radius is above about 0.6× the staple crown length and the ridge, or bridge, width is less than 1× the staple diameter. The exit radius of curvature is between about 4× the staple diameter and about 6× diameter, for example. In at least one instance, the exit radius of curvature is about 4.5× the staple diameter.
  • FIGS. 40-45 depict a forming pocket arrangement 10500 that is configured to deform a staple during a surgical stapling procedure. The forming pocket arrangement 10500 and various alternative forming pocket arrangements are further described in 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, which was filed Dec. 21, 2016. U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,914 is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. The forming pocket arrangement 10500 comprises a proximal forming pocket 10510 and a distal forming pocket 10530 defined in a planar, or tissue-contacting, surface 10507 of an anvil 10501. The pockets 10510, 10530 are aligned along a longitudinal pocket axis 10503 of the forming pocket arrangement 10500. A staple is intended to be formed along the pocket axis 10503 by the forming pocket arrangement 10500 when deployed from a staple cartridge. Referring to FIGS. 41 and 42, the forming pocket arrangement 10500 further comprises a bridge portion 10505 defined between the forming pockets 10510, 10530. In this instance, the bridge portion 10505 is recessed with respect to the planar surface 10507 of the anvil 10501. The bridge portion 10505 comprises a bridge width “W” and a bridge depth “D”. The bridge portion 10505 is substantially V-shaped with a rounded bottom portion. The bridge depth “D” is the distance that the bottom portion of the bridge portion 10505 is recessed with respect to the planar surface 10507. The forming pocket arrangement 10500 comprises a center “C” defined within the bridge portion 10505. The forming pocket arrangement 10500 is bilaterally symmetric with respect to the bridge portion 10505, bilaterally symmetric with respect to pocket axis 10503, and rotationally symmetric with respect to the center “C”.
  • The forming pocket arrangement 10500 further comprises a pair of primary sidewalls 10508 extending from the planar surface 10507 of the anvil 10501 toward the pockets 10510, 10530 and the bridge portion 10505. The primary sidewalls 10508 are angled at angle θ1 (FIG. 43) with respect to the planar surface 10507 of the anvil 10501. The primary sidewalls 10508 comprise inner edges that are curved, or contoured, with respect to the pockets 10510, 10530.
  • The forming pocket 10510 comprises a pair of pocket sidewalls 10513 and the forming pocket 10530 comprises a pair of pocket sidewalls 10533. The pocket sidewalls 10513, 10533 comprise curved, or contoured, profiles and are configured to direct the staple tips and the legs of the staples toward the forming surfaces of the pockets 10510, 10530 as well as help control the forming process of the staples. The sidewalls 10513, 10533 extend from the primary sidewalls 10508 and the planar surface 10507 toward the forming surfaces of each pocket 10510, 10530. The sidewalls 10513, 10533 are configured to encourage the staple tips and/or the legs of the staples to form along the pocket axis 10503 as the staples are formed against the forming surfaces of the pockets 10510, 10530. Collectively, the primary sidewalls 10508 and the pocket sidewalls 10513, 10533 cooperate to funnel corresponding staple tips toward the lateral center of each pocket 10510, 10530. Discussed in greater detail below, the sidewalls 10513, 10533 comprise entry portions and exit portions where the entry portions comprise a less aggressive channeling configuration than the exit portions.
  • Referring again to FIG. 41, the forming surfaces of the pockets 10510, 10530 comprise an entry zone forming surface 10511, 10531 and an exit zone forming surface 10512, 10532, respectively. The entry zone forming surfaces 10511, 10531 coincide with the less aggressive channeling portions of the sidewalls 10513, 10533. Similarly, the exit zone forming surfaces 10512, 10532 coincide with the more aggressive channeling portions of the sidewalls 10513, 10533. The pockets 10510, 10530 further comprise a forming, or guiding, groove 10515, 10535, also referred to as a tip control channel, extending the entire longitudinal length of each pocket 10510, 10530 and positioned centrally with respect to the outer lateral edges of the pockets 10510, 10530. The grooves 10515, 10535 are narrower at the outer longitudinal edges of the pockets 10510, 10530 than the inner longitudinal edges of the pockets 10510, 10530. The grooves 10515, 10535 meet at the bridge portion 10505 to encourage the staple tips, and staple legs, to contact each other during the forming process, as further discussed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,914. In some instances, grooves defined in the forming surfaces of forming pockets can have a similar effect in staple forming as more aggressively-angled exit walls and/or narrowly-configured exit walls.
  • Referring to FIG. 42, the forming surfaces of each pocket 10510, 10530 comprise more than one radius of curvature. Specifically, the pocket 10510 comprises an entry radius of curvature 10517 corresponding to the entry zone forming surface 10511 and an exit radius of curvature 10518 corresponding to the exit zone forming surface 10512. Similarly, the pocket 10530 comprises an entry radius of curvature 10537 corresponding to the entry zone forming surface 10531 and an exit radius of curvature 10538 corresponding to the exit zone forming surface 10532. In this instance, the entry radii of curvature 10517, 10537 are larger than the exit radii of curvature 10518, 10538. Specific relationships between the radii of curvature and various pocket features along with some potential advantages and patterns of the specific relationships are further described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,914.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 43-45, the outer longitudinal edges of each pocket 10510, 10530 are referred to as entry edges because they define the beginning of the entry zone forming surfaces 10511, 10531. The entry edges comprise an entry width which is the largest width of the forming surfaces of each pocket 10510, 10530. The inner edges of each pocket 10510, 10530 are referred to as exit edges because they define the end of the exit zone forming surfaces 10512, 10532. The exit edges comprise an exit width, also referred to as the bridge width “W”, which is the narrowest section of the forming surfaces of each pocket 10510, 10530. The transitions between entry and exit zones comprise a transition width which is less than the entry width but greater than the exit width. FIG. 44 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming pocket 10530 taken along line 44-44 in FIG. 41. This view is taken near the valley, or trough, of the distal forming pocket 10530. This valley, or trough, is also the transition between the entry zone forming surface 10531 and the exit zone forming surface 10532. In various instances, the transition between entry and exit zones does not occur at the valley, or trough, of the pocket. FIG. 43 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the distal forming pocket 10530 taken along line 43-43 in FIG. 41 which is located within the exit zone forming surface 10532 of the forming pocket 10530. FIG. 45 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming pocket 10530 taken along line 45-45 in FIG. 41 which is within the entry zone forming surface 10532 of the distal forming pocket 10530. The sidewalls 10533 are illustrated in this figure as linear, or at least substantially linear, and are angled at angle θ2 (FIG. 45) with respect to the planar surface 10507. Angle θ2 is greater than angle θ1 (FIG. 43).
  • FIGS. 46 and 47 depict staples formed with the forming pocket arrangement 10500 where one staple was aligned with the pocket axis 10503 of the forming pocket arrangement 10500 and the other staple was misaligned with the pocket axis 10503 of the forming pocket arrangement 10500. FIG. 46 depicts a side view 13100 and a bottom view 13100′ of a staple 13101 in a fully-formed configuration formed with the forming pocket arrangement 10500. This staple 13101 was aligned with the pocket axis 10503 of the forming pocket arrangement 10500 during the forming process. The tips 13104 of the staple legs 13103 struck the forming pocket arrangement 10500 along the pocket axis 10503.
  • The staple 13101 comprises a first tip alignment axis TA1, a second tip alignment axis TA2, and a crown alignment axis CA. When aligned with the pocket axis 10503, the staple 13101 forms such that the second tip alignment axis TA2 and the crown alignment axis CA are substantially aligned or, in other words, the staple 13101 assumes a substantially planar configuration. The force to fire the staple 13101 is illustrated in the graph 13110.
  • FIG. 47 depicts a side view 13120 and a bottom view 13120′ of a staple 13121 in a fully formed configuration formed with the forming pocket arrangement 10500. This staple 13121 was misaligned with the pocket axis 10503 of the forming pocket arrangement 10500 during the forming process. The staple 13121 was driven off plane with respect to the pocket axis 10503. The tips 13124 of the staple legs 13123 did not strike the forming pocket arrangement 10500 along the pocket axis 10503 nor was the crown, or base, 13122 of the staple 13121 aligned with the pocket axis 10503 during forming.
  • The staple 13121 comprises a first tip alignment axis TA1, a second tip alignment axis TA2, and a crown alignment axis CA. When misaligned with the pocket axis 10503, the staple 13121 forms such that the second tip alignment axis TA2 and the crown alignment axis CA are substantially aligned with each other or, in other words, the staple 13121 assumes a substantially planar configuration. Compared to FIG. 46 where the staple 13101 was aligned with the pocket axis 10503, the staple 13121 forms into a fully-formed configuration that may be more acceptable to a surgeon to more adequately seal tissue than staples formed with other forming pocket arrangements which form in a misaligned state.
  • FIGS. 48-54 depict a forming pocket arrangement 6500 that is configured to deform a staple during a surgical stapling procedure. The forming pocket arrangement 6500 comprises a proximal forming cup, or pocket, 6510 and a distal forming cup, or pocket, 6530 defined in a planar, or tissue-contacting, surface 6507 of an anvil 6501. The tissue-contacting surface 6507 of the anvil 6501 can be configured to compress tissue against a staple cartridge when the anvil 6501 is clamped or closed relative to the staple cartridge. Each cup 6510, 6530 is defined by a boundary surface as further described herein. The cups 6510, 6530 are aligned along a pocket axis 6503 of the forming pocket arrangement 6500. A staple is intended to be formed along the pocket axis 6503 by the forming pocket arrangement 6500 when deployed from a staple cartridge. For example, a first leg of the staple is formed by the proximal forming cup 6510 and a second leg of the staple is formed by the distal forming cup 6530. In such instances, the first leg of the staple is aligned with a portion of the proximal forming cup 6510 and the second leg of the staple is aligned with a portion of the distal forming cup 6530 when the anvil 6501 is clamped relative to the staple cartridge.
  • Referring to FIGS. 50 and 51, the forming pocket arrangement 6500 further comprises a bridge portion 6505 defined between the forming cups 6510, 6530. In this instance, the bridge portion 6505 is recessed with respect to the planar surface 6507 of the anvil 6501. The bridge portion 6505 comprises a bridge width BW and a bridge depth BD (FIG. 54). The bridge depth BD is the distance that the bottom portion of the bridge portion 6505 is recessed with respect to the planar surface 6507. The bridge width BW is the width of the pocket arrangement 6500 between the cups 6510, 6530. In this instance, the bridge width BW is the narrowest section of the forming surfaces of each cup 6510, 6530. The forming pocket arrangement 6500 comprises a center C (FIGS. 48-50) defined within the bridge portion 6505. The forming pocket arrangement 6500 is bilaterally symmetric with respect to the bridge portion 6505, bilaterally symmetric with respect to pocket axis 6503, and rotationally symmetric with respect to the center C.
  • The forming pocket arrangement 6500 further comprises a pair of primary sidewalls 6508 extending from the planar surface 6507 of the anvil 6501 toward the cups 6510, 6530 and the bridge portion 6505. The primary sidewalls 6508 are angled at an angle θ1 (FIGS. 52-54) with respect to the planar surface 6507 of the anvil 6501. The cups 6510, 6530 define a perimeter 6520 and the inner edges of the primary sidewalls 6508 extend between the planar surface 6507 and the perimeter 6520 of the cups 6510, 6530. Referring primarily to FIG. 50, the inner edges of the primary sidewalls 6508 are curved, or contoured, with respect to the cups 6510, 6530.
  • In certain instances, the forming pocket arrangement 6500 may not include the primary sidewalls 6508. In such instances, the cups 6510, 6530 can extend directly to the planar surface 6507 and the perimeter 6520 of the cups 6510, 6530 can be defined in the planar surface 6507.
  • Referring again to FIGS. 50 and 51, the proximal forming cup 6510 comprises a pair of cup sidewalls 6513 and the distal forming cup 6530 comprises a pair of cup sidewalls 6533. The cup sidewalls 6513, 6533 comprise curved, or contoured, profiles and are configured to direct the staple tips and the legs of the staples toward the forming surfaces of the cups 6510, 6530 as well as help control the forming process of the staples. The sidewalls 6513, 6533 extend from the primary sidewalls 6508 and the planar surface 6507 toward the forming surfaces of each cup 6510, 6530. The sidewalls 6513, 6533 are configured to encourage the staple tips and/or the legs of the staples to form along the pocket axis 6503 as the staples are formed against the forming surfaces of the cups 6510, 6530. Collectively, the primary sidewalls 6508 and the cup sidewalls 6513, 6533 cooperate to funnel corresponding staple tips toward the lateral center of each cup 6510, 6530. An inflection surface, or bottom surface, 6514, 6534 extends along the lateral center of each respective cup 6510, 6530 intermediate the respective sidewalls 6513, 6533.
  • Referring still to FIG. 50, the forming surfaces of the cups 6510, 6530 comprise an entry zone forming surface 6511, 6531, respectively, and an exit zone forming surface 6512, 6532, respectively. The entry zone forming surfaces 6511, 6531 can coincide with less aggressive channeling portions of the sidewalls 6513, 6533. Similarly, the exit zone forming surfaces 6512, 6532 can coincide with more aggressive channeling portions of the sidewalls 6513, 6533.
  • Referring primarily now to FIG. 51, the forming surfaces of each cup 6510, 6530 are defined by a depth profile or contour. The proximal forming cup 6510 includes the depth profile 6522, and the distal forming cup 6530 includes the depth profile 6542. The depth profiles 6522, 6542 define the depth of the cups 6510, 6530, respectively, along the length thereof. The cups 6510, 6530 reach a maximum cup depth CD within their respective transition zones 6509, 6529, which are further described below. The cup depth CD of the pockets 6510, 6530 can be between 0.3 and 0.5 millimeters, for example. For example, the cup depth CD can be 0.4 millimeters. In other instances, the cup depth CD can be less than 0.3 millimeters or more than 0.5 millimeters, for example.
  • The depth profiles 6522, 6542 are curved profiles, which are devoid of linear portions. Moreover, the depth profiles 6522, 6542 can comprise one or more radii of curvature. Specifically, the depth profile 6522 of the proximal forming cup 6510 comprises an entry radius of curvature 6517 corresponding to the entry zone forming surface 6511 and an exit radius of curvature 6518 corresponding to the exit zone forming surface 6512. Similarly, the depth profile 6542 of the distal forming cup 6530 comprises an entry radius of curvature 6537 corresponding to the entry zone forming surface 6531 and an exit radius of curvature 6538 corresponding to the exit zone forming surface 6532. In this instance, the entry radii of curvature 6517, 6537 are larger than the exit radii of curvature 6518, 6538. Specific relationships between the entry zone and exit zone radii of curvature and various pocket features along with some potential advantages and patterns of the specific relationships are further described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,914.
  • The outer longitudinal edges of each cup 6510, 6530 are referred to as entry edges because they define the beginning of the entry zone forming surfaces 6511, 6531. The entry edges comprise an entry width which is the largest width of the forming surfaces of each cup 6510, 6530. The inner edges of each cup 6510, 6530 are referred to as exit edges because they define the end of the exit zone forming surfaces 6512, 6532. The exit edges comprise an exit width, also referred to as the bridge width BW (FIG. 54) which is the narrowest section of the forming surfaces of each cup 6510, 6530. A transition zone 6509, 6529 is positioned intermediate the entry zone and exit zone of each cup. The transition zones 6509, 6529 have a transition width which is less than the entry width but greater than the exit width. The transition zones 6509, 6529 include an inflection portion of the respective depth profiles 6522, 6542 and, thus, include the deepest portion of each cup 6510, 6530. In various instances, the transition zones 6509, 6529 comprise the majority of the length of each cup 6510, 6530. More specifically, the length of the transition zone 6509, 6529 can be greater than the combined length of the respective entry zone and exit zone of each cup 6510, 6530. The transition zones 6509, 6529 can extend along the tapered or narrowing section of each cup 6510, 6530. For example, each transition zone 6509, 6529 can extend inward from the widest section of the respective cup 6510, 6530 toward the bridge 6505.
  • FIG. 53 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming cup 6530 taken along line 53-53 in FIG. 50. This view is taken near the valley, or trough, of the distal forming cup 6530. This valley, or trough, is also the transition between the entry zone forming surface 6531 and the exit zone forming surface 6532. In various instances, the transition between entry and exit zones does not occur at the valley, or trough, of the cup. FIG. 54 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the distal forming cup 6530 taken along line 54-54 in FIG. 50 which is located within the exit zone forming surface 6532 of the distal forming cup 6530. FIG. 52 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming cup 6530 taken along line 52-52 in FIG. 50 which is within the entry zone forming surface 6532 of the distal forming cup 6530.
  • Referring primarily to FIGS. 52-54, the pair of cup sidewalls 6533 of the distal forming cup 6530 includes a first sidewall 6533 a and a second sidewall 6533 b. The first and second sidewalls 6533 a, 6533 b are opposing sidewalls which extend toward each other from laterally-opposed sides of the distal forming cup 6530. The inflection surface, or bottom surface, 6534 of the distal forming cup 6530 is positioned between the first and second sidewalls 6533 a, 6533 b. The bottom surface 6534 of the distal forming cup 6530 is an entirely-curved, non-flat surface. In other words, the bottom surface 6534 is devoid of flat, planar surfaces. The bottom surface 6534 can define one or more radii of curvature. For example, at various longitudinal positions along the pocket axis 6503, the bottom surface 6534 defines different radii of curvature. A tangent to the bottom surface 6534 at the lateral center of the cup 6530 is parallel to the planar surface 6507 along the length thereof.
  • In various instances, the curvature of the bottom surface 6534 can be dimensioned such that the staple leg does not travel along a flat surface during the staple forming process. In such instances, the bottom surface 6543 can encourage the staple to form into a more planar formed configuration than staples formed along flat bottom surfaces, especially when the staples are misaligned with the pocket axis 6503 during formation. The curvature of the bottom surface 6543 can be dimensioned such that the bottom surface 6543 provides a plurality of contact surfaces for the staple leg. For example, the radius of curvature of the bottom surface 6534 can be less than the radius of curvature of the staple leg.
  • The cup sidewalls 6513, 6533 are entirely-curved, non-flat surfaces. In other words, the cup sidewalls 6513, 6533 are devoid of flat, planar surfaces. Referring again to FIGS. 52-54, the sidewalls 6533 a, 6533 b define one or more radii of curvature. For example, at various longitudinal positions along the pocket axis 6503, the sidewalls 6533 a, 6533 b define different radii of curvature. The entirely-curved contours of the cup sidewalls 6513, 6533 and the bottom surface 6534 can define curvilinear boundary surfaces of the cups 6510, 6530. The cups 6513, 6533 can be entirely-curved and devoid of flat, planar surfaces.
  • The sidewalls 6533 a, 6533 b are oriented at an entry angle θ2 relative to the tissue-contacting surface 6507 at various transverse cross-sections of the distal forming cup 6530. More specifically, a tangent T to each sidewall 6533 a, 6533 b at the perimeter 6520 of the distal forming cup 6530 is oriented at the angle θ2 relative to the tissue-contacting surface 6507 in FIGS. 52-54. The entry angle θ2 is constant within the transition forming zone 6529 (FIGS. 50 and 51) and along the majority of the length of the distal forming cup 6530. Though the tangent to such sidewalls is oriented at a constant angle along the length, or substantial length, of the cups 6510, 6530, the radius of curvature and the length of the arcs defining the sidewalls can vary as the depth and width of the cups varies along the length thereof. In various instances, the angle θ2 can be between 55 degrees and 80 degrees, for example. For example, in FIGS. 52-54, the angle θ2 is 80 degrees. In other instances, the angle θ2 can be less than 55 degrees or more than 80 degrees. The sidewalls 6533 a, 6533 b are non-vertical sidewalls and, thus, the angle θ2 of the tangent T along the perimeter 6520 can be less than 90 degrees, for example.
  • A datum point at the transition between the sidewalls 6533 a, 6533 b and the bottom surface 6534 is indicated for illustrative purposes in FIGS. 52-54. For example, the curved boundary surface of the distal forming cup 6530 includes a datum point A at the transition between the sidewall 6533 a and the bottom surface 6534. At each longitudinal position along the cup 6530, the first sidewall 6533 a and the second sidewall 6533 b define a sidewall radius of curvature 6543 and the bottom surface 6534 defines a bottom radius of curvature 6544. The bottom radius of curvature 6544 can be different than the sidewall radius of curvature 6543. The transition between radii of curvature at the datum point A comprises a smooth, non-abrupt transition.
  • A datum line B is also depicted in FIGS. 52-54 for illustrative purposes. The datum line B extends between the first datum point A and the perimeter 6520 of the distal forming cup 6530. The datum line B is oriented at an angle θ3 in FIGS. 52-54. The angle θ3 can determine where the curved sidewall 6533 a meets the curved bottom surface 6534. Moreover, the steepness of the sidewall 6533 a can be impacted by the angle θ3. For example, for a constant angle θ2, an increase in the angle θ3 can result in a deeper and narrower cup. In certain instances, the angle θ3 can be limited by a desirable minimum pocket width in the deepest portion of the cup. For example, the desirable minimum pocket width can be a requirement of the tooling process for the anvil 6501 and/or necessitated by the width of the staple wire.
  • The angle θ3 is constant within the transition forming surface zone 6529 (FIG. 51) and along the majority of the length of the distal forming cup 6530. In various instances, the angle θ3 can be less than the angle θ2. The angle θ3 in FIGS. 52-54 is approximately 55 degrees, for example. In other instances, the angle θ3 can be less than 55 degrees or more than 80 degrees, for example. Though the angles θ2 and θ3 are constant along the length of the distal forming cup 6530, or at least along the substantial length of the distal forming cup 6530, the radius of curvature and the length of the arcs defining the sidewalls 6533 a, 6533 b varies as the depth and width of the distal forming cup 6530 varies along the length thereof.
  • The angle θ2 relative to a tissue-contacting surface can comprise a relatively steep angle. For example, the angle θ2 can be greater than the angles θ1 and θ3. The steepness of the angle θ2 can encourage the staple to form along the pocket axis. Moreover, a constant angle θ2 along the length of the distal forming cup 6530 can encourage a misaligned staple leg to move from the perimeter toward the lateral center or axis 6503 of the cup 6530. As described herein, the depth of the pocket can vary along the length thereof. However, maintaining a constant angle θ2 can encourage a misaligned staple leg to move from the perimeter toward the lateral center of the distal forming cup 6530 even in shallower regions of the cup 6530.
  • In certain instances, the maximum cup depth CD can vary between staple-forming pockets and/or arrangements in an anvil. For example, different depths can be utilized to form staples to different heights and/or to form staples driven by drivers having different heights, as further described herein. The depth of the pockets can vary across the rows of pockets and/or within one or more rows of pockets, for example. Deeper pockets can provide increased control over staple formation; however, the depth of the pockets can be limited by anvil tooling constraints and the geometry of the staples. In instances in which certain pockets are shallower than other pockets, the sidewalls of the shallower pockets can be oriented at the same entry angle θ2 as the deeper pockets to encourage the staples formed by the shallower pockets to form along the pocket axis.
  • FIG. 54A is a partial negative view of various slices of a forming pocket of the forming pocket arrangement 6500. The dimensions of the various slices are labeled thereon. The slices are of only a single sidewall of the forming pocket and are taken in planes along the forming pocket which are perpendicular to the tissue-contacting surface 6507 and the pocket axis 6503. Each slice comprises a width “x”, a height “y”, an upper radius of curvature “ra”, and a lower radius of curvature “rb”. The width “x” is defined as the x-component of the distance between the perimeter 6520 of the forming pocket and the bottom radius of curvature 6544 of the forming pocket. The height “y” is defined as the y-component of the distance between the perimeter 6520 of the forming pocket and the bottom radius of curvature 6544 of the forming pocket. The upper radius of curvature “ra” is defined as the radius of curvature of an upper portion of the sidewall. The lower radius of curvature “rb” is defined as the radius of curvature of an lower portion of the sidewall. Each dimension includes a number indicating which slice the dimension corresponds to. For example, Slice 1 includes a width “x1”, a height “y1”, an upper radius of curvature “ra1”, and a lower radius of curvature “rb1”. FIG. 54B is a table 6550 comprising the dimensions of the Slices 1-12 of FIG. 54A, in at least one embodiment.
  • FIG. 54C is a cross-sectional view of the forming pocket arrangement 6500 taken along the pocket axis 6503. FIG. 54C includes various dimensions of the distal forming pocket 6530 of forming pocket arrangement 6500. The length of the forming pocket 6530 is 1.90 mm, for example. The depth of the forming pocket 6530 is 0.40 mm, for example. In certain instances, the distal forming pocket 6530 comprises three radii of curvature: an entry radius of curvature which is 1.90 mm, a first exit radius of curvature which is 1.00 mm, and a second exit radius of curvature which is 0.10 mm, for example. The width of the bridge portion of the distal forming pocket 6530 is defined, in this instance, as the distance between the center of the forming pocket arrangement 6500 and the inner-most edge of the first exit radius of curvature (the edge of the first exit radius of curvature closest to the center of the forming pocket arrangement 6500) is 0.10 mm, for example. The bridge depth is 0.05 mm, for example.
  • FIGS. 55-60 depict another forming pocket arrangement 6600 in the anvil 6501. The forming pocket arrangement 6600 is configured to deform a staple during a surgical stapling procedure, and comprises a proximal forming cup, or pocket, 6610 and a distal forming cup, or pocket, 6630 defined in the planar, or tissue-contacting, surface 6507 of the anvil 6501. The forming pocket arrangement 6600 can be similar in many respects to the forming pocket arrangement 6500. For example, sidewalls of the staple-forming cups 6610, 6630 can intersect the planar surface 6507 at the same constant entry angle θ2 along the length thereof. Though the sidewall entry angles θ2 can be the same for cups 6610 and 6630 as for cups 6510 and 6530 (FIGS. 48-54), the maximum cup depth CD can be different, as further described herein. In such instances, the sidewalls of the shallower pockets can define the same entry angle θ2 as the sidewalls of the deeper pockets, which can encourage proper, planar formation of the staples formed by the different depth pockets.
  • In other instances, the forming pocket arrangement 6600 can be defined in a different anvil. For example, the anvil 6501 may not include different forming pocket arrangements. Rather, an anvil, such as the anvil 6501, can consist of uniform or identical forming pocket arrangements, for example. In certain instances, the forming pocket arrangement 6600 can be the only forming pocket arrangement in a particular anvil.
  • Each cup 6610, 6630 is defined by a boundary surface as further described herein. The cups 6610, 6630 are aligned along a pocket axis 6603 of the forming pocket arrangement 6600. A staple is intended to be formed along the pocket axis 6603 by the forming pocket arrangement 6600 when deployed from a staple cartridge. For example, a first leg of the staple can be formed by the proximal forming cup 6610 and a second leg of the staple can be formed by the distal forming cup 6630. In such instances, the first leg of the staple is aligned with a portion of the proximal forming cup 6610 and the second leg of the staple is aligned with a portion of the distal forming cup 6630 when the anvil 6501 is clamped relative to the staple cartridge.
  • Referring to FIGS. 56 and 57, the forming pocket arrangement 6600 further comprises a bridge portion 6605 defined between the forming cups 6610, 6630. The bridge portion 6605 is recessed with respect to the planar surface 6507 of the anvil 6501, however, the bridge portion 6605 can be flush with the planar surface 6507. The bridge portion 6605 comprises a bridge width BW and a bridge depth BD (FIG. 60). The bridge depth BD is the distance that the bottom portion of the bridge portion 6605 is recessed with respect to the planar surface 6507. The bridge width BW is the width of the pocket arrangement 6600 between the cups 6610, 6630. In this instance, the bridge width BW is the narrowest section of the forming surfaces of each cup 6610, 6630. The forming pocket arrangement 6600 comprises a center C (FIGS. 55 and 56) defined within the bridge portion 6605. The forming pocket arrangement 6600 is bilaterally symmetric with respect to the bridge portion 6605, bilaterally symmetric with respect to pocket axis 6603, and rotationally symmetric with respect to the center C.
  • The forming pocket arrangement 6605 further comprises a pair of primary sidewalls 6608 extending from the planar surface 6507 of the anvil 6501 toward the cups 6610, 6630 and the bridge portion 6605. The primary sidewalls 6608 are angled at an angle θ1 (FIGS. 58-60) with respect to the planar surface 6507 of the anvil 6501. The cups 6610, 6630 define a perimeter 6620 and the inner edges of the primary sidewalls 6608 extend between the planar surface 6507 and the perimeter 6620 of the cups 6610, 6630. Referring primarily to FIG. 56, the inner edges of the primary sidewalls 6608 are curved, or contoured, with respect to the cups 6610, 6630.
  • In certain instances, the forming pocket arrangement 6600 may not include the primary sidewalls 6608. In such instances, the cups 6610, 6630 can extend directly to the planar surface 6507 and the perimeter 6620 of the cups 6610, 6630 can be defined in the planar surface 6507.
  • Referring again to FIGS. 56 and 57, the proximal forming cup 6610 comprises a pair of cup sidewalls 6613 and the distal forming cup 6630 comprises a pair of cup sidewalls 6633. The cup sidewalls 6613, 6633 comprise curved, or contoured, profiles and are configured to direct the staple tips and the legs of the staples toward the forming surfaces of the cups 6610, 6630 as well as help control the forming process of the staples. The sidewalls 6613, 6633 extend from the primary sidewalls 6608 and the planar surface 6507 toward the forming surfaces of each cup 6610, 6630. The sidewalls 6613, 6633 are configured to encourage the staple tips and/or the legs of the staples to form along the pocket axis 6603 as the staples are formed against the forming surfaces of the cups 6610, 6630. Collectively, the primary sidewalls 6608 and the cup sidewalls 6613, 6633 cooperate to funnel corresponding staple tips toward the lateral center of each cup 6610, 6630. An inflection surface, or bottom surface, 6614, 6634 extends along the lateral center of each respective cup 6610, 6630 intermediate the respective sidewalls 6613, 6633.
  • Referring still to FIG. 56, the forming surfaces of the cups 6610, 6630 comprise an entry zone forming surface 6611, 6631, respectively, and an exit zone forming surface 6612, 6632, respectively. The entry zone forming surfaces 6611, 6631 can coincide with less aggressive channeling portions of the sidewalls 6613, 6633. Similarly, the exit zone forming surfaces 6612, 6632 can coincide with more aggressive channeling portions of the sidewalls 6613, 6633.
  • Referring primarily now to FIG. 57, the forming surfaces of each cup 6610, 6630 are defined by a depth profile or contour. The proximal forming cup 6610 includes the depth profile 6622, and the distal forming cup 6630 includes the depth profile 6642. The depth profiles 6622, 6642 define the depth of the cups 6610, 6630, respectively, along the length thereof. The cups 6610, 6630 reach a maximum cup depth CD within their respective transition zone 6609, 6629, which are further described below. The cup depth CD of the pockets 6610, 6630 can be between 0.2 and 0.4 millimeters, for example. For instance, the cup depth CD can be 0.3 millimeters. In other instances, the cup depth CD can be less than 0.2 millimeters or more than 0.4 millimeters.
  • The cup depth CD of the cups 6610, 6630 is less than the cup depth CD of the cups 6510, 6530 (FIG. 51). For example, the cup depth CD of the cups 6610, 6630 can be 0.2 millimeters less than the cup depth CD of the cups 6510, 6530. In certain instances, the cup depth CD of the cups 6610, 6630 can be 0.1 millimeters to 0.3 millimeters less than the cup depth CD of the cups 6510, 6530. The cup depth CD of the cups 6510, 6530 can be 25% to 50% greater than the cup depth CD of the cups 6610, 6630. For example, the cup depth CD of the cups 6510, 6530 can be 40% greater than the cup depth CD of the cups 6610, 6630. In various instances, the difference between the cup depth CD of the pocket forming arrangements 6500 and 6600 can be selected to be equal to, or substantially equal to, the diameter of a staple formed by the pocket forming arrangements 6500, 6600.
  • The depth profiles 6622, 6642 are curved profiles, which are devoid of linear portions. Moreover, the depth profiles 6622, 6642 can comprise one or more radii of curvature. In this instance, the depth profiles 6622, 6642 include more than one radius of curvature. Specifically, the depth profile 6622 of the proximal forming cup 6610 comprises an entry radius of curvature 6617 corresponding to the entry zone forming surface 6611 and an exit radius of curvature 6618 corresponding to the exit zone forming surface 6612. Similarly, the depth profile 6642 of the distal forming cup 6630 comprises an entry radius of curvature 6637 corresponding to the entry zone forming surface 6631 and an exit radius of curvature 6638 corresponding to the exit zone forming surface 6632. In this instance, the entry radii of curvature 6617, 6637 are larger than the exit radii of curvature 6618, 6638. Specific relationships between the entry and exit radii of curvature and various pocket features along with some potential advantages and patterns of the specific relationships are further described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,914.
  • The outer longitudinal edges of each cup 6610, 6630 are referred to as entry edges because they define the beginning of the entry zone forming surfaces 6611, 6631. The entry edges comprise an entry width which is the largest width of the forming surfaces of each cup 6610, 6630. The inner edges of each cup 6610, 6630 are referred to as exit edges because they define the end of the exit zone forming surfaces 6612, 6632. The exit edges comprise an exit width, also referred to as the bridge width BW (FIG. 60) which is the narrowest section of the forming surfaces of each cup 6610, 6630. A transition zone 6609, 6629 is positioned intermediate the entry zone and exit zone of each cup. The transition zones 6609, 6629 have a transition width which is less than the entry width but greater than the exit width. The transition zones 6609, 6629 include an inflection portion of the respective depth profiles 6622, 6642 and, thus, include the deepest portion of each cup 6610, 6630. In various instances, the transition zones 6609, 6629 comprise the majority of the length of each cup 6610, 6630. More specifically, the length of the transition zone 6609, 6629 can be greater than the combined length of the respective entry zone and exit zone of each cup 6610, 6630. The transition zones 6609, 6629 can extend along the tapered or narrowing section of each cup 6610, 6630. For example, each transition zone 6609, 6629 can extend inward from the widest section of the respective cup 6610, 6630 toward the bridge 6605.
  • FIG. 59 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming cup 6630 taken along line 59-59 in FIG. 56. This view is taken near the valley, or trough, of the distal forming cup 6630. This valley, or trough, is also the transition between the entry zone forming surface 6631 and the exit zone forming surface 6632. In various instances, the transition between entry and exit zones does not occur at the valley, or trough, of the cup. FIG. 60 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the distal forming cup 6630 taken along line 60-60 in FIG. 56 which is located within the exit zone forming surface 6632 of the forming cup 6630. FIG. 58 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming cup 6630 taken along line 58-58 in FIG. 56 which is located within the entry zone forming surface 6632 of the distal forming cup 6630.
  • Referring primarily to FIGS. 58-60, the pair of cup sidewalls 6633 of the distal forming cup 6630 includes a first sidewall 6633 a and a second sidewall 6633 b. The first and second sidewalls 6633 a, 6633 b are opposing sidewalls which extend toward each other from laterally-opposed sides of the distal forming cup 6630. The inflection surface, or bottom surface, 6634 of the distal forming cup 6630 is positioned between the first and second sidewalls 6633 a, 6633 b. The bottom surface 6634 of the distal forming cup 6630 is an entirely-curved, non-flat surface. In other words, the bottom surface 6634 is devoid of flat, planar surfaces. The bottom surface 6634 can define one or more radii of curvature. For example, at various longitudinal positions along the pocket axis 6603, the bottom surface 6634 defines different radii of curvature. A tangent to the bottom surface 6634 at the lateral center of the cup 6630 is parallel to the planar surface 6507 along the length thereof.
  • In various instances, the curvature of the bottom surface 6634 can be dimensioned such that the staple leg does not travel along a flat surface during the staple forming process. In such instances, the bottom surface 6643 can encourage staples to form into a more planar formed configuration than staples formed along flat bottom surfaces, especially when the staples are misaligned with the pocket axis 6603 during formation. The curvature of the bottom surface 6643 can be dimensioned such that the bottom surface 6643 provides a plurality of contact surfaces for the staple leg. For example, the radius of curvature of the bottom surface 6634 can be less than the radius of curvature of the staple leg.
  • The cup sidewalls 6613, 6633 are entirely-curved, non-flat surfaces. In other words, the cup sidewalls 6613, 6633 are devoid of flat, planar surfaces. Referring again to FIGS. 58-60, the sidewalls 6633 a, 6633 b define one or more radii of curvature. For example, at various longitudinal positions along the pocket axis 6603, the sidewalls 6633 a, 6633 b define different radii of curvature. The entirely-curved contours of the cup sidewalls 6613, 6633 and the bottom surface 6634 can define curvilinear boundary surfaces of the cups 6610, 6630. The cups 6613, 6633 can be entirely-curved and devoid of flat, planar surfaces.
  • The sidewalls 6633 a, 6633 b are oriented at an entry angle θ2 relative to the tissue-contacting surface 6507 at various transverse cross-sections of the distal forming cup 6630. More specifically, a tangent T to each sidewall 6633 a, 6633 b at the perimeter 6620 of the distal forming cup 6630 is oriented at the angle θ2 relative to the tissue-contacting surface 6507 in FIGS. 58-60. The entry angle θ2 is constant within the transition forming surface zone 6629 (FIGS. 56 and 57) and along the majority of the length of the distal forming cup 6630. In various instances, the angle θ2 can be between 55 degrees and 80 degrees, for example. For instance, in FIGS. 58-60, the angle θ2 is 80 degrees. In other instances, the angle θ2 can be less than 55 degrees or more than 80 degrees. The sidewalls 6633 a, 6633 b are non-vertical sidewalls and, thus, the angle θ2 of the tangent T along the perimeter 6620 can be less than 90 degrees, for example.
  • A datum point at the transition between the sidewalls 6633 a, 6633 b and the bottom surface 6634 is indicated for illustrative purposes in FIGS. 58-60. For example, the curved boundary surface of the distal forming cup 6630 includes a datum point A at the transition between the sidewall 6633 a and the bottom surface 6634. At each longitudinal position along the cup 6630, the first sidewall 6633 a and the second sidewall 6633 b define a sidewall radius of curvature 6643 and the bottom surface 6634 defines a bottom radius of curvature 6644. The bottom radius of curvature 6644 can be different than the sidewall radius of curvature 6643. The transition between radii of curvature at the datum point A comprises a smooth, non-abrupt transition.
  • A datum line B is also depicted in FIGS. 58-60 for illustrative purposes. The datum line B extends between the first datum point A and the perimeter 6620 of the distal forming cup 6630. The datum line B is oriented at an angle θ3 in FIGS. 58-60. The angle θ3 is constant within the transition forming surface zone 6629 (FIG. 57) and along the majority of the length of the distal forming cup 6630. In various instances, the angle θ3 can be less than the angle θ2. The angle θ3 in FIGS. 58-60 is approximately 55 degrees, for example. In other instances, the angle θ3 can be less than 55 degrees or more than 80 degrees. Though the angles θ2 and θ3 are constant along the length of the distal forming cup 6630, or at least along the substantial length of the distal forming cup 6630, the radius of curvature and the length of the arcs defining the sidewalls 6633 a, 6633 b varies as the depth and width of the distal forming cup 6630 varies along the length thereof.
  • The angle θ2 relative to a tissue-contacting surface can comprise a relatively steep angle. For example, the angle θ2 can be greater than the angles θ1 and θ3. The steepness of the angle θ2 can encourage the staple to form along the pocket axis. A constant angle θ2 can encourage a misaligned staple leg to move from the perimeter toward the lateral center or axis 6603 of the distal forming cup 6630. As described herein, the depth of the pocket can vary along the length thereof. However, maintaining a constant angle θ2 can encourage a misaligned staple leg to move from the perimeter toward the lateral center of the distal forming cup 6630 even in shallower regions of the cup 6630.
  • Pocket arrangements having different cup depths CD can be dimensioned to have the same angles θ2 and θ3. For example, though the cup depth CD of the cups 6610, 6630 (FIG. 57) is less than the cup depth CD of the cups 6510, 6530 (FIG. 51), the angles θ2 and θ3 can be the same. In at least one instance, the angle θ2 can be 80 degrees and the angle θ3 can be 55 degrees for both forming pocket arrangements 6500 and 6600. In instances in which the tissue-contacting surface 6507 comprises a planar surface, the pocket forming arrangement 6600 can be configured to form staples to a reduced height in comparison to the pocket forming arrangement 6500. For example, a staple formed by the pocket forming arrangement 6600 can be shorter than an identical staple formed by the pocket forming arrangement 6500. In certain instances, variations to the formed height of the staples can be desirable to control the tissue compression and/or fluid flow between the anvil and the staple cartridge, for example. Though variations to the cup depth CD can be configured to control the formed height of the staples, maintaining constant entrance angles θ2 along the length, or at least a substantial portion of the length, of the different cups can be configured to ensure that even the shorter formed staples are formed to a more consistent, planar configuration, which is desirable in certain instances.
  • FIGS. 68 and 69 depict a staple 6701 formed with the forming pocket arrangement 6600 (FIGS. 55-60) where the staple 6701 was aligned with the pocket axis 6603 of the forming pocket arrangement 6600 during the forming process. FIG. 68 depicts a top view of the staple 6701 in a fully-formed configuration and FIG. 69 depicts a side view of the staple 6701 in the fully-formed configuration. The staple includes a base 6702 and staple legs 6703 that extend from the base 6702. The base 6702 is aligned with the pocket axis 6603 and the tips 6704 of the staple legs 6703 strike the forming pocket arrangement 6600 along the pocket axis 6603.
  • The staple 6701 comprises a centerline CL (FIG. 69) which transects the base 6702 and extends vertically intermediate the unformed staple legs 6703. As the staple 6701 is formed to the fully-formed configuration, the tips 6704 of the staple legs 6703 are bent toward the centerline CL and toward the base 6702. The staple legs 6703 are formed such that the staple 6701 defines a height H (FIG. 69) when in the fully-formed configuration. The height H can be less than the height of the staple 6701 if it had been formed with the forming pocket arrangement 6500 (FIGS. 48-54) because the cup depth CD of the cups 6610, 6630 (FIG. 57) is less than the cup depth CD of the cups 6510, 6530 (FIG. 51).
  • To achieve the shorter height H, a portion of the staples legs 6703 can deflect laterally relative to the centerline CL and/or the tips 6704 of the staple legs 6702 can extend up to and/or below the base 6704. Comparatively, if the staple 6701 had been formed with the forming pocket arrangement 6500 having the deeper cup depth CD, the staple legs 6703 may not deflect laterally relative to the centerline CL and/or the tips 6704 of the staple legs 6702 may not overlap the base 6704 (see, e.g., staple 13100 (FIG. 46)). Referring to FIG. 69, a portion of each staple leg 6703 crosses the centerline CL and the tips 6704 of the staple legs 6702 extend past, or below, a tissue-compressing surface of the base 6702. Moreover, the staple 6701 comprises a first tip alignment axis TA1, a second tip alignment axis TA2, and a crown alignment axis CA. When aligned with the pocket axis 6603, the staple 6701 forms such that the first tip alignment axis TA1 and the second tip alignment axis TA2 are laterally offset and equidistant (D) from the crown alignment axis CA. The distance D can be approximately equal to the diameter of the staple 6701. As a result of the above, the staple 6701 assumes a substantially planar configuration; however, the tips 6704 are slightly overlapping and offset from the base 6702 to achieve the shorter height H.
  • FIG. 60A is a partial negative view of various slices of a forming pocket of the forming pocket arrangement 6600. The dimensions of the various slices are labeled thereon. The slices are of only a single sidewall of the forming pocket and are taken in planes along the forming pocket which are perpendicular to the tissue-contacting surface 6507 and the pocket axis 6603. Each slice comprises a width “x”, a height “y”, an upper radius of curvature “ra”, and a lower radius of curvature “rb”. The width “x” is defined as the x-component of the distance between the perimeter 6620 of the forming pocket and the bottom radius of curvature 6644 of the forming pocket. The height “y” is defined as the y-component of the distance between the perimeter 6620 of the forming pocket and the bottom radius of curvature 6644 of the forming pocket. The upper radius of curvature “ra” is defined as the radius of curvature of an upper portion of the sidewall. The lower radius of curvature “rb” is defined as the radius of curvature of an lower portion of the sidewall. Each dimension includes a number indicating which slice the dimension corresponds to. For example, Slice 1 includes a width “x1”, a height “y1”, an upper radius of curvature “ra1”, and a lower radius of curvature “rb1”. FIG. 60B is a table 6650 comprising the dimensions of the Slices 1-12 of FIG. 60A, in at least one embodiment.
  • FIG. 60C is a cross-sectional view of the forming pocket arrangement 6600 taken along the pocket axis 6603. FIG. 60C includes various dimensions of the distal forming pocket 6630 of forming pocket arrangement 6600. The length of the forming pocket 6630 is 1.90 mm, for example. The depth of the forming pocket 6630 is 0.30 mm, for example. In certain instances, the distal forming pocket 6630 comprises three radii of curvature: an entry radius of curvature which is 2.90 mm, a first exit radius of curvature which is 0.70 mm, and a second exit radius of curvature which is 0.10 mm, for example. The width of the bridge portion of the distal forming pocket 6630 is defined, in this instance, as the distance between the center of the forming pocket arrangement 6600 and the inner-most edge of the first exit radius of curvature (the edge of the first exit radius of curvature closest to the center of the forming pocket arrangement 6600) is 0.10 mm, for example. The bridge depth is 0.05 mm, for example.
  • FIGS. 61-67 depict a forming pocket arrangement 6800 that is configured to deform a staple during a surgical stapling procedure. The forming pocket arrangement 6800 comprises a proximal forming cup, or pocket, 6810 and a distal forming cup, or pocket, 6830 defined in a planar, or tissue-contacting, surface 6807 of an anvil 6801. The tissue-contacting surface 6807 of the anvil 6801 is configured to compress tissue against a staple cartridge when the anvil 6801 is clamped or closed relative to the staple cartridge. The forming pocket arrangement 6800 can be similar in many respects to the forming pocket arrangement 6500. For example, sidewalls of the staple-forming cups 6810, 6830 intersect the planar surface 6807 at a constant angle along the length thereof. Each cup 6810, 6830 is defined by a boundary surface as further described herein. The cups 6810, 6830 are aligned along a pocket axis 6803 of the forming pocket arrangement 6800. A staple is intended to be formed along the pocket axis 6803 by the forming pocket arrangement 6800 when deployed from a staple cartridge. In at least one such instance, a first leg of the staple can be formed by the proximal forming cup 6810 and a second leg of the staple can be formed by the distal forming cup 6830. In such instances, the first leg of the staple is aligned with a portion of the proximal forming cup 6810 and the second leg of the staple is aligned with a portion of the distal forming cup 6830 when the anvil 6801 is clamped relative to the staple cartridge.
  • Referring to FIGS. 62 and 63, the forming pocket arrangement 6800 further comprises a bridge portion 6805 defined between the forming cups 6810, 6830. The bridge portion 6805 is recessed with respect to the planar surface 6807 of the anvil 6801; however, the bridge portion 6805 can be flush with the planar surface 6807 in other embodiments. The bridge portion 6805 comprises a bridge width BW and a bridge depth BD (FIG. 67). The bridge depth BD is the distance that the bottom portion of the bridge portion 6805 is recessed with respect to the planar surface 6807. The bridge width BW is the width of the pocket arrangement 6800 between the cups 6810, 6830. In this instance, the bridge width BW is the narrowest section of the forming surfaces of each cup 6810, 6830. The forming pocket arrangement 6800 comprises a center C (FIGS. 61 and 62) defined within the bridge portion 6805. The forming pocket arrangement 6800 is bilaterally symmetric with respect to the bridge portion 6805, bilaterally symmetric with respect to pocket axis 6803, and rotationally symmetric with respect to the center C.
  • The forming pocket arrangement 6800 further comprises a pair of primary sidewalls 6808 extending from the planar surface 6807 of the anvil 6801 toward the cups 6810, 6830 and the bridge portion 6805. The primary sidewalls 6808 are angled at angle θ1 (FIG. 64) with respect to the planar surface 6807 of the anvil 6801. The cups 6810, 6830 define a perimeter 6820 and the inner edges of the primary sidewalls 6808 extend between the planar surface 6807 and the perimeter 6820 of the cups 6810, 6830. Referring primarily to FIG. 62, the inner edges of the primary sidewalls 6808 are curved, or contoured, with respect to the cups 6810, 6830. In certain instances, the forming pocket arrangement 6800 may not include the primary sidewalls 6808. In such instances, the cups 6810, 6830 can extend directly to the planar surface 6807 and the perimeter 6820 of the cups 6810, 6830 can be defined in the planar surface 6807.
  • Referring again to FIGS. 62 and 63, the proximal forming cup 6810 comprises a pair of cup sidewalls 6813 and the distal forming cup 6830 comprises a pair of cup sidewalls 6833. The cup sidewalls 6813, 6833 comprise curved, or contoured, profiles and are configured to direct the staple tips and the legs of the staples toward the forming surfaces of the cups 6810, 6830 as well as help control the forming process of the staples. The sidewalls 6813, 6833 extend from the primary sidewalls 6808 and the planar surface 6807 toward the forming surfaces of each cup 6810, 6830. The sidewalls 6813, 6833 are configured to encourage the staple tips and/or the legs of the staples to form along the pocket axis 6803 as the staples are formed against the forming surfaces of the cups 6810, 6830. Collectively, the primary sidewalls 6808 and the cup sidewalls 6813, 6833 cooperate to funnel corresponding staple tips toward the lateral center of each cup 6810, 6830. An inflection surface, or bottom surface, 6814, 6834 extends along the lateral center of each respective cup 6810, 6830 intermediate the respective sidewalls 6813, 6833.
  • Referring still to FIG. 62, the forming surfaces of the cups 6810, 6830 comprise an entry zone forming surface 6811, 6831, respectively, and an exit zone forming surface 6812, 6832, respectively. The entry zone forming surfaces 6811, 6831 can coincide with less aggressive channeling portions of the sidewalls 6813, 6833. Similarly, the exit zone forming surfaces 6812, 6832 can coincide with more aggressive channeling portions of the sidewalls 6813, 6833.
  • Referring primarily now to FIG. 63, the forming surfaces of each cup 6810, 6830 are defined by a depth profile or contour. The proximal forming cup 6810 includes the depth profile 6822, and the distal forming cup 6830 includes the depth profile 6842. The depth profiles 6822, 6842 define the depth of the cups 6810, 6830, respectively, along the length thereof. The cups 6810, 6830 reach a maximum cup depth CD within their respective transition zone 6809, 6829, which are further described below. The cup depth CD of the pockets 6810, 6830 can be between 0.4 and 0.6 millimeters, for example. For instance, the cup depth CD can be 0.5 millimeters. In other instances, the cup depth CD can be less than 0.4 millimeters or more than 0.6 millimeters.
  • The depth profiles 6822, 6842 are curved profiles which are devoid of linear portions. Moreover, the depth profiles 6822, 6842 can comprise one or more radii of curvature. In this instance, the depth profiles 6822, 6842 include more than one radius of curvature. Specifically, the depth profile 6822 of the proximal forming cup 6810 comprises an entry radius of curvature 6817 corresponding to the entry zone forming surface 6811 and an exit radius of curvature 6818 corresponding to the exit zone forming surface 6812. Similarly, the depth profile 6842 of the distal forming cup 6830 comprises an entry radius of curvature 6837 corresponding to the entry zone forming surface 6831 and an exit radius of curvature 6838 corresponding to the exit zone forming surface 6832. In this instance, the entry radii of curvature 6817, 6837 are larger than the exit radii of curvature 6818, 6838. Specific relationships between the entry and exit radii of curvature and various pocket features along with some potential advantages and patterns of the specific relationships are further described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/385,914.
  • The outer longitudinal edges of each cup 6810, 6830 are referred to as entry edges because they define the beginning of the entry zone forming surfaces 6811, 6831. The entry edges comprise an entry width which is the largest width of the forming surfaces of each cup 6810, 6830. The inner edges of each cup 6810, 6830 are referred to as exit edges because they define the end of the exit zone forming surfaces 6812, 6832. The exit edges comprise an exit width, also referred to as the bridge width BW (FIG. 67) which is the narrowest section of the forming surfaces of each cup 6810, 6830. A transition zone 6809, 6829 is positioned intermediate the entry zone and exit zone of each cup. The transition zones 6809, 6829 have a transition width which is less than the entry width but greater than the exit width. The transition zones 6809, 6829 include an inflection portion of the respective depth profiles 6822, 6842 and, thus, include the deepest portion of each cup 6810, 6830. In various instances, the transition zones 6809, 6829 comprise the majority of the length of each cup 6810, 6830. More specifically, the length of the transition zone 6809, 6829 can be greater than the combined length of the respective entry zone and exit zone of each cup 6810, 6830. The transition zones 6809, 6829 can extend along the tapered or narrowing section of each cup 6810, 6830. For example, each transition zone 6809, 6829 can extend inward from the widest section of the respective cup 6810, 6830 toward the bridge 6805.
  • FIG. 66 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming cup 6830 taken along line 66-66 in FIG. 62. This view is taken near the valley, or trough, of the distal forming cup 6830. This valley, or trough, is also the transition between the entry zone forming surface 6831 and the exit zone forming surface 6832. In various instances, the transition between entry and exit zones does not occur at the valley, or trough, of the cup. FIG. 67 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the distal forming cup 6830 taken along line 67-67 in FIG. 62 which is located within the exit zone forming surface 6832 of the forming cup 6830. FIG. 64 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming cup 6830 taken along line 64-64 in FIG. 62, and FIG. 65 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming cup 6830 taken along line 65-65 in FIG. 62, which are both within the entry zone forming surface 6832 of the distal forming cup 6830.
  • Referring primarily to FIGS. 64-67, the pair of cup sidewalls 6833 of the distal forming cup 6830 includes a first sidewall 6833 a and a second sidewall 6833 b. The first and second sidewalls 6833 a, 6833 b are opposing sidewalls which extend toward each other from laterally-opposed sides of the distal forming cup 6830. The inflection surface, or bottom surface, 6834 of the distal forming cup 6830 is positioned between the first and second sidewalls 6833 a, 6833 b. The bottom surface 6834 of the distal forming cup 6830 is an entirely-curved, non-flat surface. In other words, the bottom surface 6834 is devoid of flat, planar surfaces. The bottom surface 6834 can define one or more radii of curvature. For example, at various longitudinal positions along the pocket axis 6803, the bottom surface 6834 defines different radii of curvature. A tangent to the bottom surface 6834 at the lateral center of the cup 6830 is parallel to the planar surface 6807 along the length thereof.
  • In various instances, the curvature of the bottom surface 6834 can be dimensioned such that the staple leg does not travel along a flat surface during the staple forming process. In such instances, the bottom surface 6843 can encourage staples to form into a more planar formed configuration than staples formed with flat bottom surfaces, especially when the staples are misaligned with the pocket axis 6803 during formation. The curvature of the bottom surface 6843 can be dimensioned such that the bottom surface 6843 provides a plurality of contact surfaces for the staple leg. For example, the radius of curvature of the bottom surface 6834 can be less than the radius of curvature of the staple leg.
  • The cup sidewalls 6813, 6833 are entirely-curved, non-flat surfaces. In other words, the cup sidewalls 6813, 6833 are devoid of flat, planar surfaces. The sidewalls 6833 a, 6833 b define one or more radii of curvature. For example, at various longitudinal positions along the pocket axis 6803, the sidewalls 6833 a, 6833 b define different radii of curvature. The entirely-curved contours of the cup sidewalls 6813, 6833 and the bottom surface 6834 can define curvilinear boundary surfaces of the cups 6810, 6830. The cups 6813, 6833 can be entirely-curved and devoid of flat, planar surfaces.
  • The sidewalls 6833 a, 6833 b are oriented at an entry angle θ2 relative to the tissue-contacting surface 6807 at various transverse cross-sections of the distal forming cup 6830. More specifically, a tangent T to each sidewall 6833 a, 6833 b at the perimeter 6820 of the distal forming cup 6830 is oriented at the angle θ2 relative to the tissue-contacting surface 6807 in FIGS. 64-67. The entry angle θ2 is constant within the transition forming surface zone 6829 (FIGS. 62 and 64) and along the majority of the length of the distal forming cup 6830. In various instances, the angle θ2 can be between 55 degrees and 80 degrees, for example. For instance, in FIGS. 64-67, the angle θ2 is 80 degrees. In other instances, the angle θ2 can be less than 55 degrees or more than 80 degrees. The sidewalls 6833 a, 6833 b are non-vertical sidewalls and, thus, the angle θ2 of the tangent T along the perimeter 6820 can be less than 90 degrees, for example.
  • A datum point at the transition between the sidewalls 6833 a, 6833 b and the bottom surface 6834 is indicated for illustrative purposes in FIGS. 64-67. For example, the curved boundary surface of the distal forming cup 6830 includes a datum point A at the transition between the sidewall 6833 a and the bottom surface 6834. At each longitudinal position along the cup 6530, the first sidewall 6833 a and the second sidewall 6833 b define a sidewall radius of curvature 6843 and the bottom surface 6834 defines a bottom radius of curvature 6844. The bottom radius of curvature 6844 can be different than the sidewall radius of curvature 6843. The transition between radii of curvature at the datum point A comprises a smooth, non-abrupt transition.
  • A datum line B is also depicted in FIGS. 64-67 for illustrative purposes. The datum line B extends between the first datum point A and the perimeter 6820 of the distal forming cup 6830. The datum line B is oriented at an angle θ3 in FIGS. 64-67. The angle θ3 changes along the length of the distal forming cup 6830. In various instances, the angle θ3 can be less than the angle θ2 along the length of the distal forming cup 6830. The angle θ3 can increase then decrease as the sidewalls 6833 a, 6833 b extend inward toward the center C. For example, the angle θ3 can increase from the entry edge of the cup 6830 toward the transition zone 6829, remain constant within the transition zone 6829, and decrease from the transition zone 6829 toward the exit edges of the cup 6830. In the depicted embodiment, the angle θ3 is 45 degrees in FIG. 64, the angle θ3′ is 55 degrees in FIG. 65, the angle θ3″ is 70 degrees in FIG. 66, and the angle θ3′″ is 55 degrees in FIG. 67, for example. Though the angles θ2 and θ3 are constant within the transition zone 6829 of the distal forming cup 6830, the radius of curvature and the length of the arcs defining the sidewalls 6833 a, 6833 b varies as the depth and width of the distal forming cup 6830 varies along the length thereof.
  • The angle θ2 relative to a tissue-contacting surface can comprise a relatively steep angle. For example, the angle θ2 can be greater than the variable angle θ3. The steepness of the angle θ2 can encourage the staple to form along the pocket axis. A constant angle θ2 can encourage a misaligned staple leg to move from the perimeter toward the lateral center of the cup. In various instances, the angle θ2 can be constant and steep within the exit zone, which can improve staple formation quality. Additionally or alternatively, the angle θ2 can be constant in the transition zone. As described herein, the depth of the pocket can vary along the length thereof. However, maintaining a constant angle θ2 can encourage a misaligned staple leg to move from the perimeter toward the lateral center of the cup even in shallower regions of the cup. Furthermore, the maximum cup depth CD in certain anvils can vary between pockets in the anvil. For example, different depths can be utilized to form staples to different heights and/or to form staples driven by drivers having different heights, as further described herein. In such instances, a constant angle θ2 can encourage the staples formed by the shallower pockets to form along the pocket axis.
  • In certain instances, an anvil for a surgical end effector can include staple forming pockets of different depths. For example, the depth of staple forming pockets can vary between rows of forming pockets and/or longitudinally along the length of a row of forming pockets. Such depth differences can be selected to accommodate variations in the displacement of staple drivers within a staple cartridge during a staple firing stroke, variations in the overdrive distance of the fired staples, and/or the position of the anvil relative to the staple cartridge. Additionally or alternatively, depth differences between staple forming pockets can correspond to different tissue gaps between stepped tissue compression surfaces on the anvil and/or a staple cartridge. For example, to form staples to the same formed height when the staples are driven by drivers having different lift lengths that result in different amounts of staple overdrive, a depth difference between staple forming pockets can be selected that corresponds to the different stroke lengths and the different amounts of staple overdrive. In other instances, different depth staple forming pockets in an anvil can be selected to form staples to different formed heights, which may be desirable in certain instances to vary the compression of stapled tissue and/or to accommodate for variations in tissue thickness.
  • FIG. 67A is a partial negative view of various slices of a forming pocket of the forming pocket arrangement 6800. The dimensions of the various slices are labeled thereon. The slices are of only a single sidewall of the forming pocket and are taken in planes along the forming pocket which are perpendicular to the tissue-contacting surface 6807 and the pocket axis 6803. Each slice comprises a width “x”, a height “y”, an upper radius of curvature “ra”, and a lower radius of curvature “rb”. The width “x” is defined as the x-component of the distance between the perimeter 6820 of the forming pocket and the bottom radius of curvature 6844 of the forming pocket. The height “y” is defined as the y-component of the distance between the perimeter 6820 of the forming pocket and the bottom radius of curvature 6844 of the forming pocket. The upper radius of curvature “ra” is defined as the radius of curvature of an upper portion of the sidewall. The lower radius of curvature “rb” is defined as the radius of curvature of an lower portion of the sidewall. Each dimension includes a number indicating which slice the dimension corresponds to. For example, Slice 1 includes a width “x1”, a height “y1”, an upper radius of curvature “ra1”, and a lower radius of curvature “rb1”. FIG. 67B is a table 6850 comprising the dimensions of the Slices 1-12 of FIG. 67A, in at least one embodiment.
  • FIG. 67C is a cross-sectional view of the forming pocket arrangement 6800 taken along the pocket axis 6803. FIG. 67C includes various dimensions of the distal forming pocket 6830 of forming pocket arrangement 6800. The length of the forming pocket 6830 is 1.90 mm, for example. The depth of the forming pocket 6830 is 0.50 mm, for example. In certain instances, the distal forming pocket 6830 comprises three radii of curvature: an entry radius of curvature which is 1.40 mm, a first exit radius of curvature which is 0.80 mm, and a second exit radius of curvature which is 0.10 mm, for example. The width of the bridge portion of the distal forming pocket 6830 is defined, in this instance, as the distance between the center of the forming pocket arrangement 6800 and the inner-most edge of the first exit radius of curvature (the edge of the first exit radius of curvature closest to the center of the forming pocket arrangement 6800) is 0.10 mm, for example. The bridge depth is 0.15 mm, for example.
  • Referring now to FIG. 70, a surgical end effector 7000 comprising an anvil 7001 and a staple cartridge 7060 having a plurality of staples 7080 is depicted. The end effector 7000 is in a closed, or clamped, position. More specifically, the anvil 7001 can be pivoted relative to the staple cartridge 7060 to move the end effector 7000 to the closed position and clamp tissue between the anvil 7001 and the staple cartridge 7060. In other instances, the anvil 7001 can be fixed and the staple cartridge 7060 can pivot relative to the anvil 7001 to move the end effector 7000 to the closed position and, in still other instances, both the anvil 7001 and the staple cartridge 7060 can be configured to pivot to move the end effector 7000 toward the closed position.
  • In the closed position, a uniform tissue gap TG is defined between the staple cartridge 7060 and the anvil 7001. In other words, the tissue gap TG is constant laterally across the end effector 7000. The staple cartridge 7060 includes a planar, or substantially flat, tissue compression surface, or deck, 7062, and the anvil 7001 also includes a planar, or substantially flat, tissue compression surface 7007. Neither the deck 7062 of the staple cartridge 7060 nor the tissue compression surface 7007 of the anvil 7001 includes a stepped surface having longitudinal steps between adjacent longitudinal portions. In other instances, as described herein, the deck of a staple cartridge and/or the tissue compression surface of an anvil can include a stepped profile.
  • The staple cartridge 7060 includes a staple cartridge body 7064 having a longitudinal slot 7065 and a plurality of staple cavities 7066 defined therein. The slot 7065 extends along a central, longitudinal axis of the staple cartridge 7060. Each staple cavity 7066 comprises an opening in the deck 7062. The staple cavities 7066 are arranged in a plurality of longitudinally extending rows 7068 including a first row, or outer row, 7068 a, a second row, or intermediate row, 7068 b, and a third row, or inner row, 7068 c on each side of the slot 7065. In other instances, the staple cartridge 7060 can have fewer than or more than six rows of staple cavities 7066. For example, a staple cartridge can have two staple cavity rows on each side of the longitudinal slot 7065.
  • A staple 7080 is removably stored in each staple cavity 7066, and each staple 7080 is supported by a staple driver 7070. In various instances, a staple driver 7070 can support and fire more than one staple 7080. For example, a driver may be configured to simultaneously fire staples from adjacent rows of staple cavities in a staple cartridge. The deck 7062 includes cavity extenders 7061 that protrude from the deck 7062 toward the tissue compression surface 7007 of the anvil 7001. The cavity extenders 7061 are positioned around at least a portion of the staple cavities 7066 and can guide the staples 7080 above the deck 7062. The cavities extenders 7061 can also be configured to engage or grip tissue and/or support the staples 7080 and/or the drivers 7070 during firing. In other instances, the deck 7062 can be devoid of cavity extenders and can comprise a smooth tissue-contacting surface, for example.
  • The staples 7080 in FIG. 70 are depicted in a formed configuration in which the staples 7080 fired from the cavities 7066 across the rows 7068 a, 7068 b, 7068 c on both sides of the slot 7065 have been formed to the same height H. Forming staples to a uniform height can tightly cinch the tissue and reduce bleeding therefrom.
  • The drivers 7070 are movably positioned in the cavities 7066. During a firing stroke, a firing member is configured to lift the drivers 7070 toward the anvil 7001, which drives the staples 7080 supported on the drivers 7070 into forming engagement with the anvil 7001. Each staple 7080 is driven into forming contact with a staple forming pocket arrangement 7002, 7004 defined in the planar surface 7007 of the anvil 7001. The staple forming pocket arrangements 7002, 7004 are arranged in a plurality of longitudinally extending rows 7003 including a first row, or outer row, 7003 a, a second row, or intermediate row, 7003 b, and a third row, or inner row, 7003 c on both lateral sides of the anvil 7001. Each row of staple cavities 7066 is aligned with a row 7003 of staple forming pocket arrangements 7002, 7004. As described with respect to various staple forming pockets arrangements disclosed herein, the staple forming pocket arrangements 7002, 7004 can each include a pair of forming pockets or cups, e.g., a proximal cup and a distal cup, and each cup can be positioned to receive a staple leg when the staple 7080 is driven into forming contact with the anvil 7001.
  • The anvil 7001 includes two different staple forming pocket arrangements. More specifically, the anvil 7001 includes a first staple forming pocket arrangement 7002 comprising a first geometry and a second staple forming pocket arrangement 7004 comprising a second geometry. The first staple forming pocket arrangements 7002 are aligned with the outermost row 7068 a of staple cavities 7066 on both sides of the slot 7065, and the second staple forming pocket arrangements 7004 are aligned with the rows 7068 b, 7068 c of staple cavities 7066 on both sides of the slot 7065. The cups of the first staple forming pocket arrangement 7002 define a cup depth CD1 relative to the anvil planar surface 7007 and the cups of the second staple forming pocket arrangement 7004 define a cup depth CD2 relative to the anvil planar surface 7007. The cup depth CD1 of the outer staple forming pocket arrangements 7002 is greater than the cup depth CD2 of the inner staple forming pocket arrangements 7004. As a result, the deeper staple forming pockets of the first arrangement 7002 are positioned laterally outboard of the shallower staple forming pockets of the second arrangement 7004, although any suitable arrangement can be used.
  • In various instances, the first staple forming pocket arrangements 7002 can be the same as or similar to the staple forming pocket arrangement 6800 (FIGS. 61-67) and the second staple forming pocket arrangements 7004 can be the same as or similar to the staple forming pocket arrangement 6600 (FIGS. 55-61). Though the depth of the cups is different between the first forming pocket arrangement 7002 and the second forming pocket arrangement 7004, the sidewalls of the cups can intersect the planar surface 7007 at the same angle, i.e., a tangent to the sidewalls can be maintained at constant entry angle, along the length of the cups in each arrangement 7002, 7004 or at least along the majority of the length of the cups in each arrangement 7002, 7004. As described herein, a steep constant angle sidewall is configured to facilitate planar formation of the staples 7080, including staples that are misaligned with the central axis of the arrangement 7002, 7004.
  • In the fired position depicted in FIG. 70, the staples 7080 have been overdriven with respect to the staple cartridge body 7064. More specifically, the staple-supporting surface of each driver 7070 has been driven past the staple cartridge body 7064 such that the staples 7080 are completely removed from the cartridge body 7064 during firing. When overdriven, the cradle, or bottommost surface, of each staple 7080 is positioned above the deck 7062 and/or above the cavity extenders 7061 protruding from the deck 7062. The overdrive feature of the drivers 7070 can be configured to fully eject the fired staples 7080 from the staple cartridge 7060 and to facilitate the release of stapled tissue from the end effector 7000, for example. Stated another way, the overdrive feature of the drivers 7070 can push the tissue away from the deck 7067
  • In various instances, different staples can be overdriven by different amounts. For example, the staples 7080 fired from the outer rows 7068 a of staple cavities 7066 are overdriven a first distance D1 relative to the deck surface 7062 and the staples 7080 fired from the intermediate and inner rows 7068 b, 7068 c of staple cavities 7066 are overdriven a second distance D2 relative to the deck surface 7062. The distances D1 and D2 in FIG. 70 are the distances between the cradle of the staples 7080 and the planar deck surface 7062. In other instances, the overdrive distance can be measured between the support surfaces of the staple cradles and the uppermost surface of the adjacent cavity extenders 7061.
  • To achieve the different overdrive distances D1 and D2 in FIG. 70, the stroke length of the drivers 7070 can be different. For example, the firing element can be configured to lift the drivers 7070 supporting staples 7080 in the outer rows 7068 a a first distance and the drivers 7070 supporting the staples 7080 in the inner rows 7068 b, 7068 c a second distance. In certain instances, the geometry of the sled can be selected to control the different stroke lengths of the drivers 7070. Additionally or alternatively, the geometry of the drivers 7070, such as the driver's height, for example, can be selected to control the different overdrive distances.
  • For each formed staple 7080 in FIG. 70, the sum of the tissue gap and the cup depth is equal to the sum of the overdrive distance and the staple height. For example:

  • TG+CD1 =D 1 +H;

  • and

  • TG+CD2 =D 2 +H.
  • Stated differently, for each formed staple, the height of the staple H equals the tissue gap TG plus the cup depth CD minus the overdrive distance D.

  • H=TG+CD1 −D 1;

  • and

  • H=TG+CD2 −D 2.
  • In instances in which the height of the staple H and the tissue gap TG are constant laterally across the end effector 7000, as depicted in FIG. 70, the different cup depths correspond to different overdrive distances. For example, to ensure the anvil 7001 is compatible with the staple cartridge 7060, the staple forming pocket arrangements 7002, 7004 and cup depths CD1, CD2 thereof can be selected to accommodate the different overdrive distances D1, D2. For example, the difference between the cup depth CD1 and the cup depth CD2 can be configured to accommodate the difference in overdrive distances D1 and D2:

  • CD1−CD2 =D 1 −D 2.
  • More specifically, if the difference between the overdrive distances D1 and D2 is 0.38 millimeters, for example, the difference between the cup depths CD1 and CD2 can also be 0.38 millimeters. In certain instances, the difference in overdrive distances and cup depths can be between 0.2 millimeters and 1 millimeter, for example. The corresponding difference between the overdrive distances D1 and D2 and the cup depths CD1 and CD2 is configured to form the staples 7080 to the same formed height H laterally across the end effector 7000. Regardless of the cup depth, the sidewalls of the cups can be designed to intersect the tissue compression surface 7007 of the anvil 7001 at a constant angle to encourage the planar formation of the staples 7080, including misaligned staples, as further described herein.
  • In certain instances, surgical instruments and/or subassemblies thereof can be modular. Different types of staple cartridges can be compatible with more than one anvil and/or different types of anvils can be compatible with more than one staple cartridge. For example, the staple cartridge 7060, which is compatible with the anvil 7001 having a flat tissue compression surface 7007 (see, e.g. FIG. 70) can also be compatible with a stepped anvil. An end effector that includes the staple cartridge 7060 and a compatible stepped anvil can define a laterally variable tissue gap TG; however, such an end effector can still be configured to form staples to a constant formed height. In such instances, the different overdrive distances D1 and D2 can correspond to different heights of an anvil's stepped tissue compression surface.
  • Referring now to FIG. 71, an end effector 7100 is depicted with the staple cartridge 7060 and an anvil 7101. The end effector 7100 is in a closed or clamped position. In use, the anvil 7101 can be pivoted relative to the staple cartridge 7060 to move the end effector 7100 to the closed position and clamp tissue between the anvil 7101 and the staple cartridge 7060. In other instances, the anvil 7101 can be fixed and the staple cartridge 7060 can pivot relative to the anvil 7101 to move the end effector 7100 to the closed position and, in still other instances, both the anvil 7101 and the staple cartridge 7060 can be configured to pivot the end effector 7100 toward the closed position.
  • The anvil 7101 includes a stepped tissue compression surface 7107 having longitudinal steps between adjacent longitudinal portions. More specifically, the anvil 7101 includes a plurality of longitudinal portions 7110 including a first portion, or outer portion, 7110 a and a second portion, or inner portion, 7110 b on each lateral side of the anvil 7101. A step 7112 is positioned between the outer portion 7100