US 3920006 A
An inflatable and deflatable flexible structure fitted and held over a portion of the body surface such as a limb which has undergone surgery. The structure has perforations preferably on one surface only and is connected to air pressure means which injects air under pressure.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 11 1 1111 3,
Lapidus 5] Nov. 18, 1975 INFLATABLE DEVICE FOR HEALING 0F 2,245,909 10/1937 Enfiajian .1 l28/DlG. 20 TISSUE 2.533504 12/1950 Poor 128/24 R 2,998,817 9/1961 Armstrong... 128/184 X Inventor: y p Newton, Mass- 3.468.299 9/1969 DAmato 7. 128/402 ux 3.701349 lO/l972 Larson 128/821  Asslgnee. Roy La ldus, lnc., Needha Mass- 3,824,992 7/1974 Nicholson et al. 128/24 R  Filed: Jan. 2, 1974  Ap 429 599 Primary E.\'aminerLawrence W. Trapp Attorney, Agent, or FirmJoseph Zallen 52 us. c1. l28/24J; 128/40; 128/64;
l28/82.l; 128/184 ABSTRACT hilt. Cl. An inflatable and deflatable flexible Structure fitted Fleld of Search and Over a portion of the y Surface Such as a 128/24 limb which has undergone surgery. The structure has perforations preferably on one surface only and 1s References Cited 3331;205:218 SLtloelair pressure means which injects air UNITED STATES PATENTS 1.777.982 10/1930 Popp 128/402 x 4 7 D'awmg F'gures US. Patent Nov. 18, 1975 Sheet 1 of2 3,920,006
U.S. Patent Nov. 18, 1975 Sheet2of2 3,920,006
INFLATABLE DEVICE FOR HEALING OF TISSUE BACKGROUND OF INVENTION This invention relates to therapeutic devices which aid in the healing of tissue. In particular, this invention relates to such devices whichcan be used postoperatively in surgery to reduce edema, blood clotting, and injury to new tissue. Most particularly, this invention relates to such devices which can be used postoperatively to aid in the healing of a limb which has undergone amputation.
Where a limb had been amputated, it is medically necessary to apply a tight dressing in order to obtain proper healing. Such dressing normally takes the form of a massive cast formed over a woven or knitted tightfitting cover such as a nylon sock. Inasmuch as the tight dressing such as the cast must be kept in position for an extended period of time, the patient is quite uncomfortable and further, often encounters improper tissue healing and possible infection.
One object of the present invention is to provide a device .whichwill provide a tight dressing but will be more comfortable to the patient than a conventional SUMMARY or INVENTION This invention comprises generally an inflatable and deflatable flexible structure which is fitted and held over a portion of the body surface, such as a limb. The structure has perforations preferably only on the surface that faces the body surface and is connected to air compressor means which periodically injects air under pressure. The air inflates the structure then passes out through the orifices adjacent the body surface. This periodic inflating and deflating of air provides both a current of air adjacent the limb as well as a massaging or rippling action on the body surface. The invention can be used in two general ways. One is to aid in the healing of a limb which has undergone amputation. In such case the device is fitted and held over the stump of the amputated limb which has been previously covered with a woven or knitted cover. In another use of this invention, the device is wrapped around one or more limbs either before, during or after surgery so as to provide a massaging action which tends to contribute to the reduction of edema and formation of blood clots by improving the venous blood return.
The invention can be made in several different forms. In one form the structure is divided into several individual contiguous portions, each fed separately with compressed air and having conforming transverse walls. In this embodiment, the user can select a desired pattern such as consecutive pulsing or alternate pulsing to give different massaging and air flow effects.
Another embodiment of this invention is a single, inflatable structure provided with transverse walls so that air flows in from one end and then through the entire structure.
\ rippling pressure.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is perspective viewof one embodiment of this invention in position on the stump of an amputated limb.
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the device shown in FIG. 1. FIG. 3 is a partial sectional view along line 33 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is a plan view of second embodiment of this invention, adapted for use on a limb to aid venous blood return after surgery.
FIG. 5 is a partial sectional view along line 55 of FIG. 4.
FIG. 6 is a plan view of a third embodiment of this invention, to be used in the manner of FIG. 1.
FIG. 7 is a partial sectional view along line 77 of FIG. 6.
SPECIFIC EXAMPLES OF INVENTION Referring now to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, there is illustrated therein an embodiment of this invention particularly adapted for use on the stump of an amputated limb and having a structure made of two separate, interlacing but altematingly inflatable portions. The device shown generally as 10 is made of two thin, flexible plastic sheets, 10a and 10b, heat-sealed as illustrated to form two inflatable sections, 15 and 16, separated by transverse walls, 11, formed by heatsealing. The upper surface as illustrated in FIG. 2 has minute needle-sized perforations, 15a and 16a. The device is otherwise totally enclosed except for the connections, 15b and 16b, to a controllable source of compressed air. The source can be a small compressor, for example, one which can deliver in the range of 1 to 2 cubic feet per minute. Various air compressor arrangements can be used, as for example, one with a slowly rotating distributor valve which can give a variety of cycles, e.g., inflate one section of the device for from 1 to 15 seconds, then inflate the second section of the device for from 1 to 15 seconds, etc. Air in the section not being inflated will pass out through the pores 15a and 16a allowing return tov atmospheric pressure.
The device is provided with an attaching means, as for example, straps 13 and 14, and has an extension, 12, connected with inflatable section 15 to fit over the end of the stump. In use on the stump of an amputated limb, the device is placed over a woven or knitted cover, as for example, a nylon sock, 21, which is fitted over the stump, 20. The alternate inflating and deflating sequence as illustrated in FIG. 3, not only causes motion of air through the nylon sock to the limb, but also exerts a pressure on the limb so as to give a massaging action and thus stimulate circulation. The patient is more comfortable than with a solid cast. Fur- 3 ther, the problems of edema, blood clotting, infection and improper tissue healing are reduced.
The embodiment illustrated in FIGS, 4 and 5 is shown generally by the Numeral 40. It comprises in this instance a device adapted for general use after surgery, as for example abdominal or thoracic surgery. It consists of a number of independent, inflatable sections, 41-47, formed by heat-sealing of flexible, thin plastic sheets, 40a and 40b, so as to form separating transverse walls, 15, and intermediate transverse walls, 50. Each section has connection means, 41a-47a, to a controllable compressed air source which is arranged to give alternate or sequential inflation. The top surface of each section has needle-like pores, 41b47b. When one section is not being inflated, the air escapes through the pores to the limb, and thus produces massaging action which stimulates circulation, thus contributing to the reduction of blood clots and edema.
The embodiment illustrated generally as 60 in FIGS. 6 and 7 is also made by heat-sealing thin flexible plastic sheets, 60a and 60b, to form transverse walls, 61. There is, in effect, one single inflatable chamber, 64a, with pores, 64b, on its upper surface.
constrictions can be placed at the ends of the transverse passages by appropriate heat-sealing so that instead of being uniform, the flow can be slower in the 4 top portion than in the input portion with 62 connections to compressed air means. This is illustrated by the cross section of FIG. 7.
1. A therapeutic device comprising an inflatable and deflatable, flexible tubular member shaped to flt over and be held on a body surface and having perforations on the surface of the member facing the body surface, and means for holding said member in position on said body surface; said tubular member comprising a plurality of independent, separately inflatable sections, each having an opening connecting to a pulsing supply of compressed air; said device being characterized in that deflation occurs solely by the passage of air through said perforations; said separate inflatable sections, perforations and air supply proving a massaging action on said body surface.
2. The therapeutic device of claim 1 shaped to fit over a limb or portion of a limb.
3. The therapeutic device of claim 1 wherein there are two separate, interlacing but alternatingly inflatable sections.
4. The therapeutic device of claim 1 wherein there are a plurality of independent, parallel, transversely oriented, inflatable sections,