(12) United States Patent (io) Patent No.: US 6,557,426 B2
Reinemann, Jr. et al. (45) Date of Patent: May 6,2003
(54) METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR TESTING SUTURE ANCHORS
(76) Inventors: Richard L. Reinemann, Jr., 30 Valley Rd., Dover, MA (US) 02030; Keith M. Orr, 42 8th St. Suite 3209, Charlestown, MA (US) 02129
( * ) Notice: Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this patent is extended or adjusted under 35 U.S.C. 154(b) by 0 days.
(21) Appl. No.: 09/775,135
(22) Filed: Feb. 1, 2001
(65) Prior Publication Data
US 2001/0032517 Al Oct. 25, 2001
Related U.S. Application Data
(60) Provisional application No. 60/179,518, filed on Feb. 1, 2000.
(51) Int. C I. C011.1/26
(52) U.S. CI 73/862.393
(58) Field of Search 73/826, 152.17,
73/768, 783; 606/215, 60, 57, 232, 72
(56) References Cited
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A system for determining whether sutures and/or bone anchors satisfy some minimum strength threshold. The system includes a handle that contains a sensor for measuring forces or loads (e.g., a strain gauge), an indicator, and a controller. The controller is coupled to the sensor and the indicator. During use, a surgeon installs an anchor into a patient's bone. To test the strength of the anchor, the sensor is connected to the anchor preferably by some mechanical linkage, such as a rod or shaft. The surgeon then pulls on the handle. By pulling on the handle, a corresponding force is applied to the anchor through the mechanical linkage. As the surgeon pulls, the controller receives a signal from the sensor that is proportional to the force or load being applied to the anchor. The controller compares the sensor signal with some pre-determined threshold. When the signal exceeds the threshold, the controller activates the indicator, thereby alerting the surgeon that the anchor has withstood the requisite load or force, and is thus securely attached to the patient's bone.
22 Claims, 7 Drawing Sheets