WO1997009936A1 - Composite slotted cannula and dissector for the implementation of endoscopic surgical procedures - Google Patents

Composite slotted cannula and dissector for the implementation of endoscopic surgical procedures Download PDF

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Publication number
WO1997009936A1
WO1997009936A1 PCT/US1996/014710 US9614710W WO9709936A1 WO 1997009936 A1 WO1997009936 A1 WO 1997009936A1 US 9614710 W US9614710 W US 9614710W WO 9709936 A1 WO9709936 A1 WO 9709936A1
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WO
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Prior art keywords
guide member
composite
means
surgical instrument
viewing means
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PCT/US1996/014710
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French (fr)
Inventor
M. Ather Mirza
Original Assignee
Mirza M Ather
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B17/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets
    • A61B17/32Surgical cutting instruments
    • A61B17/320016Endoscopic cutting instruments, e.g. arthroscopes, resectoscopes
    • A61B17/320036Endoscopic cutting instruments, e.g. arthroscopes, resectoscopes adapted for use within the carpal tunnel

Abstract

This invention concerns methods of implementing an endoscopic surgical procedure on a patient, and more particularly a technique of performing endoscopic surgical procedures (Fig. 1) including such as uni-portal plantar fascia release, lateral release for patella realignment, release of the posterior and other compartments of the leg, forearm fascial release for fascial compartment syndrome, and uni-portal palmar sub-ligamentous endoscopic carpal tunnel release. Also provided in an endoscopic surgical instrument (10) in the form of a composite integrally constructed slotted cannula (24) and dissector (40) which is adapted to be employed in the implementation of the foregoing method of endoscopically effecting the above referenced surgical procedures.

Description

COMPOSITE SLOTTED CANNULA AND DISSECTOR FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ENDOSCOPIC SURGICAL PROCEDURES

The present invention relates to methods of implementing an endoscopic surgical procedure on a patient, and more particularly, is directed to a novel and unique technique of performing endoscopic surgical procedures including such as uniportal plantar fascia release, lateral release for patella realignment, release of the posterior and other compartments of the leg, forearm fascial release for fascial compartment syndrome, and uniportal palmar subligmentous endoscopic carpal tunnel release. Moreover, the invention is also particularly directed to the provision of a unique endoscopic surgical instrument in the form of a composite integrally-constructed slotted cannula and dissector which is adapted to be employed in the implementation of the foregoing method of endoscopically effecting the above-referenced surgical procedures. in particular, although initially described herein as being directed to a method of implementing an endoscopic surgical procedure to effect carpal tunnel release, as mentioned, numerous other surgical procedures may be readily implemented employing the inventive composite cannula and dissector as detailed hereinbelow.

Basically, an improved surgical method and endoscopic instrument are disclosed and directed to the implementation of endoscopic carpal tunnel release, as set forth in applicant's U.S. Patent No. 5,366,465, issued November 22, 1994, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a numbness in the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers resulting from pressure being exerted on the median nerve inside the carpal tunnel, interfering with the function of such median nerve. This may readily manifest itself as a pain radiating as far as the shoulders and neck of the patient, resulting in impaired grasping ability by the hand and loss of sleep. This physical phenomenon is the result of repetitive work and motions being carried out with the hand over lengthy periods of time, and is experienced by more ever younger people.

In essence, the carpal tunnel is formed by an arch of the eight wrist bones, spanned on its palmar surface by the transverse carpal ligament, the flexor retinaculum. The carpal tunnel functions as a large mechanical pulley to provide the appropriate moment arms for the digital flexor tendons as they pass through the tunnel. The tendons can then transmit force out into the fingers and impart only an appropriate amount of tension to develop torque at the level of the wrist.

Within the carpal tunnel, these tendons are lubricated and nourished by two synovial membranes - the radial and the ulnar bursa. The median nerve also shares the carpal tunnel, then branches out to provide sensory innervation to the palmar surfaces of the thumb, index, long and a portion of the ring finger. In addition, a small motor branch of the median nerve supplies the thenar muscles, which are responsible for lifting the thumb into opposition with the fingers. Currently, a considerable array of methods or surgical techniques, and suitable therewith correlated surgical instruments, are being employed for purposes of implementing surgical procedures in effectuating carpal tunnel release in patients, and are generally designed for particular and highly specialized applications in this medical technology.

The customary procedure in implementing carpal tunnel release has heretofore been the forming of a lengthy incision, up to 8 cm in length across the palm from the wrist to the middle thereof, resulting in an unsightly scar, requiring division of all anatomical structures between the skin and the flexor retinaculum; i.e. the transverse carpal ligament. This created the potential for inadvertently cutting or injuring the palmar cutaneous nerve. Moreover, the patent normally encountered significant postoperative pain and discomfort, weakness of grip and pinch strength because of pillar infraction and the excessively lengthy extent of the incision. Such open surgery not only normally left the patient with a cosmetically unsightly scar extending from the wrist to the center of the palm, as mentioned hereinbefore, but also necessitated a lengthy and painful convalescence for the patient, whereby this convalescent period frequently caused the hand to be incapable of any significant physical work or manipulation for many weeks and even months, thereby effectively rendering the patient incapable of carrying out any meaningful work with the operated on hand and resulting in considerable financial losses being sustained by the patient. Among more recent developments and advances in such surgical procedures, arthroscopic surgery employing the use of endoscopic devices has found widespread application, among others in connection with carpal tunnel release, in that in comparison with earlier customary surgical methods, any incisions necessary for such endoscopic/arthroscopic surgical procedures have been considerably reduced in size, thereby alleviating potential postoperative complications and pain encountered by the patient, while reducing any scarring to cosmetically desirable levels. Among various types of surgical procedures, techniques involving approaches by means of arthroscopic and endoscopic systems to carpal tunnel surgery have been acknowledged as being superior in providing significant advances over earlier so-called open surgical procedures necessitating large incisions. Such endoscopic surgical procedures have found widespread acceptance in effectuating carpal tunnel release for the purpose of alleviating the symptoms in a patient caused by carpal tunnel syndrome, also referred to as tardy median nerve palsy, normally caused by the compression of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel.

More recently, consideration has been given towards extending the scope of the endoscopic surgical procedure to other aspects such as plantar fascia release associated with heel spur syndrome in which a patient encounters severe pain at the bottom of the foot. This aspect, which is caused by the dense fibrous band of tissue which is known as the plantar fascia, is that a disorder of the foot, such as a structural misalignment, can cause an inflammation and result in intense pain in the foot. Although in many instances therapy may remedy the problems which are encountered, at times surgery is necessary in order to alleviate the problems.

These more recent endoscopic surgical approaches to remedying varying types of surgical problems afforded desirable alternatives to such earlier open surgical procedures, and especially when applied to effectuating carpal tunnel release, have found widespread favor with surgeons and patients in comparison with the earlier surgical methods which primarily constituted complex open surgical procedures, and which involved lengthy and painful postoperative convalescent periods.

Among numerous publications which describe recent advances in endoscopic surgical methods and instruments employed in connection therewith, particularly such as may be employable for carpal tunnel release procedures, there may be found the Agee carpal tunnel release system as disclosed in Agee, et al . U. S. Patent Nos. 4,963,147 and 5,089,000, both of which disclose endoscopic surgical instruments and surgical procedures implemented therewith, which when applied to carpal tunnel release through an effective severing of the flexor retinaculum, or transverse carpal ligament, are adapted to provide relief to the patient. However, the instrument and methods developed by Agee, et al . as described in those publications, although superior to open surgery, inhibit readily unobstructed visualization of the surgical site during the sequence of severing the flexor retinaculum and do not provide adequate control in the manipulation of the instrument so as to reduce the inherent danger of damage to surrounding nerves and tissue to an acceptable minimum, and additionally necessitate the forming of two entry portals or incisions in the wrist and hand. Moreover, the endoscopic instruments developed in Agee, et al . are relatively cumbersome and expensive, requiring the surgeon to always use both of his hands, and necessitate the use of a swivel cutting blade construction operable independently of a viewing scope, which does not always provide the appropriate visualization during cutting of the flexor retinaculum so as to potentially present the danger of causing damage to adjacent or contiguously located tissue or nerves relative to the operating site, which could lead to serious and possibly permanent injury to the patient. Another surgical system and instrument providing for an advanced technique over Agee, et al . , which is particularly adapted for carpal tunnel release through the intermediary of an endoscopic surgical procedure is disclosed in Chow U. S. Patent No. 5,029,573. However, in that instance, although setting forth a considerable advance over the methodology disclosed in the Agee, et al . U. S. patents, the surgical procedure employed by Chow requires the formation of two entry and exit portals or incisions, one in the wrist area and one in the palm, and the passage of an endoscopic medical instrument, such as an obturator through a considerable length beneath the subcutaneous areas of the palm of the patient. Again, the necessity for two widely separated incisions or entry portals, and the requirement for inserting a scope from one end of the instrument from one portal and with the instrument extending outwardly from the other portal or incision, while surgically severing or cutting through the flexor retinaculum or transverse carpal ligament from the other portal or incision, engenders a considerable obstruction toward a clear nonproblematic visualization of the operating site during the severing of the transverse carpal ligament and, once again, raises the specter of a potential risk of causing injury to tissue and nerves adjacent the operating site, especially such as to the median nerve, which could lead to serious permanent injury to a patient and possibly require additional corrective surgery necessitating subjecting the entire surgical or operating site to open surgery. Moreover, Agee, et al . and Chow require the surgeon to simultaneously employ both hands during the surgical procedures, thus necessitating the utilization of an unusually high degree of dexterity in manipulating the various components of the endoscopic surgical instruments. Another method of endoscopic surgery and instrument for implementing surgery, particularly for the release of the carpal tunnel, are disclosed in Brown U.S. Patent No. 5,323,765. Although Brown directs the endoscopic surgery towards alleviating the syndrome encountered with the carpal tunnel, as in the previously discussed publications, two separate incisions are required. Moreover, although Brown also briefly mentions the application of the surgery and instrument or apparatus to the treatment of the foot, particularly the plantar fascia, again there is no detailed explanation provided as to the method in which this is accomplished, and apparently this would also necessitate providing a plurality of separate incisions to implement the surgery.

More recently, as described in Mirza U.S. Patent No. 5,366,465, the foregoing limitations and potential drawbacks which are encountered in the previously mentioned prior art publications have been improved upon through a novel method of implementing endoscopic surgical procedures, and a unique and inventive endoscopic surgical instrument developed for accomplishing this purpose, which has proven itself to be especially suited for, but not limited to, the effectuation of carpal tunnel release. In essence, the Mirza patent is directed to the severing of the flexor retinaculum or transverse carpal ligament through an endoscopic surgical procedure in which there is effected, by means of a uniportal or single incision, a palmar subligmentous endoscopic carpal tunnel release technique. This surgical procedure only requires the formation of a single and relatively small entry portal or incision in the palm proximate the distal side of the flexor retinaculum, thereby reducing any postoperative symptoms of the patient with only a cosmetically appealing scar formed on the palm, while eliminating the need for a second portal or incision proximate the wrist of the patient; and concurrently avoiding injury to the palmar arch and branches of the median nerve. Moreover, the endoscopic instrument employed in implementing the surgical method utilizes a cutting device which is mounted on a scope insertable through a cannula which has been initially inserted to extend beneath the flexor retinaculum from the distal side of the flexor retinaculum or transverse carpal ligament, upon the formation of a passage beneath the flexor retinaculum. after hyperextending of the hand, by the preceding insertion and manipulation of a curved dissector.

Thereafter, the dissector is removed and the cannula and an obturator which is contained therein are inserted through the incision into the previously formed passage beneath the flexor retinaculum. The cannula of the surgical instrument has the obturator withdrawn therefrom, and in place of the latter, a scope is inserted into the cannula which enables unhindered and unobstructed visualization of the operating site and of the flexor retinaculum. The scope is then withdrawn from the cannula, and the same scope or another scope with a cutting blade mounted at the leading end thereof inserted into and advanced through the cannula towards the flexor retinaculum. Severing of the latter is then effected by the cutting blade while affording an unhindered view of the operating site through the scope, thereby resultingly dramatically reducing or even completely eliminating the risk of any injury being sustained by tissue and nerves in the vicinity of the operating site; for example, such as the median nerve. This particular unhindered visualization of the operating site also enables the surgeon to exercise an improved degree of control over the possibly single-handed manipulation of the endoscopic instrument and cutting blade.

Although described hereinabove with regard to the effectuation of a carpal tunnel release, the inventive uniportal endoscopic surgical methods and instrument may be also be readily applied to other surgical procedures; for example, such as uniportal plantar fascia release, lateral release for patella realignment, release of the posterior and other compartments of the leg, and forearm fascia release for fascial compartment syndrome.

The foregoing endoscopic surgical methods, particularly the uniportal surgical procedure developed by the Mirza U.S. Patent No. 5,366,465, although providing considerable advantages over the current state of the art, may still be further simplified pursuant to the present invention by providing an improved composite slotted cannula and dissector of unitary or integral construction which eliminates a need for the provision of a separate dissector or a separate obturator, thereby reducing the number of surgical steps in the implementation of the various procedures. A particular aspect of eliminating the separate dissector and obturator heretofore utilized resides also in the composite cannula and dissector which forms the passageway towards the surgical site enabling an improved control during insertion thereof, particularly in the carpal tunnel, and by reducing the surgical steps during the implementation of the procedure renders the entire operation less expensive and of shorter duration, so as to further minimize any potential discomfort to a patient. Pursuant to another aspect of the invention, the endoscopic viewing element which is inserted into the slotted cannula and which has the cutting instrument mounted thereon to perform the surgical procedure, as described in the aforementioned Mirza U.S. patent, may be replaced by an optional rasp member or structure mounted on the endoscopic viewing element so as to be able to pull out a so-called "curtain" of tissue; for example, in a particular procedure employed to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome at the ulnar bursa where the latter attaches to the flexor retinaculum. The rasp element is adapted to scrape the undersurface of the flexor retinaculum and to remove tissue adhering thereto.

The foregoing inventive concept ensures the provision of simple and extremely efficient endoscopic surgical procedures which are particularly adapted, in conjunction with the use of the novel endoscopic instrument, the latter of which comprises a novel unitary or integrally-constructed composite cannula and dissector which eliminates the need for a separate dissector and obturator, thereby reducing the steps employed in the implementation of a carpal tunnel release through the severing of the flexor retinaculum while producing minimal or no postoperative pain and discomfort in the patient, with a shortened convalescent period and with the formation only of a small cosmetically attractive scar on the palm of the patient's hand. This aspect is also readily applicable to the endoscopic surgical procedures described with regard to the uniportal plantar fascia release, lateral release for patella realignment, release of the posterior and other compartments of the leg, and the forearm fascial release for fascial compartment syndrome as described hereinbelow.

Accordingly, the present invention is directed to a novel and unique method of implementing an endoscopic surgical procedure through a uniportal entry to an operating site by a novel endoscopic surgical instrument .

The present invention is further directed to an endoscopic surgical instrument comprising a unigue composite slotted cannula and dissector with a novel scope-mounted cutting or blade element for implementing the endoscopic surgical procedure pursuant to the invention. Still further, the present invention is directed to an endoscopic surgical instrument comprising a composite integral unitary slotted cannula and dissector enabling the elimination of the need for the provision of a separate dissector and a separate obturator which will reduce the number of steps in implementing an endoscopic surgical procedure of the type described.

Still even further, the present invention is directed to an endoscopic surgical instrument of the type described, in which a scope which is adapted to be advanced through the composite slotted cannula and dissector located beneath the flexor retinaculum has a cutting device mounted thereon to enable severing of the flexor retinaculum while being able to afford the surgeon an unobstructed visualization of the operating site, and avoiding damage or injury to the palmar arch and branches of the median nerve.

The present invention is also directed to uniportal endoscopic surgical methods employing the unique composite slotted cannula and dissector structure which to a considerable extent will reduce the number of surgical steps and time required in implementing a surgical procedure. The present invention is further directed to a novel uniportal endoscopic surgical method which may be readily applied to various types of surgical procedures in addition to the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Reference may now be had to the following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the endoscopic surgical instrument constructed pursuant to the invention, and to a surgical procedure for the effectuation of carpal ligament or tunnel release on a patient by a transverse severing of the flexor retinaculum, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings; in which:

Figure 1 illustrates a generally perspective view of the hand of a patient in a hyperextended position during a surgical procedure for effecting carpal ligament release, utilizing the endoscopic surgical instrument pursuant to the invention; Figure 2 illustrates a longitudinal top view of a composite slotted cannula and dissector of the endoscopic surgical instrument pursuant to the invention;

Figure 3 illustrates a sectional view taken along line 3 - 3 in Fig. 2;

Figure 4 illustrates a longitudinal side view of the endoscopic instrument, partly in section, showing the scope and cutting device mounted on the former being inserted into the slotted composite cannula and dissector;

Figure 5 illustrates a top view of the leading end section of the endoscopic instrument shown in Fig. 4; Figure 6 illustrates, on a somewhat enlarged scale, a sectional view of the encircled portion 'A' of the instrument of Fig. 4 ;

Figure 7 illustrates a longitudinal side view of a scope and cutting device in the form of a blade or rasp mounted thereon prior to the insertion thereof into the composite slotted cannula and dissector;

Figure 8 illustrates a top view of the leading end portion of the scope and cutting device of Fig. 7;

Figure 9 illustrates a fragmentary perspective view, shown on an enlarged scale, of a portion of the slotted composite cannula and dissector showing the optional locating pins;

Figure 10 illustrates the palm portion of the hand of a patient showing the surgical markings applied thereto prior to implementing the incision for the implementation of an endoscopic carpal tunnel releasing surgery;

Figure 11 illustrates a side view of an insert member for the slotted cannula portio of the composite cannula and dissector; and

Figure 12 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 12-12 in Figure 11.

Reverting now in more specific detail to the description of the invention as represented by drawing Figs. 1 through 12, Fig. 1 of the drawings illustrates an endoscopic system 10 employed, by way of example, for the procedure of effectuating the surgical release of a transverse carpal ligament; in essence, the severing of a flexor retinaculum in order to alleviate the symptoms and debilitating effects of carpal tunnel syndrome.

In this instance, the hand of a patient with the endoscopic system 10 is supported on a hand rest 12, which is in the form of a bolster having a curved upper surface 14 between an inclined or sloping surface 16 enabling the lower arm portion of a patient to be supported thereon, and a vertically depending front surface 18 with a strap 20 attached thereto for maintaining the hand of the patient in a hyperextended position in readiness for the endoscopic surgical procedure.

As shown in Fig. 1 of the drawings, the endoscopic instrument 10 which is to be utilized for effectuating the carpal ligament release; in effect, the severing or transverse cutting through of the flexor retinaculum, is shown in the operative position thereof inserted through an incision into the hand of a patient; with the surgical procedure being set forth in more specific detail hereinbelow.

Referring to Figs. 1 through 10 of the drawings, and particularly Figs. 2 through 6, the endoscopic surgical instrument 10 comprises an arthroscope 22 which includes a composite integrally- constructed cannula and dissector 24 having a longitudinal slot 26 formed in the cannula portion 24a and terminating in a closed leading end of the cannula portion 24a in the shape of a dissector 24b, and a knob or flange-like member 25 at the open end thereof, as shown specifically in Figs. 2 and 3 of the drawing. The knob or flange member 25, as shown in the drawings, has a central aperture which is sized and may have a radial slot therein (not shown) to facilitate passage therethrough with sufficient clearance of any scope and cutting element which is to be inserted into and withdrawn from the open rear end of cannula portion 24a and which projects radially outwardly through longitudinal slot 26, as described in detail hereinbelow.

As shown more specifically in Figs. 4 through 6, the endoscopic instrument 10 is illustrated in its condition for cutting through the flexor retinaculum to effectuate carpal tunnel or ligament release.

Hereby, the arthroscope 22 includes a suitable knurled knob 30 having an internal threaded portion 32 in a cylindrical extension 34 and a tapered bore 36 for receiving a tubular knife or cutting blade holder 38. The blade or knife holder 38 is adapted to receive a scope 40 of cylindrical configuration extending therethrough and lock the latter within the blade holder by simply axially displacing the knurled nut 30 through threaded interengagement between the internal thread 32 of the nut and an external thread 42 on the blade holder. This will cause the tapered bore 36 of nut 30 to either compress the slotted portion 44 of the blade holder to clampingly engage the scope 40 or to loosen it so as to enable axial adjustment thereof relative to the blade holder.

A scope 40 in the form of a rod member, in the absence of a blade holder, and which is connected to a video scanner (not shown) is adapted to be inserted into the open end of the cannula 24a and advanced therein towards the closed dissector end 24b thereof for effective visualization of the operative site.

The scope 40, at the leading end thereof is adapted to include a mounting for a cutting element, such as a flat knife blade 50 having a leading cutting edge 52, and with the scope 40 having a suitably configured forward end surface 54 enabling light to be projected against the cutting device so as to illuminate the region of the operating site. The knife blade 50 is adapted to be slid through the cannula* 24 while mounted on the scope 40, after being advanced through the member 25, and with the knife blade 50 being afforded sufficient clearance to be inserted into and withdrawn through the member 25, so as to be slidingly engaged within the longitudinal slot 26 of the cannula 24a during the forward advance thereof and while severing the flexor retinaculum. Moreover, the extent of forward advance of the knife blade 50 in the cannula 24a is readily controlled by adjusting the relative axial positioning of the scope within the tubular blade holder 38 and thereafter clamping the scope within the knife holder through activation of the knurled knob 30.

As shown in Figs. 7 and 8 of the drawings, the cutting blade, or rasp member 50, may also be directly mounted on the holder 38 for the cylindrical scope 40, which has the distal end thereof provided with the external thread 42 which is engageable with the clamping nut 30, and with the slotted end portion 44 adapted to be tightened onto the scope. In order to ensure that the cannula 24 remains in the correctly inserted rotational position during the implementation of the endoscopic surgical procedures, the member 25 of the cannula 24 may be provided with one or more pins 60 of relatively short lengths and thin diameters, which extend in parallel axially spaced relationship with the body of the cannula. These pins 60, or single pin 60, upon the complete insertion of the composite cannula and dissector into the incision will pierce the skin of the patient closely adjacent the incision and ensure that the cannula will not rotate so as to render certain that the slot 26 for receiving the cutting instrument 50 will always be in the proper relationship relative to the tissue which is to be severed or scraped thereby. Moreover, the member 25 may be provided with an internal radial slot extending coaxially with the longitudinal slot 26 in the cannula portion 24a, and which is of a radial length so as to enable passage of the cutting member or knife 50 through the member 25 as the endoscopic element or scope 40 with the cutting member 50 mounted thereon, as shown in Figure 7, is passed through member 25 into the cannula portion 24a.

The inventive endoscopic surgical procedure for effecting carpal tunnel release utilizing the novel uniportal palmar subligmentous endoscopic carpal tunnel release technique, and employing the novel endoscopic surgical instrument 10 is now described hereinbelow, by way of example.

Initially, after the hand is prepped, a regional anesthesia is applied to the hand of the patient which is to be subjected to the operative procedure. Thereafter, two lines are drawn, one transversely across the palm from the distal border of the thumb and another between the middle and ring fingers of the patient. At the point of intersection of the lines, and at a proximity of 1 cm thereto, a 1.5 cm long incision is made in the thenar crease or in a slight ulnar direction. The incision is deepened to expose the palmar fascia through the intermediary of blunt scissors in order to avoid injury to the palmar cutaneous branch of the median nerve . The distal edge of the flexor retinaculum is identified and divided for 5 to 6 mm approximately. Throughout this process, the palmar arch and the median nerve branches are protected. This palmar fascia is then divided longitudinally exposing the flexor retinaculum. The hand is thereafter placed on the hand rest or bolster 12, with the forearm to which a tourniquet has been applied being supported on the inclined surface 16. The wrist is hyperextended in that the hand is positioned palm facing upwardly on the curved surface 14 with the fingers depending forwardly, and then clamped by means of the strap 20 to the bolster.

An insertion member 61, as shown in Figures 11 and 12, consists of an elongate rod member 62 of circular cross-section, and which has a longitudinally extending rib 64 formed therein. One end of the rod member 62 has a manipulating handle or gripping member 66 attached thereto with at leaεt the rod member and its rib 64 being preferably constituted of surgical steel. The transverse cross-sectional configuration of the rod member 62 and rib 64 conforms with the internal cross- section of cannula portion 24a and the slot 26.

In this hyperextended position of the hand, the composite cannula and dissector 24, in which the dissector part 24b has a curved end, and with the insertion member 61 positioned therein so that the leading end thereof contacts the dissector portion 24b, is inserted through the incision and manipulated with handle 66 so as to cause the posterior surface of the flexor retinaculum to be carefully dissected so as to peel the synovial tissue off the flexor retinaculum. Suitable retractors (not shown) maintain the incision in an open spread condition. This enables the open incision or wound to be thoroughly irrigated. The composite cannula and dissector 24 with the insertion member 61 positioned in the cannula portion 24a is advanced into the incision along the path formed as defined by the dissector part 24b into close proximity to the internal surface of the flexor retinaculum. This closeness is enhanced by the curvature imparted to the tip of the dissector 24b.

With the composite cannula and dissector 24 remaining in place beneath the flexor retinaculum. the insertion member 61 is withdrawn, and scope 40 inserted into the cannula portion 24a, whereby the scope 40 (without a cutting blade) facilitates thorough visualization of the posterior surface of the flexor retinaculum. Hereby, it is important to be able to identify the flexor retinaculum endoscopically through the presence of its transversely oriented fibers. In the event that the scope ascertains that there is a presence of some synovial tissue obstructing the visualization of the transverse fibers, a scope mounting a rasp member 50 may be employed to peel or scrape the thin and generally flimsy synovial lining or "curtain" of tissue away from the flexor retinaculum. This procedure must be implemented until such time as the transverse fibers of the flexor retinaculum are clearly viewed endoscopically.

Upon the transverse fibers of the flexor retinaculum being clearly identified, the scope 40 is then withdrawn from the cannula 24a, and another scope 40 having the cutting device, consisting of the blade 50 mounted thereon, is inserted through the cannula 24 and advanced towards the operating site represented by the transverse carpal ligament or flexor retinaculum. The leading end 54 of the scope 40 on which the cutting blade 50 is mounted is configured to enable projection of illuminating light against the blade 50 and the surrounding regions of the operating site so as to constantly afford direct unobstructed visualization of the operative region during the carpal ligament releasing procedure.

As the scope 40 and the cutting device or blade 50 mounted thereon is advanced, the cutting edge 52 of the latter will divide the flexor retinaculum throughout its transverse width while being maintained under endoscopic visualization. Upon completion of the severing of the flexor retinaculum, the scope 40 and the thereon mounted cutting blade 50 are withdrawn from the cannula, and a scope 40 without a cutting device thereon is reinserted into the cannula portion 24a to provide for a viewing of the cut edges of the flexor retinaculum so as to ensure the complete division thereof has been accomplished. Once the intactness of the median nerve and surrounding structures have been verified through suitable rotation of the cannula about its longitudinal axis so as to afford a broader overview, the entire endoscopic surgical instrument 10 is withdrawn from the operating site out of the incision.

Prior to closing and suturing the incision, the wound is again inspected by direct visualization of the cut edges of the flexor retinaculum to assess the length and completeness of the division of the flexor retinaculum. The wound is then irrigated and sutured, with a tincture of benzoin applied thereto, thereafter applying a steristrip and the hand placed in a soft fluff dressing. From the foregoing, it becomes readily apparent that the inventive surgical procedure, employing only a uniportal or single incision enables the operation to be implemented much more rapidly than heretofore, while forming only a cosmetically attractive small single scar in the palm, while extensively reducing the postoperative recovering period of the patients. In at least one-third of the patients, no pain was experienced postoperatively, obviating the necessity for any medication; in effect, one-third of the patients did not require medical care.

Moreover, the average length of time postoperatively for being able to gainfully utilize the hand and, thereby to return to work, was approximately 14 days, with executives normally being able to return to work at about 7 days subsequent to the operation, clerical/secretarial staff at approximately 17 days, and workers involved in heavy physical labor at approximately 28 days after surgery. Although the foregoing description has been set forth with regard to the effectuation of carpal tunnel release, the present invention is also particularly directed to other surgical procedures, as follows :

a) Uniportal Plantar Fascia Release

After appropriate anesthesia, a line is drawn three inches distal to the medial malleous in the area which corresponds to a point that is anterior and distal to the plantar fascial insertion. Using a No. 15 blade, a 2 cm vertical incision is made into the soft tissue. Using a blunt dissector, a portion of the medial band of the plantar fascia is identified. Using a channeling device in the form of the inventive composite cannula and dissector 24, with insert member 61 arranged therein, the inferior surface of the plantar fascia is channeled across the plantar fat to the lateral aspect of the foot. Thereafter, insert member 61 is withdrawn, and scope 40 advanced into the cannula portion 24a. Next, with the dorsal slot 26 of the cannula portion 24a looking up into the plantar fascia, using a 4 mm endoscope, the scope 40 is employed to identify the medial, central and lateral bands of the plantar fascia. The purpose is to release the medial band. Once it is made certain that the medial bands are exposed, the scope 40 is removed, and the knife-sleeve or scope combination 40, 50 is reintroduced into the cannula portion 24a, and a division of the plantar fascia medial band is accomplished under endoscopic visualization. The surgeon may also choose to divide the central and lateral band in the same fashion. The scope-knife assembly 40, 50 is then removed from the cannula 24, and the knife 50 is removed off the endoscope. Subse¬ quently, the endoscope 40 or another scope is then reinserted into the cannula 24 to ascertain the division of the plantar fascia. Subsequently, the scope 40 (or reinserted insertion member 61) is removed in conjunction with the composite cannula and dissector 24, followed by wound closure, thus completing the plantar fascia release. b) Release of Posterior Compartment of Leq for Compartment Syndrome

Under appropriate anesthesia, the patient is 5 placed in the lateral decubitus position, following which the thigh is prepped and draped in the usual manner. A small transverse incision 1.5 to 2 cm is made to the medial aspect of the Achilles tendon through which the deep fascia of the leg is identified, and a _0 small transverse incision is made in the deep fascia. The composite cannula and dissector 24 with insert member 61 therein is then introduced underneath the deep fascia to create a pathway as far as the popliteal space and insert member 61 withdrawn and replaced by scope 40 ηc to enable endoscope 40 in the cannula 24a to totally visualize the fascia, assuring no other structure is seen. Subsequently, the scope 40 is removed, and the scope and the knife assembly 40, 50 is then placed in the cannula 24, and division of the fascia is

20 accomplished under endoscopic visualization. The scope and knife assembly 40, 50 is then removed, following which the knife 50 is removed off the scope 40 and the scope 40 or another scope reintroduced into the cannula portion 24a to confirm complete division of fascia. The 5 scope 40 or a reintroduced insert member 61 and composite cannula and dissector 24 are then conjointly removed. The wound is left open and dressed.

A similar procedure may be carried out for the other three compartments of the lower leg, (lateral Q compartment, anterior compartment, and deep posterior

35 1 compartment) as well as the anterior and posterior compartments of the thigh.

c) Forearm Fascial Release for π Fascial Compartment Syndrome

A 1.5 to 2 cm incision is made transversely across the distal crease of the wrist. Subsequently, the deep fascia of the forearm is exposed. Palmaris Q longus, if present, is retracted to the side, and subsequently a small transverse incision is made in the forearm fascia. After making the incision, the composite cannula and dissector 24 with inserted insert member 61 is introduced underneath the fascia to create a pathway, whereby the dissector end 24b is pushed further proximally underneath the deep fascia of the forearm until reaching the most proximal limits of the forearm fascia. The insert member 61 is withdrawn and replaced by the endoscope 40 in the cannula portion 24a, o an< which is employed to visualize the fascia of the forearm by the arrangement of its fibers making sure that no other structures are seen. Once this is done, the scope 40 is removed and special knife-sleeve or blade assembly 50 is slid over the scope 40 which is then introduced into the cannula portion 24a and under endoscopic visualization, complete division of the deep fascia of the forearm is accomplished. After this is completed, the scope and the knife assembly 40,50 is removed and the knife-sleeve assembly 50 is removed off Q the scope 40 and the scope 40 or another scope reintroduced into the cannula portion 24a to confirm

5 complete division of the fascia. The procedure at this point is completed, the scope 40 or a reintroduced insert member 61 and composite cannula and dissector 24 conjointly removed. The incision at the wrist is left open. If at this point, there is a feeling that there is also present an associated compression on the median nerve, a carpal tunnel release can be performed in the manner as described hereinabove.

) Lateral Release for Patella Realignment

The thigh is prepped and draped in the usual manner; subsequently, the appropriate anesthesia is administered. A 1.5 to 2 cm incision is transversely made in the area lateral to the patella and deepened to expose the fascia. The fascia is identified and then divided transversely 1 cm and thereafter the composite cannula and dissector 24 with insert member 61 arranged in cannula portion 24a introduced to separate the fascia from the underlying layers, and to form a pathway created by the dissector end 24b. The insert member 61 is then withdrawn and scope 40, which may be a 4 mm endoscope 40, inserted so as to be employed to completely visualize the fascia. The scope 40 is then removed from the cannula portion 24a. The sleeve and knife assembly with the scope 40, 50 is introduced into the cannula portion 24a. The lateral retinaculum is divided under endoscopic visualization for a distance of 4 to 6 inches. Subsequently, the knife and endoscope assembly 40, 50 is removed and the knife 50 removed from the scope 40, and the scope or another scope 40 reintroduced into the cannula 24 for a total visualization of the division of the fascia, and thereafter, or a reintroduced insert member 61, conjointly removed with the composite cannula and dissector 24. The wound is then closed. Quite apparently, by only slightly modifying the lengths and diameters of the inventive instrument, it is possible to customize, within the scope of the invention, the instrument so as to be adapted for numerous uniportal endoscopic surgical procedures of the type described and claimed herein.

While there has been shown and described what are considered to be preferred embodiments of the invention, it will, of course, be understood that various modifications and changes in form or detail could readily be made without departing from the spirit of the invention. It is, therefore, intended that the invention be not limited to the exact form and detail herein shown and described, nor to anything less than the whole of the invention herein disclosed as hereinafter claimed.

Claims

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A method of implementing an endoscopic surgical procedure at a selected operative site on a patient; comprising the steps of: making an incision on said patient at a locale proximate said operative site to establish an entry portal; inserting insert means into a longitudinal bore of an elongate composite integral cannular guide member and dissector having an open proximal and a closed distal end forming said dissector and an open slot extending along a portion of the length thereof communicating with said open end and closed distal end, said insert means being slidably receivable within said cannular guide member and being configured so that at least portions thereof conform with said open slot of the cannular guide member to form a smooth exterior surface in conjunction therewith; introducing a leading end of the composite cannular guide member and dissector and the therein inserted insert means into said entry portal and advancing said combination a predetermined distance relative to said operative site, withdrawing said insert means and inserting endoscopic viewing means into said cannular guide member to enable said endoscopic viewing means to facilitate direct visualization of said operative site and the positioning of said composite cannular guide member and dissector relative to said site; withdrawing said endoscopic viewing means while permitting said composite cannular guide member and dissector to remain in place at said operative site;
mounting a surgical instrument on further endoscopic viewing means proximate the leading end of said further endoscopic viewing means; inserting said composite further endoscopic viewing means and surgical instrument into said composite cannular guide member and dissector such that the surgical instrument protrudes into the open slot in said cannular guide member, and advancing said composite further endoscopic viewing means and surgical instrument so as to contact tissue at said operative site with said surgical instrument; operatively engaging said tissue with said surgical instrument while advancing the latter under direct visualization through said further endoscopic viewing means so as to perform a desired operative procedure on said tissue; withdrawing said further composite further endoscopic viewing means and surgical instrument from said composite cannular guide member and dissector; and withdrawing said composite cannular guide member and dissector through said entry portal and suturing said incision.
2. A method as claimed in Claim 1, wherein said surgical procedure is a uniportal palmar subligmentous carpal tunnel release, wherein an incision forming said entry portal comprises cutting skin, subcutaneous tissue and fascia is located proximate one edge of the transverse carpal ligament, said combination of endoscopic viewing means and composite cannular guide member and dissector being inserted through said incision and advanced beneath said transverse carpal ligament towards the opposite edge thereof and in close surface proximity therewith.
3. A method as claimed in Claim 2, wherein said surgical instrument comprises cutting means adapted to sever said transverse carpal ligament so as to provide for a carpal tunnel release.
4. A method as claimed in Claim 2, wherein said surgical instrument comprises a rasp member for scraping tissue proximate said surgical site.
5. A method of implementing a uniportal endoscopic surgical procedure to effectuate a plantar fascia release on the foot of a patient; comprising the steps of : drawing a line distal to the medial malleous in an area which corresponds to a point which is anterior and distal to the plantar fascial insertion; making an incision into the soft tissue on said patient at a locale proximate said operative site to establish an entry portal; inserting insertion means into a longitudinal bore of an elongate composite integral cannular guide member and dissector having an open proximal and a closed distal end forming said dissector and an open slot extending along a portion of the length thereof communicating with said open end and said closed end, said insertion means being slidably receivable within said cannular guide member and being configured so that at least portions thereof conform with said open slot of the cannular guide member to form a smooth exterior surface in combination therewith; identifying a portion of the medial band of the plantar fascia and introducing a leading end of the combination of said composite cannular guide member and dissector and the therein inserted insertion means into said entry portal and advancing said combination a predetermined distance relative to said operative site for channeling the inferior surface of the plantar fascia across the plantar fat to the lateral aspect of the foot, withdrawing said insertion means and inserting endoscopic viewing means into said cannular guide member enabling said endoscopic viewing means to facilitate direct visualization of the medial, central and lateral bands of the plantar fascia and the positioning of said guide member relative to said site; withdrawing said endoscopic viewing means from said composite cannular guide member and dissector; mounting a surgical instrument on further endoscopic viewing means proximate the leading end of said further viewing means; inserting said composite further endoscopic viewing means and surgical instrument into said cannular guide member such that the surgical instrument protrudes into the open slot in said cannular guide member, and advancing said composite endoscopic viewing means and surgical instrument so as to contact tissue at said operative site with said surgical instrument; operatively engaging said tissue with said surgical instrument while advancing the latter under direct visualization through said further endoscopic viewing means so as to release at least the medial band of the plantar fascia; withdrawing said composite further endoscopic viewing means and surgical instrument from said cannular guide member; and withdrawing said composite cannular guide member and dissector through said entry portal and suturing said incision.
6. A method as claimed in Claim 5, wherein said surgical procedure includes selectively releasing the central and lateral bands of the plantar fascia.
7. A method of implementing a uniportal endoscopic surgical procedure on a patient to effectuate release of at least the posterior compartment of the leg; comprising the steps of: making an incision on said patient transversely to the medial aspect of the Achilles tendon to identify the deep fascia of the leg and forming a small transverse incision in the deep fascia proximate said operative site to establish an entry portal; inserting insertion means into a longitudinal bore of an elongate composite integral cannular guide member and dissector having an open proximal end and a closed distal end forming said dissector and an open slot extending along a portion of the length thereof communicating with said open end and closed distal end, said insertion means being slidably receivable within said cannular guide member and being configured so that at least portions thereof conform with said open slot of the guide member to form a smooth exterior surface in combination therewith; introducing a leading end of the combination of said composite cannular guide member and dissector and the therein inserted insertion means into said entry portal and advancing said combination a predetermined distance relative to said operative site so as to form a pathway beneath the deep fascia to the popliteal space, withdrawing said insertion means and inserting endoscopic viewing means into said cannular guide member, said endoscopic viewing means facilitating direct visualization of said operative site and the positioning of said cannular guide member relative to said site; withdrawing said endoscopic viewing means from said composite cannular guide member and dissector; mounting a surgical instrument on further endoscopic viewing means proximate the leading end of said further viewing means; inserting said composite further endoscopic viewing means and surgical instrument into said cannular guide member such that the surgical instrument protrudes into the open slot in said cannular guide member, and advancing said composite endoscopic viewing means and surgical instrument so as to contact tissue at said operative site with said surgical instrument; operatively engaging said tissue with said surgical instrument while advancing the latter under direct visualization through said further endoscopic viewing means so as to perform a division of said fascia; withdrawing said composite further endoscopic viewing means and surgical instrument from said cannular guide member; and withdrawing said composite cannular'guide member and dissector through said entry portal and dressing said incision.
8. A method as claimed in Claim 7, wherein said surgical procedure includes selectively dividing the fascia lateral compartment, anterior compartment and deep posterior of the leg, and the anterior and posterior compartments of the thigh.
9. A method of implementing a uniportal endoscopic surgical procedure to effectuate a forearm fascial release for fascial compartment syndrome on a patient; comprising the steps of: making an incision on said patient transversely across the distal crease of the wrist to enable exposure of the deep fascia of the forearm proximate said operative site to establish an entry portal; retracting the palmaris longus and imparting a small transverse incision to the forearm fascia; inserting insertion means into a longitudinal bore of an elongate composite integral cannular guide member and dissector having an open proximal end and a closed distal end forming said dissector and an open slot extending along a portion of the length thereof communicating with said open end and said closed distal end, said insertion means being slidably receivable within said cannular guide member and being configured so that at least portions thereof conform with said open slot of the cannular guide member to form a smooth exterior surface in combination therewith; introducing a leading end of the combination of said composite cannular guide member and dissector and the therein inserted insertion means into said entry portal and advancing said combination a predetermined distance relative to said operative site so as to form a pathway beneath the fascia to the proximal extent of the forearm fascia, withdrawing said insertion means and inserting endoscopic viewing means into said cannular guide member to enable said endoscopic viewing means to facilitate direct visualization of said operative site and the positioning of said cannular guide member relative to said site; withdrawing said endoscopic viewing means from said cannular guide member; mounting a surgical instrument on further endoscopic viewing means proximate the leading end of said further viewing means; inserting said composite further endoscopic viewing means and surgical instrument into said cannular guide member such that the surgical instrument protrudes into the open slot in said cannular guide member, and advancing said composite endoscopic viewing means and surgical instrument so as to contact tissue at said operative site with said surgical instrument; operatively engaging said tissue with said surgical instrument while advancing the latter under direct visualization through said further endoscopic viewing means so as to effectuate division of the deep fascia of the forearm; withdrawing said composite further endoscopic viewing means and surgical instrument from said cannular guide member; and withdrawing said composite cannular guide member and dissector through said entry portal and dressing said incision.
10. A method as claimed in Claim 9, wherein a carpal tunnel release is implemented in the presence of compression on the median nerve.
11. A method of implementing a uniportal endoscopic surgical procedure to effectuate a lateral release for patella realignment on a patient; comprising the steps of: making an incision on said patient in a region lateral to the patella and exposing the fascia proximate said operative site to establish an entry portal; identifying and transversely dividing the fascia; inserting insertion means into a longitudinal bore of an elongate composite integral cannular guide member and dissector having an open proximal end and a closed distal end forming said dissector and an open slot extending along a portion of the length thereof communicating with said open end and said closed distal end, said insertion means being slidably receivable within said cannular guide member and being configured so that at least portions thereof conform with said open slot of the guide member to form a smooth exterior surface in combination therewith; introducing a leading end of the combination of said composite cannular guide member and dissector and the therein inserted insertion means into said entry portal and advancing said combination a predetermined distance relative to said operative site so as to form a pathway separating the fascia from underlying tissue, withdrawing said insertion means and inserting endoscopic view means into said cannular guide member, said endoscopic viewing means facilitating direct visualization of said operative site and fascia and the positioning of said guide member relative to said site; withdrawing said endoscopic viewing means from said cannular guide member; mounting a surgical instrument on further endoscopic viewing means proximate the leading end of said further viewing means; inserting said composite further endoscopic viewing means and surgical instrument into said composite cannular guide member and dissector such that the surgical instrument protrudes into the open slot in said cannular guide member, and advancing said composite endoscopic viewing means and surgical instrument so as to contact tissue at said operative site with said surgical instrument; operatively engaging said tissue with said surgical instrument while advancing the latter under direct visualization through said further endoscopic viewing means so as to divide the lateral retinaculum for a predetermined distance; withdrawing said composite further endoscopic viewing means and surgical instrument from said cannular guide member; and withdrawing said composite cannular guide member and dissector through said entry portal and suturing said incision.
12. A method as claimed in any one of Claims ι, 5, 7, 9 or 11, wherein said first-mentioned endoscopic viewing means is reinserted into said composite cannular guide member and dissector after withdrawing said composite further endoscopic viewing means and surgical instrument to enable inspection of the operating site; withdrawing said endoscopic viewing means from said cannular guide member and reinserting said insertion means into the bore of said cannular guide member whereby said cannular guide member is withdrawn through said entry portal conjointly with said insertion means.
13. A method as claimed in any one of Claims 1, 5, 7, 9 or 11, wherein said surgical instrument comprises cutting means for severing tissue at said operative site.
14. A method as claimed in Claim 13, wherein said cutting means comprises a blade member having a leading cutting edge for severing tissue responsive to advancing said further endoscopic viewing means forwardly within said cannular guide member.
15. A method as claimed in Claim 14, wherein said open slot in said cannular guide member has the opposite said edges thereof forming guide surfaces for said blade member inhibiting rotation of said blade about the longitudinal axis of said cannular guide member.
16. A method as claimed in Claim 14, wherein the leading end of said further endoscopic viewing means includes an angled surface facing said blade member for directing illuminating light against the blade member and towards the region of the operating site proximate at least the cutting edge of said blade member.
17. A method as claimed in any one of Claims 1, 5, 7, 9 or 11, wherein means provide for adjustable limits in advancing said composite further viewing means and surgical instrument within said cannular guide member relative to said operative site.
18. An instrument for implementing an endoscopic surgical procedure at a selected operative site on a patient through an incision on said patient at a locale proximate said operative site to establish an entry portal; said instrument comprising a composite integral elongate cannular guide member and dissector including a longitudinal bore having an open proximal end and a closed distal end forming said dissector and an open slot extending along a portion of the length thereof communicating with said open end and closed distal end.
19. An instrument as claimed in Claim 18, wherein insertion means is slidably receivable within said cannular guide member and being configured so that at least portions thereof conform with said open slot of the cannular guide member to form a smooth exterior surface in combination therewith.
20. An instrument as claimed in Claim 18, wherein means are cooperative with said composite cannular guide member and dissector for contacting the patient proximate said incision so as to secure said cannular guide member against rotation about the longitudinal axis thereof upon insertion into the patient.
21. An instrument as claimed in Claim 19, comprising endoscopic viewing means; a surgical instrument being mounted proximate a leading end of said viewing means; said cannula guide member being sized to provide clearance for said composite endoscopic viewing means and surgical instrument which is to be inserted into and passed through said cannular guide member such that the surgical instrument protrudes through the open slot in said cannular guide member to advance said composite endoscopic viewing means and surgical instrument so as to contact tissue at said operative site with said surgical instrument, said tissue being operatively engageable with said surgical instrument under direct visualization through said endoscopic viewing means so as to perform a desired operative procedure on said tissue.
22. An instrument as claimed in Claim 21, wherein said surgical instrument comprises cutting means for severing tissue at said operative site.
23. An instrument as claimed in Claim 21, wherein said cutting means comprises a blade member having a leading cutting edge for severing tissue responsive to advancing said endoscopic viewing means forwardly within said cannular guide member.
24. An instrument as claimed in Claim 21, wherein said surgical instrument comprises a rasp member for scraping tissue from said surgical site.
25. An instrument as claimed in Claim 21, wherein said open slot in said cannular guide member has opposite side edges thereof forming guide surfaces for said surgical instrument inhibiting rotation of said blade member about the longitudinal axis of said cannular guide member.
26. An instrument as claimed in Claim 23, wherein the leading end of said endoscopic viewing means includes an angled surface facing said blade member for directing illuminating light against the blade member and towards the region of the operating site proximate at least the cutting edge of said blade member.
27. An instrument as claimed in Claim 21, wherein means limit the extent of advance of said composite viewing means and surgical instrument within said composite cannular guide member and dissector relative to the operating site.
28. An instrument as claimed in Claim 27, wherein said limiting means comprise a mounting sleeve for said endoscopic viewing means; and rotatably and axially movable means for selectively causing said mounting sleeve to clampingly engage or release said viewing means to enable axial adjustment thereof in said mounting sleeve.
29. An apparatus as claimed in Claim 28, wherein said movable means comprises a nut; an internal screwthread formed in said nut; an external screwthread formed on said mounting sleeve, said internal screwthread cooperatively engaging said external screwthread and axial extension means on said nut having an internal tapered surface for releasably clamping said mounting sleeve responsive to rotation of said nut in a predetermined rotational direction.
30. An apparatus as claimed in Claim 29, wherein said nut has a knurled external circumferential surface to facilitate manipulation thereof.
31. An apparatus as claimed in Claim 27, wherein said means inhibiting rotation of said cannular guide member comprises at least one pin fastened to said limiting means extending in parallel spaced relationship with the longitudinal axis of said composite cannular guide member and dissector.
PCT/US1996/014710 1995-09-13 1996-09-11 Composite slotted cannula and dissector for the implementation of endoscopic surgical procedures WO1997009936A1 (en)

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