WO2003094747A9 - Surgical stapler and disposable loading unit having different size staples - Google Patents

Surgical stapler and disposable loading unit having different size staples

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Publication number
WO2003094747A9
WO2003094747A9 PCT/US2003/015127 US0315127W WO2003094747A9 WO 2003094747 A9 WO2003094747 A9 WO 2003094747A9 US 0315127 W US0315127 W US 0315127W WO 2003094747 A9 WO2003094747 A9 WO 2003094747A9
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WO
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Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
ofthe
staples
surgical
rows
staple
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2003/015127
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
WO2003094747A1 (en )
Inventor
Frank J Viola
Original Assignee
Tyco Healthcare
Frank J Viola
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B17/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets
    • A61B17/068Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps
    • A61B17/072Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps for applying a row of staples in a single action, e.g. the staples being applied simultaneously
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B17/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets
    • A61B17/068Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps
    • A61B17/072Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps for applying a row of staples in a single action, e.g. the staples being applied simultaneously
    • A61B17/07207Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps for applying a row of staples in a single action, e.g. the staples being applied simultaneously the staples being applied sequentially
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B17/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets
    • A61B17/068Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps
    • A61B17/072Surgical staplers, e.g. containing multiple staples or clamps for applying a row of staples in a single action, e.g. the staples being applied simultaneously
    • A61B2017/07214Stapler heads
    • A61B2017/07235Stapler heads containing different staples, e.g. staples of different shapes, sizes or materials

Abstract

A surgical stapler and a disposable unit for a surgical stapler include a cartridge housing a plurality of different-sized surgical fasteners or staples for providing hemostasis, tissue joining or welding, etc. Preferably, the cartridge in a preferred embodiments has six rows of surgical staples, three on each side of a longitudinal knife slot. The outer two rows have the same size staples and are the largest staples housed by the cartridge. The middle two rows have the same size staples. The inner two rows have the same size staples and are the smallest staples housed by the cartridge.

Description

SURGICAL STAPLER AND DISPOSABLE LOADING UNIT HAVING DIFFERENT SIZE STAPLES

PRIORITY The present application claims priority to and the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application filed on May 13, 2002, having U.S. application Ser. No. 60/380,348, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference. Field ofthe Invention

This invention relates to surgical staplers, and to disposable loading units for surgical staplers. The surgical stapler or disposable loading unit includes a cartridge housing a plurality of different-sized surgical fasteners for applying to body tissue during a surgical stapling procedure.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Surgical procedures requiring cutting of tissue can result in bleeding at the site ofthe cutting. Various techniques have been adapted to control bleeding with varying degrees of success such as, for example, suturing, applying clips to blood vessels, and using surgical fasteners, as well as electrocautery and other tissue heating techniques.

Surgical devices using surgical fasteners entail grasping or clamping tissue between opposing jaw structure and then joining the tissue by employing the surgical fasteners. These devices are well known in the aft. In some instruments a knife is provided to cut the tissue which has been joined by the fasteners. The fasteners are typically in the form of surgical staples however, two part polymeric fasteners are also utilized.

Instruments for this purpose can comprise two elongated members which are respectively used to capture or clamp tissue. Typically, one ofthe members carries a cartridge which houses a plurality of staples arranged in at least two lateral rows while the other member comprises an anvil which defines a surface for forming the staple legs as the fasteners are driven from the cartridge. Where two part fasteners are used, this member carries the mating part, e.g. the receiver, to the fasteners driven from the cartridge. Generally, the stapling operation is effected by a pusher which travels longitudinally through the cartridge carrying member, with the pusher acting upon the staples to sequentially eject them from the cartridge. A knife may travel with the pusher between the staple rows to longitudinally cut and/or open the stapled tissue between the rows of staples. Such instruments are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,079,606 and 3,490,675. A later stapler disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,499,591 applies a double row of staples on each side ofthe incision. This is accomplished by providing a cartridge assembly in which a cam member moves through an elongate guide path between two sets of staggered staple carrying grooves. Staple drive members are located within the grooves and are positioned in such a manner so as to be contacted by the longitudinally moving cam to effect ejection ofthe staples. Other examples of staplers are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos.4,429,695, 5,065,929, and 5,156,614.

Therefore, it is an aspect ofthe invention to provide a surgical stapler or a disposable loading unit for a surgical stapler for providing hemostasis, tissue joining or welding, etc. and also for providing hemostasis along at least one staple line formed by surgical stapling.

SUMMARY In one aspect ofthe invention, a surgical stapler is provided having an anvil that includes a staple forming surface having a plurality of staple forming pockets formed therein and a cartridge configured to releasably mate with the anvil. The cartridge includes a tissue contacting surface having a plurality of staple slots formed therethrough. A plurality of surgical staples is disposed in the staple slots. At least one ejector is positioned adjacent the staples for ejecting the plurality of staples from the staple slots. The surgical stapler further includes an actuation mechanism including an actuator configured to interact with the ejectors to eject the plurality of staples from the staple slots against the anvil. The plurality of staples includes at least two groups. The staples ofthe first group having a first size range and the staples ofthe second group have a second size range. The first size range is different from the second size range.

The plurality of surgical staples disposed in the slots ofthe cartridge can range in size from about 2.0 mm to about 5.0 mm. The plurality of slots can be arranged in at least two rows, and the staples of one ofthe at least two rows can differ in size from the staples ofthe other ofthe at least two rows. The plurality of slots can also be arranged where the range of sizes ofthe staples of one ofthe at least two rows differs from the range of sizes ofthe staples ofthe other of at least two rows.

Further, the plurality of staple slots can be arranged in at least three rows, and the surgical staples of each row differ in size. Further still, the plurality of slots can be arranged in at least three rows, there being two outer rows and at least one interior row, and the sizes ofthe staples of each ofthe outer rows can be larger than the sizes of staples ofthe interior row. The staples of each ofthe outer rows can be the same size. The cartridge can have a longitudinal axis and a longitudinal knife slot formed in the tissue contacting surface. There can be at least four rows of staple slots formed parallel to the longitudinal axis; two outer rows of staple slots one outer row to each side of and least proximate to the knife slot, and two inner rows of staple slots one row to each side of and most proximate to the knife slot. The size ofthe surgical staples of each ofthe two outer rows of staples can be larger than the size ofthe surgical staples of each ofthe two inner rows. The size ofthe staples of each ofthe two outer rows can be the same. Also, the size ofthe staples ofthe two inner rows can be the same. The sizes ofthe staples of each ofthe outer rows can range from about 3.9 mm to about 5.0 mm, and the sizes ofthe staples of each ofthe inner rows can range from about 2.0 mm to about 2.9 mm. Further, the sizes ofthe staples of each of the outer rows can range from about 2.9 mm to about 3.9 mm, and the sizes ofthe staples of each ofthe inner rows can range from about 2.0 mm to about 2.9 mm.

The cartridge has a longitudinal axis and has a longitudinal knife slot formed in the tissue contacting surface. There can be two outer rows of staple slots one outer row to each side of and least proximate to the knife slot, two inner rows of staple slots one row to each side of and most proximate to the knife slot, and two intermediate rows Of staple slots one row to each side ofthe knife slot and between adjacent outer and inner slots. The size ofthe surgical staples of each ofthe two outer rows can be largest, the size ofthe staples of each of the two inner rows can be the smallest, and the size ofthe staples of each ofthe intermediate rows can be intermediate the sizes ofthe staples ofthe outer and inner rows. The plurality of surgical staples can include three groups, the surgical staples ofthe outer rows being of a first group ofthe three groups whose staple sizes can be within the range from about 2.0 to about 2.9 mm, the staples ofthe intermediate rows being of a second group whose staple sizes can be within the range from about 2.9 to about 3.9 mm, and the surgical staples ofthe inner rows being of a third group whose staple sizes can be within the range of from about 3.9 to about 5.0 mm.

Each ofthe staples ofthe outer rows can be the same size, each ofthe staples ofthe intermediate rows can be the same size and each ofthe staples ofthe inner rows can be the same size. The sizes ofthe staples ofthe three rows preferably are different sizes.

The staples of each ofthe rows ofthe at least two rows of staple slots can be selected from among the following three groups of staples: the first group of staples ranging in size from about 2.0 to about 2.9 mm, the second group of staples ranging in size from about 2.9 to about 3.9 mm, and the third group of staples ranging in size from 3.9 to about 4.9 mm. The staple size selected can progressively increase from the first group to the second group, from the first group to the third group, or from the second group to the third group. The cartridge ofthe surgical stapler can be part of a disposable loading unit. In another aspect ofthe invention, a surgical stapler and a disposable loading unit for a surgical stapler are disclosed. The disposable loading unit includes a cartridge housing a plurality of different-sized surgical fasteners or staples for providing hemostasis, tissue joining or welding, etc. The use of different-sized staples also provides short-term hemostasis and sealing, substantially reduces or prevents staple line bleeding, substantially decreases leakage rates in lung tissue, and provides short and long-term tissue strength, i.e., anastomotic strength, and hemostasis.

The cartridge ofthe surgical stapler or ofthe disposable loading unit in preferred embodiments has six rows of surgical staples; three rows on either side of a knife slot configured for passage of a knife blade. The outer two rows of surgical staples have the same size and are the largest staples housed by the cartridge ofthe disposable loading unit. These staples preferably have a size in the range of 4.5-5.0 mm to ensure anastomotic strength. The middle two rows of surgical staples have the same size. These staples preferably have a size in the range of 3.0-3.5 mm to ensure hemostasis and anastomotic strength. The inner two rows of surgical staples have the same size and are the smallest staples housed by the cartridge ofthe disposable loading unit. These staples preferably have a size in the range of 2.0-2.5 mm to ensure hemostasis.

Staple line bleeding is reduced or prevented by the disposable loading unit ofthe present invention while anastomotic strength is increased by progressively compressing tissue from an outer edge to a knife cut line using the different-sized staples. The disposable loading unit ofthe present invention makes it possible to extend the applicable range of specific staple sizes to include thinner, thicker and highly vascularized tissue. Accordingly, large-sized staples can be used, for example, in conjunction with small-sized staples to join thin, highly vascularized tissue.

The disposable loading unit is configured and dimensioned to be loaded in a surgical stapling apparatus ofthe type having a first body portion supporting an anvil plate which defines a fastener forming surface and a second body portion configured to releasably mate with the first body portion. In the detailed description which follows, the first and second body portions ofthe apparatus are also referred to as the "anvil half-section" and "cartridge half-section," respectively.

According to an embodiment ofthe invention, the disposable loading unit ofthe present invention is removably supported in the second body portion and the cartridge defines a plurality of slots and a tissue contacting surface. The plurality of different-sized surgical fasteners or staples are disposed in the slots ofthe cartridge. A plurality of ejectors or pushers are positioned adjacent the surgical fasteners. A wedged actuator can be provided in the disposable loading unit and positioned and configured to enter and translate through the cartridge to sequentially interact with the pushers. According to an embodiment ofthe invention, the surgical stapling apparatus further includes an elongated actuation member mounted for longitudinal movement within the second body portion and releasably engagable with the wedged actuator, whereby longitudinal movement ofthe actuation member causes the wedged actuator to interact with the ejectors, driving the surgical fasteners from the cartridge to be formed against the anvil plate.

The first body portion preferably includes an elongating anvil support member and a pivoting lever handle. The anvil plate is preferably formed separate from the anvil support member and includes a plurality of staple forming pockets defining the anvil forming surface.

The anvil plate also includes means for engaging the anvil support member during assembly ofthe apparatus to securely fasten the anvil plate to the support member.

The wedged actuator ofthe disposable loading unit is preferably monolithically formed from a planar piece of sheet metal during a stamping process and includes a planar base and a pair of upstanding parallel cam wedges. An upturned flange is formed at a distal end ofthe actuation member for releasably engaging a complementary slot formed in the base ofthe wedged actuator. The wedged actuator preferably further includes an upstanding support flange to which a knife blade is fastened. The knife blade is provided to form an incision in the stapled body tissue.

Accordingto an embodiment ofthe invention, a retaining channel depends from a distal end ofthe second body portion for supporting the disposable loading unit. Preferably, the disposable loading unit and the retaining channel include complementary engagement structures for releasably securing the disposable loading unit in the retaining channel.

Opposed bearing structures are formed in the retaining channel at a proximal end thereof for abutting the anvil support beam when body tissue is clamped between the anvil plate and the tissue contacting surface ofthe cartridge. The bearing structures serve to inhibit the anvil support beam from bending as a result ofthe compressive forces generated during clampings

In another aspect o the invention, a surgical stapler is provided having an anvil which defines a fastener forming surface having a plurality of staple forming pockets, and a cartridge having a tissue contacting surface with a plurality of staple slots formed therethrough. A plurality of surgical staples having different sizes is disposed in the slots of the cartridge. At least one ejector is positioned adjacent the surgical staples for ejecting a plurality of stapled from the slots. An actuation mechanism is also included having an actuator configured to interact with at least one ejector to eject the plurality of staples from the cartridge against the anvil.

In still another, aspect ofthe invention, a surgical stapler is provided having a first body portion housing a plurality of surgical staples and a second body portion defining an anvil surface against which the surgical staples are driven when ejected from the first body portion, for example, by an actuation sled mounted to translate through the first body portion. A disposable loading unit is configured and dimensioned for being retained by the first body portion for housing the plurality of surgical staples. The plurality of surgical staples includes at least two groups of surgical staples having different sizes. A first group and a second group ofthe at least two groups can include surgical staples having a size in the range selected from amongst the following: 2.0 to 3.0 mm, 3.0 to 4.0 mm, 4.0 to 5.0 mm. The surgical staple sizes can progressively increase from one group to the next such that the first group has the smallest surgical staples ofthe at least two groups.

Further, in another aspect ofthe invention, a disposable loading unit is provided which is configured and dimensioned for being removably supported in a body portion of a surgical stapler. The disposable loading unit includes a cartridge defining a plurality of slots and a tissue contacting surface. A plurality of surgical fasteners is disposed in the slots ofthe cartridge. The plurality of surgical fasteners can include at least two groups of surgical fasteners having different sizes. A first group and a second group ofthe at least two groups can include surgical staples having a size in the range selected from amongst the following: 2.0 to 3.0 mm, 3.0 to 4.0 mm, 4.0 to 5.0 mm. The surgical staple sizes can progressively increase from one group to the next such that the first group has the smallest surgical staples ofthe at least two groups.

Another aspect ofthe invention is a method for providing hemostasis and anastomotic strength during surgical stapling. The method can include the step of providing a plurality of surgical fasteners arranged in a row-by-row configuration. The plurality of surgical fasteners can include at least two rows of surgical fasteners having different sizes. The method can further include the step of applying the plurality of surgical fasteners to body tissue such that a row of larger-sized surgical fasteners is applied adjacent to a row of smaller-sized surgical fasteners. A first row and a second row ofthe at least two rows can include surgical staples having a size in the range selected from amongst the following: 2.0 to 3.0 mm, 3.0 to 4.0 mm, 4.0 to 5.0 mm. Preferably, the surgical staple sizes progressively increase from one row to the next such that the first row has the smallest surgical staples ofthe at least two rows. The use of different-sized staples as disclosed herein provides several advantages, such as tissue joining or welding, short-term hemostasis and sealing, substantially reducing or preventing staple line bleeding, substantially decreasing leakage rates in lung tissue, and providing short and long-term tissue strength, i.e., anastomotic strength, and hemostasis.

According to the embodiments disclosed herein, the largest-sized staples are preferably placed the farthest from a.knife cut line to ensure anastomotic strength. The intermediate-sized staples are preferably placed the second farthest from the knife cut line to ensure hemostasis and anastomotic strength. The smallest-sized staples are preferably placed the closest to a knife cut line to ensure hemostasis.

Additionally, the surgical stapling apparatus or surgical stapler and the disposable loading unit ofthe invention make it possible to extend the applicable range of specific staple sizes to include thinner, thicker and highly vascularized tissue. Accordingly, large-sized staples can be used, for example, in conjunction with small-sized staples to join thin, highly vascularized tissue which is prone to excessive staple line bleeding when just only using large-sized staples.

Further features ofthe stapling disposable loading unit ofthe invention will become more readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description ofthe apparatus taken in conjunction with the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Various embodiments ofthe disposable loading unit ofthe invention will be described hereinbelow with reference to the drawings wherein: FIG. 1A is a perspective view of a surgical stapler or surgical stapling apparatus with the clamping handle theteof disposed in an upright open position;

FIG. IB is a perspective view ofthe surgical stapling apparatus illustrated in FIG. 1 A with the clamping handle disposed in a closed position; FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view ofthe surgical stapling apparatus of FIGS. 1A and IB;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view ofthe lower body portion ofthe surgical stapling apparatus of FIGS. 1A and IB; FIG. 4 A is a top plan view ofthe retention channel ofthe surgical stapling apparatus of FIGS. 1A and IB;

FIG. 4B is a side elevational view ofthe retention channel shown in FIG. 4A;

FIG. 4C is a perspective view ofthe retention channel of FIGS. 4A and 4B with the disposable loading unit retained therein;

FIG. 5 A is an enlarged perspective view, with parts separated for ease of illustration, ofthe cartridge and actuation assembly ofthe disposable loading unit ofthe surgical stapling apparatus;

FIG. 5B is a cross-sectional view, with portions broken away, showing the engagement ofthe cartridge lip and the retention channel;

FIG. 5C is a top view of a portion ofthe cartridge of another embodiment of an invention disclosed herein;

FIG. 5D is a top view of a portion ofthe cartridge still another embodiment of an invention disclosed herein; FIG. 6 A is a perspective view ofthe actuation sled ofthe disposable loading unit shown in FIG. 5 A in a pre-formed condition;

FIG. 6B is a perspective view ofthe actuation sled shown in FIG. 6A in a formed condition with the knife blade separated therefrom for illustrative purposes;

FIG. 6C is a perspective view ofthe formed actuation sled shown in FIG. 6B with the knife blade mounted to the blade support portion thereof;

FIG. 7 is a plan view ofthe preformed anvil plate which is mounted to the anvil support beam ofthe upper body portion ofthe surgical stapling apparatus shown in FIGS. 1 A and IB;

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view ofthe preformed anvil plate taken along line 8-8 of FIG. 7;

V.n O a frnnt end view ofthe preformed anvil plate illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8; FIG. 10 is a perspective view ofthe upper body portion ofthe surgical stapling apparatus of FIGS, 1A and IB with an enlarged localized view of a distal portion thereof illustrating the connective engagement between the anvil plate and the anvil support beam;

FIG. 11 is an exploded perspective view of an embodiment utilizing a lockout mechanism to prevent reactuation ofthe apparatus;

FIG. 11 A is an enlarged cross-sectional view ofthe T-shaped member ofthe lockout mechanism;

FIG. 12 is an enlarged perspective view ofthe actuation channel having an edge for engagement by the hook ofthe lockout mechanism; FIGS. 13A and 13B are side views ofthe lockout mechanism illustrating its movement from a non-engaged to an engaged position;

FIG. 14 is a side elevational view in cross-section ofthe surgical stapling apparatus illustrated in FIG. 1 A with the actuation sled disposed in a pre-actuated proximal position;

FIG. 15 is a side elevational view in cross-section ofthe surgical stapling apparatus with the actuation sled disposed in a partially advanced position;

FIG. 16 is a side elevational view in cross-section ofthe surgical stapling apparatus with the actuation sled advanced to the distal end ofthe cartridge at the conclusion of a staple firing procedure;

FIG. 17 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a surgical stapling apparatus of an invention disclosed herein;

FIG. 18 is a perspective view ofthe distal end ofthe embodiment ofthe disclosure shown in FIG. 17 with the cartridge assembly or disposable loading unit in an advanced position;

FIG. 19A is an exploded perspective view ofthe device shown in FIG. 17; FIG. 19B is an enlarged view of a cartridge assembly ofthe device shown in FIG. 17;

FIG. 20 is a perspective view of an embodiment of an endoscopic surgical stapling apparatus of an invention disclosed herein;

FIG. 21 is an enlarged perspective view ofthe disposable loading unit ofthe device shown in FIG. 20; FIG. 22A is an exploded perspective view ofthe end effector shown in FIG. 21 showing the different-sized staples;

FIG. 22B is a portion of an end effector of another embodiment having different-sized staples; and FIG. 22C is a portion of an end effector of still another embodiment having different- sized staples.

DETAD ED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention provides a surgical stapling apparatus or surgical stapler and disposable loading unit for a surgical stapling apparatus or surgical stapler. The surgical stapler and the disposable loading unit for a surgical stapler include a cartridge housing a plurality of different-sized surgical fasteners or staples for providing hemostasis, tissue joining or welding, etc. The use of different-sized staples also provides short-term hemostasis and sealing, reduces or prevents staple line bleeding, and provides short and long- term tissue strength, i.e., anastomotic strength, and hemostasis.

Staple line bleeding is reduced or prevented by the embodiments ofthe present invention while anastomotic strength is increased by progressively compressing tissue from an outer edge to a knife cut line using the different-sized staples. The disposable loading unit ofthe present invention makes it possible to extend the applicable range of specific staple sizes to include thinner, thicker and highly vascularized tissue. Accordingly, large-sized staples can be used, for example, in conjunction with small-sized staples to join thin, highly vascularized tissue.

In the drawings and in the following description, the term "proximal", as is traditional, will refer to the end ofthe stapling apparatus which is closer to the operator, while the term "distal" will refer to the end ofthe stapling apparatus which is further from the operator. Referring how to. the drawings wherein like reference numerals identify similar structural elements, there is illustrated in FIGS. 1A and IB a surgical stapling apparatus constructed in accordance with a preferred embodiment ofthe present invention here shown for supporting and retaining a disposable loading unit 20 in turn constructed in accordance with a preferred embodiment ofthe present invention. The surgical tapling apparatus is designated generally by reference numeral 10 and includes a cartridge half-section 11a and an anvil half-section 1 lb. As will become readily apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art, stapling apparatus 10 is constructed in such a manner so as to substantially reduce the costs associated with its fabrication and assembly as compared to prior art linear staplers. Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, stapling apparatus 10 includes a body portion 12 defining a handle for grasping and supporting the device. A retaining channel 14 is mounted in the interior cavity 15 of body portion 12 adjacent the distal end thereof. Retaining channel 14 is dimensioned and configured to support the disposable loading unit 20, as illustrated in FIG. 4C.

As shown in FIG. 5A, the surgical stapler includes, or as here shown, disposable loading unit 20 includes a cartridge 22 having a plurality of slots arranged in rows, each row for ejecting therefrom a plurality of differently-sized surgical staples 24, a plurality of staple pushers or ejectors 26 each adapted and configured to eject a corresponding staple 24 from a corresponding slot when acted upon by a staple driving force, and an actuation mechanism, including actuator, here, actuation sled 28, which is mounted to translate through cartridge 22 in a longitudinal direction to transmit the staple driving force to ejectors 26. Cartridge 22 is preferably composed of liquid crystal polymer material; although other materials are contemplated. Cartridge 22 has a lip 23 which engages retention channel 14 to prevent inward rotation of cartridge 22 (see FIG. 5B).

The cartridge 22 includes a plurality of surgical staples 24 of different sizes. The plurality of staples 24 can comprise at least two groups. The staples 24 of a first group have a first size range and the staples of a second group having a second size range. Alternatively, the plurality of surgical staples 24 can comprise three groups; the staples of each group can have different or overlapping staple size ranges. The size ofthe surgical staples of a first or inner group being in the range of about 2.0 to about 2.9 mm, the size ofthe surgical staples of a second or intermediate group being in the range of about 2.9 to about 3.9 mm, and the size ofthe surgical staples of a third or outer group being in the range of about 3.9 to about 5.0 mm. A preferred staple size range for the three groups is a first group having staples in a size range of 2.0-2.5 mm; a second group having staples in a size range of 3.0-3.5 mm; and a third group having staples in a size range of 4.0-5.5 mm.

The word "size" as used in this disclosure refers primarily to staple leg length. Hence the dimensions provided in this disclosure are of staple leg length. It is, however, contemplated that the word "size" may also secondarily include or implicate the length ofthe staple back span, thickness ofthe staple legs, thickness ofthe staple back span, and combinations thereof. It is primarily the differing lengths ofthe staple legs which permit the staples of different sizes (larger in the outer rows to smaller in the inner rows) to effectively join the varied thicknesses ofthe tissue (thicker in the outer rows to thinner in the inner rows) between the clamped anvil and cartridge, and provide the hemostatic, strengthening, and other benefits ofthe invention. In the embodiment shown by the FIGS., the cartridge 22 includes six rows of surgical staples 24; three rows on either side of a knife slot 21 configured for passage of a.knife blade 36. The outer two rows (indicated by the letter "A" in FIGS.4C and 5A) of surgical staples 24a preferably have the same size staples therein and they are the largest staples 24 housed by the cartridge 22 ofthe disposable loading unit 20 to ensure anastomotic strength.. The middle or intermediate two rows (indicated by the letter "B" in FIGS. 4C and 5 A) of surgical staples 24b preferably have the same size to ensure hemostasis and anastomotic strength. The inner two rows (indicated by the letter "C" in FIGS. 4C and 5 A) of surgical staples 24c preferably have the same size and are the smallest .staples 24 housed by the cartridge 22 ofthe disposable loading unit 20 to ensure hemostasis.

In another embodiment, the middle and outer rows of surgical staples 24a' and 24b' on both sides of knife slot 21 corresponding to slots A' and B'. have the same size and the inner rows of surgical staples 24c' corresponding to slot C have a different size (see FIG. 5C). In still another embodiment, the middle and inner rows of surgical staples 24b" and 24c" on both sides of knife slot 21 corresponding to slots B" and C" have the same size and the outer row of surgical staples 24a" corresponding to slot A" have a different size (see FIG. 5D). It is also contemplated that at least two rows of surgical staples 24 on one side of knife slot 21 can have the same size while the rows on the other side of knife slot 21 can have different sizes. As best seen in FIG. 6A, actuation sled 28 is preferably monolithically formed from a single piece of sheet metal or a similar material which is folded into the desired structural configuration shown in FIG. 6C. In this configuration, actuation sled (staple actuator) 28 defines a base portion 30, two upstanding cam wedges 32 and 34, and an upstanding shank 35 which supports knife blade 36. Knife blade 36 is preferably spot welded to shank 35, although other known fastening methods may be employed.

As illustrated in FIG. 6B, a weldment port 37 and a winglet 39 are provided to facilitate the proper alignment and cohesion of knife blade 36 to shank 35 during fabrication. Cam wedges 32 and 34 are staggered with respect to one another so that one leads the other throughout the sled's translation through cartridge 22. In doing so, the staple driving forces within cartridge 22 remain balanced during a staple driving operation. Longitudinal slots 22a and 22b accommodate the longitudinal translation of cam wedges 32 and 34, while slot 22c accommodates the longitudinal translation of shank 35 (see FIG. 5A). Although illustrated with a knife, it is also contemplated that the apparatus can be provided without a knife bade and therefore would staple tissue without making an incision.

The base portion 30 of actuation sled 28 has a transverse slot 40 defined therein which is dimensioned and configured to releasably retain an upturned flange 42 formed at the distal end of elongated actuation channel 44 (FIG. 5 A). When the disposable loading unit 20 is placed into retaining channel 14 and actuation sled 28 is disposed in its proximal-most position, flange 42 releasably engages slot 40. Thus, movement of actuation channel 44 moves actuation sled 28. After a stapling operation, when the disposable loading unit is removed from the retaining channel, flange 42 is easily disengaged from slot 40. With continued reference to FIG. 5A, actuation channel 44 is defined by a base portion 45 and two parallel upstanding beams 46 and 48 of elongate configuration. The distal ends of beams 46 and 48 are staggered to match the staggered orientation of cam wedges 32 and 34, respectively. The proximal end of each beam projects rearwardly to engage the mounting block 49 that is associated with firing knob 50. A pair of slots 52 (only one of which is shown) are formed in mounting block 49 for receiving the proximal end of each of the upstanding beams 46, 48 of actuation channel 44 and the slots are provided with detents 54 for engaging apertures 56 in the beam ends to lockingly retain the beams in mounting block 49. In use, longitudinal movement of firing knob 50 causes corresponding longitudinal translation of actuation channel 44 and actuation sled 28. Referring to FIGS. 2 and 4C, retention channel 14 includes a base portion 60 and two upstanding parallel walls 62 and 64. Numerical indicia is imprinted on the walls 62, 64 of retention channel 14 to indicate the length ofthe staple line. Retention structures are provided at the distal end of each ofthe walls 62, 64 to engage corresponding structures provided on the disposable loading unit 20. In particular, notches 66a and 66b are provided for engaging corresponding protuberances, such as protuberance 67, and slots 68a and 68b are provided for engaging corresponding detents, such as detent 69. These structures inhibit lateral, longitudinal and perpendicular shifting ofthe cartridge 22 (and disposable loading unit 20) within the retaining channel 14. Ramped engagement slots 70a and 70b are also defined in the opposed walls of retention channel 14 for interacting with a pair of opposed protuberances 72a and 72b (FIG. 5 A) to guide the disposable loading unit 20 into retention channel 14 when loaded into surgical stapling apparatus 10.

Referring again to FIG. 2, surgical stapling apparatus 10 further includes an elongate anvil support beam 80 which has a generally U-shaped cross-sectional configuration. A il support beam 80 and its associated structures are also referred to herein as the "anvil half-section". Distal end portion 88 ofthe anvil support beam 80 in one embodiment is tapered in height "h" in a distal direction to provide additional support and reduce deflection during a staple firing operation. Proximal end portion 82 of support beam 80 has a notched area 84 for engaging a pair of corresponding detents 86 (only one of which is shown), which extend into the cavity 15 of body portion 12 adjacent the proximal end thereof. Detents 86 are engaged when the cartridge half-section 11a and anvil half-section 1 lb are mated with one another. Distal end portion 88 of anvil support beam 80 is configured to support a preformed anvil plate 90 against which staples are driven and formed during a stapling procedure. Referring to FIGS. 7 and 8, anvil plate 90 is formed from a unitary piece of metal and is cold formed and stamped to define a plurality of staple forming recess or cups 91. Each staple forming recess corresponds to a particular staple housed within cartridge 22. Anvil plate 90, as shown in FIG. 2, is provided with two opposed tangs 92a and 92b which extend inwardly to engage complementary engagement slots 93b (only one is shown) in anvil support beam 80 during fabrication and assembly (see FIG. 10). The cross-sectional configuration of anvil plate 90 is dimensioned to complement the cross-sectional geometry of support beam 80 (see FIG. 9). More particularly, the cavity 97 which extends along the length ofthe anvil plate 90 corresponds to a similar channel formed in support beam 80. These areas accommodate sharik 35 and knife blade 36 as it translates distally to form an incision in stapled body tissue during a stapling operation.

A pair of rectangular apertures 95a and 95b are formed in anvil plate 90 adjacent the proximal end thereof for receiving a pair of correspondingly positioned flanges or projections 96a and 96b which project upwardly away from the tissue contacting surface (see FIGS. 2 and 4C). The interaction between aperture 95 a, 95b and flanges 96a, 96b ensures that the cartridge 22 and the anvil plate 90 are properly aligned with one another during a stapling procedure. Flanges 96a, 96b are spaced proximally of tissue stop portion 61 of retention channel 14. Portion 61 and the distal edge 13 of handle portion, best seen in FIG. 3, cooperate to prevent tissue from extending proximally.

Referring again to FIG. 2, anvil half-section lib of stapling apparatus 10 further includes clamping handle 100 which is used to securely clamp tissue between the staple forming surface of anvil plate 90 and the tissue contacting surface of cartridge 22. Clamping handle 100 is pivotably mounted to anvil support beam 80 about a transverse pivot pin which is not shown in the drawings. A pair of clamping hooks 102a and 102b depend from clamping handle 100 for interacting with the U-shaped clamping beam 104 supported within the internal cavity defined in handle portion 12.

When apparatus 10 is assembled prior to use, the notched area 84 at the proximal end 82 of anvil support beam 80 is engaged with the cooperating detents 86 in the inner cavity 15 of body portion 12. Thereupon, anvil half-section 1 lb is mated with cartridge half-section 1 la, and clamping handle 100 is disposed in the upright undamped position shown in FIG. 1A.

Subsequently, when body tissue is properly disposed between the staple forming surface of anvil plate 90 and the tissue contacting surface of cartridge 22, anvil half-section 1 lb is pivoted towards cartridge half-section 1 la, about the detents in body portion 12, such that the distal ends of clamping hooks 102a and 102b are positioned immediately adjacent the proximal end ofthe base of U-shaped clamping beam 104. Concomitantly, flanges 96a and 96b engage apertures 95a and 95b in anvil plate 90 to ensure proper alignment ofthe anvil and the cartridge 22. Then, to securely clamp the captured body tissue, clamping handle 100 is pivoted from the position illustrated in FIG. 1 A to that which is shown in FIG. IB. At such a time, clamping hooks 102a and 102b engage the base of clamping beam 104, locking the apparatus in a clamped condition. During clamping, the captured body tissue exerts a counter-force against the tissue contacting surface of cartridge 22 and the fastener forming surface ofthe anvil plate 90, urging the two structures apart. To overcome these forces and prevent the proximal portion 82 of anvil support beam 80 from bending, bearing surfaces are defined within the retention channel 14 to support the compressive forces generated during clamping. In particular, as illustrated in FIG. 4A, opposed bearing shelves 110a and 110b are stamp formed in the opposed walls 62 and 64 of retention channel 14. The bearing shelves are positioned to abut the medial section of anvil support beam 80 proximate the clamping handle pivot point.

It may also be desirable to provide a locking mechanism to prevent reactuation ofthe apparatus after it has been actuated. For example, a locking member 120 shown in FIG. 11 can be positioned in the retaining channel 114. Locking member 120 is biased to an upward engagement position and each end extends through a window 141, 143 in the channel 114. A T-shaped member 124 is positioned between the cam wedges 132, 134 to bias the hook portion 122 out of engagement with the actuation channel 144. Head portion 126 of T-shaped member 124 (FIG. 11A) is initially retained in the cartridge by a pair of detents in the cartridge which extend into the knife slot. When apparatus 10 is actuated, head portion 126 of T-shaped member 124 is in the knife slot.

A second pair of detents (not shown) at the distal end ofthe knife slot engages head portion 126 of T-shaped member 124 to hold it at the distal end of cartridge 122 when the cam wedges 132, 1,34 are advanced to the distal position. When actuation channel 144 is retracted from the post-actuated position to the pre-actuated position, the T-shaped member 124 remains forward allowing hook portion 122 to return to the upward position and extend through the window 141 in retaining channel 114 to engage edge 143 (see FIGS. 12 and 13A) of actuation channel 144 to prevent advancement ofthe actuation channel. FIGS. 13A, 13B illustrate movement ofthe locking member 120 from an initial non-engaged position (FIG. 13 A) out of engagement with actuation channel 144 to an engaged position (FIG. 13B) in engagement with actuation channel 144 to prevent distal movement thereof.

Referring now to FIGS. 14-16, there is illustrated, in sequential order, a staple firing operation in which a plurality of different-sized staples (not shown in FIGS. 14-16) are ejected from cartridge 22 and driven against the staple forming surface of anvil plate 90. The staple forming surface includes a plurality of staple forming pockets for receiving staples 24. As the different-sized staples 24 are ejected from cartridge 22, tissue is compressed progressively more from the outer edges towards the knife cut line to ensure effective hemostasis along the knife cut line and along at least one staple line, and to ensure effective anastomotic strength.

In operation, prior' to firing surgical stapling apparatus 10, actuation sled 28 is in the proximal-most position shown in FIG. 14. At such a time, knife blade 36 is enclosed in a protective housing 25 formed adjacent the proximal end of disposable loading unit 20. To fire the apparatus, firing knob 50 is moved in a distal direction. Accordingly, as illustrated in FIG. 15, actuation channel 44 drives actuation sled 28 distally into and through cartridge 22. During its distal translation, the angled leading surfaces of cam wedges 32 and 34 sequentially contact ejectors 26, urging them in a direction transverse to the direction of movement of actuation sled 28. As a result, ejectors 26 push the different-sized staples 24 from their individual slots, driving each staple into a respective staple forming cup or pocket 91 in anvil plate 90.

Sequential firing of staples 24 continues until actuation sled 28 is advanced to the distal end of cartridge 22, at which time, all ofthe different-sized staples 24 once housed within the cartridge 22 will have been ejected (see FIG. 16). Thereafter, firing knob 50 is retracted to its original position, the cartridge and anvil sections are separated, and the spent disposable loading unit 20 is removed from retaining channel 14. Subsequently, a new, fully loaded disposable loading unit 20 can be positioned in retaining channel 14 such that slot 40 ofthe actuation sled 28. engages flange 42 of actuation channel 44 to enable re-use of apparatus 10.

Another preferred embodiment ofthe disclosure will now be described with reference to FIGS. 17-19B. FIGS. 17 and 18 illustrate surgical stapler, here referred to as a fastener applying device, shown generally as 200. Fastener applying device 200 includes a housing 212 including stationary handle 214, a distally extending body portion 216, and a transverse body portion 215. Transverse body portion 215 is configured to receive support frame 218. Housing 212 may be constructed from plastic material in the form of molded housing half- sections 212a and 212b. Housing half-sections 212a and 212b are fastened together by a plurality of screws 219. Preferably, housing 212 is constructed from fiberglass reinforced plastic, although other materials having the requisite strength requirements may be used. Cartridges for this type of surgical stapler typically have two or three rows of staple slots and staples.

FIG. 19A illustrates a perspective view of fastener applying device 200 with the internal components of device 200 separated from each other. The device 200 may be is fastened together using screws 219 that extend between housing half-sections 212a and 212b, although adhesives, ultrasonic welding, and other known fastening methods may also be used to fasten the components ofthe device together.

An anvil (not shown) is fastened to a first leg 224 ofthe support frame 218. Any known fastening technique may be used to fasten the anvil to first leg 224. The support frame 218 is substantially U-shaped and includes first leg 224, a second leg 226, and a base portion 228. First leg 224 extends substantially parallel to second leg 226. The support frame 218 may be monolithically formed by bending a sheet of material into the desired shape. Preferably, support frame 218 is constructed from stainless steel, although other materials having the requisite strength requirements may be used.

Cartridge carrier 238 is slidably supported about second leg 226 of support frame 218 and is movable towards first leg 224. Cartridge assembly or disposable loading unit (DLU) 222 includes a body 204 having a distal face 206 which is spaced from an open proximal end 274. A pusher bar channel 208 extends from the open end 274 through a portion of body 204. A plurality of slots 210 house fasteners 221 of different sizes (see FIG. 19B showing three different sized fasteners 221 ofthe plurality of fasteners 221) and are configured to receive distally extending fingers 276 of pusher bar 266. The slots 210 extend, between the distal end of pusher bar channel 208 and the distal face 206 of cartridge assembly 222. The outer surface of cartridge body 204 includes a pair of transversely extending flanges 254. Cartridge carrier 238 is provided with means for receiving and supporting cartridge assembly 222. The fastener applying device 200 has an approximation mechanism for advancing cartridge assembly or DLU 222 and cartridge carrier 238. An approximating clamp 234 or lever is pivotably mounted about pivot member 240 which is supported between housing half sections 212a and 212b in the proximal end of housing 212. The approximating clamp 234 is movable into engagement with a proximal end of clamp slide 236 to linearly advance the clamp slide 236 within body portion 216. A plurality of longitudinal slots 242 formed in clamp slide 236 are configured to receive guide pins 244 to limit clamp slide 236 to a linear path of travel.

The distal end of clamp slide 236 includes a pair of projections 246. The projections 246 are fastened within a pair of openings 248 formed in a proximal end of cartridge carrier 238, such that linear movement of clamp slide 236 is translated to corresponding linear movement of cartridge carrier 238.

Referring to FIG. 19A, approximating clamp 234 includes an abutment end 262 having a series of detents which are configured to be received in recesses 258 and 259 formed in an angled proximal end 260 of clamp slide 236. The angled proximal end 260 ofthe clamp slide 236 and the abutment end 262 ofthe approximating clamp 234 are movable into engagement to advance the cartridge assembly or DLU 222 towards the anvil. Preferably, approximating clamp 234 and clamp slide 236 are constructed of plastic and cartridge carrier 238 is constructed of stainless steel. FIG. 19A illustrates the firing mechanism for applying the fasteners of device 200.

The firing mechanism includes a trigger actuator 264 and elongate pusher bar 266 slidably received in a channel formed in clamp slide 236. Trigger actuator 264 is pivotable about pivot pin 268 into engagement with a proximal end of pusher bar 266 to advance pusher bar 266 with respect to cartridge carrier 238. Pivot pin 268 is supported between housing half- sections 212a and 212b.

The slots i42 of pusher bar 266 slidably receive the guide pins 244. Guide pins 244 limit pusher bar 266 to a linear path of travel identical to that of clamp slide 236. The distal end of pusher bar 266 is formed with a head portion 272 configured to move through the open proximal end 274 of cartridge assembly or DLU 222 to effect ejection of different-sized fasteners 221. The plurality of distally extending fingers 276 are integrally formed on head portion 272. Each finger 276 has a concave distal surface configured to engage the fasteners 221 housed within cartridge assembly 222. Fingers 276 extend from head portion 272 in a pattern that corresponds to the pattern that fasteners 221 are housed within cartridge assembly 222. For example, the pattern may be two or three staggered rows. Other patterns are also contemplated.

As illustrated in FIG. 19A, the proximal end of pusher bar 266 has a locking surface 280 and a contact surface 282. The trigger actuator 264 includes an engagement surface 284 which pivots into engagement with contact surface 282 ofthe pusher bar 266 to advance the pusher bar 266 distally.

When the pusher bar 266 is in a retracted position, locking surface 280 ofthe pusher bar 266 is positioned to prevent engagement between engagement surface 284 ofthe trigger actuator 264 and contact surface 282 of pusher bar 266. Thus, locking surface 280 prevents firing fasteners 221 prior to sufficient approximation of cartridge assembly 222 and the anvil. Before trigger actuator 264 can be rotated counter-clockwise to eject fasteners 221 from device 200, the approximating clamp 234 must be rotated clockwise toward the stationary handle 214 to advance clamp slide 236 distally. This frees trigger actuator 264 for pivotal movement to fire the fasteners 221. An adjustment member 290 is provided in the distal end ofthe device 200 to facilitate ejection of fasteners 221 from fastener applying device 200. Adjustment member 290 includes a cylindrical shaft 292 having a pair of diametrically opposed first and second flats 294 and 296, respectively. Cylindrical shaft 292 extends through an opening formed in the second leg 226 of support member 218 and through the distal end of a longitudinal adjustment slot 298 formed in pusher bar 266. The adjustment member 290 is secured to support member 218 by adjustment nut 291. Shaft 292 is rotatable to align one ofthe opposed flats 294 or 296 with a proximal end 299 of adjustment slot 298 to define a stop surface for the pusher bar 266. Since the flats 294 and 296 are formed at different depths into the cylindrical shaft 292, shaft 292 may be rotated to change the position ofthe stop surface to vary the stroke ofthe pusher bar 266.

An alignment mechanism is operatively connected to the approximation mechanism to maintain alignment between cartridge assembly or DLU 222 and the anvil during approximation ofthe anvil and cartridge 222. A more detailed description of a similar fastener applying device as device 200 is found in U.S. Patent No. 5,964,394 having a common assignee as the present application. The entire contents of U.S. Patent No. 5,964,394 are incorporated herein by reference.

With reference to FIGS. 20-22C there is shown another preferred embodiment ofthe disclosure. FIGS. 20 and 21 illustrate a fastener applying device shown generally as 300. Surgical stapling apparatus 300 includes a handle assembly 312 and an elongated body 314. A disposable loading unit or DLU 316 is releasably secured to a distal end of elongated body 314. DLU 316 includes a tool assembly 317 having a cartridge assembly 318 housing a plurality of metallic surgical staples and an anvil assembly 320 movably secured in relation to cartridge assembly 318. DLU 316 is configured to apply six linear rows of staples, i.e., three rows on either side of a knife slot 315 configured for passage of a knife blade as shown by FIG.22A.

The outer two rows of surgical staples 319a preferably each have the same size and are the largest staples 319 housed by the DLU 316 to ensure anastomotic strength. Preferably, the staples in the outer rows have a size within the range of about 4.5 mm to about 5.0 mm. The middle two rows of surgical staples 319b preferably each have the same size to ensure hemostasis and anastomotic strength. Preferably, the staples in the middle rows have a size within the range of about 3.0 mm to about 3.5 mm. The inner two rows of surgical staples 319c preferably each have the same size and are the smallest staples 319 housed by the DLU 316 to ensure hemostasis. Preferably, the staples in the inner rows have a size within the range of about 2.0 mm to about 2.5 mm. Each staple 319 has a corresponding pusher 323 for pushing the staple 319 during the staple firing procedure.

In another embodiment, the middle and outer rows of surgical staples 319a' and 319b' on both sides of knife slot 315 have the same size and the inner row of surgical staples 319c' has a different size (see FIG. 22B). In still another embodiment, the middle and inner rows of surgical staples 319b" and 319c" on both sides of knife slot 315 have the same size and the outer row of surgical staples 319a" has a different size (see FIG. 22C). It is also contemplated in still another embodiment that only the rows of surgical staples 319 on one side of knife slot 315 can have the same size while the rows on the other side of knife slot 315 can have different sizes.

Handle assembly 312 includes a stationary handle member 322, a movable handle member 324, and a barrel portion 326. Handle assembly 312 includes housing 336, which is preferably formed from molded housing half-sections 336a and 336b, which forms stationary handle member 322 and barrel portion 326 of handle assembly 312. Movable handle member 324 is pivotably supported between housing half-sections 336a and 336b.

A rotatable member 328 is preferably mounted on the forward end of barrel portion 326 to facilitate rotation of elongated body 314 with respect to handle assembly 312. An articulation lever 330 is also preferably mounted on the forward end of barrel portion 326 adjacent rotatable knob 328 to facilitate articulation of tool assembly 317. A pair of retraction knobs 332 are movably positioned along barrel portion 326 to return surgical stapling apparatus 300 to a retracted position as described in U.S. Patent No. 6,330,965 Bl having a common assignee as the present application. The entire contents of U.S. Patent No. 6,330,965 B 1 are incorporated herein by reference.

Other types of staplers from those described herein can be designed to apply different- sized staples during a stapling procedure, such as circular and linear staplers. For example, it is to be understood that the surgical staplers and disposable loading units within the scope of this disclosure include cartridges with any suitable number or configuration of rows or clusters of staple slots, for example, those for performing transverse anastomoses and having cartridges with two, three or four rows of staple slots; those for performing open gastro intestinal anastomoses having cartridges with, for example, three or four rows of staple slots, including, for example, two or three rows on each side of a knife slot; those for performing endoscopic gastro intestinal anastomoses having cartridges with a knife slot and with two or three rows of staple slots to either side ofthe knife slot; those for performing end-to-end anastomoses having cartridges with two or three annular rows to the outside of an annular knife blade; and those for performing hemorrhoidal operations and having two or three annular rows of staple slots operational to either side of an annular knife blade. Other staplers having other configurations, e.g., arcuate (less than 360-degree configurations), are also envisioned.

Although the subject apparatus has been described with respect to preferred embodiments, it will be readily apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art to which it appertains that changes and modifications may be made thereto without departing from the spirit or scope ofthe subject apparatus as defined by the appended claims.

Claims

IN THE CLAIMS:We claim:
1. A surgical stapler comprising: an anvil that includes a staple forming surface having a plurality of staple forming pockets formed therein; a cartridge configured to releasably mate with the anvil, the cartridge including a tissue contacting surface having a plurality of staple slots formed therethrough; a plurality of surgical staples disposed in the staple slots; at least one ejector positioned adjacent the staples for ejecting the plurality of staples from the staple slots; and an actuation mechanism including an actuator configured to interact with the ejectors to eject the plurality of staples from the staple slots against the anvil, wherein the plurality of staples comprise at least two groups, the staples ofthe first group having a first size range and the staples ofthe second group having a second size range, the first size range being different from the second size range.
2. A surgical stapler according to claim 1, wherein the plurality of surgical staples disposed in the slots ofthe cartridge range in size from about 2.0 mm to about 5.0 mm.
3. A surgical stapler according to any ofthe preceding claims, wherein the plurality of slots is arranged in at least two rows, and the staples of one ofthe at least two rows differ in size from the staples ofthe other ofthe at least two rows.
4. A surgical stapler according to any ofthe preceding claims, wherein the plurality of staple slots is arranged in at least two rows, wherein the range of sizes ofthe staples of one ofthe at least two rows differs from the range of sizes ofthe staples ofthe other of at least two rows.
5. A surgical stapler according to any ofthe preceding claims, wherein the plurality of staple slots is arranged in at least three rows, and the surgical staples of each row differ in size.
6. A surgical stapler according to any ofthe preceding claims, wherein the plurality of slots is arranged in at least three rows, there being two outer rows and at least one interior row, and the sizes ofthe staples of each ofthe outer rows being larger than the sizes of staples ofthe interior row.
7. A surgical stapler according to claim 6, wherein the staples of each ofthe outer rows are the same size.
8. A surgical stapler according to any ofthe preceding claims, wherein the cartridge has a longitudinal axis and a longitudinal knife slot formed in the tissue contacting surface, there are at least four rows of staple slots formed parallel to the longitudinal axis, there. being two outer rows of staple slots one outer row to each side of and least proximate to the knife slot, and there being two inner rows of staple slots one row to each side of and most proximate to the knife slot, wherein the size ofthe surgical staples of each ofthe two outer rows of staples is larger than the size ofthe surgical staples of each ofthe two inner rows.
9. A surgical stapler according to any of claims 6 through 8, wherein the size of the staples of each ofthe two outer rows is the same.
10. A surgical stapler according to any of claims 8 or 9, wherein the size ofthe staples ofthe two inner rows is the same.
11. A surgical stapler according to any of claims 8 through 10, wherein the sizes ofthe staples of each ofthe outer rows range from about 3.9 mm to about 5.0 mm, and the sizes ofthe staples of each ofthe inner rows range from about 2.0 mm to about 2.9 mm.
12. A surgical stapler according to any of claims 8 though 11 , wherein the sizes ofthe staples of each ofthe outer rows range from about 2.9 mm to about 3.9 mm, and the sizes ofthe staples of each ofthe inner rows range from about 2.0 mm to about 2.9 mm.
13. A surgical stapler according to any of claims 8 through 12, wherein the cartridge has a longitudinal axis and has a longitudinal knife slot formed in the tissue contacting surface, there being two outer rows of staple slots one outer row to each side of land least proximate to the knife slot, two inner rows of staple slots one row to each side of and most proximate to the knife slot, and two intermediate rows of staple slots one row to each side ofthe knife slot and between adjacent outer and inner slots, wherein the size ofthe surgical staples of each ofthe two outer rows is the largest, the size ofthe staples of each of the two inner rows is the smallest, and the size ofthe staples of each of the intermediate rows is intermediate the sizes ofthe staples ofthe outer and inner rows.
14. A surgical staple according to any of claims 8 through 13, wherein the plurality of surgical staples includes three groups, the surgical staples ofthe outer rows being of a first group ofthe three groups whose staple sizes are within the range from about 2.0 to about 2.9 mm, the staples ofthe intermediate rows being of a second group whose staple sizes are within the range from about 2.9 to about 3.9 mm, and the surgical staples ofthe inner rows being of a third group whose staple sizes are within the range of from about 3.9 to about 5.0 mm.
15. A surgical stapler according to any of claims 8 through 13, wherein each ofthe staples ofthe outer rows are the same size, each ofthe staples ofthe intermediate rows are the same size and each ofthe staples ofthe inner rows are the same size, the sizes ofthe staples ofthe three rows being different sizes.
16. A surgical stapler according to any ofthe preceding claims, wherein the staples of each ofthe rows ofthe at least two rows of staple slots are selected from among the following three groups of staples, the first group of staples ranging in size from about 2.0 to about 2.9 mm, the second group of staples ranging in size from about 2.9 to about 3.9 mm, and the third group of staples ranging in size from 3.9 to about 4.9 mm.
17. A surgical stapler according to claim 16, wherein the staple size selected progressively increases from the first group to the second group, from the first group to the third group, or from the second group to the third group.
18. A surgical stapler according to any ofthe preceding claims, wherein the cartridge ofthe surgical stapler is part of a disposable loading unit.
9. A surgical stapler according to any ofthe preceding claims, wherein size refers ngth of staple legs ofthe plurality of surgical staples.
PCT/US2003/015127 2002-05-13 2003-05-13 Surgical stapler and disposable loading unit having different size staples WO2003094747A9 (en)

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