(19)
(11)EP 2 866 700 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
29.04.2020 Bulletin 2020/18

(21)Application number: 13740396.0

(22)Date of filing:  14.06.2013
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
A61B 17/32(2006.01)
A61B 34/30(2016.01)
A61B 18/14(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2013/045820
(87)International publication number:
WO 2014/004116 (03.01.2014 Gazette  2014/01)

(54)

CLOSED FEEDBACK CONTROL FOR ELECTROSURGICAL DEVICE

GESCHLOSSENE RÜCKKOPPLUNGSREGELUNG FÜR ELEKTROCHIRURGISCHE VORRICHTUNG

RÉTROCOMMANDE FERMÉE POUR DISPOSITIF ÉLECTROCHIRURGICAL


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 29.06.2012 US 201213539117

(43)Date of publication of application:
06.05.2015 Bulletin 2015/19

(73)Proprietor: Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc.
Cincinnati, OH 45242 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • STULEN, Foster B.
    Mason, Ohio 45040 (US)
  • STEWART, Randolph
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45248 (US)
  • BOUDREAUX, Chad P.
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45242 (US)

(74)Representative: Carpmaels & Ransford LLP 
One Southampton Row
London WC1B 5HA
London WC1B 5HA (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 1 839 599
US-A1- 2012 078 139
EP-A1- 2 335 630
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND



    [0001] The present disclosure relates generally to the field of robotic surgery. In particular, the present disclosure relates to, although not exclusively, electrosurgical instruments. More particularly, the present disclosure relates to, although not exclusively, a feedback control for an electrosurgical device.

    [0002] Ultrasonic surgical devices, such as ultrasonic scalpels, are used in many applications in surgical procedures by virtue of their unique performance characteristics. Depending upon specific device configurations and operational parameters, ultrasonic surgical devices can provide substantially simultaneous transection of tissue and homeostasis by coagulation, desirably minimizing patient trauma. An ultrasonic surgical device comprises a proximally-positioned ultrasonic transducer and an instrument coupled to the ultrasonic transducer having a distally-mounted end effector comprising an ultrasonic blade to cut and seal tissue. The end effector is typically coupled either to a handle and/or a robotic surgical implement via a shaft. The blade is acoustically coupled to the transducer via a waveguide extending through the shaft. Ultrasonic surgical devices of this nature can be configured for open surgical use, laparoscopic, or endoscopic surgical procedures including robotic-assisted procedures.

    [0003] Ultrasonic energy cuts and coagulates tissue using temperatures lower than those used in electrosurgical procedures. Vibrating at high frequencies (e.g., 55,500 times per second), the ultrasonic blade denatures protein in the tissue to form a sticky coagulum. Pressure exerted on tissue by the blade surface collapses blood vessels and allows the coagulum to form a haemostatic seal. A surgeon can control the cutting speed and coagulation by the force applied to the tissue by the end effector, the time over which the force is applied and the selected excursion level of the end effector.

    [0004] Also used in many surgical applications are electrosurgical devices. Electrosurgical devices apply electrical energy to tissue in order to treat tissue. An electrosurgical device may comprise an instrument having a distally-mounted end effector comprising one or more electrodes. The end effector can be positioned against tissue such that electrical current is introduced into the tissue. Electrosurgical devices can be configured for bipolar or monopolar operation. During bipolar operation, current is introduced into and returned from the tissue by active and return electrodes, respectively, of the end effector. During monopolar operation, current is introduced into the tissue by an active electrode of the end effector and returned through a return electrode (e.g., a grounding pad) separately located on a patient's body. Heat generated by the current flow through the tissue may form hemostatic seals within the tissue and/or between tissues and thus may be particularly useful for sealing blood vessels, for example. The end effector of an electrosurgical device sometimes also comprises a cutting member that is movable relative to the tissue and the electrodes to transect the tissue.

    [0005] Electrical energy applied by an electrosurgical device can be transmitted to the instrument by a generator. The electrical energy may be in the form of radio frequency ("RF") energy. RF energy is a form of electrical energy that may be in the frequency range of 300 kHz to 1 MHz. During its operation, an electrosurgical device can transmit low frequency RF energy through tissue, which causes ionic agitation, or friction, in effect resistive heating, thereby increasing the temperature of the tissue. Because a sharp boundary may be created between the affected tissue and the surrounding tissue, surgeons can operate with a high level of precision and control, without sacrificing un-targeted adjacent tissue. The low operating temperatures of RF energy may be useful for removing, shrinking, or sculpting soft tissue while simultaneously sealing blood vessels. RF energy may work particularly well on connective tissue, which is primarily comprised of collagen and shrinks when contacted by heat.

    [0006] US2012078139 A1 relates to a generator to generate a drive signal to a surgical device.

    [0007] EP1839599 A1 relates to an ultrasonic surgical system including an instrument operatively connected to an ultrasonic generator.

    [0008] EP2335630 A1 relates to an electrosurgical system including an energy source adapted to supply energy to tissue.

    SUMMARY



    [0009] Various example embodiments are directed towards a system for closed feedback control of a robotically controlled electrosurgical instrument. In one example, an exemplary method comprises applying at least one electrosurgical signal to an electrosurgical end effector a robotically controlled surgical instrument. A feedback signal may be generated by the electrosurgical end effector and provided to a control logic. The control logic may be configured to determine a rate of change of the impedance of a target tissue based on the feedback signal received from the electrosurgical end effector. The control logic may be configured to control or modify the at least one electrosurgical signal such that the rate of change of impedance determined from the feedback signal is maintained at a predetermined rate or within a predetermined range. The invention itself is limited by the scope of appended independent claim 1.

    DRAWINGS



    [0010] The features of the various embodiments are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The various embodiments, however, both as to organization and methods of operation, together with advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings as follows:

    FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of a surgical system including a surgical instrument and an ultrasonic generator.

    FIG. 2 illustrates one embodiment of the surgical instrument shown in FIG. 1.

    FIG. 3 illustrates one embodiment of an ultrasonic end effector.

    FIG. 4 illustrates another embodiment of an ultrasonic end effector.

    FIG. 5 illustrates an exploded view of one embodiment of the surgical instrument shown in FIG. 1.

    FIG. 6 illustrates a cut-away view of one embodiment of the surgical instrument shown in FIG. 1.

    FIG. 7 illustrates various internal components of one example embodiment of the surgical instrument shown in FIG. 1

    FIG. 8 illustrates a top view of one embodiment of a surgical system including a surgical instrument and an ultrasonic generator.

    FIG. 9 illustrates one embodiment of a rotation assembly included in one example embodiment of the surgical instrument of FIG. 1.

    FIG. 10 illustrates one embodiment of a surgical system including a surgical instrument having a single element end effector.

    FIG. 11 is a perspective view of one embodiment of an electrical energy surgical instrument.

    FIG. 12 is a side view of a handle of one embodiment of the surgical instrument of FIG. 11 with a half of a handle body removed to illustrate some of the components therein.

    FIG. 13 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the end effector of the surgical instrument of FIG. 11 with the jaws open and the distal end of an axially movable member in a retracted position.

    FIG. 14 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the end effector of the surgical instrument of FIG. 11 with the jaws closed and the distal end of an axially movable member in a partially advanced position.

    FIG. 15 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the axially moveable member of the surgical instrument of FIG. 1.

    FIG. 16 illustrates a section view of one embodiment of the end effector of the surgical instrument of FIG. 1.

    FIG. 17 illustrates a section a perspective view of one embodiment of a cordless electrical energy surgical instrument.

    FIG. 18A illustrates a side view of a handle of one embodiment of the surgical instrument of FIG. 17 with a half handle body removed to illustrate various components therein.

    FIG. 18B illustrates an RF drive and control circuit, according to one embodiment.

    FIG. 18C illustrates the main components of the controller, according to one embodiment.

    FIG. 19 illustrates a block diagram of one example embodiment of a robotic surgical system.

    FIG. 20 illustrates one embodiment of a robotic arm cart.

    FIG. 21 illustrates one embodiment of the robotic manipulator of the robotic arm cart of FIG. 20.

    FIG. 22 illustrates one embodiment of a robotic arm cart having an alternative set-up joint structure.

    FIG. 23 illustrates one embodiment of a controller that may be used in conjunction with a robotic arm cart, such as the robotic arm carts of FIGS. 19-22.

    FIG. 24 illustrates one embodiment of an ultrasonic surgical instrument adapted for use with a robotic system.

    FIG. 25 illustrates one embodiment of an electrosurgical instrument adapted for use with a robotic system.

    FIG. 26 illustrates one embodiment of an instrument drive assembly that may be coupled to surgical manipulators to receive and control the surgical instrument shown in FIG. 24.

    FIG. 27 illustrates another view of an instrument drive assembly embodiment of FIG. 26 including the surgical tool of FIG. 24.

    FIG. 28 illustrates another view of an instrument drive assembly of FIG. 26 including the electrosurgical tool of FIG. 25.

    FIGS. 29-31 illustrates additional views of the adapter portion of the instrument drive assembly of FIG. 26.

    FIGS. 32-34 illustrate one embodiment of the instrument mounting portion of FIGS. 24-25 showing components for translating motion of the driven elements into motion of the surgical instrument.

    FIGS. 35-37 illustrate an alternate embodiment of the instrument mounting portion of FIGS. 24-25 showing an alternate example mechanism for translating rotation of the driven elements into rotational motion about the axis of the shaft and an alternate example mechanism for generating reciprocating translation of one or more members along the axis of the shaft 538.

    FIGS. 38-42 illustrate an alternate embodiment of the instrument mounting portion FIGS. 24-25 showing another alternate example mechanism for translating rotation of the driven elements into rotational motion about the axis of the shaft.

    FIGS. 43-46A illustrate an alternate embodiment of the instrument mounting portion showing an alternate example mechanism for differential translation of members along the axis of the shaft (e.g., for articulation).

    FIGS. 46B-46C illustrate one embodiment of an instrument mounting portion comprising internal power and energy sources.

    FIG. 48 illustrates one embodiment of an electrosurgical end effector for use with a closed feedback control method.

    FIG. 49 illustrates one embodiment of a method for closed feedback control.

    FIG. 50 illustrates an alternative embodiment of the method for closed feedback control.


    DESCRIPTION



    [0011] Various example embodiments are directed towards a system for closed feedback control of a robotically controlled electrosurgical instrument. In one example, the method comprises applying at least one electrosurgical signal to an electrosurgical end effector a robotically controlled surgical instrument. A feedback signal may be generated by the electrosurgical end effector and provided to a control logic. The control logic may be configured to determine a rate of change of the impedance of a target tissue based on the feedback signal received from the electrosurgical end effector. The control logic may be configured to control or modify the at least one electrosurgical signal such that the rate of change of impedance determined from the feedback signal is maintained at a predetermined rate or within a predetermined range.

    [0012] Various example embodiments are directed towards modifying an electrosurgical drive signal. The drive signal may be configured to control a movement of an electrosurgical blade along a longitudinal axis of the electrosurgical end effector. The drive signal may be controlled by the control logic to adjust the speed of the electrosurgical blade. By altering the speed of the electrosurgical blade, the controller may maintain a rate of increase of impedance of a target tissue at a predetermined rate or within a predetermined range.

    [0013] Other example embodiments are directed towards modifying an electrosurgical signal delivered to the electrosurgical end effector for treatment of the target tissue. Electrosurgical signals delivered to the electrosurgical end effector may include ultrasonic or radiofrequency (RF) signals. In one embodiment, an ultrasonic signal is applied to the electrosurgical blade to impart ultrasonic motion to the electrosurgical blade. In an another embodiment, a RF signal is applied to first and second electrodes located on the electrosurgical end effector to transfer the RF signal to the target tissue to cause welding of the target tissue. In yet another embodiment, both ultrasonic and RF energy may be applied to the electrosurgical end effector. The electrosurgical signal may be modified by the control logic to maintain a rate of increase of impedance of the target tissue at a predetermined rate or within a predetermined range.

    [0014] Reference will now be made in detail to several embodiments, including embodiments showing example implementations of manual and robotic surgical instruments with end effectors comprising ultrasonic and/or electrosurgical elements. Wherever practicable similar or like reference numbers may be used in the figures and may indicate similar or like functionality. The figures depict example embodiments of the disclosed surgical instruments and/or exemplary methods of use for purposes of illustration only. One skilled in the art will readily recognize from the following description that alternative example embodiments of the structures and methods illustrated herein may be employed without departing from the principles described herein.

    [0015] FIG. 1 is a right side view of one embodiment of an ultrasonic surgical instrument 10. In the illustrated embodiment, the ultrasonic surgical instrument 10 may be employed in various surgical procedures including endoscopic or traditional open surgical procedures. In one example embodiment, the ultrasonic surgical instrument 10 comprises a handle assembly 12, an elongated shaft assembly 14, and an ultrasonic transducer 16. The handle assembly 12 comprises a trigger assembly 24, a distal rotation assembly 13, and a switch assembly 28. The elongated shaft assembly 14 comprises an end effector assembly 26, which comprises elements to dissect tissue or mutually grasp, cut, and coagulate vessels and/or tissue, and actuating elements to actuate the end effector assembly 26. The handle assembly 12 is adapted to receive the ultrasonic transducer 16 at the proximal end. The ultrasonic transducer 16 is mechanically engaged to the elongated shaft assembly 14 and portions of the end effector assembly 26. The ultrasonic transducer 16 is electrically coupled to a generator 20 via a cable 22. Although the majority of the drawings depict a multiple end effector assembly 26 for use in connection with laparoscopic surgical procedures, the ultrasonic surgical instrument 10 may be employed in more traditional open surgical procedures. For the purposes herein, the ultrasonic surgical instrument 10 is described in terms of an endoscopic instrument; however, it is contemplated that open and/or laparoscopic versions of the ultrasonic surgical instrument 10 also may include the same or similar operating components and features as described herein.

    [0016] In various embodiments, the generator 20 comprises several functional elements, such as modules and/or blocks. Different functional elements or modules may be configured for driving different kinds of surgical devices. For example, an ultrasonic generator module 21 may drive an ultrasonic device, such as the ultrasonic surgical instrument 10. In some example embodiments, the generator 20 also comprises an electrosurgery/RF generator module 23 for driving an electrosurgical device (or an electrosurgical embodiment of the ultrasonic surgical instrument 10). In various embodiments, the generator 20 may be formed integrally within the handle assembly 12. In such implementations, a battery would be co-located within the handle assembly 12 to act as the energy source. FIG. 18A and accompanying disclosures provide one example of such implementations.

    [0017] In some embodiments, the electrosurgery/RF generator module 23 may be configured to generate a therapeutic and/or sub-therapeutic energy level. In the example embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the generator 20 includes a control system 25 integral with the generator 20 and a foot switch 29 connected to the generator via a cable 27. The generator 20 may also comprise a triggering mechanism for activating a surgical instrument, such as the instrument 10. The triggering mechanism may include a power switch (not shown) as well as a foot switch 29. When activated by the foot switch 29, the generator 20 may provide energy to drive the acoustic assembly of the surgical instrument 10 and to drive the end effector 18 at a predetermined excursion level. The generator 20 drives or excites the acoustic assembly at any suitable resonant frequency of the acoustic assembly and/or derives the therapeutic/sub-therapeutic electromagnetic/RF energy.

    [0018] In one embodiment, the electrosurgical /RF generator module 23 may be implemented as an electrosurgery unit (ESU) capable of supplying power sufficient to perform bipolar electrosurgery using radio frequency (RF) energy. In one embodiment, the ESU can be a bipolar ERBE ICC 350 sold by ERBE USA, Inc. of Marietta, Ga. In bipolar electrosurgery applications, as previously discussed, a surgical instrument having an active electrode and a return electrode can be utilized, wherein the active electrode and the return electrode can be positioned against, or adjacent to, the tissue to be treated such that current can flow from the active electrode to the return electrode through the tissue. Accordingly, the electrosurgical/RF module 23 generator may be configured for therapeutic purposes by applying electrical energy to the tissue T sufficient for treating the tissue (e.g., cauterization).

    [0019] In one embodiment, the electrosurgical /RF generator module 23 may be configured to deliver a sub-therapeutic RF signal to implement a tissue impedance measurement module. In one embodiment, the electrosurgical /RF generator module 23 comprises a bipolar radio frequency generator as described in more detail below. In one embodiment, the electrosurgical/RF generator module 12 may be configured to monitor electrical impedance Z, of tissue T and to control the characteristics of time and power level based on the tissue T by way of a return electrode on provided on a clamp member of the end effector assembly 26. Accordingly, the electrosurgical/RF generator module 23 may be configured for sub-therapeutic purposes for measuring the impedance or other electrical characteristics of the tissue T. Techniques and circuit configurations for measuring the impedance or other electrical characteristics of tissue T are discussed in more detail in commonly assigned U.S. Patent Publication No. 2011/0015631, titled "Electrosurgical Generator for Ultrasonic Surgical Instruments."

    [0020] A suitable ultrasonic generator module 21 may be configured to functionally operate in a manner similar to the GEN300 sold by Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio as is disclosed in one or more of the following U.S. patents: U.S. Pat. No. 6,480,796 (Method for Improving the Start Up of an Ultrasonic System Under Zero Load Conditions); U.S. Pat. No. 6,537,291 (Method for Detecting Blade Breakage Using Rate and/or Impedance Information); U.S. Pat. No. 6,662,127 (Method for Detecting Presence of a Blade in an Ultrasonic System); U.S. Pat. No. 6,678,899 (Method for Detecting Transverse Vibrations in an Ultrasonic Surgical System); U.S. Pat. No. 6,977,495 (Detection Circuitry for Surgical Handpiece System); U.S. Pat. No. 7,077,853 (Method for Calculating Transducer Capacitance to Determine Transducer Temperature); U.S. Pat. No. 7,179,271 (Method for Driving an Ultrasonic System to Improve Acquisition of Blade Resonance Frequency at Startup); and U.S. Pat. No. 7,273,483 (Apparatus and Method for Alerting Generator Function in an Ultrasonic Surgical System).

    [0021] It will be appreciated that in various embodiments, the generator 20 may be configured to operate in several modes. In one mode, the generator 20 may be configured such that the ultrasonic generator module 21 and the electrosurgical/RF generator module 23 may be operated independently.

    [0022] For example, the ultrasonic generator module 21 may be activated to apply ultrasonic energy to the end effector assembly 26 and subsequently, either therapeutic sub-therapeutic RF energy may be applied to the end effector assembly 26 by the electrosurgical /RF generator module 23. As previously discussed, the subtherapeutic electrosurgical/RF energy may be applied to tissue clamped between claim elements of the end effector assembly 26 to measure tissue impedance to control the activation, or modify the activation, of the ultrasonic generator module 21. Tissue impedance feedback from the application of the subtherapeutic energy also may be employed to activate a therapeutic level of the electrosurgical/RF generator module 23 to seal the tissue (e.g., vessel) clamped between claim elements of the end effector assembly 26.

    [0023] In another embodiment, the ultrasonic generator module 21 and the electrosurgical/RF generator module 23 may be activated simultaneously. In one example, the ultrasonic generator module 21 is simultaneously activated with a sub-therapeutic RF energy level to measure tissue impedance simultaneously while the ultrasonic blade of the end effector assembly 26 cuts and coagulates the tissue (or vessel) clamped between the clamp elements of the end effector assembly 26. Such feedback may be employed, for example, to modify the drive output of the ultrasonic generator module 21. In another example, the ultrasonic generator module 21 may be driven simultaneously with electrosurgical/RF generator module 23 such that the ultrasonic blade portion of the end effector assembly 26 is employed for cutting the damaged tissue while the electrosurgical/RF energy is applied to electrode portions of the end effector clamp assembly 26 for sealing the tissue (or vessel).

    [0024] When the generator 20 is activated via the triggering mechanism, in one embodiment electrical energy is continuously applied by the generator 20 to a transducer stack or assembly of the acoustic assembly. In another embodiment, electrical energy is intermittently applied (e.g., pulsed) by the generator 20. A phase-locked loop in the control system of the generator 20 may monitor feedback from the acoustic assembly. The phase lock loop adjusts the frequency of the electrical energy sent by the generator 20 to match the resonant frequency of the selected longitudinal mode of vibration of the acoustic assembly. In addition, a second feedback loop in the control system 25 maintains the electrical current supplied to the acoustic assembly at a pre-selected constant level in order to achieve substantially constant excursion at the end effector 18 of the acoustic assembly. In yet another embodiment, a third feedback loop in the control system 25 monitors impedance between electrodes located in the end effector assembly 26. Although FIGS. 1-9 show a manually operated ultrasonic surgical instrument, it will be appreciated that ultrasonic surgical instruments may also be used in robotic applications, for example, as described herein as well as combinations of manual and robotic applications.

    [0025] In ultrasonic operation mode, the electrical signal supplied to the acoustic assembly may cause the distal end of the end effector 18, to vibrate longitudinally in the range of, for example, approximately 20 kHz to 250 kHz. According to various embodiments, the blade 22 may vibrate in the range of about 54 kHz to 56 kHz, for example, at about 55.5 kHz. In other embodiments, the blade 22 may vibrate at other frequencies including, for example, about 31 kHz or about 80 kHz. The excursion of the vibrations at the blade can be controlled by, for example, controlling the amplitude of the electrical signal applied to the transducer assembly of the acoustic assembly by the generator 20. As noted above, the triggering mechanism of the generator 20 allows a user to activate the generator 20 so that electrical energy may be continuously or intermittently supplied to the acoustic assembly. The generator 20 also has a power line for insertion in an electro-surgical unit or conventional electrical outlet. It is contemplated that the generator 20 can also be powered by a direct current (DC) source, such as a battery. The generator 20 can comprise any suitable generator, such as Model No. GEN04, and/or Model No. GEN11 available from Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc.

    [0026] FIG. 2 is a left perspective view of one example embodiment of the ultrasonic surgical instrument 10 showing the handle assembly 12, the distal rotation assembly 13, the elongated shaft assembly 14, and the end effector assembly 26. In the illustrated embodiment the elongated shaft assembly 14 comprises a distal end 52 dimensioned to mechanically engage the end effector assembly 26 and a proximal end 50 that mechanically engages the handle assembly 12 and the distal rotation assembly 13. The proximal end 50 of the elongated endoscopic shaft assembly 14 is received within the handle assembly 12 and the distal rotation assembly 13. More details relating to the connections between the elongated shaft assembly 14, the handle assembly 12, and the distal rotation assembly 13 are provided in the description of FIGS. 5 and 7.

    [0027] In the illustrated embodiment, the trigger assembly 24 comprises a trigger 32 that operates in conjunction with a fixed handle 34. The fixed handle 34 and the trigger 32 are ergonomically formed and adapted to interface comfortably with the user. The fixed handle 34 is integrally associated with the handle assembly 12. The trigger 32 is pivotally movable relative to the fixed handle 34 as explained in more detail below with respect to the operation of the ultrasonic surgical instrument 10. The trigger 32 is pivotally movable in direction 33A toward the fixed handle 34 when the user applies a squeezing force against the trigger 32. A spring element 98 (FIG. 5) causes the trigger 32 to pivotally move in direction 33B when the user releases the squeezing force against the trigger 32.

    [0028] In one example embodiment, the trigger 32 comprises an elongated trigger hook 36, which defines an aperture 38 between the elongated trigger hook 36 and the trigger 32. The aperture 38 is suitably sized to receive one or multiple fingers of the user therethrough. The trigger 32 also may comprise a resilient portion 32a molded over the trigger 32 substrate. The overmolded resilient portion 32a is formed to provide a more comfortable contact surface for control of the trigger 32 in outward direction 33B. In one example embodiment, the overmolded resilient portion 32a may be provided over a portion of the elongated trigger hook 36. The proximal surface of the elongated trigger hook 32 remains uncoated or coated with a non-resilient substrate to enable the user to easily slide their fingers in and out of the aperture 38. In another embodiment, the geometry of the trigger forms a fully closed loop which defines an aperture suitably sized to receive one or multiple fingers of the user therethrough. The fully closed loop trigger also may comprise a resilient portion molded over the trigger substrate.

    [0029] In one example embodiment, the fixed handle 34 comprises a proximal contact surface 40 and a grip anchor or saddle surface 42. The saddle surface 42 rests on the web where the thumb and the index finger are joined on the hand. The proximal contact surface 40 has a pistol grip contour that receives the palm of the hand in a normal pistol grip with no rings or apertures. The profile curve of the proximal contact surface 40 may be contoured to accommodate or receive the palm of the hand. A stabilization tail 44 is located towards a more proximal portion of the handle assembly 12. The stabilization tail 44 may be in contact with the uppermost web portion of the hand located between the thumb and the index finger to stabilize the handle assembly 12 and make the handle assembly 12 more controllable.

    [0030] In one example embodiment, the switch assembly 28 may comprise a toggle switch 30. The toggle switch 30 may be implemented as a single component with a central pivot 304 located within inside the handle assembly 12 to eliminate the possibility of simultaneous activation. In one example embodiment, the toggle switch 30 comprises a first projecting knob 30a and a second projecting knob 30b to set the power setting of the ultrasonic transducer 16 between a minimum power level (e.g., MIN) and a maximum power level (e.g., MAX). In another embodiment, the rocker switch may pivot between a standard setting and a special setting. The special setting may allow one or more special programs to be implemented by the device. The toggle switch 30 rotates about the central pivot as the first projecting knob 30a and the second projecting knob 30b are actuated. The one or more projecting knobs 30a, 30b are coupled to one or more arms that move through a small arc and cause electrical contacts to close or open an electric circuit to electrically energize or de-energize the ultrasonic transducer 16 in accordance with the activation of the first or second projecting knobs 30a, 30b. The toggle switch 30 is coupled to the generator 20 to control the activation of the ultrasonic transducer 16. The toggle switch 30 comprises one or more electrical power setting switches to activate the ultrasonic transducer 16 to set one or more power settings for the ultrasonic transducer 16. The forces required to activate the toggle switch 30 are directed substantially toward the saddle point 42, thus avoiding any tendency of the instrument to rotate in the hand when the toggle switch 30 is activated.

    [0031] In one example embodiment, the first and second projecting knobs 30a, 30b are located on the distal end of the handle assembly 12 such that they can be easily accessible by the user to activate the power with minimal, or substantially no, repositioning of the hand grip, making it suitable to maintain control and keep attention focused on the surgical site (e.g., a monitor in a laparoscopic procedure) while activating the toggle switch 30. The projecting knobs 30a, 30b may be configured to wrap around the side of the handle assembly 12 to some extent to be more easily accessible by variable finger lengths and to allow greater freedom of access to activation in awkward positions or for shorter fingers.

    [0032] In the illustrated embodiment, the first projecting knob 30a comprises a plurality of tactile elements 30c, e.g., textured projections or "bumps" in the illustrated embodiment, to allow the user to differentiate the first projecting knob 30a from the second projecting knob 30b. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that several ergonomic features may be incorporated into the handle assembly 12. Such ergonomic features are described in U.S. Pat. App. Pub. No. 2009/0105750 entitled "Ergonomic Surgical Instruments" which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

    [0033] In one example embodiment, the toggle switch 30 may be operated by the hand of the user. The user may easily access the first and second projecting knobs 30a, 30b at any point while also avoiding inadvertent or unintentional activation at any time. The toggle switch 30 may readily operated with a finger to control the power to the ultrasonic assembly 16 and/or to the ultrasonic assembly 16. For example, the index finger may be employed to activate the first contact portion 30a to turn on the ultrasonic assembly 16 to a maximum (MAX) power level. The index finger may be employed to activate the second contact portion 30b to turn on the ultrasonic assembly 16 to a minimum (MIN) power level. In another embodiment, the rocker switch may pivot the instrument 10 between a standard setting and a special setting. The special setting may allow one or more special programs to be implemented by the instrument 10. The toggle switch 30 may be operated without the user having to look at the first or second projecting knob 30a, 30b. For example, the first projecting knob 30a or the second projecting knob 30b may comprise a texture or projections to tactilely differentiate between the first and second projecting knobs 30a, 30b without looking.

    [0034] In other embodiments, the trigger 32 and/or the toggle switch 30 may be employed to actuate the electrosurgical/RF generator module 23 individually or in combination with activation of the ultrasonic generator module 21.

    [0035] In one example embodiment, the distal rotation assembly 13 is rotatable without limitation in either direction about a longitudinal axis "T." The distal rotation assembly 13 is mechanically engaged to the elongated shaft assembly 14. The distal rotation assembly 13 is located on a distal end of the handle assembly 12. The distal rotation assembly 13 comprises a cylindrical hub 46 and a rotation knob 48 formed over the hub 46. The hub 46 mechanically engages the elongated shaft assembly 14. The rotation knob 48 may comprise fluted polymeric features and may be engaged by a finger (e.g., an index finger) to rotate the elongated shaft assembly 14. The hub 46 may comprise a material molded over the primary structure to form the rotation knob 48. The rotation knob 48 may be overmolded over the hub 46. The hub 46 comprises an end cap portion 46a that is exposed at the distal end. The end cap portion 46a of the hub 46 may contact the surface of a trocar during laparoscopic procedures. The hub 46 may be formed of a hard durable plastic such as polycarbonate to alleviate any friction that may occur between the end cap portion 46a and the trocar. The rotation knob 48 may comprise "scallops" or flutes formed of raised ribs 48a and concave portions 48b located between the ribs 48a to provide a more precise rotational grip. In one example embodiment, the rotation knob 48 may comprise a plurality of flutes (e.g., three or more flutes). In other embodiments, any suitable number of flutes may be employed. The rotation knob 48 may be formed of a softer polymeric material overmolded onto the hard plastic material. For example, the rotation knob 48 may be formed of pliable, resilient, flexible polymeric materials including Versaflex® TPE alloys made by GLS Corporation, for example. This softer overmolded material may provide a greater grip and more precise control of the movement of the rotation knob 48. It will be appreciated that any materials that provide adequate resistance to sterilization, are biocompatible, and provide adequate frictional resistance to surgical gloves may be employed to form the rotation knob 48.

    [0036] In one example embodiment, the handle assembly 12 is formed from two (2) housing portions or shrouds comprising a first portion 12a and a second portion 12b. From the perspective of a user viewing the handle assembly 12 from the distal end towards the proximal end, the first portion 12a is considered the right portion and the second portion 12b is considered the left portion. Each of the first and second portions 12a, 12b includes a plurality of interfaces 69 (FIG. 5) dimensioned to mechanically align and engage each another to form the handle assembly 12 and enclosing the internal working components thereof. The fixed handle 34, which is integrally associated with the handle assembly 12, takes shape upon the assembly of the first and second portions 12a and 12b of the handle assembly 12. A plurality of additional interfaces (not shown) may be disposed at various points around the periphery of the first and second portions 12a and 12b of the handle assembly 12 for ultrasonic welding purposes, e.g., energy direction/deflection points. The first and second portions 12a and 12b (as well as the other components described below) may be assembled together in any fashion known in the art. For example, alignment pins, snap-like interfaces, tongue and groove interfaces, locking tabs, adhesive ports, may all be utilized either alone or in combination for assembly purposes.

    [0037] In one example embodiment, the elongated endoscopic shaft assembly 14 comprises a proximal end 50 adapted to mechanically engage the handle assembly 12 and the distal rotation assembly 13; and a distal end 52 adapted to mechanically engage the end effector assembly 26. The elongated shaft assembly 14 comprises an outer tubular sheath 56 and a reciprocating tubular actuating member 58 located within the outer tubular sheath 56. The proximal end of the tubular reciprocating tubular actuating member 58 is mechanically engaged to the trigger 32 of the handle assembly 12 to move in either direction 60A or 60B in response to the actuation and/or release of the trigger 32. The pivotably moveable trigger 32 may generate reciprocating motion along the longitudinal axis "T." Such motion may be used, for example, to actuate the jaws or clamping mechanism of the end effector assembly 26. A series of linkages translate the pivotal rotation of the trigger 32 to axial movement of a yoke coupled to an actuation mechanism, which controls the opening and closing of the jaws of the clamping mechanism of the end effector assembly 26. The distal end of the tubular reciprocating tubular actuating member 58 is mechanically engaged to the end effector assembly 26. In the illustrated embodiment, the distal end of the tubular reciprocating tubular actuating member 58 is mechanically engaged to a clamp arm assembly 64, which is pivotable about a pivot point 70, to open and close the clamp arm assembly 64 in response to the actuation and/or release of the trigger 32. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, the clamp arm assembly 64 is movable in direction 62A from an open position to a closed position about a pivot point 70 when the trigger 32 is squeezed in direction 33A. The clamp arm assembly 64 is movable in direction 62B from a closed position to an open position about the pivot point 70 when the trigger 32 is released or outwardly contacted in direction 33B.

    [0038] In one example embodiment, the end effector assembly 26 is attached at the distal end 52 of the elongated shaft assembly 14 and includes a clamp arm assembly 64 and a blade 66. The jaws of the clamping mechanism of the end effector assembly 26 are formed by clamp arm assembly 64 and the blade 66. The blade 66 is ultrasonically actuatable and is acoustically coupled to the ultrasonic transducer 16. The trigger 32 on the handle assembly 12 is ultimately connected to a drive assembly, which together, mechanically cooperate to effect movement of the clamp arm assembly 64. Squeezing the trigger 32 in direction 33A moves the clamp arm assembly 64 in direction 62A from an open position, wherein the clamp arm assembly 64 and the blade 66 are disposed in a spaced relation relative to one another, to a clamped or closed position, wherein the clamp arm assembly 64 and the blade 66 cooperate to grasp tissue therebetween. The clamp arm assembly 64 may comprise a clamp pad 69 to engage tissue between the blade 66 and the clamp arm 64. Releasing the trigger 32 in direction 33B moves the clamp arm assembly 64 in direction 62B from a closed relationship, to an open position, wherein the clamp arm assembly 64 and the blade 66 are disposed in a spaced relation relative to one another.

    [0039] The proximal portion of the handle assembly 12 comprises a proximal opening 68 to receive the distal end of the ultrasonic assembly 16. The ultrasonic assembly 16 is inserted in the proximal opening 68 and is mechanically engaged to the elongated shaft assembly 14.

    [0040] In one example embodiment, the elongated trigger hook 36 portion of the trigger 32 provides a longer trigger lever with a shorter span and rotation travel. The longer lever of the elongated trigger hook 36 allows the user to employ multiple fingers within the aperture 38 to operate the elongated trigger hook 36 and cause the trigger 32 to pivot in direction 33B to open the jaws of the end effector assembly 26. For example, the user may insert three fingers (e.g., the middle, ring, and little fingers) in the aperture 38. Multiple fingers allows the surgeon to exert higher input forces on the trigger 32 and the elongated trigger hook 36 to activate the end effector assembly 26. The shorter span and rotation travel creates a more comfortable grip when closing or squeezing the trigger 32 in direction 33A or when opening the trigger 32 in the outward opening motion in direction 33B lessening the need to extend the fingers further outward. This substantially lessens hand fatigue and strain associated with the outward opening motion of the trigger 32 in direction 33B. The outward opening motion of the trigger may be spring-assisted by spring element 98 (FIG. 5) to help alleviate fatigue. The opening spring force is sufficient to assist the ease of opening, but not strong enough to adversely impact the tactile feedback of tissue tension during spreading dissection.

    [0041] For example, during a surgical procedure either the index finger may be used to control the rotation of the elongated shaft assembly 14 to locate the jaws of the end effector assembly 26 in a suitable orientation. The middle and/or the other lower fingers may be used to squeeze the trigger 32 and grasp tissue within the jaws. Once the jaws are located in the desired position and the jaws are clamped against the tissue, the index finger can be used to activate the toggle switch 30 to adjust the power level of the ultrasonic transducer 16 to treat the tissue. Once the tissue has been treated, the user the may release the trigger 32 by pushing outwardly in the distal direction against the elongated trigger hook 36 with the middle and/or lower fingers to open the jaws of the end effector assembly 26. This basic procedure may be performed without the user having to adjust their grip of the handle assembly 12.

    [0042] FIGS. 3-4 illustrate the connection of the elongated endoscopic shaft assembly 14 relative to the end effector assembly 26. As previously described, in the illustrated embodiment, the end effector assembly 26 comprises a clamp arm assembly 64 and a blade 66 to form the jaws of the clamping mechanism. The blade 66 may be an ultrasonically actuatable blade acoustically coupled to the ultrasonic transducer 16. The trigger 32 is mechanically connected to a drive assembly. Together, the trigger 32 and the drive assembly mechanically cooperate to move the clamp arm assembly 64 to an open position in direction 62A wherein the clamp arm assembly 64 and the blade 66 are disposed in spaced relation relative to one another, to a clamped or closed position in direction 62B wherein the clamp arm assembly 64 and the blade 66 cooperate to grasp tissue therebetween. The clamp arm assembly 64 may comprise a clamp pad 69 to engage tissue between the blade 66 and the clamp arm 64. The distal end of the tubular reciprocating tubular actuating member 58 is mechanically engaged to the end effector assembly 26. In the illustrated embodiment, the distal end of the tubular reciprocating tubular actuating member 58 is mechanically engaged to the clamp arm assembly 64, which is pivotable about the pivot point 70, to open and close the clamp arm assembly 64 in response to the actuation and/or release of the trigger 32. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, the clamp arm assembly 64 is movable from an open position to a closed position in direction 62B about a pivot point 70 when the trigger 32 is squeezed in direction 33A. The clamp arm assembly 64 is movable from a closed position to an open position in direction 62B about the pivot point 70 when the trigger 32 is released or outwardly contacted in direction 33B.

    [0043] As previously discussed, the clamp arm assembly 64 may comprise electrodes electrically coupled to the electrosurgical/RF generator module 23 to receive therapeutic and/or sub-therapeutic energy, where the electrosurgical/RF energy may be applied to the electrodes either simultaneously or non-simultaneously with the ultrasonic energy being applied to the blade 66. Such energy activations may be applied in any suitable combination to achieve a desired tissue effect in cooperation with an algorithm or other control logic.

    [0044] FIG. 5 is an exploded view of the ultrasonic surgical instrument 10 shown in FIG. 2. In the illustrated embodiment, the exploded view shows the internal elements of the handle assembly 12, the handle assembly 12, the distal rotation assembly 13, the switch assembly 28, and the elongated shaft assembly 14. In the illustrated embodiment, the first and second portions 12a, 12b mate to form the handle assembly 12. The first and second portions 12a, 12b each comprises a plurality of interfaces 69 dimensioned to mechanically align and engage one another to form the handle assembly 12 and enclose the internal working components of the ultrasonic surgical instrument 10. The rotation knob 48 is mechanically engaged to the outer tubular sheath 56 so that it may be rotated in circular direction 54 up to 360°. The outer tubular sheath 56 is located over the reciprocating tubular actuating member 58, which is mechanically engaged to and retained within the handle assembly 12 via a plurality of coupling elements 72. The coupling elements 72 may comprise an O-ring 72a, a tube collar cap 72b, a distal washer 72c, a proximal washer 72d, and a thread tube collar 72e. The reciprocating tubular actuating member 58 is located within a reciprocating yoke 84, which is retained between the first and second portions 12a, 12b of the handle assembly 12. The yoke 84 is part of a reciprocating yoke assembly 88. A series of linkages translate the pivotal rotation of the elongated trigger hook 32 to the axial movement of the reciprocating yoke 84, which controls the opening and closing of the jaws of the clamping mechanism of the end effector assembly 26 at the distal end of the ultrasonic surgical instrument 10. In one example embodiment, a four-link design provides mechanical advantage in a relatively short rotation span, for example.

    [0045] In one example embodiment, an ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78 is disposed inside the reciprocating tubular actuating member 58. The distal end 52 of the ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78 is acoustically coupled (e.g., directly or indirectly mechanically coupled) to the blade 66 and the proximal end 50 of the ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78 is received within the handle assembly 12. The proximal end 50 of the ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78 is adapted to acoustically couple to the distal end of the ultrasonic transducer 16 as discussed in more detail below. The ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78 is isolated from the other elements of the elongated shaft assembly 14 by a protective sheath 80 and a plurality of isolation elements 82, such as silicone rings. The outer tubular sheath 56, the reciprocating tubular actuating member 58, and the ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78 are mechanically engaged by a pin 74. The switch assembly 28 comprises the toggle switch 30 and electrical elements 86a,b to electrically energize the ultrasonic transducer 16 in accordance with the activation of the first or second projecting knobs 30a, 30b.

    [0046] In one example embodiment, the outer tubular sheath 56 isolates the user or the patient from the ultrasonic vibrations of the ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78. The outer tubular sheath 56 generally includes a hub 76. The outer tubular sheath 56 is threaded onto the distal end of the handle assembly 12. The ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78 extends through the opening of the outer tubular sheath 56 and the isolation elements 82 isolate the ultrasonic transmission waveguide 24 from the outer tubular sheath 56. The outer tubular sheath 56 may be attached to the waveguide 78 with the pin 74. The hole to receive the pin 74 in the waveguide 78 may occur nominally at a displacement node. The waveguide 78 may screw or snap into the hand piece handle assembly 12 by a stud. Flat portions on the hub 76 may allow the assembly to be torqued to a required level. In one example embodiment, the hub 76 portion of the outer tubular sheath 56 is preferably constructed from plastic and the tubular elongated portion of the outer tubular sheath 56 is fabricated from stainless steel. Alternatively, the ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78 may comprise polymeric material surrounding it to isolate it from outside contact.

    [0047] In one example embodiment, the distal end of the ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78 may be coupled to the proximal end of the blade 66 by an internal threaded connection, preferably at or near an antinode. It is contemplated that the blade 66 may be attached to the ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78 by any suitable means, such as a welded joint or the like. Although the blade 66 may be detachable from the ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78, it is also contemplated that the single element end effector (e.g., the blade 66) and the ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78 may be formed as a single unitary piece.

    [0048] In one example embodiment, the trigger 32 is coupled to a linkage mechanism to translate the rotational motion of the trigger 32 in directions 33A and 33B to the linear motion of the reciprocating tubular actuating member 58 in corresponding directions 60A and 60B. The trigger 32 comprises a first set of flanges 98 with openings formed therein to receive a first yoke pin 92a. The first yoke pin 92a is also located through a set of openings formed at the distal end of the yoke 84. The trigger 32 also comprises a second set of flanges 96 to receive a first end 92a of a link 92. A trigger pin 90 is received in openings formed in the link 92 and the second set of flanges 96. The trigger pin 90 is received in the openings formed in the link 92 and the second set of flanges 96 and is adapted to couple to the first and second portions 12a, 12b of the handle assembly 12 to form a trigger pivot point for the trigger 32. A second end 92b of the link 92 is received in a slot 384 formed in a proximal end of the yoke 84 and is retained therein by a second yoke pin 94b. As the trigger 32 is pivotally rotated about the pivot point 190 formed by the trigger pin 90, the yoke translates horizontally along longitudinal axis "T" in a direction indicated by arrows 60A,B.

    [0049] FIG. 8 illustrates one example embodiment of an ultrasonic surgical instrument 10. In the illustrated embodiment, a cross-sectional view of the ultrasonic transducer 16 is shown within a partial cutaway view of the handle assembly 12. One example embodiment of the ultrasonic surgical instrument 10 comprises the ultrasonic signal generator 20 coupled to the ultrasonic transducer 16, comprising a hand piece housing 99, and an ultrasonically actuatable single or multiple element end effector assembly 26. As previously discussed, the end effector assembly 26 comprises the ultrasonically actuatable blade 66 and the clamp arm 64. The ultrasonic transducer 16, which is known as a "Langevin stack", generally includes a transduction portion 100, a first resonator portion or end-bell 102, and a second resonator portion or fore-bell 104, and ancillary components. The total construction of these components is a resonator. The ultrasonic transducer 16 is preferably an integral number of one-half system wavelengths (nλ/2; where "n" is any positive integer; e.g., n = 1, 2, 3...) in length as will be described in more detail later. An acoustic assembly 106 includes the ultrasonic transducer 16, a nose cone 108, a velocity transformer 118, and a surface 110.

    [0050] In one example embodiment, the distal end of the end-bell 102 is connected to the proximal end of the transduction portion 100, and the proximal end of the fore-bell 104 is connected to the distal end of the transduction portion 100. The fore-bell 104 and the end-bell 102 have a length determined by a number of variables, including the thickness of the transduction portion 100, the density and modulus of elasticity of the material used to manufacture the end-bell 102 and the fore-bell 22, and the resonant frequency of the ultrasonic transducer 16. The fore-bell 104 may be tapered inwardly from its proximal end to its distal end to amplify the ultrasonic vibration amplitude as the velocity transformer 118, or alternately may have no amplification. A suitable vibrational frequency range may be about 20Hz to 32kHz and a well-suited vibrational frequency range may be about 30-10kHz. A suitable operational vibrational frequency may be approximately 55.5kHz, for example.

    [0051] In one example embodiment, the piezoelectric elements 112 may be fabricated from any suitable material, such as, for example, lead zirconate-titanate, lead meta-niobate, lead titanate, barium titanate, or other piezoelectric ceramic material. Each of positive electrodes 114, negative electrodes 116, and the piezoelectric elements 112 has a bore extending through the center. The positive and negative electrodes 114 and 116 are electrically coupled to wires 120 and 122, respectively. The wires 120 and 122 are encased within the cable 22 and electrically connectable to the ultrasonic signal generator 20.

    [0052] The ultrasonic transducer 16 of the acoustic assembly 106 converts the electrical signal from the ultrasonic signal generator 20 into mechanical energy that results in primarily a standing acoustic wave of longitudinal vibratory motion of the ultrasonic transducer 16 and the blade 66 portion of the end effector assembly 26 at ultrasonic frequencies. In another embodiment, the vibratory motion of the ultrasonic transducer may act in a different direction. For example, the vibratory motion may comprise a local longitudinal component of a more complicated motion of the tip of the elongated shaft assembly 14. A suitable generator is available as model number GEN11, from Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio. When the acoustic assembly 106 is energized, a vibratory motion standing wave is generated through the acoustic assembly 106. The ultrasonic surgical instrument 10 is designed to operate at a resonance such that an acoustic standing wave pattern of predetermined amplitude is produced. The amplitude of the vibratory motion at any point along the acoustic assembly 106 depends upon the location along the acoustic assembly 106 at which the vibratory motion is measured. A minimum or zero crossing in the vibratory motion standing wave is generally referred to as a node (i.e., where motion is minimal), and a local absolute value maximum or peak in the standing wave is generally referred to as an anti-node (i.e., where local motion is maximal). The distance between an anti-node and its nearest node is one-quarter wavelength (λ/4).

    [0053] The wires 120 and 122 transmit an electrical signal from the ultrasonic signal generator 20 to the positive electrodes 114 and the negative electrodes 116. The piezoelectric elements 112 are energized by the electrical signal supplied from the ultrasonic signal generator 20 in response to an actuator 224, such as a foot switch, for example, to produce an acoustic standing wave in the acoustic assembly 106. The electrical signal causes disturbances in the piezoelectric elements 112 in the form of repeated small displacements resulting in large alternating compression and tension forces within the material. The repeated small displacements cause the piezoelectric elements 112 to expand and contract in a continuous manner along the axis of the voltage gradient, producing longitudinal waves of ultrasonic energy. The ultrasonic energy is transmitted through the acoustic assembly 106 to the blade 66 portion of the end effector assembly 26 via a transmission component or an ultrasonic transmission waveguide portion 78 of the elongated shaft assembly 14.

    [0054] In one example embodiment, in order for the acoustic assembly 106 to deliver energy to the blade 66 portion of the end effector assembly 26, all components of the acoustic assembly 106 must be acoustically coupled to the blade 66. The distal end of the ultrasonic transducer 16 may be acoustically coupled at the surface 110 to the proximal end of the ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78 by a threaded connection such as a stud 124.

    [0055] In one example embodiment, the components of the acoustic assembly 106 are preferably acoustically tuned such that the length of any assembly is an integral number of one-half wavelengths (nλ/2), where the wavelength λ is the wavelength of a pre-selected or operating longitudinal vibration drive frequency fd of the acoustic assembly 106. It is also contemplated that the acoustic assembly 106 may incorporate any suitable arrangement of acoustic elements.

    [0056] In one example embodiment, the blade 66 may have a length substantially equal to an integral multiple of one-half system wavelengths (nλ/2). A distal end of the blade 66 may be disposed near an antinode in order to provide the maximum longitudinal excursion of the distal end. When the transducer assembly is energized, the distal end of the blade 66 may be configured to move in the range of, for example, approximately 10 to 500 microns peak-to-peak, and preferably in the range of about 30 to 64 microns at a predetermined vibrational frequency of 55kHz, for example.

    [0057] In one example embodiment, the blade 66 may be coupled to the ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78. The blade 66 and the ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78 as illustrated are formed as a single unit construction from a material suitable for transmission of ultrasonic energy. Examples of such materials include Ti6AI4V (an alloy of Titanium including Aluminum and Vanadium), Aluminum, Stainless Steel, or other suitable materials. Alternately, the blade 66 may be separable (and of differing composition) from the ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78, and coupled by, for example, a stud, weld, glue, quick connect, or other suitable known methods. The length of the ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78 may be substantially equal to an integral number of one-half wavelengths (nλ/2), for example. The ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78 may be preferably fabricated from a solid core shaft constructed out of material suitable to propagate ultrasonic energy efficiently, such as the titanium alloy discussed above (i.e., Ti6Al4V) or any suitable aluminum alloy, or other alloys, for example.

    [0058] In one example embodiment, the ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78 comprises a longitudinally projecting attachment post at a proximal end to couple to the surface 110 of the ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78 by a threaded connection such as the stud 124. The ultrasonic transmission waveguide 78 may include a plurality of stabilizing silicone rings or compliant supports 82 (FIG. 5) positioned at a plurality of nodes. The silicone rings 82 dampen undesirable vibration and isolate the ultrasonic energy from an outer protective sheath 80 (FIG. 5) assuring the flow of ultrasonic energy in a longitudinal direction to the distal end of the blade 66 with maximum efficiency.

    [0059] FIG. 9 illustrates one example embodiment of the proximal rotation assembly 128. In the illustrated embodiment, the proximal rotation assembly 128 comprises the proximal rotation knob 134 inserted over the cylindrical hub 135. The proximal rotation knob 134 comprises a plurality of radial projections 138 that are received in corresponding slots 130 formed on a proximal end of the cylindrical hub 135. The proximal rotation knob 134 defines an opening 142 to receive the distal end of the ultrasonic transducer 16. The radial projections 138 are formed of a soft polymeric material and define a diameter that is undersized relative to the outside diameter of the ultrasonic transducer 16 to create a friction interference fit when the distal end of the ultrasonic transducer 16. The polymeric radial projections 138 protrude radially into the opening 142 to form "gripper" ribs that firmly grip the exterior housing of the ultrasonic transducer 16. Therefore, the proximal rotation knob 134 securely grips the ultrasonic transducer 16.

    [0060] The distal end of the cylindrical hub 135 comprises a circumferential lip 132 and a circumferential bearing surface 140. The circumferential lip engages a groove formed in the housing 12 and the circumferential bearing surface 140 engages the housing 12. Thus, the cylindrical hub 135 is mechanically retained within the two housing portions (not shown) of the housing 12. The circumferential lip 132 of the cylindrical hub 135 is located or "trapped" between the first and second housing portions 12a, 12b and is free to rotate in place within the groove. The circumferential bearing surface 140 bears against interior portions of the housing to assist proper rotation. Thus, the cylindrical hub 135 is free to rotate in place within the housing. The user engages the flutes 136 formed on the proximal rotation knob 134 with either the finger or the thumb to rotate the cylindrical hub 135 within the housing 12.

    [0061] In one example embodiment, the cylindrical hub 135 may be formed of a durable plastic such as polycarbonate. In one example embodiment, the cylindrical hub 135 may be formed of a siliconized polycarbonate material. In one example embodiment, the proximal rotation knob 134 may be formed of pliable, resilient, flexible polymeric materials including Versaflex® TPE alloys made by GLS Corporation, for example. The proximal rotation knob 134 may be formed of elastomeric materials, thermoplastic rubber known as Santoprene®, other thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPVs), or elastomers, for example. The embodiments, however, are not limited in this context.

    [0062] FIG. 10 illustrates one example embodiment of a surgical system 200 including a surgical instrument 210 having single element end effector 278. The system 200 may include a transducer assembly 216 coupled to the end effector 278 and a sheath 256 positioned around the proximal portions of the end effector 278 as shown. The transducer assembly 216 and end effector 278 may operate in a manner similar to that of the transducer assembly 16 and end effector 18 described above to produce ultrasonic energy that may be transmitted to tissue via blade 226'

    [0063] FIGS. 11-18C illustrate various embodiments of surgical instruments that utilize therapeutic and/or sub-therapeutic electrical energy to treat and/or destroy tissue or provide feedback to the generators (e.g., electrosurgical instruments). The embodiments of FIGS. 11-18C are adapted for use in a manual or hand-operated manner although electrosurgical instruments may be utilized in robotic applications as well. FIG. 11 is a perspective view of one example embodiment of a surgical instrument system 300 comprising an electrical energy surgical instrument 310. The electrosurgical instrument 310 may comprise a proximal handle 312, a distal working end or end effector 326 and an introducer or elongated shaft 314 disposed in-between.

    [0064] The electrosurgical system 300 can be configured to supply energy, such as electrical energy, ultrasonic energy, heat energy, or any combination thereof, to the tissue of a patient either independently or simultaneously as described, for example, in connection with FIG. 1, for example.. In one example embodiment, the electrosurgical system 300 includes a generator 320 in electrical communication with the electrosurgical instrument 310. The generator 320 is connected to electrosurgical instrument 310 via a suitable transmission medium such as a cable 322. In one example embodiment, the generator 320 is coupled to a controller, such as a control unit 325, for example. In various embodiments, the control unit 325 may be formed integrally with the generator 320 or may be provided as a separate circuit module or device electrically coupled to the generator 320 (shown in phantom to illustrate this option). Although in the presently disclosed embodiment, the generator 320 is shown separate from the electrosurgical instrument 310, in one example embodiment, the generator 320 (and/or the control unit 325) may be formed integrally with the electrosurgical instrument 310 to form a unitary electrosurgical system 300 where a battery located within the electrosurgical instrument 310 is the energy source and a circuit coupled to the battery produces the suitable electrical energy, ultrasonic energy, or heat energy. One such example is described herein below in connection with FIGS. 17-18C.

    [0065] The generator 320 may comprise an input device 335 located on a front panel of the generator 320 console. The input device 335 may comprise any suitable device that generates signals suitable for programming the operation of the generator 320, such as a keyboard, or input port, for example. In one example embodiment, various electrodes in the first jaw 364A and the second jaw 364B may be coupled to the generator 320. The cable 322 may comprise multiple electrical conductors for the application of electrical energy to positive (+) and negative (-) electrodes of the electrosurgical instrument 310. The control unit 325 may be used to activate the generator 320, which may serve as an electrical source. In various embodiments, the generator 320 may comprise an RF source, an ultrasonic source, a direct current source, and/or any other suitable type of electrical energy source, for example, which may be activated independently or simultaneously.

    [0066] In various embodiments, the electrosurgical system 300 may comprise at least one supply conductor 331 and at least one return conductor 333, wherein current can be supplied to electrosurgical instrument 300 via the supply conductor 331 and wherein the current can flow back to the generator 320 via the return conductor 333. In various embodiments, the supply conductor 331 and the return conductor 333 may comprise insulated wires and/or any other suitable type of conductor. In certain embodiments, as described below, the supply conductor 331 and the return conductor 333 may be contained within and/or may comprise the cable 322 extending between, or at least partially between, the generator 320 and the end effector 326 of the electrosurgical instrument 310. In any event, the generator 320 can be configured to apply a sufficient voltage differential between the supply conductor 331 and the return conductor 333 such that sufficient current can be supplied to the end effector 110.

    [0067] FIG. 12 is a side view of one example embodiment of the handle 312 of the surgical instrument 310. In FIG. 12, the handle 312 is shown with half of a first handle body 312A (see FIG. 11) removed to illustrate various components within second handle body 312B. The handle 312 may comprise a lever arm 321 (e.g., a trigger) which may be pulled along a path 33. The lever arm 321 may be coupled to an axially moveable member 378 (FIGS. 13-16) disposed within elongated shaft 314 by a shuttle 384 operably engaged to an extension 398 of lever arm 321. The shuttle 384 may further be connected to a biasing device, such as a spring 388, which may also be connected to the second handle body 312B, to bias the shuttle 384 and thus the axially moveable member 378 in a proximal direction, thereby urging the jaws 364A and 364B to an open position as seen in FIG. 11. Also, referring to FIGS.11-12, a locking member 190 (see FIG. 12) may be moved by a locking switch 328 (see FIG. 11) between a locked position, where the shuttle 384 is substantially prevented from moving distally as illustrated, and an unlocked position, where the shuttle 384 may be allowed to freely move in the distal direction, toward the elongated shaft 314. The handle 312 can be any type of pistol-grip or other type of handle known in the art that is configured to carry actuator levers, triggers or sliders for actuating the first jaw 364A and the second jaw 364B. The elongated shaft 314 may have a cylindrical or rectangular cross-section, for example, and can comprise a thin-wall tubular sleeve that extends from handle 312. The elongated shaft 314 may include a bore extending therethrough for carrying actuator mechanisms, for example, the axially moveable member 378, for actuating the jaws and for carrying electrical leads for delivery of electrical energy to electrosurgical components of the end effector 326.

    [0068] The end effector 326 may be adapted for capturing and transecting tissue and for the contemporaneously welding the captured tissue with controlled application of energy (e.g., RF energy). The first jaw 364A and the second jaw 364B may close to thereby capture or engage tissue about a longitudinal axis "T" defined by the axially moveable member 378. The first jaw 364A and second jaw 364B may also apply compression to the tissue. In some embodiments, the elongated shaft 314, along with first jaw 364A and second jaw 364B, can be rotated a full 360° degrees, as shown by arrow 196 (see FIG. 11), relative to handle 312. For example, a rotation knob 348 may be rotatable about the longitudinal axis of the shaft 314 and may be coupled to the shaft 314 such that rotation of the knob 348 causes corresponding rotation of the shaft 314. The first jaw 364A and the second jaw 364B can remain openable and/or closeable while rotated.

    [0069] FIG. 13 shows a perspective view of one example embodiment of the end effector 326 with the jaws 364A, 364B open, while FIG. 14 shows a perspective view of one example embodiment of the end effector 326 with the jaws 364A, 364B closed. As noted above, the end effector 326 may comprise the upper first jaw 364A and the lower second jaw 364B, which may be straight or curved. The first jaw 364A and the second jaw 364B may each comprise an elongated slot or channel 362A and 362B, respectively, disposed outwardly along their respective middle portions. Further, the first jaw 364A and second jaw 364B may each have tissue-gripping elements, such as teeth 363, disposed on the inner portions of first jaw 364A and second jaw 364B. The first jaw 364A may comprise an upper first jaw body 200A with an upper first outward-facing surface 202A and an upper first energy delivery surface 365A. The second jaw 364B may comprise a lower second jaw body 200B with a lower second outward-facing surface 202B and a lower second energy delivery surface 365B. The first energy delivery surface 365A and the second energy delivery surface 365B may both extend in a "U" shape about the distal end of the end effector 326.

    [0070] The lever arm 321 of the handle 312 (FIG. 12) may be adapted to actuate the axially moveable member 378, which may also function as a jaw-closing mechanism. For example, the axially moveable member 378 may be urged distally as the lever arm 321 is pulled proximally along the path 33 via the shuttle 384, as shown in FIG. 12 and discussed above. FIG. 15 is a perspective view of one example embodiment of the axially moveable member 378 of the surgical instrument 310. The axially moveable member 378 may comprise one or several pieces, but in any event, may be movable or translatable with respect to the elongated shaft 314 and/or the jaws 364A, 364B. Also, in at least one example embodiment, the axially moveable member 378 may be made of 17-4 precipitation hardened stainless steel. The distal end of axially moveable member 378 may comprise a flanged "I"-beam configured to slide within the channels 362A and 362B in jaws 364A and 364B. The axially moveable member 378 may slide within the channels 362A, 362B to open and close first jaw 364A and second jaw 364B. The distal end of the axially moveable member 378 may also comprise an upper flange or "c"-shaped portion 378A and a lower flange or "c"-shaped portion 378B. The flanges 378A and 378B respectively define inner cam surfaces 367A and 367B for engaging outward facing surfaces of the first jaw 364A and the second jaw 364B. The opening-closing of jaws 364A and 364B can apply very high compressive forces on tissue using cam mechanisms which may include movable "I-beam" axially moveable member 378 and the outward facing surfaces 369A, 369B of jaws 364A, 364B.

    [0071] More specifically, referring now to FIGS. 13-15, collectively, the inner cam surfaces 367A and 367B of the distal end of axially moveable member 378 may be adapted to slidably engage the first outward-facing surface 369A and the second outward-facing surface 369B of the first jaw 364A and the second jaw 364B, respectively. The channel 362A within first jaw 364A and the channel 362B within the second jaw 364B may be sized and configured to accommodate the movement of the axially moveable member 378, which may comprise a tissue-cutting element 371, for example, comprising a sharp distal edge. FIG. 14, for example, shows the distal end of the axially moveable member 378 advanced at least partially through channels 362A and 362B (FIG. 13). The advancement of the axially moveable member 378 may close the end effector 326 from the open configuration shown in FIG. 13. In the closed position shown by FIG. 14, the upper first jaw 364A and lower second jaw 364B define a gap or dimension D between the first energy delivery surface 365A and second energy delivery surface 365B of first jaw 364A and second jaw 364B, respectively. In various embodiments, dimension D can equal from about 0.0005" to about 0.040", for example, and in some embodiments, between about 0.001" to about 0.010", for example. Also, the edges of the first energy delivery surface 365A and the second energy delivery surface 365B may be rounded to prevent the dissection of tissue.

    [0072] FIG. 16 is a section view of one example embodiment of the end effector 326 of the surgical instrument 310. The engagement, or tissue-contacting, surface 365B of the lower jaw 364B is adapted to deliver energy to tissue, at least in part, through a conductive-resistive matrix, such as a variable resistive positive temperature coefficient (PTC) body, as discussed in more detail below. At least one of the upper and lower jaws 364A, 364B may carry at least one electrode 373 configured to deliver the energy from the generator 320 to the captured tissue. The engagement, or tissue-contacting, surface 365A of upper jaw 364A may carry a similar conductive-resistive matrix (i.e., a PTC material), or in some embodiments the surface may be a conductive electrode or an insulative layer, for example. Alternatively, the engagement surfaces of the jaws can carry any of the energy delivery components disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 6,773,409, filed Oct. 22, 2001, entitled ELECTROSURGICAL JAW STRUCTURE FOR CONTROLLED ENERGY DELIVERY.

    [0073] The first energy delivery surface 365A and the second energy delivery surface 365B may each be in electrical communication with the generator 320. The first energy delivery surface 365A and the second energy delivery surface 365B may be configured to contact tissue and deliver electrosurgical energy to captured tissue which are adapted to seal or weld the tissue. The control unit 325 regulates the electrical energy delivered by electrical generator 320 which in turn delivers electrosurgical energy to the first energy delivery surface 365A and the second energy delivery surface 365B. The energy delivery may be initiated by an activation button 328 (FIG. 12) operably engaged with the lever arm 321 and in electrical communication with the generator 320 via cable 322. In one example embodiment, the electrosurgical instrument 310 may be energized by the generator 320 by way of a foot switch 216 (FIG. 11). When actuated, the foot switch 329 triggers the generator 320 to deliver electrical energy to the end effector 326, for example. The control unit 325 may regulate the power generated by the generator 320 during activation. Although the foot switch 329 may be suitable in many circumstances, other suitable types of switches can be used.

    [0074] As mentioned above, the electrosurgical energy delivered by electrical generator 320 and regulated, or otherwise controlled, by the control unit 325 may comprise radio frequency (RF) energy, or other suitable forms of electrical energy. Further, the opposing first and second energy delivery surfaces 365A and 365B may carry variable resistive positive temperature coefficient (PTC) bodies that are in electrical communication with the generator 320 and the control unit 325. Additional details regarding electrosurgical end effectors, jaw closing mechanisms, and electrosurgical energy-delivery surfaces are described in the following U.S. patents and published patent applications: U.S. Pat. Nos. 7,087,054; 7,083,619; 7,070,597; 7,041,102; 7,011,657; 6,929,644; 6,926,716; 6,913,579; 6,905,497; 6,802,843; 6,770,072; 6,656,177; 6,533,784; and 6,500,312; and U.S. Pat. App. Pub. Nos. 2010/0036370 and 2009/0076506.

    [0075] In one example embodiment, the generator 320 may be implemented as an electrosurgery unit (ESU) capable of supplying power sufficient to perform bipolar electrosurgery using radio frequency (RF) energy. In one example embodiment, the ESU can be a bipolar ERBE ICC 350 sold by ERBE USA, Inc. of Marietta, Georgia. In some embodiments, such as for bipolar electrosurgery applications, a surgical instrument having an active electrode and a return electrode can be utilized, wherein the active electrode and the return electrode can be positioned against, adjacent to and/or in electrical communication with, the tissue to be treated such that current can flow from the active electrode, through the positive temperature coefficient (PTC) bodies and to the return electrode through the tissue. Thus, in various embodiments, the electrosurgical system 300 may comprise a supply path and a return path, wherein the captured tissue being treated completes, or closes, the circuit. In one example embodiment, the generator 320 may be a monopolar RF ESU and the electrosurgical instrument 310 may comprise a monopolar end effector 326 in which one or more active electrodes are integrated. For such a system, the generator 320 may require a return pad in intimate contact with the patient at a location remote from the operative site and/or other suitable return path. The return pad may be connected via a cable to the generator 320. In other embodiments, the operator 20 may provide sub-therapeutic RF energy levels for purposes of evaluating tissue conditions and providing feedback in the electrosurgical system 300. Such feed back may be employed to control the therapeutic RF energy output of the electrosurgical instrument 310.

    [0076] During operation of electrosurgical instrument 300, the user generally grasps tissue, supplies energy to the captured tissue to form a weld or a seal (e.g., by actuating button 328 and/or pedal 216), and then drives a tissue-cutting element 371 at the distal end of the axially moveable member 378 through the captured tissue. According to various embodiments, the translation of the axial movement of the axially moveable member 378 may be paced, or otherwise controlled, to aid in driving the axially moveable member 378 at a suitable rate of travel. By controlling the rate of the travel, the likelihood that the captured tissue has been properly and functionally sealed prior to transection with the cutting element 371 is increased.

    [0077] FIG. 17 is a perspective view of one example embodiment of a surgical instrument system comprising a cordless electrical energy surgical instrument 410. The electrosurgical system is similar to the electrosurgical system 300. The electrosurgical system 250 can be configured to supply energy, such as electrical energy, ultrasonic energy, heat energy, or any combination thereof, to the tissue of a patient either independently or simultaneously as described in connection with FIGS. 1 and 11, for example. The electrosurgical instrument may utilize the end effector 326 and elongated shaft 314 described herein in conjunction with a cordless proximal handle 412. In one example embodiment, the handle 412 includes a generator circuit 420 (see FIG. 18A). The generator circuit 420 performs a function substantially similar to that of generator 320. In one example embodiment, the generator circuit 420 is coupled to a controller, such as a control circuit. In the illustrated embodiment, the control circuit is integrated into the generator circuit 420. In other embodiments, the control circuit may be separate from the generator circuit 420.

    [0078] In one example embodiment, various electrodes in the end effector 326 (including jaws 364A, 364B thereof) may be coupled to the generator circuit 420. The control circuit may be used to activate the generator 420, which may serve as an electrical source. In various embodiments, the generator 420 may comprise an RF source, an ultrasonic source, a direct current source, and/or any other suitable type of electrical energy source, for example. In one example embodiment, a button 328 may be provided to activate the generator circuit 420 to provide energy to the end effectors 326, 326.

    [0079] FIG. 18A is a side view of one example embodiment of the handle 412 of the cordless surgical instrument 410. In FIG. 18A, the handle 412 is shown with half of a first handle body removed to illustrate various components within second handle body 434. The handle 412 may comprise a lever arm 424 (e.g., a trigger) which may be pulled along a path 33 around a pivot point. The lever arm 424 may be coupled to an axially moveable member 478 disposed within elongated shaft 314 by a shuttle operably engaged to an extension of lever arm 424. In one example embodiment, the lever arm 424 defines a shepherd's hook shape comprising a distal member 424a and a proximal member 424b.

    [0080] In one example embodiment, the cordless electrosurgical instrument comprises a battery 437. The battery 437 provides electrical energy to the generator circuit 420. The battery 437 may be any battery suitable for driving the generator circuit 420 at the desired energy levels. In one example embodiment, the battery 437 is a 100mAh, triple-cell Lithium Ion Polymer battery. The battery may be fully charged prior to use in a surgical procedure, and may hold a voltage of about 12.6V. The battery 437 may have two fuses fitted to the cordless electrosurgical instrument 410, arranged in line with each battery terminal. In one example embodiment, a charging port 439 is provided to connect the battery 437 to a DC current source (not shown).

    [0081] The generator circuit 420 may be configured in any suitable manner. In some embodiments, the generator circuit comprises an RF drive and control circuit 440 and a controller circuit 482. FIG. 18B illustrates an RF drive and control circuit 440, according to one embodiment. FIG. 18B is a part schematic part block diagram illustrating the RF drive and control circuitry 440 used in this embodiment to generate and control the RF electrical energy supplied to the end effector 326. As will be explained in more detail below, in this embodiment, the drive circuitry 440 is a resonant mode RF amplifier comprising a parallel resonant network on the RF amplifier output and the control circuitry operates to control the operating frequency of the drive signal so that it is maintained at the resonant frequency of the drive circuit, which in turn controls the amount of power supplied to the end effector 326. The way that this is achieved will become apparent from the following description.

    [0082] As shown in FIG. 18B, the RF drive and control circuit 440 comprises the above described battery 437 are arranged to supply, in this example, about 0V and about 12V rails. An input capacitor (Cin) 442 is connected between the 0V and the 12V for providing a low source impedance. A pair of FET switches 443-1 and 443-2 (both of which are N-channel in this embodiment to reduce power losses) is connected in series between the 0V rail and the 12V rail. FET gate drive circuitry 805 is provided that generates two drive signals - one for driving each of the two FETs 443. The FET gate drive circuitry 445 generates drive signals that causes the upper FET (443-1) to be on when the lower FET (443-2) is off and vice versa. This causes the node 447 to be alternately connected to the 12V rail (when the FET 443-1 is switched on) and the 0V rail (when the FET 443-2 is switched on). FIG. 18B also shows the internal parasitic diodes 448-1 and 448-2 of the corresponding FETs 443, which conduct during any periods that the FETs 443 are open.

    [0083] As shown in FIG. 18B, the node 447 is connected to an inductor-inductor resonant circuit 450 formed by inductor Ls 452 and inductor Lm 454. The FET gate driving circuitry 445 is arranged to generate drive signals at a drive frequency (fd) that opens and crosses the FET switches 443 at the resonant frequency of the parallel resonant circuit 450. As a result of the resonant characteristic of the resonant circuit 450, the square wave voltage at node 447 will cause a substantially sinusoidal current at the drive frequency (fd) to flow within the resonant circuit 450. As illustrated in FIG. 18B, the inductor Lm 454 is the primary of a transformer 455, the secondary of which is formed by inductor Lsec 456. The inductor Lsec 456 of the transformer 455 secondary is connected to an inductor-capacitor-capacitor parallel resonant circuit 457 formed by inductor L2 458, capacitor C4 460, and capacitor C2 462. The transformer 455 up-converts the drive voltage (Vd) across the inductor Lm 454 to the voltage that is applied to the output parallel resonant circuit 457. The load voltage (VL) is output by the parallel resonant circuit 457 and is applied to the load (represented by the load resistance Rload 459 in FIG. 18B) corresponding to the impedance of the forceps' jaws and any tissue or vessel gripped by the end effector 326. As shown in FIG. 18B, a pair of DC blocking capacitors Cbl 480-1 and 480-2 is provided to prevent any DC signal being applied to the load 459.

    [0084] In one embodiment, the transformer 455 may be implemented with a Core Diameter (mm), Wire Diameter (mm), and Gap between secondary windings in accordance with the following specifications:

    Core Diameter, D (mm)


    Wire diameter, W (mm) for 22 AWG wire


    Gap between secondary windings, in gap = 0.125




    [0085] In this embodiment, the amount of electrical power supplied to the end effector 326 is controlled by varying the frequency of the switching signals used to switch the FETs 443. This works because the resonant circuit 450 acts as a frequency dependent (loss less) attenuator. The closer the drive signal is to the resonant frequency of the resonant circuit 450, the less the drive signal is attenuated. Similarly, as the frequency of the drive signal is moved away from the resonant frequency of the circuit 450, the more the drive signal is attenuated and so the power supplied to the load reduces. In this embodiment, the frequency of the switching signals generated by the FET gate drive circuitry 445 is controlled by a controller 481 based on a desired power to be delivered to the load 459 and measurements of the load voltage (VL) and of the load current (IL) obtained by conventional voltage sensing circuitry 483 and current sensing circuitry 485. The way that the controller 481 operates will be described in more detail below.

    [0086] In one embodiment, the voltage sensing circuitry 483 and the current sensing circuitry 485 may be implemented with high bandwidth, high speed rail-to-rail amplifiers (e.g., LMH6643 by National Semiconductor). Such amplifiers, however, consume a relatively high current when they are operational. Accordingly, a power save circuit may be provided to reduce the supply voltage of the amplifiers when they are not being used in the voltage sensing circuitry 483 and the current sensing circuitry 485. In one-embodiment, a step-down regulator (e.g., LT3502 by Linear Technologies) may be employed by the power save circuit to reduce the supply voltage of the rail-to-rail amplifiers and thus extend the life of the battery 437.

    [0087] FIG. 18C illustrates the main components of the controller 481, according to one embodiment. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 18C, the controller 481 is a microprocessor based controller and so most of the components illustrated in figure 16 are software based components. Nevertheless, a hardware based controller 481 may be used instead. As shown, the controller 481 includes synchronous I,Q sampling circuitry 491 that receives the sensed voltage and current signals from the sensing circuitry 483 and 485 and obtains corresponding samples which are passed to a power, Vrms and Irms calculation module 493. The calculation module 493 uses the received samples to calculate the RMS voltage and RMS current applied to the load 459 (FIG. 18B; end effector 326 and tissue/vessel gripped thereby) and from them the power that is presently being supplied to the load 459. The determined values are then passed to a frequency control module 495 and a medical device control module 497. The medical device control module 497 uses the values to determine the present impedance of the load 459 and based on this determined impedance and a pre-defined algorithm, determines what set point power (Pset) should be applied to the frequency control module 495. The medical device control module 497 is in turn controlled by signals received from a user input module 499 that receives inputs from the user (for example pressing buttons or activating the control levers 114, 110 on the handle 104) and also controls output devices (lights, a display, speaker or the like) on the handle 104 via a user output module 461.

    [0088] The frequency control module 495 uses the values obtained from the calculation module 493 and the power set point (Pset) obtained from the medical device control module 497 and predefined system limits (to be explained below), to determine whether or not to increase or decrease the applied frequency. The result of this decision is then passed to a square wave generation module 463 which, in this embodiment, increments or decrements the frequency of a square wave signal that it generates by 1 kHz, depending on the received decision. As those skilled in the art will appreciate, in an alternative embodiment, the frequency control module 495 may determine not only whether to increase or decrease the frequency, but also the amount of frequency change required. In this case, the square wave generation module 463 would generate the corresponding square wave signal with the desired frequency shift. In this embodiment, the square wave signal generated by the square wave generation module 463 is output to the FET gate drive circuitry 445, which amplifies the signal and then applies it to the FET 443-1. The FET gate drive circuitry 445 also inverts the signal applied to the FET 443-1 and applies the inverted signal to the FET 443-2.

    [0089] The electrosurgical instrument 410 may comprise additional features as discussed with respect to electrosurgical system 300. Those skilled in the art will recognize that electrosurgical instrument 410 may include a rotation knob 348, an elongate shaft 314, and an end effector 326. These elements function in a substantially similar manner to that discussed above with respect to the electrosurgical system 300. In one example embodiment, the cordless electrosurgical instrument 410 may include visual indicators 435. The visual indicators 435 may provide a visual indication signal to an operator. In one example embodiment, the visual indication signal may alert an operator that the device is on, or that the device is applying energy to the end effector. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the visual indicators 435 may be configured to provide information on multiple states of the device.

    [0090] Over the years a variety of minimally invasive robotic (or "telesurgical") systems have been developed to increase surgical dexterity as well as to permit a surgeon to operate on a patient in an intuitive manner. Robotic surgical systems can be used with many different types of surgical instruments including, for example, ultrasonic or electrosurgical instruments, as described herein. Example robotic systems include those manufactured by Intuitive Surgical, Inc., of Sunnyvale, California, U.S.A. Such systems, as well as robotic systems from other manufacturers, are disclosed in the following U.S. Patents : U.S. Pat. No. 5,792,135, entitled "Articulated Surgical Instrument For Performing Minimally Invasive Surgery With Enhanced Dexterity and Sensitivity", U.S. Patent No. 6,231,565, entitled "Robotic Arm DLUS For Performing Surgical Tasks", U.S. Patent No. 6,783,524, entitled "Robotic Surgical Tool With Ultrasound Cauterizing and Cutting Instrument", U.S. Patent No. 6,364,888, entitled "Alignment of Master and Slave In a Minimally Invasive Surgical Apparatus", U.S. Patent No. 7,524,320, entitled "Mechanical Actuator Interface System For Robotic Surgical Tools", U.S. Patent No. 7,691,098, entitled Platform Link Wrist Mechanism", U.S. Patent No. 7,806,891, entitled "Repositioning and Reorientation of Master/Slave Relationship in Minimally Invasive Telesurgery", and U.S. Patent No. 7,824,401, entitled "Surgical Tool With Writed Monopolar Electrosurgical End Effectors". Many of such systems, however, have in the past been unable to generate the magnitude of forces required to effectively cut and fasten tissue.

    [0091] FIGS. 19-46 illustrate example embodiments of robotic surgical systems compatible with the disclosed robotic surgical control systems. In some embodiments, the disclosed robotic surgical systems may utilize the ultrasonic or electrosurgical instruments described herein. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the illustrated robotic surgical systems are not limited to only those instruments described herein, and may utilize any compatible surgical instruments. Those skilled in the art will further appreciate that while various embodiments described herein may be used with the described robotic surgical systems, the disclosure is not so limited, and may be used with any compatible robotic surgical system.

    [0092] FIGS. 19-25 illustrate the structure and operation of several example robotic surgical systems and components thereof. FIG. 19 shows a block diagram of an example robotic surgical system 1000. The system 1000 comprises at least one controller 508 and at least one arm cart 510. The arm cart 510 may be mechanically coupled to one or more robotic manipulators or arms, indicated by box 512. Each of the robotic arms 512 may comprise one or more surgical instruments 514 for performing various surgical tasks on a patient 504. Operation of the arm cart 510, including the arms 512 and instruments 514 may be directed by a clinician 502 from a controller 508. In some embodiments, a second controller 508', operated by a second clinician 502' may also direct operation of the arm cart 510 in conjunction with the first clinician 502'. For example, each of the clinicians 502, 502' may control different arms 512 of the cart or, in some cases, complete control of the arm cart 510 may be passed between the clinicians 502, 502'. In some embodiments, additional arm carts (not shown) may be utilized on the patient 504. These additional arm carts may be controlled by one or more of the controllers 508, 508'. The arm cart(s) 510 and controllers 508, 508' may be in communication with one another via a communications link 516, which may be any suitable type of wired or wireless communications link carrying any suitable type of signal (e.g., electrical, optical, infrared, etc.) according to any suitable communications protocol. Example implementations of robotic surgical systems, such as the system 1000, are disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 7,524,320. Thus, various details of such devices will not be described in detail herein beyond that which may be necessary to understand various embodiments of the claimed device.

    [0093] FIG. 20 shows one example embodiment of a robotic arm cart 520. The robotic arm cart 520 is configured to actuate a plurality of surgical instruments or instruments, generally designated as 522 within a work envelope 519. Various robotic surgery systems and methods employing master controller and robotic arm cart arrangements are disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 6,132,368, entitled "Multi-Component Telepresence System and Method". In various forms, the robotic arm cart 520 includes a base 524 from which, in the illustrated embodiment, three surgical instruments 522 are supported. In various forms, the surgical instruments 522 are each supported by a series of manually articulatable linkages, generally referred to as set-up joints 526, and a robotic manipulator 528. These structures are herein illustrated with protective covers extending over much of the robotic linkage. These protective covers may be optional, and may be limited in size or entirely eliminated in some embodiments to minimize the inertia that is encountered by the servo mechanisms used to manipulate such devices, to limit the volume of moving components so as to avoid collisions, and to limit the overall weight of the cart 520. Cart 520 will generally have dimensions suitable for transporting the cart 520 between operating rooms. The cart 520 may be configured to typically fit through standard operating room doors and onto standard hospital elevators. In various forms, the cart 520 would preferably have a weight and include a wheel (or other transportation) system that allows the cart 520 to be positioned adjacent an operating table by a single attendant.

    [0094] FIG. 21 shows one example embodiment of the robotic manipulator 528 of the robotic arm cart 520. In the example shown in FIG. 21, the robotic manipulators 528 may include a linkage 530 that constrains movement of the surgical instrument 522. In various embodiments, linkage 530 includes rigid links coupled together by rotational joints in a parallelogram arrangement so that the surgical instrument 522 rotates around a point in space 532, as more fully described in issued U.S. Pat. No. 5,817,084. The parallelogram arrangement constrains rotation to pivoting about an axis 534a, sometimes called the pitch axis. The links supporting the parallelogram linkage are pivotally mounted to set-up joints 526 (FIG. 20) so that the surgical instrument 522 further rotates about an axis 534b, sometimes called the yaw axis. The pitch and yaw axes 534a, 534b intersect at the remote center 536, which is aligned along a shaft 538 of the surgical instrument 522. The surgical instrument 522 may have further degrees of driven freedom as supported by manipulator 540, including sliding motion of the surgical instrument 522 along the longitudinal instrument axis "LT-LT". As the surgical instrument 522 slides along the instrument axis LT-LT relative to manipulator 540 (arrow 534c), remote center 536 remains fixed relative to base 542 of manipulator 540. Hence, the entire manipulator 540 is generally moved to re-position remote center 536. Linkage 530 of manipulator 540 is driven by a series of motors 544. These motors 544 actively move linkage 530 in response to commands from a processor of a control system. As will be discussed in further detail below, motors 544 are also employed to manipulate the surgical instrument 522.

    [0095] FIG. 22 shows one example embodiment of a robotic arm cart 520' having an alternative set-up joint structure. In this example embodiment, a surgical instrument 522 is supported by an alternative manipulator structure 528' between two tissue manipulation instruments. Those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that various embodiments of the claimed device may incorporate a wide variety of alternative robotic structures, including those described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,878,1 93. Additionally, while the data communication between a robotic component and the processor of the robotic surgical system is primarily described herein with reference to communication between the surgical instrument 522 and the controller, it should be understood that similar communication may take place between circuitry of a manipulator, a set-up joint, an endoscope or other image capture device, or the like, and the processor of the robotic surgical system for component compatibility verification, component-type identification, component calibration (such as off-set or the like) communication, confirmation of coupling of the component to the robotic surgical system, or the like.

    [0096] FIG. 23 shows one example embodiment of a controller 518 that may be used in conjunction with a robotic arm cart, such as the robotic arm carts 520, 520' depicted in FIGS. 20-22. The controller 518 generally includes master controllers (generally represented as 519 in FIG. 23) which are grasped by the clinician and manipulated in space while the clinician views the procedure via a stereo display 521. A surgeon feed back meter 515 may be viewed via the display 521 and provide the surgeon with a visual indication of the amount of force being applied to the cutting instrument or dynamic clamping member. The master controllers 519 generally comprise manual input devices which preferably move with multiple degrees of freedom, and which often further have a handle or trigger for actuating instruments (for example, for closing grasping saws, applying an electrical potential to an electrode, or the like).

    [0097] FIG. 24 shows one example embodiment of an ultrasonic surgical instrument 522 adapted for use with a robotic surgical system. For example, the surgical instrument 522 may be coupled to one of the surgical manipulators 528, 528' described hereinabove. As can be seen in FIG. 24, the surgical instrument 522 comprises a surgical end effector 548 that comprises an ultrasonic blade 550 and clamp arm 552, which may be coupled to an elongated shaft assembly 554 that, in some embodiments, may comprise an articulation joint 556. FIG. 25 shows another example embodiment having an electrosurgical instrument 523 in place of the ultrasonic surgical instrument 522. The surgical instrument 523 comprises a surgical end effector 548 that comprises closable jaws 551A, 551B having energy deliver surfaces 553A, 553B for engaging and providing electrical energy to tissue between the jaws 551A, 551B. A tissue cutting element or knife 555 may be positioned at the distal end of an axially movable member 557 that may extend through the elongated shaft assembly 554 to the instrument mounting portion 558. FIG. 26 shows one example embodiment of an instrument drive assembly 546 that may be coupled to one of the surgical manipulators 528, 528' to receive and control the surgical instruments 522, 523. The instrument drive assembly 546 may also be operatively coupled to the controller 518 to receive inputs from the clinician for controlling the instruments 522, 523. For example, actuation (i.e., opening and closing) of the clamp arm 552, actuation (i.e., opening and closing) of the jaws 551A, 551 B, actuation of the ultrasonic blade 550, extension of the knife 555 and actuation of the energy delivery surfaces 553A, 553B, etc. may be controlled through the instrument drive assembly 546 based on inputs from the clinician provided through the controller 518. The surgical instrument 522 is operably coupled to the manipulator by a instrument mounting portion, generally designated as 558. The surgical instrument 522 further includes an interface 560 which mechanically and electrically couples the instrument mounting portion 558 to the manipulator.

    [0098] FIG. 27 shows another view of the instrument drive assembly of FIG. 26 including the ultrasonic surgical instrument 522. FIG. 28 shows another view of the instrument drive assembly of FIG. 26 including the electrosurgical instrument 523. The instrument mounting portion 558 includes a instrument mounting plate 562 that operably supports a plurality of (four are shown in FIG. 26) rotatable body portions, driven discs or elements 564, that each include a pair of pins 566 that extend from a surface of the driven element 564. One pin 566 is closer to an axis of rotation of each driven elements 564 than the other pin 566 on the same driven element 564, which helps to ensure positive angular alignment of the driven element 564. The driven elements 564 and pints 566 may be positioned on an adapter side 567 of the instrument mounting plate 562.

    [0099] Interface 560 also includes an adaptor portion 568 that is configured to mountingly engage the mounting plate 562 as will be further discussed below. The adaptor portion 568 may include an array of electrical connecting pins 570, which may be coupled to a memory structure by a circuit board within the instrument mounting portion 558. While interface 560 is described herein with reference to mechanical, electrical, and magnetic coupling elements, it should be understood that a wide variety of telemetry modalities might be used, including infrared, inductive coupling, or the like.

    [0100] FIGS. 29-31 show additional views of the adapter portion 568 of the instrument drive assembly 546 of FIG. 26. The adapter portion 568 generally includes an instrument side 572 and a holder side 574 (FIG. 29). In various embodiments, a plurality of rotatable bodies 576 are mounted to a floating plate 578 which has a limited range of movement relative to the surrounding adaptor structure normal to the major surfaces of the adaptor 568. Axial movement of the floating plate 578 helps decouple the rotatable bodies 576 from the instrument mounting portion 558 when the levers 580 along the sides of the instrument mounting portion housing 582 are actuated (See FIGS. 24, 25) Other mechanisms/arrangements may be employed for releasably coupling the instrument mounting portion 558 to the adaptor 568. In at least one form, rotatable bodies 576 are resiliently mounted to floating plate 578 by resilient radial members which extend into a circumferential indentation about the rotatable bodies 576. The rotatable bodies 576 can move axially relative to plate 578 by deflection of these resilient structures. When disposed in a first axial position (toward instrument side 572) the rotatable bodies 576 are free to rotate without angular limitation. However, as the rotatable bodies 576 move axially toward instrument side 572, tabs 584 (extending radially from the rotatable bodies 576) laterally engage detents on the floating plates so as to limit angular rotation of the rotatable bodies 576 about their axes. This limited rotation can be used to help drivingly engage the rotatable bodies 576 with drive pins 586 of a corresponding instrument holder portion 588 of the robotic system, as the drive pins 586 will push the rotatable bodies 576 into the limited rotation position until the pins 586 are aligned with (and slide into) openings 590.

    [0101] Openings 590 on the instrument side 572 and openings 590 on the holder side 574 of rotatable bodies 576 are configured to accurately align the driven elements 564 (FIGS. 27, 28) of the instrument mounting portion 558 with the drive elements 592 of the instrument holder 588. As described above regarding inner and outer pins 566 of driven elements 564, the openings 590 are at differing distances from the axis of rotation on their respective rotatable bodies 576 so as to ensure that the alignment is not 33 degrees from its intended position. Additionally, each of the openings 590 may be slightly radially elongated so as to fittingly receive the pins 566 in the circumferential orientation. This allows the pins 566 to slide radially within the openings 590 and accommodate some axial misalignment between the instrument 522, 523 and instrument holder 588, while minimizing any angular misalignment and backlash between the drive and driven elements. Openings 590 on the instrument side 572 may be offset by about 90 degrees from the openings 590 (shown in broken lines) on the holder side 574, as can be seen most clearly in FIG. 31.

    [0102] Various embodiments may further include an array of electrical connector pins 570 located on holder side 574 of adaptor 568, and the instrument side 572 of the adaptor 568 may include slots 594 (FIG. 31) for receiving a pin array (not shown) from the instrument mounting portion 558. In addition to transmitting electrical signals between the surgical instrument 522, 523 and the instrument holder 588, at least some of these electrical connections may be coupled to an adaptor memory device 596 (FIG. 30) by a circuit board of the adaptor 568.

    [0103] A detachable latch arrangement 598 may be employed to releasably affix the adaptor 568 to the instrument holder 588. As used herein, the term "instrument drive assembly" when used in the context of the robotic system, at least encompasses various embodiments of the adapter 568 and instrument holder 588 and which has been generally designated as 546 in FIG. 26. For example, as can be seen in FIG. 26, the instrument holder 588 may include a first latch pin arrangement 600 that is sized to be received in corresponding clevis slots 602 provided in the adaptor 568. In addition, the instrument holder 588 may further have second latch pins 604 that are sized to be retained in corresponding latch clevises 606 in the adaptor 568. See FIG. 30. In at least one form, a latch assembly 608 is movably supported on the adapter 568 and is biasable between a first latched position wherein the latch pins 600 are retained within their respective latch clevis 606 and an unlatched position wherein the second latch pins 604 may be into or removed from the latch clevises 606. A spring or springs (not shown) are employed to bias the latch assembly into the latched position. A lip on the instrument side 572 of adaptor 568 may slidably receive laterally extending tabs of instrument mounting housing 582.

    [0104] As described the driven elements 564 may be aligned with the drive elements 592 of the instrument holder 588 such that rotational motion of the drive elements 592 causes corresponding rotational motion of the driven elements 564. The rotation of the drive elements 592 and driven elements 564 may be electronically controlled, for example, via the robotic arm 612, in response to instructions received from the clinician 502 via a controller 508. The instrument mounting portion 558 may translate rotation of the driven elements 564 into motion of the surgical instrument 522, 523.

    [0105] FIGS. 32-34 show one example embodiment of the instrument mounting portion 558 showing components for translating motion of the driven elements 564 into motion of the surgical instrument 522, 523. FIGS. 32-34 show the instrument mounting portion with a shaft 538 having a surgical end effector 610 at a distal end thereof. The end effector 610 may be any suitable type of end effector for performing a surgical task on a patient. For example, the end effector may be configured to provide RF and/or ultrasonic energy to tissue at a surgical site. The shaft 538 may be rotatably coupled to the instrument mounting portion 558 and secured by a top shaft holder 646 and a bottom shaft holder 648 at a coupler 650 of the shaft 538.

    [0106] In one example embodiment, the instrument mounting portion 558 comprises a mechanism for translating rotation of the various driven elements 564 into rotation of the shaft 538, differential translation of members along the axis of the shaft (e.g., for articulation), and reciprocating translation of one or more members along the axis of the shaft 538 (e.g., for extending and retracting tissue cutting elements such as 555, overtubes and/or other components). In one example embodiment, the rotatable bodies 612 (e.g., rotatable spools) are coupled to the driven elements 564. The rotatable bodies 612 may be formed integrally with the driven elements 564. In some embodiments, the rotatable bodies 612 may be formed separately from the driven elements 564 provided that the rotatable bodies 612 and the driven elements 564 are fixedly coupled such that driving the driven elements 564 causes rotation of the rotatable bodies 612. Each of the rotatable bodies 612 is coupled to a gear train or gear mechanism to provide shaft articulation and rotation and clamp jaw open/close and knife actuation.

    [0107] In one example embodiment, the instrument mounting portion 558 comprises a mechanism for causing differential translation of two or more members along the axis of the shaft 538. In the example provided in FIGS. 32-34, this motion is used to manipulate articulation joint 556. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, the instrument mounting portion 558 comprises a rack and pinion gearing mechanism to provide the differential translation and thus the shaft articulation functionality. In one example embodiment, the rack and pinion gearing mechanism comprises a first pinion gear 614 coupled to a rotatable body 612 such that rotation of the corresponding driven element 564 causes the first pinion gear 614 to rotate. A bearing 616 is coupled to the rotatable body 612 and is provided between the driven element 564 and the first pinion gear 614. The first pinion gear 614 is meshed to a first rack gear 618 to convert the rotational motion of the first pinion gear 614 into linear motion of the first rack gear 618 to control the articulation of the articulation section 556 of the shaft assembly 538 in a left direction 620L. The first rack gear 618 is attached to a first articulation band 622 (FIG. 32) such that linear motion of the first rack gear 618 in a distal direction causes the articulation section 556 of the shaft assembly 538 to articulate in the left direction 620L. A second pinion gear 626 is coupled to another rotatable body 612 such that rotation of the corresponding driven element 564 causes the second pinion gear 626 to rotate. A bearing 616 is coupled to the rotatable body 612 and is provided between the driven element 564 and the second pinion gear 626. The second pinion gear 626 is meshed to a second rack gear 628 to convert the rotational motion of the second pinion gear 626 into linear motion of the second rack gear 628 to control the articulation of the articulation section 556 in a right direction 620R. The second rack gear 628 is attached to a second articulation band 624 (FIG. 33) such that linear motion of the second rack gear 628 in a distal direction causes the articulation section 556 of the shaft assembly 538 to articulate in the right direction 620R. Additional bearings may be provided between the rotatable bodies and the corresponding gears. Any suitable bearings may be provided to support and stabilize the mounting and reduce rotary friction of shaft and gears, for example.

    [0108] In one example embodiment, the instrument mounting portion 558 further comprises a mechanism for translating rotation of the driven elements 564 into rotational motion about the axis of the shaft 538. For example, the rotational motion may be rotation of the shaft 538 itself. In the illustrated embodiment, a first spiral worm gear 630 coupled to a rotatable body 612 and a second spiral worm gear 632 coupled to the shaft assembly 538. A bearing 616 (figure 17) is coupled to a rotatable body 612 and is provided between a driven element 564 and the first spiral worm gear 630. The first spiral worm gear 630 is meshed to the second spiral worm gear 632, which may be coupled to the shaft assembly 538 and/or to another component of the instrument 522, 523 for which longitudinal rotation is desired. Rotation may be caused in a clockwise (CW) and counter-clockwise (CCW) direction based on the rotational direction of the first and second spiral worm gears 630, 632. Accordingly, rotation of the first spiral worm gear 630 about a first axis is converted to rotation of the second spiral worm gear 632 about a second axis, which is orthogonal to the first axis. As shown in FIGS. 32-33, for example, a CW rotation of the second spiral worm gear 632 results in a CW rotation of the shaft assembly 538 in the direction indicated by 634CW. A CCW rotation of the second spiral worm gear 632 results in a CCW rotation of the shaft assembly 538 in the direction indicated by 634CCW. Additional bearings may be provided between the rotatable bodies and the corresponding gears. Any suitable bearings may be provided to support and stabilize the mounting and reduce rotary friction of shaft and gears, for example.

    [0109] In one example embodiment, the instrument mounting portion 558 comprises a mechanism for generating reciprocating translation of one or more members along the axis of the shaft 538. Such translation may be used, for example to drive a tissue cutting element, such as 555, drive an overtube for closure and/or articulation of the end effector 610, etc. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, a rack and pinion gearing mechanism may provide the reciprocating translation. A first gear 636 is coupled to a rotatable body 612 such that rotation of the corresponding driven element 564 causes the first gear 636 to rotate in a first direction. A second gear 638 is free to rotate about a post 640 formed in the instrument mounting plate 562. The first gear 636 is meshed to the second gear 638 such that the second gear 638 rotates in a direction that is opposite of the first gear 636. In one example embodiment, the second gear 638 is a pinion gear meshed to a rack gear 642, which moves in a liner direction. The rack gear 642 is coupled to a translating block 644, which may translate distally and proximally with the rack gear 642. The translation block 644 may be coupled to any suitable component of the shaft assembly 538 and/or the end effector 610 so as to provide reciprocating longitudinal motion. For example, the translation block 644 may be mechanically coupled to the tissue cutting element 555 of the RF surgical device 523. In some embodiments, the translation block 644 may be coupled to an overtube, or other component of the end effector 610 or shaft 538.

    [0110] FIGS. 35-37 illustrate an alternate embodiment of the instrument mounting portion 558 showing an alternate example mechanism for translating rotation of the driven elements 564 into rotational motion about the axis of the shaft 538 and an alternate example mechanism for generating reciprocating translation of one or more members along the axis of the shaft 538. Referring now to the alternate rotational mechanism, a first spiral worm gear 652 is coupled to a second spiral worm gear 654, which is coupled to a third spiral worm gear 656. Such an arrangement may be provided for various reasons including maintaining compatibility with existing robotic systems 1000 and/or where space may be limited. The first spiral worm gear 652 is coupled to a rotatable body 612. The third spiral worm gear 656 is meshed with a fourth spiral worm gear 658 coupled to the shaft assembly 538. A bearing 760 is coupled to a rotatable body 612 and is provided between a driven element 564 and the first spiral worm gear 738. Another bearing 760 is coupled to a rotatable body 612 and is provided between a driven element 564 and the third spiral worm gear 652. The third spiral worm gear 652 is meshed to the fourth spiral worm gear 658, which may be coupled to the shaft assembly 538 and/or to another component of the instrument 522, 523 for which longitudinal rotation is desired. Rotation may be caused in a CW and a CCW direction based on the rotational direction of the spiral worm gears 656, 658. Accordingly, rotation of the third spiral worm gear 656 about a first axis is converted to rotation of the fourth spiral worm gear 658 about a second axis, which is orthogonal to the first axis. As shown in FIGS. 36 and 37, for example, the fourth spiral worm gear 658 is coupled to the shaft 538, and a CW rotation of the fourth spiral worm gear 658 results in a CW rotation of the shaft assembly 538 in the direction indicated by 634CW. A CCW rotation of the fourth spiral worm gear 658 results in a CCW rotation of the shaft assembly 538 in the direction indicated by 634CCW. Additional bearings may be provided between the rotatable bodies and the corresponding gears. Any suitable bearings may be provided to support and stabilize the mounting and reduce rotary friction of shaft and gears, for example.

    [0111] Referring now to the alternate example mechanism for generating reciprocating translation of one or more members along the axis of the shaft 538, the instrument mounting portion 558 comprises a rack and pinion gearing mechanism to provide reciprocating translation along the axis of the shaft 538 (e.g., translation of a tissue cutting element 555 of the RF surgical device 523). In one example embodiment, a third pinion gear 660 is coupled to a rotatable body 612 such that rotation of the corresponding driven element 564 causes the third pinion gear 660 to rotate in a first direction. The third pinion gear 660 is meshed to a rack gear 662, which moves in a linear direction. The rack gear 662 is coupled to a translating block 664. The translating block 664 may be coupled to a component of the device 522, 523, such as, for example, the tissue cutting element 555 of the RF surgical device and/or an overtube or other component which is desired to be translated longitudinally.

    [0112] FIGS. 38-42 illustrate an alternate embodiment of the instrument mounting portion 558 showing another alternate example mechanism for translating rotation of the driven elements 564 into rotational motion about the axis of the shaft 538. In FIGS. 38-42, the shaft 538 is coupled to the remainder of the mounting portion 558 via a coupler 676 and a bushing 678. A first gear 666 coupled to a rotatable body 612, a fixed post 668 comprising first and second openings 672, first and second rotatable pins 674 coupled to the shaft assembly, and a cable 670 (or rope). The cable is wrapped around the rotatable body 612. One end of the cable 670 is located through a top opening 672 of the fixed post 668 and fixedly coupled to a top rotatable pin 674. Another end of the cable 670 is located through a bottom opening 672 of the fixed post 668 and fixedly coupled to a bottom rotating pin 674. Such an arrangement is provided for various reasons including maintaining compatibility with existing robotic systems 1000 and/or where space may be limited. Accordingly, rotation of the rotatable body 612 causes the rotation about the shaft assembly 538 in a CW and a CCW direction based on the rotational direction of the rotatable body 612 (e.g., rotation of the shaft 538 itself). Accordingly, rotation of the rotatable body 612 about a first axis is converted to rotation of the shaft assembly 538 about a second axis, which is orthogonal to the first axis. As shown in FIGS. 38-39, for example, a CW rotation of the rotatable body 612 results in a CW rotation of the shaft assembly 538 in the direction indicated by 634CW. A CCW rotation of the rotatable body 612 results in a CCW rotation of the shaft assembly 538 in the direction indicated by 634CCW. Additional bearings may be provided between the rotatable bodies and the corresponding gears. Any suitable bearings may be provided to support and stabilize the mounting and reduce rotary friction of shaft and gears, for example.

    [0113] FIGS. 43-46A illustrate an alternate embodiment of the instrument mounting portion 558 showing an alternate example mechanism for differential translation of members along the axis of the shaft 538 (e.g., for articulation). For example, as illustrated in FIGS. 43-46A, the instrument mounting portion 558 comprises a double cam mechanism 680 to provide the shaft articulation functionality. In one example embodiment, the double cam mechanism 680 comprises first and second cam portions 680A, 680B. First and second follower arms 682, 684 are pivotally coupled to corresponding pivot spools 686. As the rotatable body 612 coupled to the double cam mechanism 680 rotates, the first cam portion 680A acts on the first follower arm 682 and the second cam portion 680B acts on the second follower arm 684. As the cam mechanism 680 rotates the follower arms 682, 684 pivot about the pivot spools 686. The first follower arm 682 may be attached to a first member that is to be differentially translated (e.g., the first articulation band 622). The second follower arm 684 is attached to a second member that is to be differentially translated (e.g., the second articulation band 624). As the top cam portion 680A acts on the first follower arm 682, the first and second members are differentially translated. In the example embodiment where the first and second members are the respective articulation bands 622 and 624, the shaft assembly 538 articulates in a left direction 620L. As the bottom cam portion 680B acts of the second follower arm 684, the shaft assembly 538 articulates in a right direction 620R. In some example embodiments, two separate bushings 688, 690 are mounted beneath the respective first and second follower arms 682, 684 to allow the rotation of the shaft without affecting the articulating positions of the first and second follower arms 682, 684. For articulation motion, these bushings reciprocate with the first and second follower arms 682, 684 without affecting the rotary position of the jaw 902. FIG. 46A shows the bushings 688, 690 and the dual cam assembly 680, including the first and second cam portions 680B, 680B, with the first and second follower arms 682, 684 removed to provide a more detailed and clearer view.

    [0114] In various embodiments, the instrument mounting portion 558 may additionally comprise internal energy sources for driving electronics and provided desired ultrasonic and/or RF frequency signals to surgical tools. FIGS. 46B-46C illustrate one embodiment of a instrument mounting portion 558' comprising internal power and energy sources. For example, surgical instruments (e.g., instruments 522, 523) mounted utilizing the instrument mounting portion 558' need not be wired to an external generator or other power source. Instead, the functionality of the various generators 20, 320 described herein may be implemented on board the mounting portion 558.

    [0115] As illustrated in FIGS. 46B-46C, the instrument mounting portion 558' may comprise a distal portion 702. The distal portion 702 may comprise various mechanisms for coupling rotation of drive elements 612 to end effectors of the various surgical instruments 522, 523, for example, as described herein above. Proximal of the distal portion 702, the instrument mounting portion 558' comprises an internal direct current (DC) energy source and an internal drive and control circuit 704. In the illustrated embodiment, the energy source comprises a first and second battery 706, 708. In other respects, the instrument mounting portion 558' is similar to the various embodiments of the instrument mounting portion 558 described herein above.

    [0116] In one embodiment, an electrosurgical end effector may be controlled to ensure proper sealing of a target tissue during operation. FIG. 47 illustrates one example embodiment of an electrosurgical instrument 700 capable of implementing a method to control an electrosurgical end effector 722. In one embodiment, the electrosurgical end effector 722 comprises a motor driven slideable blade 724, a first jaw member 705a and a second jaw member 705b for grasping the target tissue 707 therebetween. The first and second jaw members 705a, 705b comprise first and second electrodes 709a, 709b, respectively, to conduct therapeutic and/or sub-therapeutic energy to the target tissue 707. In one embodiment, the therapeutic levels of RF energy may be sufficient to seal the target tissue 707. It will be appreciated that the term target tissue applies to that portion of the tissue or vessel clamped between the first and second jaw members 705a, 705b. The blade 724 may be driven by a motor 714. The motor 714 is connected to a motor control logic 712, which may vary the speed of the motor 714 and thereby vary the reciprocating movement of the blade 724. In one embodiment, the motor 714 may be a servo motor. In one embodiment, once the target tissue 707 is sealed, the blade 724 is advanced by the motor 714 to cut the sealed target tissue 707.

    [0117] The electrosurgical instrument 700 may be integrated with the robotic surgical system shown in FIGS. 19-46. The electrosurgical instrument 700 may be configured to operate with any one of the configurations shown in FIGS. 19-46. In one embodiment, the motor control logic 712 and the control logic 726 may be integral with the electrosurgical instrument 700 and located within an instrument mounting portion, such as, for example, the instrument mounting portion 758 (shown in phantom in FIG. 47). In another embodiment, the control logic 726 and the motor control logic 712 may be integral with the robotic surgical system, such as, for example, the robotic surgical system 500 (shown in phantom in FIG. 47). In yet another embodiment, the control logic 726 and the motor control logic 712 may be incorporated into one or more controllers for the robotic surgical control system.

    [0118] In one embodiment, a control logic 726 is coupled to the motor control logic 712 and the electrosurgical end effector 722. In one embodiment, the control logic 726 may be configured to modify the one or more signals applied to the electrosurgical end effector 722. For example, the control logic 726 may provide a control signal to the motor control logic 712 to adjust the speed of the motor 714. As another example, the control logic 726 may be coupled to a generator to control an ultrasonic or radiofrequency signal generated by the generator and applied to the electrosurgical end effector 722. The control logic 726 may be implemented in any suitable digital logic circuit, such as, for example, a processor, a digital signal processor, a state-machine implemented by a field programmable gate array (FPGA), or any other suitable logic circuit. The control logic 726 may be implemented in hardware, software, or any combination thereof.

    [0119] In one embodiment, the first and second electrodes 709a, 709b receive an electrosurgical signal 728, such as, for example, an RF signal. The RF signal may be a therapeutic or sub-therapeutic RF signal. The electrosurgical signal 728 may be generated by a generator, such as, for example, the generator 320 shown in, and described in connection with, FIG. 11. In the illustrated embodiment, the electrosurgical signal 728 may be controlled by the control logic 726. In one embodiment, the control logic 726 enables delivery of the electrosurgical signal 728 by controlling the function of the electrosurgical generator. In another embodiment, the control logic 726 may enable delivery of the electrosurgical signal 728 through a control signal and one or more control blocks.

    [0120] In one embodiment, a first feedback signal 710 is generated by the conducting energy trough the target tissue 707 and is transmitted to the control logic 726. In one embodiment, the energy conducted by the target tissue 707 for purposes of operating the first feedback signal 710 may be therapeutic, sub-therapeutic, or a combination thereof. The feedback signal 710 may, in one embodiment, be a measurement of the impedance of the target tissue 707. As the target tissue 707 is cut and sealed, the impedance of the target tissue 707 increases proportionally. By measuring the increase in impedance, the control logic 726 may determine whether the electrosurgical end effector 722 is properly sealing and cutting the target tissue 707 and apply any suitable control signal in response thereto. The control logic 726 may adjust the reciprocating movement speed of the blade 724, the energy level of the electrosurgical signal 728, or any combination thereof, in order to ensure that the target tissue 707 is suitably sealed.

    [0121] In one embodiment, the motor 714 may comprise a servo motor. A servo motor is a motor which forms part of a servomechanism. In one embodiment, an encoder is located on the shaft of the servo motor to provide a feedback signal to the motor control logic 712. The encoder may be any suitable encoder for use with a servo motor, such as, for example, a rotary encoder which may provide a signal indicative of a rotational position. In one embodiment, the rotation of a shaft of the servo motor may correspond to a movement of the blade 724. For example, a rotary encoder may be disposed on the shaft of the servo motor. Each rotational degree of the servo motor may correspond to a specific distal movement distance of the blade 724. The motor control logic 712 may receive a signal from the encoder and may convert the signal into a position of the blade 724 based on the known ratio between the rotation of the shaft and the distal movement of the blade 724.

    [0122] In another embodiment, the motor 714 may comprise a stepper motor. A stepper motor is a brushless DC motor that divides a full rotation of the motor into a number of equal steps. The motor's position can be controlled by a pulsed DC signal causing the motor to advance a certain number of steps with each pulse. In one embodiment, a single step of a stepper motor may correspond to a known distal movement distance of the blade 724. The position of the blade 724 can be precisely controlled by applying a pulsed control signal to the stepper motor. In one embodiment, the motor control logic 712 may generate the pulsed DC control signal for the stepper motor based on input from the control logic 726, one or more feedback signals 710, 710' received from the end effector, or any combination thereof.

    [0123] In one embodiment, the control logic 726 may maintain a rate of increase of the impedance by varying the speed of the motor 714. The control logic 726 may provide a control signal to the motor control logic 712. The motor control logic 712 may vary the output signal to the motor 714 to increase or decrease the longitudinal speed of the blade 724 to ensure proper cutting and sealing of the target tissue 707. The motor control logic 712 may be any suitable motor controller, such as, for example, an adjustable-speed driver or an intelligent motor controller. An adjustable-speed driver is a control circuit that may vary the output voltage or current to the motor resulting in the motor running at faster or slower speeds, proportional to the voltage. An intelligent motor controller is a logic circuit which may control the voltage, current, or other output to the motor to increase or decrease the longitudinal speed. The motor control logic 712 may be implemented in any suitable digital logic circuit, such as, for example, a processor, a digital signal processor, a state machine implemented by a field programmable gate array (FPGA), or any other suitable logic circuit. The motor control logic 712 may be implemented in hardware, software, or any combination thereof.

    [0124] The control logic 726 and the motor control logic 712 may comprise one or more circuit components for converting or generating control signals. In one embodiment, the motor control logic 712 may comprise a Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) to convert a digital control signal from the control logic 726 to an analog input signal for the motor 714. In other embodiments, the control logic 726 or the motor control logic 712 may comprise one or more components for generating a pulse-width modulation signal for controlling the motor 714, including, but not limited to, a crystal oscillator, one or more latches, or any other digital or analog components for generating appropriate control signals.

    [0125] In one embodiment, the control logic 726 may apply at least one electrosurgical signal 728 to the electrosurgical instrument 700. The electrosurgical signal 728 may comprise, in various embodiments, a drive signal 716 for the motor control logic 712, an RF signal applied to the first and second electrodes 709a, 709b in respective first and second jaw members 705a, 705b for electrosurgical treatment of the target tissue 707, or an ultrasonic drive signal to impart ultrasonic motion to the blade 724. The control logic 726 may be configured to vary one or more of the at least one electrosurgical signals 708 to maintain a predetermined rate of change of impedance of the target tissue 707.

    [0126] In one embodiment, the impedance of the target tissue 707 may increase during the tissue treatment process, which may include the operations of sealing and cutting the target tissue 707, either independently or simultaneously, for example. As the blade 724 is translated along the longitudinal axis, the tissue impedance may generally increase in response to coagulation, tissue welding, and/or cutting of the target tissue 707. In some embodiments, tissue impedance may display a sudden impedance increase indicating successful coagulation (sealing). The increase in impedance may be due to physiological changes in the tissue, a positive temperature coefficient (PTC) material reaching a trigger threshold, etc., and may occur at any point during the tissue treatment process. The change in impedance, either gradual or sudden, may be monitored by the control logic 726 which may modulate one or more electrosurgical signals to maintain the rate of change of impedance at a predetermined level or within a predetermined range. The term modulation is intended to cover any suitable form of signal modulation, such as, for example, amplitude modulation, frequency modulation, phase modulation, or any combination thereof without limitation. The amount of energy, the travel time of the blade 724, or the combination of the two that may be required to maintain the predetermined rate of change of impedance may be related to the thermal mass of the target tissue 707. The thermal mass of any given target tissue 707, in turn, may be related to the type and amount of tissue located at the target tissue 707.

    [0127] The feedback signal 710 may be used to calculate the rate of change of impedance of the target tissue 707 during the treatment process. In one embodiment, the feedback signal 710 may be indicative of one or more characteristics of the electrosurgical end effector 722 or the target tissue 707, such as, for example, the voltage drop across the target tissue 707, the current flow through the target tissue 707, the first and second electrodes 709a, 709b of the respective first and second jaw members 705a, 705b, or any combination thereof. The feedback signal 710 provides a measurement of the one or more characteristics to the control logic 726, which may then calculate the impedance at the site of the target tissue 707. The feedback signal 710 may be compared over one or more clock cycles of the control logic 726 to generate a rate of change of the impedance. The rate of change of the impedance may be monitored by the control logic 726 during treatment of the target tissue 707, and one or more electrosurgical signals 708 may be modulated by the control logic 726 to maintain the rate of change of impedance at a predetermined rate or within a predetermined range. The predetermined rate or predetermined range may be determined based on the treatment being applied to the target tissue 707. For example, a first predetermined rate may be used for coagulation and cutting of a tissue target 707 at the target site, a second predetermined rate may be used for welding and cutting of a tissue target 707 at the target site, and a third predetermined rate may be used for a combination of treatment including both coagulation and welding.

    [0128] In another embodiment, a second feedback signal 710' may be provided by the motor control logic 712 to the control logic 726. The motor 714 may be configured to provide a signal indicating load on the motor 714 during movement of the blade 724. If the blade 724 is transecting a tissue target 707, at the target site, which comprises a thicker tissue type, the load on the motor 714 may be greater than the tissue target 707 at the target site which comprises a thinner tissue type. The motor control circuit 712 may monitor the load on the motor 714 and generate the second feedback signal 710' indicative of the load. The second feedback signal 710' may be applied to the control logic 726 which may alter one or more electrosurgical signals 708 in response to the second feedback signal 710' generated by the motor control logic 712.

    [0129] In one embodiment, the electrosurgical instrument 700 may be configured to control the movement speed of the blade 724 in response to the first and second feedback signals 710, 710', alone or in combination. For example, the control logic 726 may modulate a drive control signal 716 applied to the motor control logic 712 to adjust the speed of the motor 714. The drive control signal 716 may be modulated in any suitable manner. For example, the voltage and/or current of the drive control signal 716 may be modulated. In various embodiments, modulation may be based on amplitude, frequency, phase, or any combination thereof, based on voltage and current measurements. In various embodiments, the drive control signal 716 may be a pulsed signal. In such embodiments, the control logic 726 may modulate the drive control signal 716 by changing the pulse width, duty cycle, etc., of the drive signal. By modulating the drive control signal 716, the control logic 726 may ensure proper treatment of the target tissue 707 by increasing or decreasing the speed of the blade 724 to allow a longer or shorter application of energy to the target tissue 707.

    [0130] In one embodiment, the electrosurgical instrument 700 may be configured to control ultrasonic or RF energy delivered to the electrosurgical end effector 722 in response to the first feedback signal 710, the second feedback signal 710', or a combination thereof. In one embodiment, the ultrasonic or RF energy may be delivered to the electrosurgical end effector 722. In another embodiment, the RF energy may be delivered to the first and second electrodes 709a, 709b located on respective first and second jaw members 705a, 705b. In another embodiment, the blade 724 may be implemented as an ultrasonic blade, in which case ultrasonic energy may be applied to the ultrasonic blade for cutting the target tissue 707. The control logic 726 may be electrically coupled to a generator (not shown) to generate the ultrasonic or RF energy. The control logic 726 may modulate a generator control signal applied to the generator to adjust an output signal of the generator. By adjusting the output signal of the generator, the control logic 726 can increase or decrease the energy delivered to the target tissue 707. As discussed above, as the coagulation, sealing, or welding of the target tissue 707 increases, the impedance of the target tissue 707 also increases. By modulating the energy delivered to the target tissue 707, the control logic 726 may decrease the amount of time required to adequately coagulate, seal, or weld the target tissue and thereby increase the rate of change of tissue impedance.

    [0131] FIG. 48 illustrates one embodiment of the end effector 722. The end effector 722 may comprise first and second jaw members 705a, 705b, first and second electrodes 709a, 709b, a motor driven slideable blade 724, and an actuator 718. In one embodiment, the actuator 718 may be coupled to the blade 724 to control movement of the blade 724 along the longitudinal axis (shown as arrow "A"). In another embodiment, the actuator 718 may be configured to control an opening and closing movement of the first and second jaw members 705a, 705b. As shown in FIG. 47, an electrosurgical signal 728 may be applied to the end effector 722 to electrosurgically treat the target tissue 707. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 48, an RF signal is applied to the first and second electrodes 709a, 709b to create an electrosurgical weld of the target tissue 707. The blade 724 may be slideably translated in a distal direction along the longitudinal axis to cut the target tissue 707 in conjunction with, or immediately following, the application of the RF energy to the first and second electrodes 709a, 709b to seal the target tissue 707. As described above, a control logic 726 may control the energy level of the RF energy, the movement speed of the blade 724, or both to ensure proper treatment, or cooking, of the target tissue during the treatment and cutting process.

    [0132] FIG. 49 is a graphical representation of the electrosurgical energy signals applied to the end effector 722 by the control logic 726. With reference now to FIGS. 47-49, one embodiment of a method for controlling an end effector based on a feedback signal is described. In accordance with the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 47-48 and aided by the graph 800, a tissue 707 treatment site is located between first and second jaw member 705a, 705b of the end effector 722. More particularly, the tissue 707 is located between the first and second electrodes 709a, 709b of the corresponding first and second jaw members 705a, 705b. A drive control signal 716 and an electrosurgical energy signal 808 are delivered to the end effector 722 by the control logic 726. An impedance feedback signal 810 is and applied to the control logic 726. The drive control signal 816 is applied to advance the blade 724 in a distal direction along a longitudinal axis of the end effector. The blade 724 has a blade speed which may be adjusted by modulating the drive control signal 816. The tissue 707 impedance feedback signal 810 is generated at the end effector 722 and is monitored by the control logic 726. At a time 'A,' an electrosurgical energy signal 808, such as, for example, a RF waveform sufficient to cause tissue welding, is applied to the target tissue 707 through the first and second electrodes 709a, 709b of the end effector 722. From time 'A' to time 'B' the speed of the blade 724 and the electrosurgical energy signal 808 are held constant while the impedance feedback signal 810 is measured. During the period from time 'A' to time 'B,' the rate of change of the impedance of the target tissue 707 is kept within the predetermined range.

    [0133] At time 'B,' the blade speed 816 is increased in response to a decrease in the impedance of the target tissue 707 indicated by the change in the tissue impedance feedback signal 810. From time 'B' to time 'C,' the blade speed 816 is kept at a constant rate by the control logic 726. During the time period from 'B' to 'C,' the control logic 726 modulates the electrosurgical energy signal 808 in response to the rate of change of the tissue 707 impedance as indicated by the tissue 707 impedance feedback signal 810. As shown in the illustrated embodiment, the electrosurgical energy signal 808 is modulated over the time period from 'B' to 'C' to increase or decrease the pulse width or pulse time of the applied electrosurgical energy signal 808 to maintain the rate of change of the tissue 707 impedance at a predetermined rate.

    [0134] In the illustrated embodiment, the blade 724 reaches a distal-most displacement at time 'C,' causing an end-of-stroke algorithm to activate and reverse the direction of the blade 724. Accordingly, the blade 724 is returned to a proximal-most, or starting, position within the end effector 722. During the proximal movement of the blade 724, one or more termination pulses, such as, for example, four termination pulses, may be applied to the end effector 722 by the control logic 726. The termination pulses may be a predetermined pulse pattern independent of the tissue 707 impedance feedback signal 810. Although a method for modulating one or more signals 716, 808 in response to a feedback signal 810 has been described with reference to FIG. 49, those skilled in the art will recognize that any suitable waveforms, modulation, or signals may be used and are within the scope of the appended claims.

    [0135] FIG. 50 illustrates a logic flow 900 depicting one embodiment of the method for controlling the electrosurgical end effector 722. In one embodiment, at least one electrosurgical signal is applied 902 to an electrosurgical end effector, such as, for example, the electrosurgical end effector 722. The electrosurgical end effector 722 generates a feedback signal based on one or more conditions of the electrosurgical end effector 722. The feedback signal is received 904 by a control logic. In one embodiment, the control logic may be formed integrally with the electrosurgical end effector 722. In another embodiment, the control logic may be located within a surgical robot or a controller for the surgical robot.

    [0136] In one embodiment, the control logic uses the feedback signal to determine 906 a rate of change of the impedance of the treatment site. The control logic may control 908 the one or more electrosurgical signals to maintain the rate of change of the impedance at a predetermined rate or within a predetermined range. In one embodiment, the predetermined range is a rate of change of the impedance that is equal to or greater than a threshold value. The control logic may monitor the feedback signal during the entire treatment period and modify the at least one electrosurgical signal to maintain the predetermined rate of change of impedance during the treatment period.

    [0137] FIG. 51 illustrates one embodiment of a control logic 1006 of the end effector 722 shown in FIGS. 47-48. With reference now to FIGS. 47-48 and 51, the control logic 1006 creates an RF signal 1008 for delivery to the first and second electrodes 709, 709b of the end effector 722. The control logic 1006 is flexible and can create an RF signal 1008 at a desired frequency and power level setting to produce therapeutic RF signals, sub-therapeutic RF signals, or a combination thereof. In various embodiments, the control logic 1006 may control one or more generators, such as, for example, generators 20, 320 shown in FIGS. 1 and 11, to produce the RF signal 1008. The generator may comprise, in various embodiments, several separate functional elements, such as modules and/or blocks. Although certain modules and/or blocks may be described by way of example, it can be appreciated that a greater or lesser number of modules and/or bocks may be used and still fall within the scope of the embodiments. Further, although various embodiments may be described in terms of modules and/or blocks to facilitate description, such modules and/or blocks may be implemented by one or more hardware components, e.g., processors, Digital Signal Processors (DSPs), Programmable Logic Devices (PLDs), Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs), circuits, registers, and/or software components, e.g., programs, sub-routines, logic, and/or combinations of hardware and software components.

    [0138] In one embodiment, the control logic 1006 may comprise one or more embedded applications implemented as firmware, software, hardware, or any combination thereof. The control logic 1006 may comprise various executable modules such as software, programs, data, drivers, application program interfaces (APIs), and so forth. The firmware may be stored in nonvolatile memory (NVM), such as in bit-masked read-only memory (ROM) or flash memory. In various implementations, storing the firmware in ROM may preserve flash memory. The NVM may comprise other types of memory including, for example, programmable ROM (PROM), erasable programmable ROM (EEPROM), or battery backed random-access memory (RAM) such as dynamic RAM (DRAM), Double-Data-Ram (DDRAM), and/or synchronous DRAM (SDRAM).

    [0139] In one embodiment, the control logic 1006 comprises a hardware component implemented as a processor 1100 for executing program instructions for monitoring various measurable characteristics of the electrosurgical instrument 700 and generating an output signal for delivering a therapeutic RF signal, sub-therapeutic RF signal, or combination RF signal to the first and second electrodes 709a, 709b. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the control logic 1006 may comprise additional or fewer components and only a simplified version of the control logic 1006 are described herein for conciseness and clarity. In various embodiments, as previously discussed, the hardware component may be implemented as a DSP, PLD, ASIC, circuits, and/or registers. In one embodiment, the processor 1100 may be configured to store and execute computer software program instructions to generate the output signals for driving various components of the ultrasonic surgical instrument 700, such as the first and second electrodes 709a, 709b, the motor control logic 712, the motor 714, or the blade 724.

    [0140] In one embodiment, under control of one or more software program routines, the processor 1100 executes the methods in accordance with the described embodiments to generate a step function formed by a stepwise waveform of RF signals comprising current (I), voltage (V), and/or frequency (f) for various time intervals or periods (T). The stepwise waveforms of the RF signals may be generated by forming a piecewise linear combination of constant functions over a plurality of time intervals created by stepping the RF generator module drive signals, e.g., output drive current (I), voltage (V), and/or frequency (f). The time intervals or periods (T) may be predetermined (e.g., fixed and/or programmed by the user) or may be variable. Variable time intervals may be defined by setting the RF signal to a first value and maintaining the RF signal at that value until a change is detected in a monitored characteristic. Examples of monitored characteristics may comprise, for example, tissue impedance, tissue heating, tissue transection, tissue coagulation, and the like. The RF signals generated by the control logic 1006 include, without limitation, therapeutic, sub-therapeutic, and combination RF signals.

    [0141] In one embodiment, the executable modules comprise one or more step function algorithm(s) 1102 stored in memory that when executed causes the processor 1100 to generate a step function formed by a stepwise waveform of RF signals comprising current (I), voltage (V), and/or frequency (f) for various time intervals or periods (T). The stepwise waveforms of the RF signals may be generated by forming a piecewise linear combination of constant functions over two or more time intervals created by stepping the generator's output drive current (I), voltage (V), and/or frequency (f). The RF signals may be generated either for predetermined fixed time intervals or periods (T) of time or variable time intervals or periods of time in accordance with the one or more stepped output algorithm(s) 1102. Under control of the processor 1100, the control logic 1006 steps (e.g., increment or decrement) the current (I), voltage (V), and/or frequency (f) up or down at a particular resolution for a predetermined period (T) or until a predetermined condition is detected, such as a change in a monitored characteristic (e.g., tissue impedance). The steps can change in programmed increments or decrements. If other steps are desired, the control logic 1006 can increase or decrease the step adaptively based on measured system characteristics.

    [0142] In various embodiments, the output indicator 1112 may provide visual, audible, and/or tactile feedback to the surgeon to indicate the status of a surgical procedure, such as, for example, when tissue sealing and cutting is complete based on a measured characteristic of the electrosurgical instrument 700, e.g., tissue impedance or other measurements as subsequently described. By way of example, and not limitation, visual feedback comprises any type of visual indication device including incandescent lamps or light emitting diodes (LEDs), graphical user interface, display, analog indicator, digital indicator, bar graph display, digital alphanumeric display. By way of example, and not limitation, audible feedback comprises any type of buzzer, computer generated tone, computerized speech, voice user interface (VUI) to interact with computers through a voice/speech platform. By way of example, and not limitation, tactile feedback comprises any type of vibratory feedback provided through the robotic controller.

    [0143] In one embodiment, the processor 1100 may be configured or programmed to generate a digital current signal 1114 and a digital frequency signal 1118. These signals 1114, 1118 are applied to a direct digital synthesizer (DDS) circuit 1120 to adjust the amplitude and the frequency (f) of the current output signal 1116 to the first and second electrode 709a, 709b. The output of the DDS circuit 1120 is applied to an amplifier 1122 whose output is applied to a transformer 1124. The output of the transformer 1124 is the signal 1116 applied to the first and second electrodes 709a, 709b.

    [0144] In one embodiment, the control logic 1006 comprises one or more measurement modules or components that may be configured to monitor measurable characteristics of the electrosurgical instrument 700. In embodiment illustrated in FIG. 51, the processor 1100 may be employed to monitor and calculate system characteristics. As shown, the processor 1100 measures the impedance Z of the tissue site 707 by monitoring the current supplied to the tissue site 707 and the voltage applied to the tissue site 707. In one embodiment, a current sense circuit 1126 is employed to sense the current flowing through the tissue site 707 and a voltage sense circuit 1128 is employed to sense the output voltage applied to the tissue site. These signals may be applied to the analog-to-digital converter 1132 (ADC) via an analog multiplexer 1130 circuit or switching circuit arrangement. The analog multiplexer 1130 routes the appropriate analog signal to the ADC 1132 for conversion. In other embodiments, multiple ADCs 1132 may be employed for each measured characteristic instead of the multiplexer 1130 circuit. The processor 1100 receives the digital output 1133 of the ADC 1132 and calculates the tissue impedance Z based on the measured values of current and voltage. The processor 1100 adjusts the output drive signal 1116 such that it can generate a desired power versus load curve. In accordance with programmed step function algorithms 1102, the processor 1100 can step the RF signal 1116, e.g., the current or frequency, in any suitable increment or decrement in response to the tissue impedance Z.

    [0145] The operation of the control logic 1006 may be programmed to provide a variety of output drive signals to measure electrical properties of current, voltage, power, impedance, and frequency associated with the tissue site 707 and the first and second electrodes 709a, 709b in a therapeutic, sub-therapeutic, or combination state, for example, based on the tissue located between the first and second jaw members 705a, 705b. When the tissue site is a thinner tissue type, the output may be stepped in a first sequence, for example. When the tissue site is a thicker tissue type, the output may be stepped in a second sequence which delivers a higher voltage, current, or time interval to the tissue site 707.

    [0146] It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the current step function set points (e.g., I1, I2, I3) and the time intervals or periods (e.g., T1; T2) of duration for each of the step function set points described above are not limited to the values described herein and may be adjusted to any suitable value as may be desired for a given set of surgical procedures. Additional or fewer current set points and periods of duration may be selected as may be desired for a given set of design characteristics or performance constraints. As previously discussed, the periods may be predetermined by programming or may be variable based on measurable system characteristics. The embodiments are not limited in this context.

    [0147] Having described operational details of various embodiments of the surgical system 700, operations for the above surgical system 700 may be further described in terms of a process for sealing and cutting a blood vessel employing a surgical instrument comprising the control logic 1006 and the tissue impedance measurement capabilities described with reference to FIG. 51. Although a particular process is described in connection with the operational details, it can be appreciated that the process merely provides an example of how the general functionality described herein can be implemented by the surgical system 700. Further, the given process does not necessarily have to be executed in the order presented herein unless otherwise indicated. As previously discussed, the control logic 1006 may be employed to program the stepped output (e.g., current, voltage, frequency) to the first and second electrodes 709a, 709b.

    [0148] Accordingly, one technique for sealing and cutting a vessel includes clamping the target tissue between the first and second jaw members 705a, 705b. It will be appreciated that first and second jaw members 705a, 705b may comprise one or more styles of jaws for grasping and sealing tissue, such as, for example, paddle jaw members, serrated jaw members and may include one or more pivoting jaw members for applying pressure to the tissue site 707 located between the first and second jaw members 705a, 705b. In one embodiment, the first and second jaw members 705a, 705b may comprise a blunt dissection portion.

    [0149] In one embodiment, a first RF signal may be applied to the first and second electrodes 709a, 709b to seal the tissue site 707 located between the first and second jaw members 705a, 705b. By way of example, and not limitation, and in accordance with one implementation of the control logic 726, the control logic 1006 is programmed to output a first RF energy signal f1 for a first period T1 of time is applied to cause therapeutic treatment of the tissue site 707. In one embodiment, the first time period T1 may be determined by measuring one or more characteristics of the tissue site 707, such as, for example, the tissue impedance. As discussed above with respect to FIG. 51, the control logic 1006 may monitor the current supplied to the tissue site 707 and the voltage applied to the tissue site 707 to calculate the impedance of the tissue site 707.

    [0150] In one embodiment, a second RF signal may be applied to the first and second electrodes 709a, 709b. The second RF signal may be a sub-therapeutic RF signal. The second RF signal may be applied to the tissue site 707 for a second period T2. The current and the voltage applied to the tissue site 707 by the second RF signal may be monitored and used to calculate the impedance of the tissue site 707.

    [0151] In one embodiment, the tissue/vessel sealing and cutting process may be automated by sensing the impedance Z characteristics of the tissue site 707 to detect when the sealing of the tissue/vessel occurs. The impedance Z can be correlated to the sealing of the tissue site 707 and to the transection/sealing of the vessel to provide a trigger for the processor 1100 to provide a drive signal for the motor control logic 712 to cause the blade 724 to transect the tissue. As previously discussed with reference to FIG. 51, the impedance Z of the tissue 707 may be calculated by the processor 1100 based on the current flowing through tissue 707 and the voltage applied to the tissue 707 while the tissue 707 and the first and second electrodes 709a, 709b are under certain loads. Because the impedance Z of the tissue 707 is proportional to the sealing state of the tissue 707, as the sealing state of the tissue 707 increases the impedance Z of the tissue 707 increases. Accordingly, the impedance Z of the tissue 707 can be monitored to detect the sealing of the tissue 707 and determine when it is safe to transect the tissue using the blade 724.

    [0152] In one embodiment, the control logic 1006 may provide a control signal to the motor control logic 712. The control signal may be generated based upon the impedance Z of the tissue 707. For example, in one embodiment, a certain tissue impedance Z may indicate that the tissue has been successfully sealed by the application of therapeutic RF energy to the tissue site 707. The control logic 1006 may send a control signal to the motor control logic 712 indicating that the tissue impedance Z has reached a predetermined level. The motor control logic 712 may then advance the blade 724 to transect the tissue 707 located between the first and second jaw members 705a, 705b.

    [0153] In one embodiment, the electrosurgical instrument 700 may be operated in accordance with a programmed step function algorithm responsive to the tissue impedance Z. In one embodiment, a frequency step function output may be initiated based on a comparison of the tissue impedance Z and one or more predetermined thresholds that have been correlated with tissue 707 sealing states. When the tissue impedance Z transitions above or below (e.g., crosses) a threshold, the processor 1100 applies a digital frequency signal 1118 to the DDS circuit 1120 to change the frequency of the drive signal 1116 by a predetermined step in accordance with the step function algorithm(s) 1102 responsive to the tissue impedance Z.

    [0154] With reference now to FIGS. 47 and 52, in one embodiment, the control logic 1006 comprises a signal generator module. In one embodiment, the signal generator module may be implemented as a tissue impedance module 1202. Although in the presently disclosed embodiment, the control logic 1206 is shown separate from the electrosurgical instrument, in one embodiment, the control logic 1206 may be formed integrally with the electrosurgical instrument, as shown in phantom in FIG. 47. In one embodiment, the signal generator module may be configured to monitor the electrical impedance Zt of the tissue 707 to control the characteristics of time and power level based on the impedance Zt of the tissue T. In one embodiment, the tissue impedance Zt may be determined by applying a subtherapeutic radio frequency (RF) signal to the tissue T and measuring the current through the tissue T by way of a the first and second electrodes 709a, 709b, as previously discussed. In the schematic diagram shown in FIG. 52, the end effector 722 comprises first and second electrodes 709a, 709b disposed on respective first and second jaw members 705a, 705b. The tissue impedance module 1202 is coupled to first and second electrodes 709a, 709b through a suitable transmission medium such as a cable. The cable comprises multiple electrical conductors for applying a voltage to the tissue 707 and providing a return path for current flowing through the tissue 707 back to the impedance module 1202. In various embodiments, the tissue impedance module 1202 may be formed integrally with the instrument mounting portion, the robotic surgical system, a control system for the robotic surgical system or may be provided as a separate circuit coupled to the robotic surgical system.

    [0155] Still with reference to FIG. 52, as shown, the signal generator module is configured as a tissue impedance module 1202. In one embodiment, an integrated generator module may generate an ultrasonic electrical drive signal to drive an ultrasonic transducer coupled to the blade 724. In one embodiment, the tissue impedance module 1202 may be configured to measure the impedance Zt of the tissue 707 grasped between the first and second jaw members 705a, 705b. The tissue impedance module 1202 comprises an RF oscillator 1206, a voltage sensing circuit 128, and a current sensing circuit 1210. The voltage and current sensing circuits 1208, 1210 respond to the RF voltage Vrf applied to the first and second electrodes 709a, 709b and the RF current irf flowing through the first electrode 709a, the tissue, and the second electrode 709b. The sensed voltage Vrf and current irf are converted to digital form by the ADC 1132 via the analog multiplexer 1130. The processor 1100 receives the digitized output 1133 of the ADC 1132 and determines the tissue impedance Zt by calculating the ratio of the RF voltage vrf to current irf measured by the voltage sense circuit 1208 and the current sense circuit 1210. In one embodiment, the sealing of the tissue 707 may be determined by sensing the tissue impedance Zt. Accordingly, detection of the tissue impedance Zt may be integrated with an automated process for sealing the tissue prior to transection of the tissue by the blade 724.

    [0156] FIG. 53 is a schematic diagram of the control logic 1006 configured as the tissue impedance module 1202 coupled to the first and second electrode 709a, 709b with the tissue 707 site located therebetween. With reference now to FIGS. 47 and 51-53, the control logic 1006 comprises a signal generator module configured as the tissue impedance module 1202 configured for monitoring the impedance Zt of the tissue T located between the first and second electrodes 709a, 709b during the tissue sealing and cutting process. The tissue impedance module 1202 may be coupled to the electrosurgical instrument 700 by way of the cables. The cable includes a first "energizing" conductor connected to the first electrode 709a and a second "return" conductor connected to the second electrode 709b (e.g., negative [-] electrode). In one embodiment, RF voltage vrf is applied to the first electrode 709a to cause RF current irf to flow through the tissue 707. The second electrode 709b provides the return path for the current irf back to the tissue impedance module 1202. The distal end of the second electrode 709b is connected to the conductive jacket such that the current irf can flow from the blade first electrode 709a, through the tissue 707 positioned intermediate between the first and second jaw members 705a, 705b, and the second electrode 709b. The impedance module 1202 connects in circuit, by way of the first and second electrodes 709a, 709b. In one embodiment, the RF energy applied to the tissue 707 for purposes of measuring the tissue impedance Zt may be a low level subtherapeutic signal that does not contribute in a significant manner, or at all, to the treatment of the tissue 707. In another embodiment, the RF energy applied to the tissue 707 is a therapeutic signal for treatment of the tissue 707.

    NON-LIMITING EXAMPLES



    [0157] In one embodiment a robotic surgical system is provided. The robotic surgical system comprises a surgical tool comprising an end effector comprising a first jaw member, a second jaw member, the first and second jaw members comprising corresponding first and second electrodes, and a blade, the end effector configured to receive at least one signal; an actuator for reciprocating the blade along a longitudinal axis; and a control circuit for controlling the actuator, wherein the control circuit: provides the at least one signal to the end effector receives a feedback signal indicative of a tissue impedance of tissue in contact with the end effector; determines a rate of change of the tissue impedance based on the feedback signal; controls the at least one signal to maintain a predetermined rate of change of the tissue impedance.

    [0158] In one embodiment a surgical tool is provided. The surgical tool comprises an end effector comprising a first jaw member, a second jaw member, the first and second jaw members comprising corresponding first and second electrodes, and a blade, the end effector configured to receive at least one signal; an actuator for reciprocating the blade along a longitudinal axis; and a control circuit for controlling the actuator, wherein the control circuit: provides the at least one signal to the end effector; receives a feedback signal indicative of a tissue impedance of tissue in contact with the end effector; determines a rate of change of the tissue impedance based on the feedback signal; controls the at least one signal to maintain a predetermined rate of change of the tissue impedance.

    [0159] It will be appreciated that the terms "proximal" and "distal" are used throughout the specification with reference to a clinician manipulating one end of an instrument used to treat a patient. The term "proximal" refers to the portion of the instrument closest to the clinician and the term "distal" refers to the portion located furthest from the clinician. It will further be appreciated that for conciseness and clarity, spatial terms such as "vertical," "horizontal," "up," or "down" may be used herein with respect to the illustrated embodiments. However, surgical instruments may be used in many orientations and positions, and these terms are not intended to be limiting or absolute.

    [0160] Various embodiments of surgical instruments and robotic surgical systems are described herein. It will be understood by those skilled in the art that the various embodiments described herein may be used with the described surgical instruments and robotic surgical systems. The descriptions are provided for example only, and those skilled in the art will understand that the disclosed embodiments are not limited to only the devices disclosed herein, but may be used with any compatible surgical instrument or robotic surgical system.

    [0161] Reference throughout the specification to "various embodiments," "some embodiments," "one example embodiment," or "an embodiment" means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one example embodiment. Thus, appearances of the phrases "in various embodiments," "in some embodiments," "in one example embodiment," or "in an embodiment" in places throughout the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment.

    [0162] While various embodiments herein have been illustrated by description of several embodiments and while the illustrative embodiments have been described in considerable detail, it is not the intention of the applicant to restrict or in any way limit the scope of the appended claims to such detail. Additional advantages and modifications may readily appear to those skilled in the art. For example, it is generally accepted that endoscopic procedures are more common than laparoscopic procedures. Accordingly, the present invention has been discussed in terms of endoscopic procedures and apparatus. However, use herein of terms such as "endoscopic", should not be construed to limit the present invention to an instrument for use only in conjunction with an endoscopic tube (e.g., trocar). On the contrary, it is believed that the present invention may find use in any procedure where access is limited to a small incision, including but not limited to laparoscopic procedures, as well as open procedures.

    [0163] It is to be understood that at least some of the figures and descriptions herein have been simplified to illustrate elements that are relevant for a clear understanding of the disclosure, while eliminating, for purposes of clarity, other elements. Those of ordinary skill in the art will recognize, however, that these and other elements may be desirable. However, because such elements are well known in the art, and because they do not facilitate a better understanding of the disclosure, a discussion of such elements is not provided herein.

    [0164] While several embodiments have been described, it should be apparent, however, that various modifications, alterations and adaptations to those embodiments may occur to persons skilled in the art with the attainment of some or all of the advantages of the disclosure. This application is therefore intended to cover all such modifications, alterations and adaptations without departing from the scope and spirit of the disclosure as defined by the appended claims.


    Claims

    1. A surgical tool comprising:

    an end effector (722) comprising a first jaw member (705a), a second jaw member (705b), the first and second jaw members comprising corresponding first and second electrodes (709a and 709b), and a blade (724), the end effector configured to receive at least one signal (728, 708, 808, 1008, 1116);

    an actuator (718) for reciprocating the blade along a longitudinal axis (A); and

    a control circuit (726, 1006, 1206) for controlling the actuator, wherein the control circuit:

    provides the at least one signal to the end effector;

    receives a feedback signal (710, 810) indicative of a tissue impedance of tissue (707) in contact with the end effector;

    determines a rate of change of the tissue impedance based on the feedback signal;

    compares the rate of change of the tissue impedance to a predetermined rate of change of the tissue impedence; and

    varies the at least one signal to maintain the rate of change of the tissue impedance at the predetermined rate of change of the tissue impedance;

    characterised in that the surgical tool further comprises:

    a motor (714) coupled to the actuator;

    a motor control logic (712) coupled to the motor, wherein the motor control logic is configured to vary an output signal to the motor to increase or decrease the longitudinal speed of the blade, wherein the control circuit is configured to provide a control signal to the motor control logic and maintain the rate of change of tissue impedance by varying the speed of the motor.


     
    2. A robotic surgical system (500), further comprising the surgical tool of claim 1.
     
    3. The surgical instrument claim 1, or the robotic surgical system of 2, wherein the control circuit receives a second feedback signal (710') indicative of load on the motor from the motor control logic, wherein the control circuit varies the at least one signal in response to the second feedback signal.
     
    4. The surgical instrument claim 1, or the robotic surgical system of 2, wherein the at least one signal comprises a radio frequency energy signal (728, 708, 808, 1008, 1116) delivered to the first and second jaw electrodes.
     
    5. The surgical instrument of claim 1, or the robotic surgical system of 2, comprising delivering an ultrasonic energy signal to the blade to impart ultrasonic motion thereto.
     
    6. The robotic surgical system of claim 1, or the robotic surgical system of 2, the control circuit comprising a processor (1100), wherein the processor is configured to run one or more software threads for controlling the at least one signal.
     
    7. The surgical instrument of claim 1, or the robotic surgical system of 2, comprising:
    a generator for generating the at least one signal, the generator receives a control signal from the control circuit, and wherein the generator controls the at least one signal based on the control signal received from the control circuit.
     
    8. The surgical instrument of claim 1, or the robotic surgical system of 2, wherein the rate of change of the tissue impedance is proportional to a sealing state of the tissue.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Chirurgisches Werkzeug, umfassend:

    einen Endeffektor (722), umfassend ein erstes Backenelement (705a), ein zweites Backenelement (705b), wobei das erste und das zweite Backenelement entsprechende erste und zweite Elektroden (709a und 709b) umfassen, und eine Klinge (724), wobei der Endeffektor dafür gestaltet ist, wenigstens ein Signal (728, 708, 808, 1008, 1116) zu empfangen;

    einen Aktor (718) zum Hin- und Herbewegen der Klinge entlang einer Längsachse (A); und

    eine Steuerschaltung (726, 1006, 1206) zum Steuern des Aktors, wobei die Steuerschaltung:

    das wenigstens eine Signal an den Endeffektor liefert;

    ein Rückmeldungssignal (710, 810) empfängt, das für eine Gewebeimpedanz von Gewebe (707) in Kontakt mit dem Endeffektor indikativ ist;

    eine Veränderungsrate der Gewebeimpedanz auf Grundlage des Rückmeldungssignals bestimmt;

    die Veränderungsrate der Gewebeimpedanz mit einer vorbestimmten Veränderungsrate der Gewebeimpedanz vergleicht; und

    das wenigstens eine Signal variiert, um die Veränderungsrate der Gewebeimpedanz bei der vorbestimmten Veränderungsrate der Gewebeimpedanz zu halten;

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das chirurgische Werkzeug ferner umfasst:

    einen Motor (714), der an den Aktor gekoppelt ist;

    eine Motorsteuerlogik (712), die an den Motor gekoppelt ist, wobei die Motorsteuerlogik dafür gestaltet ist, ein Ausgangssignal an den Motor zu variieren, um die Längsgeschwindigkeit der Klinge zu erhöhen oder zu verringern, wobei die Steuerschaltung dafür gestaltet ist, ein Steuersignal an die Motorsteuerlogik zu liefern und die Veränderungsrate der Gewebeimpedanz durch Variieren der Geschwindigkeit des Motors aufrechtzuhalten.


     
    2. Chirurgisches Robotersystem (500), ferner umfassend das chirurgische Werkzeug gemäß Anspruch 1.
     
    3. Chirurgische Vorrichtung gemäß Anspruch 1 oder chirurgisches Robotersystem gemäß Anspruch 2, wobei die Steuerschaltung ein zweites Rückmeldungssignal (710'), das für die Motorlast indikativ ist, von der Motorsteuerlogik empfängt, wobei die Steuerschaltung das wenigstens eine Signal in Antwort auf das zweite Rückmeldungssignal variiert.
     
    4. Chirurgische Vorrichtung gemäß Anspruch 1 oder chirurgisches Robotersystem gemäß Anspruch 2, wobei das wenigstens eine Signal ein Radiofrequenzenergiesignal (728, 708, 808, 1008, 1116), das an die erste und die zweite Backenelektrode geliefert wird, umfasst.
     
    5. Chirurgische Vorrichtung gemäß Anspruch 1 oder chirurgisches Robotersystem gemäß Anspruch 2, umfassend Liefern eines Ultraschallenergiesignals an die Klinge, um ihr Ultraschallbewegung zu verleihen.
     
    6. Chirurgisches Robotersystem gemäß Anspruch 1 oder chirurgisches Robotersystem gemäß Anspruch 2, wobei die Steuerschaltung einen Prozessor (1100) umfasst, wobei der Prozessor dafür gestaltet ist, ein oder mehrere Software-Threads zum Steuern des wenigstens einen Signals laufen zu lassen.
     
    7. Chirurgische Vorrichtung gemäß Anspruch 1 oder chirurgisches Robotersystem gemäß Anspruch 2, umfassend:
    einen Generator zum Erzeugen des wenigstens einen Signals, wobei der Generator ein Steuersignal von der Steuerschaltung empfängt und wobei der Generator das wenigstens eine Signal auf Grundlage des von der Steuerschaltung erhaltenen Steuersignals steuert.
     
    8. Chirurgische Vorrichtung gemäß Anspruch 1 oder chirurgisches Robotersystem gemäß Anspruch 2, wobei die Veränderungsrate der Gewebeimpedanz zu einem Abdichtungszustand des Gewebes proportional ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Outil chirurgical comprenant :

    un effecteur terminal (722) comprenant un premier élément (705a) de mâchoire, un second élément (705b) de mâchoire, les premier et second éléments de mâchoire comprenant des première et seconde électrodes (709a et 709b) correspondantes, et une lame (724), l'effecteur final étant conçu pour recevoir au moins un signal (728, 708, 808, 1008, 1116) ;

    un actionneur (718) pour animer d'un mouvement de va-et-vient la lame le long d'un axe longitudinal (A) ; et

    un circuit de commande (726, 1006, 1206) pour commander l'actionneur, dans lequel le circuit de commande :

    fournit le ou les signaux à l'effecteur final ;

    reçoit un signal de rétroaction (710, 810) indiquant une impédance tissulaire d'un tissu (707) en contact avec l'effecteur terminal ;

    détermine un taux de changement de l'impédance tissulaire en fonction du signal de rétroaction ;

    compare le taux de changement de l'impédance tissulaire avec un taux de changement prédéfini de l'impédance tissulaire ; et

    fait varier le ou les signaux pour maintenir le taux de changement de l'impédance tissulaire au taux de changement prédéfini de l'impédance tissulaire ;

    caractérisé en ce que l'outil chirurgical comprend en outre :

    un moteur (714) couplé à l'actionneur ;

    une logique de commande (712) de moteur couplée au moteur, la logique de commande de moteur étant configurée pour faire varier un signal de sortie vers le moteur pour augmenter ou diminuer la vitesse longitudinale de la lame, dans lequel le circuit de commande est configuré pour fournir un signal de commande à la logique de commande de moteur et pour maintenir le taux de changement de l'impédance tissulaire en faisant varier la vitesse du moteur.


     
    2. Système chirurgical robotique (500), comprenant en outre l'outil chirurgical selon la revendication 1.
     
    3. Instrument chirurgical selon la revendication 1, ou système chirurgical robotique selon la revendication 2, dans lequel le circuit de commande reçoit un second signal de rétroaction (710') indiquant une charge sur le moteur en provenance de la logique de commande de moteur, dans lequel le circuit de commande fait varier le ou les signaux en réponse au second signal de rétroaction.
     
    4. Instrument chirurgical selon la revendication 1, ou système chirurgical robotique selon la revendication 2, dans lequel le ou les signaux comprennent un signal d'énergie radiofréquence (728, 708, 808, 1008, 1116) délivré aux première et seconde électrodes de mâchoire.
     
    5. Instrument chirurgical selon la revendication 1, ou système chirurgical robotique selon la revendication 2, comprenant la distribution d'un signal d'énergie ultrasonore à la lame pour conférer un mouvement ultrasonore à celle-ci.
     
    6. Système chirurgical robotique selon la revendication 1, ou système chirurgical robotique selon la revendication 2, le circuit de commande comprenant un processeur (1100), dans lequel le processeur est configuré pour exécuter un ou plusieurs fils d'exécution logicielle pour commander l'au moins un signal.
     
    7. Instrument chirurgical selon la revendication 1, ou système chirurgical robotique selon la revendication 2, comprenant :
    un générateur pour générer le ou les signaux, le générateur recevant un signal de commande en provenance du circuit de commande, et dans lequel le générateur commande le ou les signaux sur la base du signal de commande reçu en provenance du circuit de commande.
     
    8. Instrument chirurgical selon la revendication 1, ou système chirurgical robotique selon la revendication 2, dans lequel le taux de changement de l'impédance tissulaire est proportionnel à un état d'étanchéité du tissu.
     




    Drawing

































































































































































    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description