(19)
(11)EP 3 338 701 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
10.06.2020 Bulletin 2020/24

(21)Application number: 17209578.8

(22)Date of filing:  21.12.2017
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
A61B 17/072(2006.01)
A61B 17/29(2006.01)
A61B 90/00(2016.01)
A61B 34/30(2016.01)
A61B 17/00(2006.01)

(54)

SHAFT ASSEMBLY COMPRISING FIRST AND SECOND ARTICULATION LOCKOUTS

WELLENANORDNUNG MIT ERSTEN UND ZWEITEN GELENKSPERREN

ENSEMBLE D'ARBRES COMPRENANT UN PREMIER ET UN SECOND VERROUILLAGE D'ARTICULATION


(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: 21.12.2016 US 201615385895

(43)Date of publication of application:
27.06.2018 Bulletin 2018/26

(73)Proprietor: Ethicon LLC
00969 Guaynabo (PR)

(72)Inventors:
  • BECKMAN, Andrew T.
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45242 (US)
  • KOCH, JR. Robert L.
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45242 (US)
  • SWAYZE, Jeffrey S.
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45242 (US)
  • ZEINER, Mark S.
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45242 (US)
  • SHELTON, IV Frederick E.
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45242 (US)
  • HARRIS, Jason L.
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45242 (US)

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


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 3 034 013
EP-A2- 2 005 896
US-A1- 2014 005 678
EP-A2- 1 621 146
US-A1- 2005 273 084
US-A1- 2015 374 362
  
      
    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] US 2015/0374362 A1 relates to a method for using a surgical instrument comprising translating a first translatable member to unlock an articulation joint, translating a second translatable member to articulate an end effector at the articulation joint, and translating the second translatable member again to lock the articulation joint.

    [0002] US 2014/005678 A1 discloses a surgical instrument comprising an articulation lock system including a lock wire that extends through a distal outer tube portion of an elongate shaft assembly and a proximal socket tube. The lock wire has a pair of unlocking wedges formed on its distal end.

    [0003] EP 3 034 013 A1 discloses a shaft assembly including first and second articulation drivers. The shaft assembly further includes a proximal closure member segment having locking teeth that are configured to slidably engage serrated portions of first and second articulation drivers.

    [0004] The present invention relates to shaft assemblies and, in various arrangements, to shaft assemblies for use with surgical stapling and cutting instruments.

    SUMMARY



    [0005] The present invention is defined by the features of the independent claim. Preferred embodiments are given in the dependent claims.

    [0006] The present invention provides a shaft assembly, comprising: a shaft frame; an end effector comprising an end effector frame; an articulation joint, wherein said articulation joint rotatably connects said end effector frame to said shaft frame; an articulation driver configured to rotate said end effector about said articulation joint; a first articulation lock selectively actuatable to engage said end effector frame and prevent said end effector frame from rotating relative to said shaft frame; and a second articulation lock selectively actuatable to engage said articulation driver and prevent the displacement of said articulation driver to prevent said end effector frame from rotating relative to said shaft frame. Accordingly, the two articulation locks may work together, in concert to resist higher loads than either mechanism might resist by itself.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0007] Various features of the embodiments described herein, together with advantages thereof, may be understood in accordance with the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings as follows:

    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a shaft assembly which is an example useful for understanding the invention;

    FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrated with some components removed;

    FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a spine assembly of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1;

    FIG. 4 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1;

    FIG. 5 is an exploded view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrated with some components removed;

    FIG. 6 is an exploded view of the spine assembly of FIG. 3;

    FIG. 7 is an exploded view of a distal end of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1;

    FIG. 8 is an exploded view of an intermediate portion of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1;

    FIG. 9 is an exploded view of a proximal end of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrated with some components removed;

    FIG. 10 is a partial cross-sectional view of the distal end of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrated in an open, unfired configuration and comprising a staple cartridge in an unspent condition;

    FIG. 11 is a partial cross-sectional view of the distal end of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrated prior to a firing member of the shaft assembly being advanced distally;

    FIG. 12 is a partial cross-sectional view of the distal end of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrated after the firing member has been advanced distally through a closure stroke, but prior to the firing member being advanced through a firing stroke;

    FIG. 13 is a partial cross-sectional view of the distal end of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrated after the firing stroke of the firing member has been initiated;

    FIG. 14 is a partial cross-sectional view of the distal end of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrating the firing member in a retracted position after the firing stroke;

    FIG. 15 is a partial cross-sectional view of the distal end of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrating the staple cartridge in a spent condition and the firing member in a locked out condition;

    FIG. 16 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrated in an articulation operating mode;

    FIG. 17 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrated in a firing operating mode;

    FIG. 18 is a partial cross-sectional view of the proximal end of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrated in the articulation operating mode of FIG. 16;

    FIG. 19 is a partial cross-sectional view of the proximal end of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrated in the firing operating mode of FIG. 17;

    FIG. 20 is a partial cross-sectional view of the proximal end of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 taken along line 20-20 in FIG. 18;

    FIG. 21 is a partial cross-sectional view of the proximal end of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 taken along line 21-21 in FIG. 18;

    FIG. 22 is a partial cross-sectional view of the proximal end of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 taken along line 22-22 in FIG. 19;

    FIG. 23 is a partial cross-sectional view of the proximal end of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 taken along line 23-23 in FIG. 19;

    FIG. 24 is a partial exploded view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrating a shiftable clutch in the firing system of the shaft assembly;

    FIG. 25 is a cross-sectional view of an intermediate firing rod of the firing system of FIG. 24;

    FIG. 26 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrating the shiftable clutch of FIG. 24 in a firing configuration;

    FIG. 27 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrating the shiftable clutch of FIG. 24 about to be transitioned from the firing configuration of FIG. 26 to an articulation configuration;

    FIG. 28 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrating the shiftable clutch of FIG. 24 being transitioned from the firing configuration of FIG. 26 to the articulation configuration;

    FIG. 29 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrating the shiftable clutch of FIG. 24 in the articulation configuration;

    FIG. 30 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrated in an unarticulated configuration;

    FIG. 31 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrated in an articulated configuration;

    FIG. 32 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrating the articulation system of the shaft assembly in an unlocked state;

    FIG. 33 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrating the articulation system of the shaft assembly in a locked state;

    FIG. 34 is a cross-sectional view of the proximal end of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrated with a retraction system of the shaft assembly in an undeployed state;

    FIG. 35 is a cross-sectional view of the proximal end of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrated with the retraction system of FIG. 34 in a deployed state;

    FIG. 36 is a cross-sectional view of the proximal end of the shaft assembly of FIG. 1 illustrating the retraction system of FIG. 34 in an actuated state;

    FIG. 37 is a perspective view of a shaft assembly which is an example useful for understanding the invention;

    FIG. 38 is a partial perspective view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 37 illustrated with some components removed;

    FIG. 39 is a partial perspective view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 37 illustrated with additional components removed;

    FIG. 40 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 37;

    FIG. 41 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 37;

    FIG. 42 is an exploded view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 37 illustrated with some components removed;

    FIG. 43 is an exploded view of a distal end of the shaft assembly of FIG. 37;

    FIG. 44 is an exploded view of a proximal end of the shaft assembly of FIG. 37 illustrated with some components removed;

    FIG. 45 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 37 illustrated in a closed, or clamped, configuration;

    FIG. 46 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 37 illustrated in an open configuration;

    FIG. 47 is a perspective view of a shaft assembly with some components removed which is an example useful for understanding the invention;

    FIG. 48 is a perspective view of a shifting assembly of the shaft assembly of FIG. 47;

    FIG. 49 is an exploded view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 47 illustrated with some components removed;

    FIG. 50 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 47 illustrated in an articulation operating mode;

    FIG. 51 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 47 illustrated in a firing operating mode;

    FIG. 52 is a perspective view of a shaft assembly comprising a shifting assembly which is an example useful for understanding the invention;

    FIG. 53 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 52 illustrated in an articulation operating mode;

    FIG. 54 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 52 illustrated in a firing operating mode;

    FIG. 55 is a perspective view of an attachment portion of a shaft assembly which is an example useful for understanding the invention;

    FIG. 56 is a perspective view of the attachment portion of FIG. 55 illustrated in an open configuration;

    FIG. 57 is an exploded view of the attachment portion of FIG. 55;

    FIG. 58 is a perspective view of the attachment portion of FIG. 55 illustrated in the open configuration of FIG. 56 and illustrated with some components removed;

    FIG. 59 is a perspective view of the attachment portion of FIG. 55 illustrated in the open configuration of FIG. 56 and illustrated with additional components removed;

    FIG. 60 is a plan view of a drive train of the attachment portion of FIG. 55 illustrated in a firing operating mode;

    FIG. 61 is a cross-sectional view of the drive train of FIG. 60 taken along line 61-61 in FIG. 60 and illustrated in the firing operating mode of FIG. 60;

    FIG. 62 is a cross-sectional view of the drive train of FIG. 60 taken along line 62-62 in FIG. 60 and illustrated in the firing operating mode of FIG. 60;

    FIG. 63 is a cross-sectional view of the drive train of FIG. 60 taken along line 63-63 in FIG. 60 and illustrated in the firing operating mode of FIG. 60;

    FIG. 64 is a cross-sectional view of the drive train of FIG. 60 taken along line 62-62 in FIG. 60 and illustrated in a second operating mode;

    FIG. 65 is a cross-sectional view of the drive train of FIG. 60 taken along line 63-63 in FIG. 60 and illustrated in a retraction operating mode;

    FIG. 66 is a partial cross-sectional view of the attachment portion of FIG. 55 illustrated in the retraction operating mode of FIG. 65;

    FIG. 67 is a partial cross-sectional view of a shaft assembly in accordance with the present invention comprising an end effector, a first articulation lock, and a second articulation lock illustrated with the first articulation lock in a locked state and the second articulation lock in an unlocked state;

    FIG. 68 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 67 illustrated with the first and second articulation locks in a locked state;

    FIG. 69 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 67 illustrated with the first and second articulation locks in a locked state;

    FIG. 70 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 67 illustrated with the first articulation lock in a locked state and the second articulation lock in an unlocked state;

    FIG. 71 is a partial cross-sectional view of the shaft assembly of FIG. 67 illustrated with the first and second articulation locks in an unlocked state.

    FIG. 72 is a perspective view of a surgical instrument including a handle and an interchangeable shaft assembly; and

    FIG. 73 is a perspective view of a robotic surgical system operably supporting a plurality of surgical tools.



    [0008] Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views. The exemplifications set out herein illustrate various embodiments of the invention, in one form, and such exemplifications are not to be construed as limiting the scope of the invention in any manner.

    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0009] Numerous specific details are set forth to provide a thorough understanding of the overall structure, function, manufacture, and use of the embodiments as described in the specification and illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Well-known operations, components, and elements have not been described in detail so as not to obscure the embodiments described in the specification. The reader will understand that the embodiments described and illustrated herein are non-limiting examples, and thus it can be appreciated that the specific structural and functional details disclosed herein may be representative and illustrative. Variations and changes thereto may be made without departing from the scope of the claims.

    [0010] The terms "comprise" (and any form of comprise, such as "comprises" and "comprising"), "have" (and any form of have, such as "has" and "having"), "include" (and any form of include, such as "includes" and "including") and "contain" (and any form of contain, such as "contains" and "containing") are open-ended linking verbs. As a result, a surgical system, device, or apparatus that "comprises," "has," "includes" or "contains" one or more elements possesses those one or more elements, but is not limited to possessing only those one or more elements. Likewise, an element of a system, device, or apparatus that "comprises," "has," "includes" or "contains" one or more features possesses those one or more features, but is not limited to possessing only those one or more features.

    [0011] The terms "proximal" and "distal" are used herein with reference to a clinician manipulating the handle portion of the surgical instrument. The term "proximal" refers to the portion closest to the clinician and the term "distal" refers to the portion located away from the clinician. It will be further appreciated that, for convenience and clarity, spatial terms such as "vertical", "horizontal", "up", and "down" may be used herein with respect to the drawings. However, surgical instruments are used in many orientations and positions, and these terms are not intended to be limiting and/or absolute.

    [0012] Various exemplary devices and methods are provided for performing laparoscopic and minimally invasive surgical procedures. However, the reader will readily appreciate that the various methods and devices disclosed herein can be used in numerous surgical procedures and applications including, for example, in connection with open surgical procedures. As the present Detailed Description proceeds, the reader will further appreciate that the various instruments disclosed herein can be inserted into a body in any way, such as through a natural orifice, through an incision or puncture hole formed in tissue, etc. The working portions or end effector portions of the instruments can be inserted directly into a patient's body or can be inserted through an access device that has a working channel through which the end effector and elongate shaft of a surgical instrument can be advanced.

    [0013] A surgical stapling system can comprise a shaft and an end effector extending from the shaft. The end effector comprises a first jaw and a second jaw. The first jaw comprises a staple cartridge. The staple cartridge is insertable into and removable from the first jaw; however, other embodiments are envisioned in which a staple cartridge is not removable from, or at least readily replaceable from, the first jaw. The second jaw comprises an anvil configured to deform staples ejected from the staple cartridge. The second jaw is pivotable relative to the first jaw about a closure axis; however, other embodiments are envisioned in which the first jaw is pivotable relative to the second jaw. The surgical stapling system further comprises an articulation joint configured to permit the end effector to be rotated, or articulated, relative to the shaft. The end effector is rotatable about an articulation axis extending through the articulation joint.

    [0014] The staple cartridge comprises a cartridge body. The cartridge body includes a proximal end, a distal end, and a deck extending between the proximal end and the distal end. In use, the staple cartridge is positioned on a first side of the tissue to be stapled and the anvil is positioned on a second side of the tissue. The anvil is moved toward the staple cartridge to compress and clamp the tissue against the deck. Thereafter, staples removably stored in the cartridge body can be deployed into the tissue. The cartridge body includes staple cavities defined therein wherein staples are removably stored in the staple cavities. The staple cavities are arranged in six longitudinal rows. Three rows of staple cavities are positioned on a first side of a longitudinal slot and three rows of staple cavities are positioned on a second side of the longitudinal slot. Other arrangements of staple cavities and staples may be possible.

    [0015] The staples are supported by staple drivers in the cartridge body. The drivers are movable between a first, or unfired position, and a second, or fired, position to eject the staples from the staple cavities. The drivers are retained in the cartridge body by a retainer which extends around the bottom of the cartridge body and includes resilient members configured to grip the cartridge body and hold the retainer to the cartridge body. The drivers are movable between their unfired positions and their fired positions by a sled. The sled is movable between a proximal position adjacent the proximal end and a distal position adjacent the distal end. The sled comprises a plurality of ramped surfaces configured to slide under the drivers and lift the drivers, and the staples supported thereon, toward the anvil.

    [0016] Further to the above, the sled is moved distally by a firing member. The firing member is configured to contact the sled and push the sled toward the distal end. The longitudinal slot defined in the cartridge body is configured to receive the firing member. The anvil also includes a slot configured to receive the firing member. The firing member further comprises a first cam which engages the first jaw and a second cam which engages the second jaw. As the firing member is advanced distally, the first cam and the second cam can control the distance, or tissue gap, between the deck of the staple cartridge and the anvil. The firing member also comprises a knife configured to incise the tissue captured intermediate the staple cartridge and the anvil. It is desirable for the knife to be positioned at least partially proximal to the ramped surfaces such that the staples are ejected ahead of the knife.

    [0017] A shaft assembly 1000 is illustrated in FIG. 1. The shaft assembly 1000 comprises an attachment portion 1100, a shaft 1200 extending distally from the attachment portion 1100, and an end effector 1300 attached to the shaft 1200. Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the attachment portion 1100 comprises a frame 1110, a housing 1120, and a latch 1130. The frame 1110 is configured to engage the frame of a surgical system, such as the handle of a surgical instrument and/or the arm of a surgical robot, for example. In at least one instance, the frame 1110 and the frame of the surgical system comprise an interlocking dovetail arrangement, for example. The latch 1130 comprises a lock configured to releasably hold the shaft assembly 1000 to the surgical system. As a result of the above, the shaft assembly 1000 can be selectively used with a hand-held surgical instrument and, alternatively, a remotely-controlled robotic surgical system.

    [0018] Referring to FIGS. 3-6, the shaft 1200 comprises a frame, or spine, attached to the frame 1110 of the attachment portion 1100. The spine comprises a proximal spine portion 1210 rotatably engaged with the frame 1110 about a longitudinal shaft axis 1001 extending through the spine. Referring primarily to FIG. 6, the proximal spine portion 1210 comprises an aperture 1211 defined therein configured to receive a proximal end 1221 of a drive cover 1220. The drive cover 1220 further comprises a distal end 1222 configured to be positioned within a proximal end 1232 of an intermediate spine portion 1230. The spine further comprises an upper distal portion 1250 and a lower distal portion 1260 engaged with a distal end 1231 of the spine portion 1230. More specifically, the distal portions 1250 and 1260 comprise proximal ends 1251 and 1261, respectively, which are laterally inserted, or slid, into a dovetail slot defined in the distal end 1231 of the intermediate spine portion 1230. The spine further comprises a cover 1240 configured to enclose an opening defined in the spine portion 1230 and/or lock the distal portions 1250 and 1260 into place.

    [0019] Referring primarily to FIG. 7, the end effector 1300 comprises a channel jaw 1310 and an anvil jaw 1330 rotatably mounted to the channel jaw 1310. The channel jaw 1310 is configured to receive a staple cartridge 1320, or any other suitable staple cartridge, therein. The channel jaw 1310 and the staple cartridge 1320 comprise cooperating alignment features which are configured to permit the staple cartridge 1320 to be seated in only one proper position and orientation within the channel jaw 1310. Once an unspent staple cartridge 1320 is properly seated in the channel jaw 1310, a staple firing member can be advanced through the staple cartridge 1320 to eject the staples from the staple cartridge 1320 and cut the tissue of a patient positioned intermediate the staple cartridge 1320 and the anvil jaw 1330, as described in greater detail below. Further to the above, the anvil jaw 1330 comprises forming pockets defined therein which are configured to deform the staples as they are ejected from the staple cartridge 1320.

    [0020] Referring primarily to FIG. 7, the channel jaw 1310 of the end effector 1300 is rotatably coupled to the spine of the shaft 1200 about an articulation joint 1660. The channel jaw 1310 comprises an articulation frame 1270 attached thereto which comprises pins 1271 extending laterally therefrom which are positioned within apertures 1311 defined in the cartridge channel 1310. The pins 1271 and the apertures 1311 are sized and configured to securely mount the articulation frame 1270 to the cartridge channel 1310. The articulation frame 1270 comprises an articulation aperture defined therein and the distal end of the spine comprises an articulation post 1262 positioned within the articulation aperture. The articulation post 1262 is sized and configured such that it is closely received within the articulation aperture and such that relative movement between the articulation frame 1270 and the spine of the shaft 1200 is limited to rotational motion about an axis which is orthogonal to the shaft axis 1001.

    [0021] Further to the above, referring again to FIG. 1, the shaft assembly 1000 further comprises an outer frame 1600. Referring now to FIG. 2, the outer frame 1600 is rotatable relative to the frame 1110 of the attachment portion 1100 about a slip joint. The slip joint includes a proximal flange 1610 which is parallel, or at least substantially parallel, to a corresponding flange 1111 defined on the frame 1110. In addition to providing a rotatable mechanical interface, the slip joint also provides a rotatable electrical interface. More specifically, the slip joint comprises electrical traces 1190 defined on the flange 1111 and, in addition, an electrical connector 1690 attached to the flange 1610 which comprises electrical contacts engaged with the traces 1190. In various instances, the electrical traces 1190 comprise conductive annular rings which are electrically isolated from one another and are each part of a discrete electrical circuit. When the outer frame 1600 is rotated relative to the frame 1110, the contacts of the electrical connector 1690 remain in electrical contact with the traces 1190. Referring to FIG. 5, the latch 1130 of the attachment portion 1100 further comprises an electrical connector 1192 in electrical communication with the traces 1190 which can be placed in electrical communication with a surgical system when the latch 1130 couples the shaft assembly 1000 to the surgical system. As a result of the above, sensors in the shaft assembly 1000 can communicate with a controller and/or microprocessor in the handle of the surgical instrument and, alternatively, the surgical robot through the slip joint.

    [0022] The outer frame 1600 further comprises a tube 1620 extending distally from the proximal flange 1610 and, further to the above, the housing 1120 of the attachment portion 1100 is mounted to the tube 1620. The housing 1120 comprises finger grips 1128 defined therein which are configured to assist a clinician in rotating the housing 1120 and the tube 1620 about the longitudinal shaft axis 1001. The outer frame 1600 further comprises a distal tube portion 1630 which is rotatably mounted to the tube 1620. More specifically, referring primarily to FIG. 7, the outer frame 1600 further comprises links 1640 which connect the distal tube portion 1630 to the tube 1620 and provide one or more degrees of freedom between the distal tube portion 1630 and the tube 1620. Such one or more degrees of freedom between the distal tube portion 1630 and the tube 1620 permit the end effector 1300 to articulate relative to the shaft 1200 about the articulation joint 1660. As a result of the above, the outer frame 1600 is rotatable about the longitudinal shaft axis and rotatable about the articulation joint 1660. That said, the outer frame 1600 is not translatable longitudinally relative to the frame 1110 of the attachment portion 1100.

    [0023] Referring primarily to FIG. 5, the shaft assembly 1000 further comprises an articulation system 1400 configured to articulate the end effector 1300 relative to the shaft 1200. In addition, the shaft assembly 1000 also comprises a firing system 1500 configured to, one, close the anvil jaw 1330 of the end effector 1300 and, two, fire the staples stored in the staple cartridge 1320, as discussed above. As discussed in greater detail below, the articulation system 1400 is selectively engageable with the firing system 1500 such that the articulation system 1400 can be driven by the firing system 1500 to articulate the end effector 1300. Once the end effector 1300 has been sufficiently articulated, the articulation system 1400 can be operably disengaged from the firing system 1500. At such point, the firing system 1500 can be operated independently of the articulation system 1400. As also discussed in greater detail below, the shaft assembly 1000 further comprises an articulation lock system which, one, locks the end effector 1300 in position and, two, switches the shaft assembly 1000 between an articulation operating mode and a firing operating mode.

    [0024] Referring primarily to FIG. 9, the firing system 1500 comprises a firing rod 1510 which is translatable proximally and distally during the articulation operating mode and/or the firing operating mode of the shaft assembly 1000. The firing rod 1510 comprises a proximal end 1511 which is operably engageable with the drive system of a surgical system, such as the handle of a surgical instrument and/or the arm of a surgical robot, for example. The firing system 1500 further comprises a rack 1520 fixedly mounted to the firing rod 1510 such that the rack 1520 is translatable with the firing rod 1510. The firing rod 1510 extends through a longitudinal aperture 1521 defined in the rack 1520. Moreover, the rack 1520 is fixedly mounted to the firing rod 1510 such that the rack 1520 and firing rod 1510 are rotatable together about the longitudinal shaft axis. The articulation system 1400 further comprises an articulation driver 1420 which is mounted to the rack 1520 such that the rack 1520 is translatable, or longitudinally slidable, relative to the articulation driver 1420. That said, the articulation driver 1420 is mounted to the rack 1520 such that the articulation driver 1420, the rack 1520, and the firing rod 1510 rotate together about the longitudinal shaft axis 1001.

    [0025] Further to the above, referring primarily to FIGS. 9, 21, and 23, the rack 1520 comprises longitudinal slots 1522 defined on opposite sides thereof and the articulation driver 1420 comprises projections 1422 positioned in the longitudinal slots 1522. The slots 1522 and the projections 1422 are configured to permit the rack 1520 to move proximally and distally relative to the articulation driver 1420. More specifically, the articulation driver 1420 is mounted within the attachment portion 1100 of the shaft assembly 1000 such that the articulation driver 1420 is prevented from translating, or at least substantially translating, longitudinally relative to the frame 1110 of the attachment portion 1100 and, when the rack 1520 is moved longitudinally to drive the articulation system 1400 and/or the firing system 1500 of the shaft assembly 1000, the rack 1520 can move longitudinally relative to the articulation driver 1420. That said, as described in greater detail below, the slots 1522 and the projections 1422 are configured to transmit rotational motion from the articulation driver 1420 to the rack 1520.

    [0026] Referring primarily to FIG. 8, the articulation system 1400 further comprises, one, a shifter 1430 mounted to the firing rod 1510 and, two, an articulation driver 1440. The shifter 1430 is fixedly mounted to the firing rod 1510 such that the shifter 1430 is translated longitudinally with the firing rod 1510. Moreover, the shifter 1430 is fixedly mounted to the firing rod 1510 such that the shifter 1430 is rotatable with the firing rod 1510. The shifter 1430 comprises a longitudinal rack of teeth 1431 and, similarly, the articulation driver 1440 comprises a longitudinal rack of teeth 1441. When the shaft assembly 1000 is in its articulation operating mode, referring to FIGS. 16, 18, 20, and 21, the teeth 1441 of the articulation driver 1440 are meshingly engaged with the teeth 1431 of the shifter 1430. In such a configuration, the longitudinal movement of the firing rod 1510 can be transmitted to the articulation driver 1440.

    [0027] Referring primarily to FIG. 30, the articulation driver 1440 further comprises a distal end 1443 which has an elongate aperture defined therein. The articulation frame 1270 of the end effector 1300, which is mounted to the channel jaw 1310, comprises an articulation pin 1444 extending therefrom which is positioned in the aperture defined in the distal end 1443. When the shaft assembly 1000 is in its articulation operating mode and the firing rod 1510 is advanced distally, the firing rod 1510 pushes the articulation driver 1440 and the articulation pin 1444 distally to articulate the end effector 1300 in a first direction, as illustrated in FIG. 31. When the firing rod 1510 is pulled proximally, the firing rod pulls the articulation driver 1440 and the articulation pin 1444 proximally to articulate the end effector 1300 in a second direction which is opposite to the first direction. In use, a clinician can operate the surgical system to push and/or pull the articulation driver 1440 to rotate the end effector 1300 into a desired orientation.

    [0028] Referring again to FIG. 30, the articulation system 1400 further comprises a second articulation driver 1450 and a transfer gear 1470. The transfer gear 1470 is mounted to the spine of the shaft 1200 and is rotatable about a fixed axis. Moreover, the transfer gear 1470 is meshingly engaged with a longitudinal rack of teeth 1442 defined on the articulation driver 1440. Similarly, the second articulation driver 1450 comprises a longitudinal rack of teeth 1452 meshingly engaged with the transfer gear 1470. The second articulation driver 1450 further comprises a distal end 1453 which has an elongate aperture defined therein. The articulation frame 1270 of the end effector 1300 further comprises an articulation pin 1454 extending therefrom which is positioned in the aperture defined in the distal end 1453. When the articulation driver 1440 is advanced distally by the firing rod 1510, as illustrated in FIG. 31, the articulation driver 1440 rotates the transfer gear 1470 which, in turn, drives the articulation driver 1450 and the articulation pin 1454 proximally. As a result, the articulation drivers 1440 and 1450 co-operate to rotate the end effector 1300 in the same direction. When the articulation driver 1440 is pulled proximally by the firing rod 1510, the articulation driver 1440 rotates the transfer gear 1470 in an opposite direction which, correspondingly, pushes the articulation driver 1450 and the articulation pin 1454 distally.

    [0029] Once the end effector 1300 is in a desired orientation, the end effector 1300 can be locked in position. Referring primarily to FIGS. 5 and 7-9, the shaft assembly 1000 further comprises an articulation lock bar 1480 and an articulation lock actuator 1410. The articulation lock bar 1480 comprises a proximal end 1481 mounted to the articulation lock actuator 1410. When the articulation lock actuator 1410 is moved from a proximal position (FIG. 32) to a distal position (FIG. 33), the articulation lock actuator 1410 pushes the lock bar 1480 distally. When the articulation lock actuator 1410 is moved from a distal position (FIG. 33) to a proximal position (FIG. 32), the articulation lock actuator 1410 pulls the lock bar 1480 proximally. Referring primarily to FIG. 9, the articulation lock actuator 1410 comprises a proximal drive hook 1411 which is operably engageable with an actuator of a surgical system which can move the articulation lock actuator 1410 proximally and distally as described above.

    [0030] Referring to FIGS. 32 and 33, the shaft assembly 1000 further comprises an articulation lock 1494 mounted to the spine of the shaft 1200. The articulation lock 1494 comprises first and second lock arms 1495 extending therefrom. Referring to FIG. 32, a distal end 1482 of the articulation lock bar 1480 is not engaged with the lock arms 1495 when the articulation lock actuator 1410 is in its proximal position. In such instances, the end effector 1300 is in an unlocked configuration and is rotatable relative to the spine of the shaft 1200. When the articulation lock bar 1480 is advanced distally by articulation lock actuator 1410, referring to FIG. 33, the distal end 1482 of the articulation lock bar 1480 engages the lock arms 1495 and displaces the lock arms 1495 into engagement with the articulation drivers 1440 and 1450. Referring primarily to FIG. 7, the articulation driver 1440 comprises a longitudinal rack of teeth 1445 which is engaged by a lock arm 1495 when the lock arms 1495 are displaced outwardly by the articulation lock bar 1480. Similarly, the articulation driver 1450 comprises a longitudinal rack of teeth 1455 which is engaged by the other lock arm 1495 when the lock arms 1495 are displaced outwardly by the articulation lock bar 1480. In such instances, the end effector 1300 is in a locked configuration and is not rotatable relative to the spine of the shaft 1200.

    [0031] The movement of the articulation lock actuator 1410 from its proximal position (FIG. 32) to its distal position (FIG. 33) does more than lock the end effector 1300 in position - it also shifts the shaft assembly 1000 from its articulation operating mode (FIGS. 16, 18, 20, and 21) to is firing operating mode (FIGS. 17, 19, 22, and 23). Referring primarily to FIG. 9, the articulation lock actuator 1410 comprises one or more drive projections 1415 which extend inwardly into a longitudinal aperture 1414 defined in the articulation lock actuator 1410. The longitudinal aperture 1414 surrounds, or at least substantially surrounds, the articulation driver 1420 and drive projections 1415 are positioned within a cam groove 1425 defined in the outer surface of the articulation driver 1420. When the articulation lock actuator 1410 is advanced distally, further to the above, the drive projections 1415 rotate the articulation driver 1420, the rack 1520, and the firing rod 1510 from their orientation depicted in FIG. 16 to their orientation depicted in FIG. 17. In such instances, the teeth 1431 of the shifter 1430 are rotated out of operable engagement with the teeth 1441 of the articulation driver 1440 and, as a result, the articulation system 1400 is operably decoupled from the firing system 1500. Thus, the distal movement of the articulation lock actuator 1410 locks the end effector 1300 in position and transitions the shaft assembly 1000 into is firing operating mode. In various instances, the articulation lock actuator 1410 can be pulled proximally to shift the shaft assembly 1000 back into its articulation operating mode.

    [0032] Once the articulation system 1400 has been operably decoupled from the firing system 1500, as described above, the firing system 1500 can be advanced distally to perform a closure stroke to close the anvil jaw 1330 and, in addition, to perform a firing stroke which ejects the staples from the staple cartridge 1320 and cuts the tissue captured between the staple cartridge 1320 and the anvil jaw 1330. Referring to FIGS. 7-9, the firing system 1500 further comprises an intermediate firing rod 1530 and a firing bar 1550. As described in greater detail below, the firing rod 1510 is operably engageable with the intermediate firing rod 1530 such that the longitudinal movement of the firing rod 1510 is transferable to the intermediate firing rod 1530. The firing bar 1550 comprises a proximal end 1552 positioned in a longitudinal aperture 1532 defined in the distal end of the distal firing rod 1510.

    [0033] When the intermediate firing rod 1530 is pushed distally by the firing rod 1510, referring to FIG. 11, the intermediate firing rod 1530 pushes the firing bar 1550 distally to engage the anvil jaw 1330 and move the anvil jaw 1330 toward its closed, or clamped, position, as illustrated in FIG. 12. This distal movement of the firing bar 1550 represents a closure stroke. If the clinician is not satisfied with the positioning of the tissue between the staple cartridge 1320 and the clamped anvil jaw 1330, the clinician can operate the surgical system to retract the firing bar 1550. In such instances, a spring compressed between the staple cartridge 1320 and the clamped anvil jaw 1330 can act to open the jaw 1330.

    [0034] If the clinician is satisfied with the positioning of the tissue between the staple cartridge 1320 and the clamped anvil jaw 1330, further to the above, the clinician can operate the surgical system to advance the firing bar 1550 through the staple cartridge 1320 to eject the staples therefrom and transect the tissue. This distal movement of the firing bar 1550 represents a firing stroke and the initiation of the firing stoke is depicted in FIG. 13. In the present instance, the closure stroke and the firing stroke are separate and distinct. The surgical system which is being used to operate the firing system 1500 paused, or is paused, between the closure stroke and the firing stroke which gives a clinician an opportunity to retract the firing bar 1550 and re-open the anvil jaw 1330 if they so choose. In other instances, the closure stroke and the firing stroke are not separate and distinct. Instead, the surgical system transitions immediately from the closure stroke to the firing stroke. In either event, referring to FIG. 14, the surgical system can be operated to retract the firing bar 1550 to its unfired position and allow the spring to re-open the anvil jaw 1330.

    [0035] As discussed above, the firing rod 1510 is used to drive the articulation system 1400 and the firing system 1500. Without more, it may seem that the firing rod 1510 moves the firing bar 1550 at the same time that the firing rod 1510 is used to operate the articulation system 1400; however, referring to FIGS. 24-29, the shaft assembly 1000 further comprises a clutch 1540 configured to operably couple the firing rod 1510 with the intermediate firing rod 1530 when the clutch 1540 is in a firing configuration (FIG. 26) and operably decouple the firing rod 1510 from the intermediate firing rod 1530 when the clutch 1540 is in an articulation configuration (FIG. 29). The clutch 1540 is configured such that it is in its articulation configuration (FIG. 29) when the shaft assembly 1000 is in its articulation operating mode and, correspondingly, in its firing configuration (FIG. 26) when the shaft assembly 1000 is in its firing operating mode.

    [0036] Referring primarily to FIG. 24, the firing rod 1510 comprises a distal piston 1515 slidably positioned in a cylinder 1535 defined in the intermediate firing rod 1530. The clutch 1540 comprises a cantilever beam 1543 fixedly mounted to the intermediate firing rod 1530 and, in addition, a cam head 1544 slidably positioned in a lateral slot 1534 defined in the intermediate firing rod 1530. The cam head 1544 comprises an aperture 1545 defined therein which is configured to receive the distal piston 1515 of the firing rod 1510 therein.

    [0037] When the shaft assembly 1000 is in its articulation operating mode and the clutch 1540 is in its articulation configuration, referring to FIG. 29, at least a portion of the distal piston 1515 is positioned in a proximal portion 1531 of the cylinder 1535 defined in the intermediate firing rod 1530. Another portion of the distal piston 1515, in such instances, is positioned in the aperture 1545 defined in the cam head 1544 of the clutch 1540. Although the sidewalls of the aperture 1545 may be in contact with the side of the distal piston 1515, in such instances, the piston 1515 is movable relative to the clutch 1540 and the intermediate firing rod 1530 without transmitting, or at least substantially transmitting, the motion of the firing rod 1510 to the intermediate firing rod 1530. As a result, the firing rod 1510 does not displace the firing bar 1550 distally when the firing rod 1510 is being used to drive the articulation system 1400. In certain instances, a gap can be present between the proximal end 1552 of the firing bar 1550 and the longitudinal end walls of the aperture 1532 to accommodate a certain amount of movement that the intermediate firing rod 1530 may experience when the shaft assembly 1000 is in its articulation operating mode.

    [0038] Further to the above, referring again to FIG. 29, the cantilever beam 1543 of the clutch 1540 is deflected, or resiliently bent, laterally when the clutch 1540 is in its articulation configuration. This is the case because the aperture 1545 defined in the cam head 1544 is not naturally aligned with the distal piston 1515 and, when the distal piston 1515 is positioned in the aperture 1545, the cam head 1544 is displaced laterally, and the beam 1543 is deflected laterally, in order to accommodate this forced alignment. When the shaft assembly 1000 is placed in its firing operating mode and the firing rod 1510 is advanced distally, the distal piston 1515 moves distally relative to the cam head 1544 until the distal piston 1515 entirely passes through the aperture 1545. At such point, referring to FIG. 26, the clutch 1540 resiliently returns to an unflexed state and places the clutch 1540 in its firing configuration. Notably, in such instances, the cam head 1544 shifts laterally and locks behind a proximal shoulder of the distal piston 1515 to hold the distal piston 1515 in the cylinder 1535. As a result, the clutch 1540 locks the firing rod 1510 to the intermediate firing rod 1530 throughout the operation of the firing assembly 1500 such that the longitudinal movement of the firing rod 1510 is transmitted to the intermediate firing rod 1530 during the firing stroke.

    [0039] Further to the above, the clutch 1540 continues to hold the firing rod 1510 and the intermediate firing rod 1530 together after the firing stroke has been completed, or at least partially completed. As a result, the firing rod 1510 can be moved proximally to retract the intermediate firing rod 1530 and the firing bar 1550 proximally. In various instances, the spent staple cartridge 1320 can be removed from the end effector 1300 and an unspent staple cartridge 1320, for example, can be seated in the channel jaw 1310. If the clinician is still satisfied with the orientation of the end effector 1300, the clinician can operate the firing assembly 1500 once again. If, however, the clinician would like to change the orientation of the end effector 1300, the clinician can operate the surgical system to retract the firing rod 1510 further proximally and decouple the firing rod 1510 from the intermediate firing rod 1530 to re-enter the articulation operating mode of the shaft assembly 1000. This transition is described in greater detail below.

    [0040] Referring to FIGS. 27 and 28, the spine of the shaft assembly 1000 comprises a cam 1234 which is configured to deflect the cam head 1544 of the clutch 1540 laterally when the cam head 1544 contacts the cam 1234 as the intermediate firing rod 1530 is being retracted proximally. Once the cam head 1544 is deflected laterally, the aperture 1545 defined in the cam head 1544 is realigned with the distal piston 1515 and, as a result, the distal piston 1515 is released from the clutch 1540 and can move proximally relative to the cam 1540 into its articulation configuration (FIG. 29). At such point, the firing rod 1510 can be used to operate the articulation system 1400 to reorient the end effector 1300. Once the clinician is satisfied with the orientation of the end effector 1300, the clinician can use the surgical system to advance the distal piston 1515 distally to shift the clutch 1540 into its fired configuration once again. Moreover, it should be appreciated that the clutch 1540 can be shifted from its firing configuration and its articulation configuration whenever the clinician desires to switch between the firing and articulation operating modes of the shaft assembly 1000.

    [0041] As discussed above, referring now to FIGS. 10-12, the firing bar 1550 is movable distally to move the anvil jaw 1330 from an open position (FIG. 11) into, or at least toward, a closed position (FIG. 12) during the closure stroke of the firing assembly 1500. The firing bar 1550 comprises an anvil cam 1564 configured to engage the anvil jaw 1330 and, in addition, a cartridge cam 1563 configured to engage the channel jaw 1310. The anvil jaw 1330 comprises a longitudinal slot 1334 defined therein which includes a bottom cam surface. Similarly, the channel jaw 1310 comprises a longitudinal slot 1313 defined therein which includes an upper cam surface. When the firing bar 1550 is advanced distally, the anvil cam 1564 can engage the bottom cam surface of the longitudinal slot 1334 and the cartridge cam 1563 can engage the upper cam surface of the longitudinal slot 1313 to co-operatively control the position of the anvil jaw 1330 relative to the staple cartridge 1320.

    [0042] As discussed above, the anvil jaw 1330 is rotatably coupled to the channel jaw 1310. In at least one instance, the anvil jaw 1330 is mounted to the channel jaw 1310 by one or more pins and is pivotable about a fixed axis. In other instances, the anvil jaw 1330 is not mounted to the channel jaw 1310 about a fixed axis. In at least one such instance, the anvil jaw 1330 is translatable relative to the channel jaw 1310 as the anvil jaw 1330 is being rotated relative to the channel jaw 1310. In either event, the cartridge jaw 1310 can be referred to as a fixed jaw even though the cartridge jaw 1310 is rotatable, or articulatable, about the articulation joint 1660. In this context, the term fixed means that the surgical system 1000 does not rotate the channel jaw 1310 between an open and closed position. Alternatively, the cartridge jaw 1310 is rotatable relative to the anvil jaw 1330. In such instances, the anvil jaw 1330 can be a fixed jaw.

    [0043] Referring to FIG. 7, the anvil jaw 1330 is comprised of several components that have been assembled together. More specifically, the anvil jaw 1330 includes one or more lateral side plates 1333 that have been attached thereto. In at least one instance, the anvil jaw 1330 and the side plates 1333 are comprised of steel and have been welded together, for example. Among other things, such an arrangement can simplify the manufacturing process used to create the longitudinal slot 1334 defined in the anvil jaw 1330. In at least one instance, a portion of the longitudinal slot 1334 can be formed into a side plate 1333 before the side plate 1333 is attached to the anvil jaw 1330. In various instances, the bottom cam surface of the longitudinal slot 1334 comprises a curved contour which can be formed in the side plates 1333 using a grinding process, for example. Moreover, in certain instances, the side plates 1333 can be subjected to a heat treating process which is different than the rest of the anvil jaw 1330. The above being said, the anvil jaw 1330 can be formed using any suitable manufacturing process

    [0044] Further to the above, the staple cartridge 1320 comprises a cartridge body 1322 and a sled 1360 movably positioned in the cartridge body 1322. The sled 1360 is movable between a proximal, unfired position (FIGS. 10, 11, and 12) and a distal, fired position by the firing bar 1550. More specifically, the firing bar 1550 comprises a coupling member 1560 mounted to the distal end thereof which is configured to abut the sled 1360 and move the sled 1360 distally during the firing stroke. Notably, however, the coupling member 1560 does not abut the sled 1360 during the closure stroke of the firing member 1550. As a result, the firing member 1550 can be moved proximally and distally to open and close the anvil jaw 1330 without displacing the sled 1360 distally. As a result, the staple cartridge 1320 remains in an unspent state regardless of the number of times that the anvil jaw 1330 is opened and closed before the firing stroke is performed.

    [0045] Further to the above, the staple cartridge 1320 is replaceable. As a result, various instances can arise when a staple cartridge is not positioned in the channel jaw 1310. Moreover, instances can arise when a spent staple cartridge is positioned in the channel jaw 1310. Referring now to FIGS. 10-15, the shaft assembly 1000 comprises a lockout configured to prevent the firing stroke from being initiated when either condition exists. The lockout comprises a lock 1570 which is rotatably mounted to the firing bar 1550 and is movable between an unlocked position (FIGS. 10-14) and a locked position (FIG. 15). The lock 1570 comprises lateral ledges 1572 pivotably mounted to the opposite lateral sides of the coupling member 1560 which provide an axis of rotation about which the lock 1570 is rotated. When the firing bar 1550 is moved longitudinally to open and close the anvil jaw 1330, referring to FIGS. 10-12, the channel jaw 1310 holds the lock 1570 in an unlocked position.

    [0046] When the firing stroke of the firing bar 1550 is initiated, referring to FIG. 13, the sled 1360 is configured to support the lock 1570 in its unlocked position when the sled 1360 is in its proximal, unfired position. More specifically, the sled 1360 comprises a proximal ledge 1365 which is configured to support a distal shoulder 1575 of the lock 1570 as the lock 1570 approaches a lock recess 1315 defined in the channel jaw 1310. Stated another way, the sled 1360 can prevent the lock 1570 from entering the lock recess 1315, but only if the sled 1360 is in its proximal, unfired position. Once the distal shoulder 1575 is supported by the proximal ledge 1365 of the sled 1360 at the initiation of the firing stroke, the proximal ledge 1365 can continue to support the distal shoulder 1575 throughout the firing stroke. That said, once the lock 1570 has been moved distally with respect to the lock recess 1315, the lock 1570 cannot enter into the lock recess 1315 and the ledge 1365 is not needed to support the shoulder 1575 throughout the remainder of the firing stroke.

    [0047] Referring again to FIGS. 10-13, the lockout further comprises a lock spring 1370 configured to bias the lock 1570 into the lock recess 1315. The lock spring 1370 comprises a proximal end 1371 fixedly mounted to the articulation frame 1270 and, in addition, a distal end 1375 positioned opposite the proximal end 1371. When the firing bar 1550 is used to open and close the anvil jaw 1330 during the closure stroke, referring to FIGS. 10-12, the ledges 1572 can slide relative to the lock spring 1370. When the firing bar 1550 is advanced distally to perform the firing stroke and the sled 1360 is in its proximal, unfired position, as illustrated in FIG. 13, the ledges 1572 can flex the distal end 1375 of the lock spring 1370 upwardly to allow the ledges 1572 to slide thereunder. As the firing bar 1550 is advanced distally and the ledges 1572 move past the distal end 1375 of the lock spring 1370, the lock spring 1370 can resiliently return to its unflexed condition.

    [0048] After the firing stroke has been completed, or at least sufficiently completed, the firing bar 1550 can be retracted back into its proximal, unfired position, as illustrated in FIG. 14. Notably, the sled 1360 is not retracted proximally with the firing bar 1550. Rather, the sled 1360 remains in a distal, fired position. As a result, the sled 1360 of the spent cartridge 1320 cannot hold the lock 1570 in its unlocked position if the firing bar 1550 were to be advanced distally to perform a second firing stroke. Instead, referring to FIG. 15, the lock spring 1370 would bias the lateral ledges 1572 of the lock 1570 into the lock recess 1315 which would prevent the firing bar 1550 from performing a second firing stroke, i.e., a firing stroke with a spent staple cartridge in the channel jaw 1310. As illustrated in FIG. 15, the distal end 1375 of the lock spring 1370 is engaged with the ledges 1572 of the lock 1570 at a location which is distal to the rotation joint that connects the lock 1570 to coupling member 1560. As a result, the lock spring 1370 is configured to apply a downward biasing torque to the lock 1570 which rotates the lock 1570 downwardly into its locked position and into the lock recess 1315. In order to reset the lock 1570 into its unlocked position, the firing bar 1550 can be pulled proximally to pull the lock 1570 out of the lock recess 1315 until the lock 1570 is supported by the channel jaw 1310 once again.

    [0049] Despite not being able to perform a firing stroke when a spent cartridge is positioned in the channel jaw 1310, the firing system 1500 could be used to open and close the anvil jaw 1330 even though a spent staple cartridge is positioned in the channel jaw 1310. Moreover, the firing system 1500 could also be used to operate the articulation system 1400 even though a spent staple cartridge is positioned in the channel jaw 1310. Similarly, the firing system 1500 could be used to open and close the anvil jaw 1330 and/or operate the articulation system 1400 when a staple cartridge is missing from the channel jaw 1310. In order to reuse the shaft assembly 1000 to fire another staple cartridge, however, the spent staple cartridge 1320 must be removed from the channel jaw 1310 and replaced with an unspent staple cartridge, such as another staple cartridge 1320, for example. Such an unspent staple cartridge would have to comprise a sled 1360 in its proximal, unfired position which would permit the firing bar 1550 to be advanced through another firing stroke.

    [0050] Referring again to FIGS. 10-15, the coupling member 1560 of the firing bar 1550 comprises a cutting edge 1565 configured to transect the tissue captured between the staple cartridge 1320 and the anvil jaw 1330. Notably, the coupling member 1560 is not displaced downwardly into the lock recess 1315 defined in the channel jaw 1310 by the lock spring 1370. Rather, it is only the lock 1570 that is displaced downwardly by the lock spring 1370. As a result, the cutting edge 1565 is not displaced relative to, and remains aligned with, the tissue captured between the staple cartridge 1320 and the anvil jaw 1330 during the firing stroke of the firing bar 1550.

    [0051] As described above, the firing system 1500 is configured to perform a closure stroke to close the end effector 1300 and a firing stroke to staple and cut the tissue captured within the end effector 1300. As also described above, the firing system 1500 is operably coupled to and driven by the drive system of a surgical system. In various instances, the drive system of the surgical system can fail and may not be able to advance and/or retract the firing system 1500 once the closure stroke and/or the firing stroke have been performed. Such instances could be quite problematic as the end effector 1300 would be locked shut by the firing bar 1550. More specifically, as discussed above, the firing bar 1550 comprises cams 1563 and 1564 (FIGS. 10-15) configured to hold the anvil jaw 1330 and the channel jaw 1310 in position relative to one another during the closing and firing strokes and, if the firing bar 1550 were not retractable, the cams 1563 and 1564 would, without more, effectively lock the jaws 1310 and 1330 together. Described below is a retraction system configured to pull the firing bar 1550 proximally so that the anvil jaw 1330 can be re-opened.

    [0052] Turning now to FIGS. 34-36, the shaft assembly 1000 comprises a retraction, or bailout, system 1700 configured to be selectively deployed to engage the firing system 1500 and retract the firing bar 1550 proximally. Referring primarily to FIG. 34, the retraction system 1700 comprises a handle, or actuator, 1702 rotatably mounted to the housing 1120 of the attachment portion 1100 about a pivot pin 1704. The pivot pin 1704 defines a fixed axis of rotation about which the handle 1702 can be rotated. The retraction system 1700 further comprises a pawl 1706 rotatably mounted to the handle 1702 about a pivot pin 1708 which defines a fixed axis of rotation about which the pawl 1706 can rotate relative to the handle 1702. The pawl 1706 comprises teeth defined thereon which are configured to engage a longitudinal rack of teeth 1526 defined on the rack 1520. When the handle 1702 is in a stored, or undeployed, position, as illustrated in FIG. 34, the teeth of the pawl 1706 are not engaged with the rack of teeth 1526.

    [0053] Referring again to FIG. 34, the housing 1120 comprises an access window 1129 defined therein which is sized and configured to permit a clinician to grab the handle 1702 and rotate the handle 1702 into a deployed position - which is illustrated in FIG. 35. Further to the above, the tube 1620 of the outer frame 1600 comprises a window 1629 and, similarly, the spine of the shaft 1200 comprises a window 1229 defined therein through which are aligned, or at least substantially aligned, with the window 1129 defined in the housing 1120. The windows 1629 and 1229 are configured to permit the pawl 1706 to access the rack of teeth 1526 defined on the rack 1520. When the handle 1702 is raised into its deployed position, as illustrated in FIG. 35, the teeth of the pawl 1706 engage the rack of teeth 1526. At such point, the handle 1702 can be rotated to drive the rack 1520, the firing rod 1510, the intermediate firing rod 1530, and the firing bar 1550 proximally.

    [0054] Further to the above, the handle 1702 and the pawl 1706 comprise a ratchet assembly which can be actuated several times, if necessary, to drive the firing system 1500 proximally to a position in which the firing bar 1550 has been sufficiently disengaged from the anvil jaw 1330 to allow the anvil jaw 1330 to be opened. When the handle 1702 is in its deployed position in FIG 35, the handle 1702 can be rotated distally approximately 45 degrees, for example, to the position illustrated in FIG. 36 in order to pull the firing system 1500 proximally. Such a 45 degree rotation of the handle 1702 may or may not be sufficient to disengage the firing bar 1550 from the anvil jaw 1330. If it is not sufficient, the handle 1702 can be rotated proximally and returned to the position illustrated in FIG. 35 so that the handle 1702 can be actuated once again to further retract the firing bar 1550. This process can be repeated as many times as necessary until the anvil jaw 1330 can be opened to unclamp the end effector 1300 from the tissue and remove the shaft assembly 1000 from the surgical site.

    [0055] Further to the above, circumstances can arise which require the shaft assembly 1000 to be detached from the surgical system prior to the firing bar 1550 being retracted, or at least retracted fully. In such instances, similar to the above, the shaft assembly 1000 would not be powered by the surgical system - however, the retraction system 1700 could be used to quickly release the end effector 1300 from the tissue even though the shaft assembly 1000 is not attached to a surgical system. Such an arrangement is an improvement over other arrangements in which the retraction system is part of the surgical system instead of the attachable shaft assembly. In such other arrangements, the shaft assembly may have to remain attached to the surgical system in order for the retraction system to be used to re-open the end effector.

    [0056] The retraction system 1700 can be used to retract the firing assembly 1500 after a portion of the closure stroke has been performed, after the entire closure stroke has been performed, after a portion of the firing stroke has been performed, and/or after the entire firing stroke has been performed. When the firing stroke has been completely performed and the retraction system 1700 is used to retract the firing assembly 1500, the clinician may have to crank the retraction system 1700 several times in order to retract the firing bar 1550 through the entire firing stroke and, in addition, the entire closure stroke to open the end effector 1300. Such a situation is entirely suitable, but it may take many actuations of the retraction system 1700 to sufficiently retract the firing bar 1550. Discussed below is a shaft assembly comprising an alternative bailout system.

    [0057] A shaft assembly 2000 is illustrated in FIGS. 37-46 and is similar to the shaft assembly 1000 in many respects - several of which are not discussed herein for the sake of brevity. Referring primarily to FIG. 37, the shaft assembly 2000 comprises an attachment portion 2100 configured to releasably attach the shaft assembly 2000 to a surgical system, such as the handle of a surgical instrument and, alternatively, the arm of a surgical robot, for example. The shaft assembly 2000 further comprises an end effector 2300, an articulation system 1400 configured to articulate the end effector 2300 about an articulation joint 1660, and a firing system 1500 configured to fire staples from a staple cartridge positioned in the end effector 2300. Referring primarily to FIGS. 38 and 39, the shaft assembly 2000 also comprises an outer frame 1600 which is mounted to a frame 2110 of the attachment portion 2100 and is rotatable relative to the frame 2110 about a longitudinal shaft axis 2001. Such an arrangement can allow the end effector 2300 to be re-oriented relative to the patient tissue. For instance, the anvil jaw 1330 of the end effector 2300 can be rotated from one side of the patient tissue to the other before the anvil jaw 1330 is clamped onto the tissue. The above being said, the outer frame 1600 is mounted to the frame 2110 of the attachment portion 2100 such that the outer frame 1660 is not translatable, or at least substantially translatable, relative to the frame 2110.

    [0058] Similar to the shaft assembly 1000, the shaft assembly 2000 comprises a retraction system 1700 configured to retract the firing system 1500. Further to the above, the retraction system 1700 is operable to retract the firing bar 1550 proximally and allow the end effector 2300 to be re-opened from a closed, or clamped, configuration (FIG. 45) to an open configuration (FIG. 46). Referring primarily to FIGS. 42-44, the shaft assembly 2000 further comprises a translatable spine 2200 and a bailout system 2800 which are configured to drive the end effector 2300 from its closed, or clamped, configuration (FIG. 45) to its open configuration (FIG. 46) to re-open the end effector 2300. As described in greater detail below, the bailout system 2800 is configured to move the spine 2200 distally from a proximal, unactuated position (FIG. 45) to a distal, actuated position (FIG. 46) to move a channel jaw 2310 of the end effector 2300 distally relative to the firing bar 1550.

    [0059] The translatable spine 2200 is similar to the spine 1200 in many respects. Referring primarily to FIGS. 42-44, the spine 2200 comprises a proximal spine portion 2210 which is rotatable relative to the frame 2110 about the longitudinal shaft axis 2001. The proximal spine portion 2210 comprises an aperture defined therein which is configured to receive a proximal end of a drive cover 2220. The drive cover 2220 further comprises a distal end configured to be positioned within a proximal end of an intermediate spine portion 2230 of the spine 2200. The spine 2200 further comprises an upper distal portion 2250 and a lower distal portion 2260 engaged with a distal end of the spine portion 2230. The distal portions 2250 and 2260 comprise proximal ends which are laterally inserted, or slid, into a dovetail slot defined in the distal end of the intermediate spine portion 2230. The spine 2200 further comprises a cover 2240 configured to enclose an opening defined in the spine portion 2230 and/or lock the distal portions 2250 and 2260 into place. The lower distal portion 2260 comprises an articulation projection 1262 extending therefrom which is closely positioned within an articulation aperture defined in an articulation frame 2270 mounted within the channel jaw 2210.

    [0060] Unlike the spine 1200 which is mounted to the frame 1110 to prevent the translation of the spine 1200 relative to the frame 1110, the spine 2200 is slidably positioned in the frame 2110 and is movable proximally and distally relative to the frame 2110 by the bailout system 2800. Referring primarily to FIGS. 38 and 39, the bailout system 2800 comprises a bailout lever 2802 rotatably mounted to the frame 2110 about a fixed-axis pivot 2804. In fact, referring to FIG. 41, the bailout system 2800 comprises two bailout levers 2802 rotatably mounted to the frame 2110 on opposite sides thereof which are connected to one another by a crossbar 2807, as illustrated in FIG. 42, such that the bailout levers 2802 rotate together. The bailout system 2800 further comprises a drive link 2806 rotatably mounted to each of the bailout levers 2802. Referring to FIG. 41, each bailout lever 2802 comprises a drive pin 2803 which extends into a drive aperture defined in the drive links 2806 and operably couples the drive links 2806 to the bailout levers 2802.

    [0061] Further to the above, referring to FIGS. 40 and 41, each drive link 2806 comprises a drive pin 2808 extending therefrom which is positioned in an annular slot 2218 defined in the proximal spine portion 2210. When the bailout levers 2802 are rotated distally into their actuated positions, as illustrated in FIG. 46, the bailout levers 2802 pull the drive links 2806 and the spine 2200 distally to translate the channel jaw 2310 distally relative to the firing bar 1550. Moreover, the distal movement of the channel jaw 2310 also translates the anvil jaw 1330 distally owing to the fact that the anvil jaw 1330 is rotatably mounted to the channel jaw 2310. Such distal movement of the jaws 2310 and 1330 comprises a bailout opening stroke which can disengage the anvil jaw 1330 from the anvil cam 1564 of the firing bar 1550 and allow the anvil jaw 1330 to move into an open position. Further to the above, the end effector 2300 comprises a compressed biasing member, such as a spring, for example, which can bias the anvil jaw 1330 into its open position once the anvil jaw 1330 has been sufficiently disengaged from the anvil cam 1564.

    [0062] As the reader should appreciate, the bailout system 2800 is separate and distinct from the retraction system 1700. As a result, the bailout system 2800 and the retraction system 1700 can be operated independently of one another. In at least one instance, the bailout system 2800 can be used to open the end effector 2300 during the closure stroke, if necessary, and the retraction system 1700 can be used to open end the end effector 2300 during the firing stroke, if necessary. In various instances, the retraction system 1700 could be used to open the end effector 2300 at any point during the closure stroke and/or at any point during the firing stroke. In certain instances, the bailout system 2800 can be used to open the end effector 2300 during the closure stroke and/or the firing stroke. In at least one such instance, the bailout opening stroke created by the bailout system 2800 is sufficient to open the end effector 2300 at any point during the closure stroke and/or at any point during the firing stroke. In some instances, however, the bailout opening stroke created by the bailout system 2800 may be insufficient to open the end effector 2300 during the firing stroke. In such instances, a clinician could use the retraction system 1700 in addition to or in lieu of the bailout system 2800 to open the end effector 2300.

    [0063] Further to the above, the bailout system 2800 is actuatable to quickly open the end effector 2300. Comparatively, the retraction system 1700 may have to be cranked several times to open the end effector 2300 whereas the bailout system 2800 can open the end effector 2300 with a single stroke. In the instances where the bailout system 2800 can't open the end effector 2300 by itself, the bailout system 2800 can be actuated to reduce the number of times that the retraction system 1700 must be cranked to open the end effector 2300. Moreover, in such instances, the channel jaw 2310 is pushed distally away from the firing bar 1550 and the firing bar 1550 is pulled proximally away from the anvil jaw 1330. In the instances where the bailout system 2800 can open the end effector 2300 by itself, the firing bar 1550 of the firing system 1500 does not need to be retracted to open the end effector 2300.

    [0064] In various instances, further to the above, the bailout levers 2802 of the bailout system 2800 can be rotated from their proximal, unactuated position (FIG. 45) to their distal, actuated position (FIG. 46) to open the end effector 2300 and release the end effector 2300 from the patient tissue. The end effector 2300 can then be moved away from the patient tissue. Thereafter, the bailout levers 2802 can be rotated from their distal, actuated position (FIG. 46) to their proximal, unactuated position (FIG. 45) to pull the spine 2200 and the channel jaw 2310 proximally and close the end effector 2300. Such a feature can be especially useful when removing the end effector 2300 from a surgical site as, in various instances, removing the end effector 2300 from the surgical site may be easier when the end effector 2300 is in its closed configuration. In any event, the bailout system 2800 can be actuated and deactuated to open and close the end effector 2300 as many times as necessary.

    [0065] As discussed above, referring again to FIGS. 32 and 33, the shaft assembly 1000 comprises an articulation lock bar 1480 which is configured to engage the articulation lock 1494 of the shaft assembly 1000 and displace the arms 1495 of the articulation lock 1494 into engagement with the articulation drivers 1440 and 1450 of the articulation system 1400 in order to lock the end effector 1300 in position and prevent the end effector 1300 from being articulated by the articulation system 1400. Such an arrangement comprises a single-stage articulation lock system as both of the arms 1495 are engaged with the articulation drivers 1440 and 1450 at the same time, or at least substantially the same time. In an embodiment, a shaft assembly 6000, which is illustrated in FIGS. 67-71, comprises a two-stage articulation lock system 6490 configured to lock an end effector, such as the end effector 1300, for example, in position.

    [0066] The shaft assembly 6000 is similar to the shaft assemblies 1000 and 2000 in many respects - several of which are not discussed herein for the sake of brevity. Although not necessarily depicted in FIGS. 67-71, the shaft assembly 6000 comprises a shaft 1200, an end effector 1300, an articulation system 1400, a firing system 1500, and an outer frame 1600. The shaft assembly 6000 also comprises an articulation lock actuator which is configured to move a lock bar 6480 relative the end effector 1300 and engage the lock bar 6480 with the articulation lock system 6490. As described in greater detail below, the lock system 6490 is configured to, one, directly engage a first lock with the end effector 1300 and, two, engage a second lock with the articulation drivers 1440 and 1450 of the articulation system 1400. In such instances, the first lock and the second lock of the articulation lock system 6490 can co-operatively hold the end effector 1300 in position.

    [0067] Referring primarily to FIG. 67, the two-stage articulation lock system 6490 comprises a frame 6491 which is positioned in the outer tube 1620 of the outer frame 1600 and fixedly mounted to the spine of the shaft 1200. The articulation lock system 6490 further comprises, one, a first lock 6496 slidably positioned within a cavity 6492 defined in the frame 6491 and, two, a biasing spring 6499 configured to bias the first lock 6496 into engagement with the articulation frame 1270 mounted in the end effector 1300. The first lock 6496 comprises a flange 6498 extending therefrom and the biasing spring 6499 is compressed between the flange 6498 and a proximal end wall of the cavity 6492 defined in the frame 6491. As a result, the biasing spring 6499 is configured to move the first lock 6496 from a proximal, unlocked position (FIG. 66) in which the first lock 6496 is not engaged with the articulation frame 1270 to a distal, locked position (FIGS. 67-70) in which the first lock 6496 is engaged with the articulation frame 1270.

    [0068] Further to the above, the articulation frame 1270 comprises a circumferential array of teeth 1277 which are each configured to be engaged by a tooth recess 6497 defined in the distal end of the first lock 6496 when the first lock 6496 is advanced distally into its locked position. The array of teeth 1277 extends around a proximal perimeter of the articulation frame 1270 such that a tooth 1277 is aligned, or at least substantially aligned, with the first lock 6496 regardless of the orientation of the end effector 1300. As a result, a tooth 1277 is always presented in front of the distal end of the first lock 6496 such that the first lock 6496 can lock the end effector 1300 in position when the first lock 6496 is biased into its locked position by the biasing spring 6499.

    [0069] The articulation lock system 6490 further comprises a second articulation lock 6494 which is configured to be selectively engaged with the articulation drivers 1440 and 1450 of the articulation system 1400. The articulation lock 6494 is fixedly mounted to the spine of the shaft assembly 6490 and comprises lock arms 6495 extending therefrom. The lock arms 6495 are movable between an unflexed configuration (FIG. 67) in which they are not engaged with the articulation drivers 1440 and 1450 and a flexed configuration (FIG. 68) in which they are engaged with the articulation drivers 1440 and 1450. Stated another way, the lock arms 6495 are flexible laterally, or outwardly, from an unlocked configuration into a locked configuration to engage the articulation drivers 1440 and 1450.

    [0070] Each lock arm 6495 comprises teeth defined thereon which are configured to engage the articulation drivers 1440 and 1450 when the lock arms 6495 are deflected outwardly into engagement with the articulation drivers 1440 and 1450. More specifically, the teeth of a first lock arm 6495 are configured to engage the teeth 1445 defined on the articulation driver 1440 and the teeth of a second lock arm 6495 are configured to engage the teeth 1455 defined on the articulation driver 1450. This interaction between the lock arms 6495 and the articulation drivers 1440 and 1450 prevents the articulation drivers 1440 and 1450 from being moved proximally and distally to articulate the end effector 1330 and, as a result, locks the end effector 1330 in position. The lock arms 6495 are also configured to prevent the articulation drivers 1440 and 1450 from being back-driven by the end effector 1330 when a torque is applied to the end effector 1330.

    [0071] FIGS. 67 and 68 illustrate a locking sequence of the two-stage articulation locking system 6490. As illustrated in FIG. 67, the first articulation lock 6496 is biased into its locked state by the biasing spring 6499, as discussed above. As a result, the first articulation lock 6496 does not need to be actuated to place the articulation locking system 6490 in a first locked state. Notably, however, the second articulation lock 6494 is not engaged with the articulation drivers 1640 and 1650 when the articulation locking system 6490 is in its first locked state as the lock arms 6495 of the articulation lock 6494 have not been biased into engagement with the articulation drivers 1640 and 1650. Instead, referring to FIG. 68, the lock bar 6480 must be advanced distally to engage the lock arms 6495 and displace the lock arms 6495 into engagement with the articulation drivers 1640 and 1650. As a result, the second articulation lock 6494 must be actuated to place the articulation locking system 6490 in a second locked state.

    [0072] Referring again to FIG. 67, the lock bar 6480 comprises a shaft portion 6481 which is configured to slide between the lock arms 6495 without displacing the lock arms 6495 laterally into engagement with the articulation drivers 1440 and 1450. That said, referring now to FIG. 68, the lock bar 6480 comprises an enlargement 6485 defined on the shaft portion 6481 which is configured to engage the lock arms 6495 and deflect the lock arms 6495 into their locked configurations when the lock bar 6480 is advanced distally. At such point, the articulation locking system 6490 is in its second locked state. Notably, the first articulation lock 6496 is engaged with the end effector 1300 and the second articulation lock 6494 is engaged with the articulation drivers 1440 and 1450 when the articulation locking system 6490 is in its second locked state. Also, notably, the first articulation lock 6496 engages the end effector 1300 before the second articulation lock 6494 engages the articulation drivers 1440 and 1450 during the two-stage locking sequence of the articulation locking system 6490.

    [0073] FIGS. 69-71 illustrate an unlocking sequence of the two-stage articulation locking system 6490. FIG. 69 illustrates the articulation locking system 6490 in its second locked state and, in order to unlock the end effector 1300 so that it can be articulated as described above, the articulation locking system 6490 is sequentially placed in its first locked state, as illustrated in FIG. 70, and then placed in its unlocked state, as illustrated in FIG. 71. Referring to FIG. 70, the lock bar 6480 is retracted proximally to disengage the enlargement 6485 from the lock arms 6495 so that the lock arms 6495 can resiliently flex inwardly and disengage from the articulation drivers 1440 and 1450. At such point, the articulation locking system 6490 has been returned to its first locked state. Notably, the lock bar 6480 comprises a distal end 6482 which is slidably positioned in an elongate aperture 6493 defined in the first articulation lock 6496 and, when the lock bar 6480 is moved proximally to transition the articulation locking system from its second locked state to its first locked state, as discussed above, the distal end 6482 can slide within the elongate aperture 6493 without moving the first articulation lock 6496 out of its locked state.

    [0074] Once the articulation locking system 6490 has been returned to its first locked state, as described above, the lock bar 6480 can be retracted further proximally to pull the first articulation lock 6496 out of engagement with the articulation frame 1270. More specifically, the distal end 6482 of the lock bar 6480 can abut a proximal end wall of the aperture 6483 when the lock bar 6480 is retracted proximally in order to apply a retraction force to the first articulation lock 6494. Such a proximal retraction force must be able to overcome the distal biasing force that the spring 6499 is applying to the first articulation lock 6496 in order to move the first articulation lock 6496 proximally. In any event, the articulation locking system 6490 is in an unlocked state once the first articulation lock 6496 has been disengaged from the articulation frame 1270. At such point, the end effector 1300 can be articulated. In order to re-lock the end effector 1300 in position, the lock bar 6480 could be released to allow the biasing spring 6499 to place the first articulation lock 6496 in its locked state once again. Alternatively, the lock bar 6480 can be driven distally to re-lock the end effector 1300 in position.

    [0075] As discussed above, the two-stage articulation locking system 6490 is configured to sequentially lock the first articulation lock 6496 and then the second articulation lock 6494. Alternative embodiments are envisioned in which an articulation locking system is configured to sequentially lock the second articulation lock 6494 and then the first articulation lock 6496. Further alternative embodiments are envisioned which are configured to lock the first articulation lock 6494 and the second articulation lock 6494 at the same time.

    [0076] As also discussed above, the two-stage articulation locking system 6490 is configured to sequentially unlock the second articulation lock 6494 and then the first articulation lock 6496. Alternative embodiments are envisioned in which an articulation locking system is configured to sequentially unlock the first articulation lock 6496 and then the second articulation lock 6494. Further alternative embodiments are envisioned which are configured to unlock the first articulation lock 6494 and the second articulation lock 6494 at the same time.

    [0077] A shaft assembly 3000 is illustrated in FIGS. 47-51. The shaft assembly 3000 is similar to the shaft assembly 1000 in many respects - several of which are not discussed herein for the sake of brevity. Although not necessarily depicted in FIGS. 47-51, the shaft assembly 3000 comprises an attachment portion 3100 and a spine mounted to the attachment portion 3100 which is rotatable, but not translatable, relative to a frame 3110 of the attachment portion 3100. The shaft assembly 3000 also comprises an end effector 1300, an articulation system 1400 configured to articulate the end effector 1300, and a firing system 1500. As discussed above, the end effector 1300 comprises an anvil jaw 1330 which is rotatable relative to a channel jaw 1310 between an open position and a closed position. The shaft assembly 3000 further comprises an outer shaft portion 3600 configured to engage the anvil jaw 1330 and move the anvil jaw 1330 toward its closed position, as described in greater detail below.

    [0078] Referring primarily to FIGS. 47 and 49, the outer shaft assembly 3600 comprises a proximal portion 3610, an intermediate portion 3620 coupled to the proximal portion 3610, and a distal portion 3630 coupled to the intermediate portion 3620. The proximal portion 3610 is mounted to the frame 3110 of the attachment portion 3100 such that the proximal portion 3610 is rotatable, but not translatable, relative to the frame 3110. The proximal portion 3610 comprises a longitudinal passage 3615 extending there through and, similarly, the intermediate portion 3620 comprises a longitudinal passage 3625 extending there through. The longitudinal passages 3615 and 3625 are aligned, or at least substantially aligned, with one another and surround the spine, the articulation system 1400, and the firing system 1500 of the shaft assembly 3600. The distal portion 3630, further to the above, comprises a longitudinal passage 3635 extending there through which is aligned with the longitudinal passage 3625 defined in the intermediate portion 3620. A proximal end of the distal portion 3630 is positioned in the longitudinal passage 3625 and is engaged with the intermediate portion 3620 in a press-fit manner such that there is little, if any, relative movement between the intermediate portion 3620 and the distal portion 3630.

    [0079] Referring again to FIG. 49, the proximal portion 3610 of the outer shaft assembly 3600 comprises a distal flange 3611. Additionally, the intermediate portion 3620 of the outer shaft assembly 3600 comprises a proximal flange 3621 positioned adjacent the distal flange 3611. The distal flange 3611 and the proximal flange 3621 are parallel, or at least substantially parallel, to one another. Referring primarily to FIGS. 48 and 49, the outer shaft assembly 3600 further comprises an extension assembly 3700 which connects the distal flange 3611 of the proximal portion 3610 to the proximal flange 3621 of the intermediate portion 3620. The extension assembly 3700 is configured to allow the outer shaft assembly 3600 to shift between a contracted configuration (FIG. 50) and an expanded configuration (FIG. 51), as discussed in greater detail below.

    [0080] Referring to FIGS. 48 and 49, the extension assembly 3700 comprises a first linkage including a proximal link 3710 and a distal link 3720 and, in addition, a second linkage including proximal links 3730 and distal links 3740. The proximal link 3710 is rotatably mounted to the proximal portion 3610 of the outer shaft assembly 3600. The proximal portion 3610 comprises mounting posts 3612 extending therefrom which are positioned in post apertures 3712 defined in the proximal link 3710. Similarly, the distal link 3720 is rotatably mounted to the intermediate portion 3620 of the outer shaft assembly 3600. The intermediate portion 3620 comprises mounting apertures 3622 defined therein which are configured to receive posts 3722 extending from the distal link 3720. Moreover, the proximal link 3710 is rotatably coupled to the distal link 3720. More specifically, the proximal link 3710 comprises connector posts 3724 extending therefrom which are rotatably positioned in connector apertures 3724 defined in the distal link 3720.

    [0081] Further to the above, the proximal links 3730 of the extension assembly 3700 are rotatably mounted to the proximal portion 3610 of the outer shaft assembly 3600. The proximal portion 3610 comprises mounting posts 3616 extending therefrom which are positioned in post apertures 3736 defined in the proximal links 3730. Similarly, the distal links 3740 of the extension assembly 3700 are rotatably mounted to the intermediate portion 3620 of the outer shaft assembly 3600. The intermediate portion 3620 comprises mounting apertures defined therein which are configured to receive posts 3746 extending from the distal links 3740. Moreover, the proximal links 3730 are rotatably coupled to the distal links 3740. More specifically, each proximal link 3730 comprises a connector post 3734 extending therefrom which is rotatably positioned in a connector aperture 3744 defined in a distal link 3740.

    [0082] Referring now to FIG. 50, the extension assembly 3700 of the outer shaft assembly 3600 is positioned distally with respect to the rack 1520 of the firing system 1500 before the rack 1520 is advanced distally by the firing rod 1510 to perform a closure stroke and/or a firing stroke. When the rack 1520 is advanced distally, referring to FIG. 51, the rack 1520 engages the extension assembly 3700 and shifts the outer shaft assembly 3600 from its contracted configuration (FIG. 50) to its expanded configuration (FIG. 51). More specifically, the rack 1520 abuts the links 3710 and 3720 of the extension assembly 3700 and rotates them laterally, or outwardly, which, as a result, pushes the links 3730 and 3740 distally, or longitudinally. Referring primarily to FIG. 49, the links 3710 and 3720 can comprise cam surfaces 3715 defined therein which are engaged and driven by the rack 1520. As a result of the above, the intermediate portion 3620 and the distal portion 3630 of the outer shaft assembly 3600 are pushed distally relative to the proximal portion 3610 when the outer shaft assembly 3600 is switched from its contracted configuration (FIG. 50) to its expanded configuration (FIG. 51).

    [0083] Further to the above, referring primarily to FIG. 51, the distal portion 3630 of the outer shaft assembly 3600 engages the anvil jaw 1330 when the distal portion 3630 is advanced distally and, as a result, rotates the anvil jaw 1330 into its closed position. Stated another way, the distal movement of the rack 1520 of the firing system 1500 generates a closure stroke which closes the end effector 1300. Thereafter, the firing system 1500 can be used to drive the firing rod 1510, the rack 1520, the intermediate firing rod 1530, and the firing bar 1550 through a firing stroke - which is discussed above in greater detail. Thus, the firing system 1500 transmits separate and distinct closing and firing strokes to the end effector 1300 via the outer shaft assembly 1600 and the firing bar 1550, respectively. Notably, the firing system 1500 is able to generate the closure stroke after the shaft assembly 3000 has been switched from its articulation operating mode to its firing operating mode when the articulation lock actuator 1410 is advanced distally to lock the end effector 1300 in position - which, again, is discussed above in greater detail.

    [0084] As discussed above, the rack 1520 of the firing system 1500 engages the extension assembly 3700 during the closure stroke to place the outer shaft assembly 3600 in its expanded configuration. The rack 1520 remains engaged with the extension assembly 3700 throughout the closure and firing strokes and, as a result, holds the outer shaft assembly 3600 in its expanded configuration throughout the closure and firing strokes. After the closing stroke and/or the firing stroke have been completed, or at least sufficiently completed, the firing system 1500 can be operated to retract the firing rod 1510 and the rack 1520 proximally. As the rack 1520 is retracted proximally, the rack 1520 disengages from the extension assembly 3700 and, as a result, the outer shaft assembly 3600 will no longer be held in its extended configuration by the rack 1520.

    [0085] Referring again to FIG. 49, the outer shaft assembly 3600 further comprises springs 3750 configured to bias, or pull, the intermediate portion 3620 toward the proximal portion 3610 and return the outer shaft assembly 3600 into its contracted configuration. The distal flange 3611 of the proximal portion 3610 comprises apertures 3619 defined therein which are configured to mount the springs 3750 to the proximal portion 3610 and, similarly, the proximal flange 3621 of the intermediate portion 3620 comprises apertures 3629 defined therein which are configured to mount the springs 3750 to the intermediate portion 3620. When the intermediate portion 3620 of the outer shaft assembly 3600 is displaced distally by the rack 1520, the rack 1520 must apply a distal extension force to the extension assembly 3700 which overcomes the proximal biasing force of the springs 3750.

    [0086] An alternative shaft assembly 4000 is illustrated in FIGS. 52-54. The shaft assembly 4000 is similar to the shaft assembly 3000 in many respects - most of which are not discussed herein for the sake of brevity. The shaft assembly 4000 comprises an outer shaft assembly including a proximal portion 4610 and an intermediate portion 4620 which are connected by a tension spring 4750 which extends around the extension assembly 3700. Similar to the above, the tension spring 4750 applies a proximal biasing force to the intermediate portion 4620 when the intermediate portion 4620 is displaced distally away from the proximal portion 4610 by the rack 1520. Also similar to the above, the tension spring 4750 retracts the intermediate portion 4620 toward the proximal portion 4610 after the rack 1520 has been disengaged from the extension assembly 3700.

    [0087] As discussed above, referring again to FIGS. 34-36, the shaft assembly 1000 comprises a retraction system 1700 configured to manually retract the firing system 1500. Turning now to FIGS. 55-66, a shaft assembly 5000 also comprises a manually-actuated retraction system, which is discussed in greater detail further below. The shaft assembly 5000 is similar to the shaft assembly 1000 in many respects - most of which are not discussed herein for the sake of brevity.

    [0088] Referring to FIG. 55, the shaft assembly 5000 comprises an attachment portion 5100 which includes an outer housing 5120. Referring primarily to FIG. 57, the outer housing 5120 comprises first and second housing portions 5121 that are attached to one another to comprise a housing frame. The housing portions 5121 can be coupled together by one or more snap-fit features, one or more press-fit features, and/or one or more fasteners, for example. The outer housing 5120 further comprises one or more features configured to releasably connect the attachment portion 5100 to the frame of a surgical system, such as the handle of a surgical instrument and, alternatively, the arm of a surgical robot, for example. The housing portions 5121 further comprise one ore more bearing surfaces configured to slidably support the translatable components of a drive assembly 5500 and, in addition, one or more bearing apertures configured to rotatably support the rotatable components of the drive assembly 5500, for example.

    [0089] Referring primarily to FIGS. 57-59, the drive assembly 5500 comprises a translatable firing rod 5510 configured to be operably coupled with a drive system of the surgical system. The drive assembly 5500 further comprises an input rack 5520 fixedly mounted to the firing rod 5510 such that the input rack 5520 is translatable with the firing rod 5510. The drive assembly 5500 is configured to transmit the translation of the input rack 5520 to a first rack 5560 of a first drive system and, alternatively, a second rack 5580 of a second drive system. To achieve this, the drive assembly 5500 comprises a shiftable shaft 5540 which is displaceable between a first position (FIG. 64) in which the input rack 5520 is operably coupled to the first rack 5560 during a first operating mode and a second position (FIGS. 60-62) in which the input rack 5520 is operably coupled to the second rack 5580 during a second operating mode. The shaft 5540 comprises a first end 5542 extending from the first housing portion 5121 and a second end 5542 extending from the second housing portion 5121. The first and second ends 5542 of the shaft 5540 each comprise a pushable surface which can be displaced to slide, or toggle, the shaft 5540 between its first position (FIG. 64) and its second position (FIGS. 60-62).

    [0090] Referring again to FIGS. 57-59, the drive assembly 5500 further comprises a gear 5530 slidably mounted to the shaft 5540, a first output gear 5550 operably engageable with the shaft 5540, and a second output gear 5570 operably engageable with the shaft 5540. Referring to FIG. 62, the gear 5530 comprises an array of teeth 5536 extending around the perimeter thereof and, in addition, a splined aperture 5534 extending there through. The teeth 5536 are operably intermeshed with a longitudinal array of teeth 5526 defined on the input rack 5520. When the input rack 5520 is displaced distally, the input rack 5520 rotates the gear 5530 in a first direction and, when the input rack 5520 is displaced proximally, the input rack 5520 rotates the gear 5530 in a second, or opposite, direction. The splined aperture 5534 of the gear 5530 is operably intermeshed with a spline portion 5544 defined on the shaft 5540. As a result, the gear 5530 rotates the shaft 5540 in the first direction when the gear 5530 is rotated in the first direction. Likewise, the gear 5530 rotates the shaft 5540 in the second direction when the gear 5530 is rotated in the second direction.

    [0091] Further to the above, the gear 5530 is constrained within the housing 5120 such that the gear 5530 does not move, or at least substantially move, laterally relative to the first output gear 5550 and the second output gear 5570. The shaft 5540, however, is movably laterally relative to the gear 5530, the first output gear 5550, and the second output gear 5570 when the shaft 5540 is moved between its first position (FIG. 64) to place the shaft assembly 5000 in its first operating mode and its second position (FIG. 62) to place the shaft assembly 5000 in its second operating mode. Notably, the spline portion 5544 of the shaft 5540 has a length which is sufficient to operably couple the gear 5530 to the shaft 5540 regardless of whether the shaft 5540 is in its first position (FIG. 64) or its second position (FIG. 62). As a result of the above, the gear 5530 remains operably engaged with the input rack 5520 and the shaft 5540 regardless of the position of the shaft 5540 and regardless of the operating mode in which the shaft assembly 5000 is placed.

    [0092] When the shaft 5540 is in its first position, referring to FIG. 64, the spline portion 5544 of the shaft 5540 is operably engaged with the first output gear 5550. More specifically, the spline portion 5544 of the shaft 5540 is positioned in a splined aperture 5554 defined in the first output gear 5550 when the shaft 5540 is in its first position such that the rotation of the shaft 5540 is transmitted to the first output gear 5550. As a result, the shaft 5540 rotates the first output gear 5550 in the first direction when the shaft 5540 is rotated in the first direction and, correspondingly, the shaft 5540 rotates the first output gear 5550 in the second direction when the shaft 5540 is rotated in the second direction. The first output gear 5550 comprises an array of teeth 5556 extending around the perimeter thereof which are operably intermeshed with a longitudinal array of teeth 5566 defined on the first rack 5560. As a result, the first rack 5560 is displaced distally when the input rack 5520 is displaced distally and, correspondingly, the first rack 5560 is displaced proximally when the input rack 5520 is displaced proximally. Similar to the gear 5530, the first output gear 5550 is constrained within the housing 5520 such that the first output gear 5550 does not move, or at least substantially move, laterally relative to the first rack 5560. As a result, the first output gear 5550 remains operably engaged with the first rack 5560 regardless of the operating mode of the shaft assembly 5000.

    [0093] When the shaft 5540 is in its second position, referring to FIG. 62, the spline portion 5544 of the shaft 5540 is operably engaged with the second output gear 5570. More specifically, the spline portion 5544 of the shaft 5540 is positioned in a splined aperture 5574 defined in the second output gear 5570 when the shaft 5540 is in its second position such that the rotation of the shaft 5540 is transmitted to the second output gear 5570. As a result, the shaft 5540 rotates the second output gear 5570 in the first direction when the shaft 5540 is rotated in the first direction and, correspondingly, the shaft 5540 rotates the second output gear 5570 in the second direction when the shaft 5540 is rotated in the second direction. The second output gear 5570 comprises an array of teeth 5576 extending around the perimeter thereof which are operably intermeshed with a longitudinal array of teeth 5586 defined on the second rack 5580. As a result, the second rack 5580 is displaced distally when the input rack 5520 is displaced distally and, correspondingly, the second rack 5580 is displaced proximally when the input rack 5520 is displaced proximally. Similar to the gear 5530 and the first output gear 5550, the second output gear 5570 is constrained within the housing 5520 such that the second output gear 5570 does not move, or at least substantially move, laterally relative to the second rack 5580. As a result, the second output gear 5570 remains operably engaged with the second rack 5580 regardless of the operating mode of the shaft assembly 5000.

    [0094] Moreover, further to the above, the spline portion 5544 of shaft 5540 has a length which prevents the shaft 5540 from driving the first drive system and the second drive system at the same time. More specifically, the spline portion 5544 is not operably engaged with the second output gear 5570 when the spline portion 5544 is operably engaged with the first output gear 5550. Correspondingly, the spline portion 5544 is not operably engaged with first output gear 5550 when the spline portion 5544 is operably engaged with the second output gear 5570. As a result, the firing rod 1510 is engageable with the first rack 5560 and the second rack 5580, but not both at the same time. Alternatively, the spline portion 5544 is selectively positionable in an intermediate position in which the spline portion 5544 is operably engaged with first output gear 5550 and the second output gear 5570 at the same time. In such instances, the firing rod 1510 can drive the first rack 5560 and the second rack 5580 at the same time.

    [0095] The drive system 5500 can be used to selectively drive a first drive system including the first rack 5560 or a second drive system including the second rack 5580. The first drive system and the second drive system can be configured to perform any suitable function of the shaft assembly 5000. For instance, the first drive system can be used to produce a closure stroke which closes an end effector of the shaft assembly 5000 and the second drive system can be used to produce a firing stroke which ejects staples from a staple cartridge positioned in the end effector, for example. In such instances, the shaft assembly 5000 is capable of performing separate and distinct closure and firing strokes. Alternatively, the first drive system can be used to articulate the end effector of the shaft assembly 5000 and the second drive system can be used to produce one or more strokes which close the end effector and eject the staples from the staple cartridge, for example. In either event, the drive system 5500 is configured to selectively transmit the linear input motion applied to the firing rod 5510 to two separate drive systems.

    [0096] Referring primarily to FIG. 60, the drive system 5500 further comprises an output shaft assembly 5590. The output shaft assembly 5590 comprises a splined portion 5594, a gear 5596 slidably mounted to the splined portion 5594, and a bevel gear 5598 fixedly mounted thereto. The gear 5596 is slidable between a drive position (FIGS. 60, 61, and 63) and a retraction position (FIG. 65). When the gear 5596 is in its drive position, referring to FIGS. 60, 61, and 63, the gear 5596 is operably intermeshed with the longitudinal array of teeth 5586 defined on the second rack 5580. In such instances, the second rack 5580 can rotate the shaft assembly 5590 via the gear 5596 when the second rack 5580 is driven proximally and distally by the firing rod 1510, as described above. When the gear 5596 is in its retraction position, referring to FIG. 65, the gear 5596 is operably decoupled from the second rack 5580. Instead, in such instances, the gear 5596 is operably coupled with a retraction system 5700, as described in greater detail below.

    [0097] Referring to FIG. 56, the retraction system 5700 is stored, or stowed, in the housing 5120 of the attachment portion 5100. The housing 5120 comprises a cover, or hatch, 5125 rotatably mounted to one of the housing portions 5121 which is openable to access the retraction system 5700. Referring to FIG. 57, the cover 5125 comprises pin apertures 5128 defined therein which are aligned with pin apertures 5123 defined in a housing portion 5121. Each set of pin apertures 5123, 5128 are configured to receive a pin 5127 therein which rotatably couples the cover 5125 to the housing portion 5121. Other arrangements for connecting the cover 5125 to the housing portion 5121 can be used. The housing 5120 further comprises an opening 5122 defined therein through which the retraction system 5700 can be accessed when the cover 5125 is rotated from a closed position (FIG. 55) to an open position (FIG. 56). Notably, the cover 5125 comprises arms 5126 extending therefrom which are configured to engage the gear 5596 of the shaft assembly 5590 when the cover 5125 is rotated from its closed position (FIG. 55) to its open position (FIG. 56), as described in greater detail below.

    [0098] Further to the above, the cover 5125 is configured to push the gear 5596 from its drive position (FIG. 63) into its retracted position (FIG. 65) when the cover 5125 is opened. Referring to FIG. 63, the gear 5596 is operably engaged with the rack 5580 and operably disengaged from the retraction system 5700 when the gear 5596 is in its drive position. Referring to FIG. 65, the gear 5596 is operably disengaged from the second rack 5580 and operably engaged with the retraction system 5700 when the gear 5596 is in its retraction position. Thus, when the cover 5125 is opened to access the retraction system 5700, the cover 5125 automatically shifts the shaft assembly 5000 from its second operating mode to a retraction operating mode (FIGS. 65 and 66). As a result, the retraction system 5700 is operably coupled with the shaft assembly 5590 and the second rack 5580 is operably decoupled from the shaft assembly 5590 before the clinician can even grab a crank 5702 of the retraction system 5700. Moreover, the cover 5125 holds the gear 5596 in its retraction position so long as the cover 5125 is in its open position.

    [0099] In view of the above, the shaft assembly 5590 is drivable by the second rack 5580 or the retraction system 5700, depending on which operating mode that the shaft assembly 5000 is in. In either the second operating mode or the retraction operating mode, referring primarily to FIG. 60, the bevel gear 5598 of the shaft assembly 5590 is operably engaged with an output system 5600. The output system 5600 comprises a bevel gear 5608 operably intermeshed with the bevel gear 5598. The output system 5600 further comprises a rotatable output shaft 5606. The bevel gear 5608 is fixedly mounted to the output shaft 5606 such that, when the shaft assembly 5590 is rotated, the output shaft 5606 is rotated. The output system 5600 further comprises a rotatable firing shaft 5602 and a gear reduction box 5604 which operably couples the rotatable firing shaft 5602 and the rotatable output shaft 5606. When the shaft assembly 5000 is in its second operating mode and the gear 5596 is operably coupled with the second rack 5580, further to the above, the firing shaft 5602 is rotatable in a first direction or a reverse direction by the second rack 5580 depending on the direction in which the second rack 5580 is displaced. When the shaft assembly 5000 is in its retraction operating mode, the retraction system 5700 is only capable of rotating the firing shaft 5602 in its reverse direction, as described in greater detail below.

    [0100] Referring to FIGS. 58, 59, and 66, the crank 5702 of the retraction system 5700 is rotatable relative to a shaft 5710 which is rotatably supported by the housing 5120. Notably, the crank 5702 does not directly drive the shaft 5710 when the crank 5702 is rotated; rather, the crank 5702 comprises a pawl 5706 rotatably mounted thereto which drives a ratchet gear 5716 fixedly mounted to the shaft 5710. Referring primarily to FIG. 59, the pawl 5706 is rotatably coupled to the crank 5702 about a pin 5704 mounted to the crank 5702. In use, the pawl 5706 is configured to drive the ratchet gear 5716 and rotate the firing shaft 5602 in its reverse direction when the crank 5702 is rotated in a first direction. On the other hand, the pawl 5706 is configured to slide relative to the ratchet gear 5716 when the crank 5702 is rotated in a second, or opposite, direction. The retraction system 5700 further comprises a gear 5712 fixedly mounted to the shaft 5710 which is rotated with the shaft 5710 when the shaft 5710 is rotated by the pawl 5706. Referring primarily to FIG. 66, the gear 5712 is operably intermeshed with a gear 5722 rotatably mounted to a shaft 5724 such that the rotation of the gear 5712 is transmitted to the gear 5722. When the gear 5596 is in its retraction position, further to the above, the gear 5596 is operably intermeshed with the gear 5722. As a result, the rotation of the crank 5702 in its first direction, which is illustrated in FIG. 66, is transmitted to the shaft assembly 5690 to rotate the firing shaft 5602 in its reverse direction. In various instances, the rotation of the firing shaft 5602 in its reverse direction retracts a firing member proximally away from the end effector of the shaft assembly 5000, for example.

    [0101] The opening of the cover 5125 permanently decouples the gear 5596 from the second rack 5580 and, correspondingly, permanently decouples the firing shaft 5602 from the input shaft 5510. More specifically, the gear 5596 is not resettable, or at least readily resettable, into its drive position (FIG. 63) after it has been moved into its retraction position (FIG. 65). As a result, the shaft assembly 5000 cannot be returned to its second operating mode after it has been placed in its retraction operating mode. In the event that the cover 5125 were to be opened and then reclosed, for instance, the arms 5126 of the cover 5125 would disengage from the gear 5596 but the gear 5596 would not be moved back into engagement with the second rack 5580. In such instances, however, the retraction system 5700 could still be used to rotate the firing rod 5602 in its reverse direction. Moreover, in such instances, the drive system 5500 could still be used to engage the first rack 5560 with the firing rod 5510 and operate the first drive system. Such an arrangement would prevent a clinician from re-using a shaft assembly 5000 that may be defective - as the act of opening the cover 5125 may suggest that something may be wrong with the shaft assembly 5000.

    [0102] Alternatively, the shaft assembly 5000 is resettable into its second operating mode after being placed in its retraction operating mode. For instance, the shaft assembly 5000 can comprise a spring positioned intermediate the gear 5596 and the bevel gear 5598 which is compressed by the gear 5596 when the cover 5125 is opened and the gear 5596 is slid along the spline portion 5594 of the shaft assembly 5590 into its retraction position. When the cover 5125 is closed in such instances, the spring can bias the gear 5596 back into its drive position and operably re-engage the gear 5596 with the second rack 5580. Such an arrangement would allow a shaft assembly 5000 to be repaired during use and then used to finish a surgical technique.

    [0103] FIG. 72 illustrates an exemplary surgical instrument 100 comprising a handle 110 and an interchangeable shaft assembly 200 operably coupled thereto. The handle 110 comprises a housing 140 that is configured to be grasped, manipulated, and/or actuated by a clinician. The shaft assembly 200 comprises a shaft 210 and an end effector 300. The shaft 210 comprises a shaft frame (not shown in FIG. 78), and a hollow outer sleeve or closure tube 250 through which the shaft frame extends. The shaft assembly 200 further includes a nozzle assembly 290 configured to interface with the outer sleeve 250 and enable the clinician to selectively rotate the shaft 210 about a longitudinal axis. The shaft assembly 200 also includes a latch 230 which is a part of a lock system that releasably locks the shaft assembly 200 to the handle 110. In various circumstances, the latch 230 can close an electrical circuit in the handle 110, for example, when the latch 230 is engaged with the handle 110. Reference is made to U.S. Patent Application No. 13/803,086, published as US 2014/0263541 A1, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING AN ARTICULATION LOCK, which was filed on March 14, 2013. All of the embodiments disclosed herein are usable with the handle 110.

    [0104] FIG. 73 depicts an exemplary surgical robot 500 configured to actuate a plurality of surgical tools, generally designated as 600, for example. The surgical robot 500 may be used in connection with a master controller, not shown, configured to allow a surgeon to control and view a surgical procedure being performed by the surgical robot 500. In various forms, the surgical robot 500 includes a base 510 from which three surgical tools 600 are supported, for example. In various forms, the surgical tools 600 are each supported by a series of articulatable linkages, generally referred to as arms 520, and are operably coupled with one or more drive systems 530. These structures are illustrated with protective covers which obscure much of the movable components thereof. These protective covers may be optional, and may be limited in size or entirely eliminated to minimize the inertia that is encountered by servo mechanisms used to manipulate the arms 520. In various forms, the surgical robot 500 has wheels that allow the surgical robot 500 to be positioned adjacent an operating table by a single attendant. FIG. 73 further illustrates a work envelope 700 of the surgical robot 500. The work envelope 700 refers to the range of movement of the surgical tools 600 of the surgical robot 500. The shape and size of the work envelope 700 depicted in FIG. 73 is merely illustrative. Thus, a work envelope is not limited to the specific size and shape of the sample work envelope depicted in FIG. 73. Reference is made to U.S. Patent No. 9,060,770, entitled ROBOTICALLY-DRIVEN SURGICAL INSTRUMENT WITH E-BEAM DRIVER, which issued on June 23, 2015. All of the embodiments disclosed herein are usable with the surgical robot 500.

    [0105] Many of the surgical instrument systems described herein are motivated by an electric motor; however, the surgical instrument systems described herein can be motivated in any suitable manner. In various instances, the surgical instrument systems described herein can be motivated by a manually-operated trigger, for example. In certain instances, the motors disclosed herein may comprise a portion or portions of a robotically controlled system. Moreover, any of the end effectors and/or tool assemblies disclosed herein can be utilized with a robotic surgical instrument system. U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/118,241, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS WITH ROTATABLE STAPLE DEPLOYMENT ARRANGEMENTS, now U.S. Patent No. 9,072,535, for example, discloses several examples of a robotic surgical instrument system in greater detail.

    [0106] The surgical instrument systems described herein have been described in connection with the deployment and deformation of staples; however, the embodiments described herein are not so limited. Various embodiments are envisioned which deploy fasteners other than staples, such as clamps or tacks, for example. Moreover, various embodiments are envisioned which utilize any suitable means for sealing tissue. For instance, an end effector in accordance with various embodiments can comprise electrodes configured to heat and seal the tissue. Also, for instance, an end effector in accordance with certain embodiments can apply vibrational energy to seal the tissue.

    [0107] The entire disclosures of:

    [0108] Although various devices have been described herein in connection with certain embodiments, modifications and variations to those embodiments may be implemented. Particular features, structures, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more embodiments. Thus, the particular features, structures, or characteristics illustrated or described in connection with one embodiment may be combined in whole or in part, with the features, structures or characteristics of one ore more other embodiments without limitation. Also, where materials are disclosed for certain components, other materials may be used. Furthermore, according to various embodiments, a single component may be replaced by multiple components, and multiple components may be replaced by a single component, to perform a given function or functions.

    [0109] The devices disclosed herein can be designed to be disposed of after a single use, or they can be designed to be used multiple times. In either case, however, a device can be reconditioned for reuse after at least one use. Reconditioning can include any combination of the steps including, but not limited to, the disassembly of the device, followed by cleaning or replacement of particular pieces of the device, and subsequent reassembly of the device. In particular, a reconditioning facility and/or surgical team can disassemble a device and, after cleaning and/or replacing particular parts of the device, the device can be reassembled for subsequent use. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that reconditioning of a device can utilize a variety of techniques for disassembly, cleaning/replacement, and reassembly. Use of such techniques, and the resulting reconditioned device, are all within the scope of the present application.

    [0110] The devices disclosed herein may be processed before surgery. First, a new or used instrument may be obtained and, when necessary, cleaned. The instrument may then be sterilized. In one sterilization technique, the instrument is placed in a closed and sealed container, such as a plastic or TYVEK bag. The container and instrument may then be placed in a field of radiation that can penetrate the container, such as gamma radiation, x-rays, and/or high-energy electrons. The radiation may kill bacteria on the instrument and in the container. The sterilized instrument may then be stored in the sterile container. The sealed container may keep the instrument sterile until it is opened in a medical facility. A device may also be sterilized using any other technique known in the art, including but not limited to beta radiation, gamma radiation, ethylene oxide, plasma peroxide, and/or steam.

    [0111] While this invention has been described as having exemplary designs, the present invention may be further modified within the scope of the disclosure.


    Claims

    1. A shaft assembly (6000), comprising:

    a shaft frame (1600);

    an end effector (1300) comprising an end effector frame (1270);

    an articulation joint, wherein said articulation joint rotatably connects said end effector frame to said shaft frame;

    an articulation driver (1440, 1450) configured to rotate said end effector about said articulation joint; and

    a first articulation lock (6496) selectively actuatable to engage said end effector frame and prevent said end effector frame from rotating relative to said shaft frame;

    characterised by a second articulation lock (6494) selectively actuatable to engage said articulation driver and prevent displacement of said articulation driver to prevent said end effector frame from rotating relative to said shaft frame.


     
    2. The shaft assembly of Claim 1, wherein said first articulation lock and said second articulation lock are both configured to be actuated into a locked condition by a lock actuator (6480) during a locking motion.
     
    3. The shaft assembly of Claim 2, wherein said first articulation lock is configured to engage said end effector frame before said second articulation lock engages said articulation driver during said locking motion.
     
    4. The shaft assembly of Claim 2 or Claim 3, wherein said second articulation lock is configured to disengage from said articulation driver before said first articulation lock disengages from said end effector frame during an unlocking motion of said lock actuator.
     
    5. The shaft assembly of Claim 2, wherein said first articulation lock is configured to engage said end effector frame after said second articulation lock engages said articulation driver during said locking motion.
     
    6. The shaft assembly of Claim 5, wherein said second articulation lock is configured to disengage from said articulation driver after said first articulation lock disengages from said end effector frame during an unlocking motion of said lock actuator.
     
    7. The shaft assembly of Claim 2, wherein said first articulation lock is configured to engage said end effector frame at the same time that said second articulation lock engages said articulation driver during said locking motion.
     
    8. The shaft assembly of Claim 7, wherein said second articulation lock is configured to disengage from said articulation driver at the same time that said first articulation lock disengages from said end effector frame during an unlocking motion of said lock actuator.
     
    9. The shaft assembly of any one of Claims 1 to 8, wherein said articulation driver comprises a first articulation driver configured to rotate said end effector in a first direction, wherein said shaft assembly further comprises a second articulation driver configured to rotate said end effector about said articulation joint in a second direction, and wherein said second direction is opposite said first direction.
     
    10. The shaft assembly of Claim 9, wherein said second articulation lock is configured to engage said second articulation driver and prevent said end effector frame from rotating relative to said shaft frame when said second articulation lock is actuated.
     
    11. The shaft assembly of Claim 9 or Claim 10, wherein said second articulation lock is configured to engage said first articulation driver and said second articulation driver at the same time when said second articulation lock is actuated.
     
    12. The shaft assembly of any one of Claims 9 to 11, wherein said second articulation lock comprises a first arm configured to engage said first articulation driver and a second arm configured to engage said second articulation driver, and wherein said second articulation lock is configured to engage said first arm with said first articulation driver and said second arm with said second articulation driver during a locking motion of said second articulation lock.
     
    13. The shaft assembly of any one of Claims 1 to 12, wherein said end effector further comprises a staple cartridge (1320).
     
    14. The shaft assembly of Claim 13, wherein said staple cartridge is replaceable.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Schaftanordnung (6000), umfassend:

    einen Schaftrahmen (1600),

    einen Endeffektor (1300), der einen Endeffektorrahmen (1270) umfasst,

    eine Gelenkverbindung, wobei die Gelenkverbindung den Endeffektorrahmen drehbar mit dem Schaftrahmen verbindet,

    einen Gelenktreiber (1440, 1450), der dazu ausgestaltet ist, den Endeffektor um die Gelenkverbindung zu drehen, und

    eine erste Gelenkverriegelung (6496), die gezielt betätigbar ist, um den Endeffektorrahmen in Eingriff zu nehmen und zu verhindern, dass sich der Endeffektorrahmen bezüglich des Schaftrahmens dreht,

    gekennzeichnet durch eine zweite Gelenkverriegelung (6494), die gezielt betätigbar ist, um den Gelenktreiber in Eingriff zu nehmen und eine Verschiebung des Gelenktreibers zu verhindern, um zu verhindern, dass sich der Endeffektorrahmen bezüglich des Schaftrahmens dreht.


     
    2. Schaftanordnung nach Anspruch 1, wobei sowohl die erste Gelenkverriegelung als auch die zweite Gelenkverriegelung dazu ausgestaltet sind, während einer Verriegelungsbewegung durch einen Verriegelungsaktuator (6480) in einen verriegelten Zustand betätigt zu werden.
     
    3. Schaftanordnung nach Anspruch 2, wobei die erste Gelenkverriegelung dazu ausgestaltet ist, den Endeffektorrahmen in Eingriff zu nehmen, bevor die zweite Gelenkverriegelung den Gelenktreiber während der Verriegelungsbewegung in Eingriff nimmt.
     
    4. Schaftanordnung nach Anspruch 2 oder Anspruch 3, wobei die zweite Gelenkverriegelung dazu ausgestaltet ist, aus dem Gelenktreiber auszurücken, bevor die erste Gelenkverriegelung während einer Entriegelungsbewegung des Verriegelungsaktuators aus dem Endeffektorrahmen ausrückt.
     
    5. Schaftanordnung nach Anspruch 2, wobei die erste Gelenkverriegelung dazu ausgestaltet ist, den Endeffektorrahmen in Eingriff zu nehmen, nachdem die zweite Gelenkverriegelung den Gelenktreiber während der Verriegelungsbewegung in Eingriff nimmt.
     
    6. Schaftanordnung nach Anspruch 5, wobei die zweite Gelenkverriegelung dazu ausgestaltet ist, aus dem Gelenktreiber auszurücken, nachdem die erste Gelenkverriegelung während einer Entriegelungsbewegung des Verriegelungsaktuators aus dem Endeffektorrahmen ausrückt.
     
    7. Schaftanordnung nach Anspruch 2, wobei die erste Gelenkverriegelung dazu ausgestaltet ist, den Endeffektorrahmen zur gleichen Zeit in Eingriff zu nehmen, wie die zweite Gelenkverriegelung den Gelenktreiber während der Verriegelungsbewegung in Eingriff nimmt.
     
    8. Schaftanordnung nach Anspruch 7, wobei die zweite Gelenkverriegelung dazu ausgestaltet ist, aus dem Gelenktreiber zur gleichen Zeit auszurücken, wie die erste Gelenkverriegelung während einer Entriegelungsbewegung des Verriegelungsaktuators aus dem Endeffektorrahmen ausrückt.
     
    9. Schaftanordnung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 8, wobei der Gelenktreiber einen ersten Gelenktreiber umfasst, der dazu ausgestaltet ist, den Endeffektor in eine erste Richtung zu drehen, wobei die Schaftanordnung ferner einen zweiten Gelenktreiber umfasst, der dazu ausgestaltet ist, den Endeffektor um die Gelenkverbindung in eine zweite Richtung zu drehen, und wobei die zweite Richtung der ersten Richtung entgegengesetzt ist.
     
    10. Schaftanordnung nach Anspruch 9, wobei die zweite Gelenkverriegelung dazu ausgestaltet ist, den zweiten Gelenktreiber in Eingriff zu nehmen und zu verhindern, dass sich der Endeffektorrahmen bezüglich des Schaftrahmens dreht, wenn die zweite Gelenkverriegelung betätigt wird.
     
    11. Schaftanordnung nach Anspruch 9 oder Anspruch 10, wobei die zweite Gelenkverriegelung dazu ausgestaltet ist, den ersten Gelenktreiber und den zweiten Gelenktreiber zur gleichen Zeit in Eingriff zu nehmen, wenn die zweite Gelenkverriegelung betätigt wird.
     
    12. Schaftanordnung nach einem der Ansprüche 9 bis 11, wobei die zweite Gelenkverriegelung einen ersten Arm, der dazu ausgestaltet ist, den ersten Gelenktreiber in Eingriff zu nehmen, und einen zweiten Arm, der dazu ausgestaltet ist, den zweiten Gelenktreiber in Eingriff zu nehmen, umfasst, und wobei die zweite Gelenkverriegelung dazu ausgestaltet ist, während einer Verriegelungsbewegung der zweiten Gelenkverriegelung den ersten Arm mit dem ersten Gelenktreiber und den zweiten Arm mit dem zweiten Gelenktreiber in Eingriff zu bringen.
     
    13. Schaftanordnung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 12, wobei der Endeffektor ferner ein Klammermagazin (1320) umfasst.
     
    14. Schaftanordnung nach Anspruch 13, wobei das Klammermagazin austauschbar ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Ensemble d'arbre (6000), comprenant :

    un cadre d'arbre (1600) ;

    un effecteur terminal (1300) comprenant un cadre d'effecteur terminal (1270) ;

    un joint d'articulation, ledit joint d'articulation reliant de manière rotative ledit cadre d'effecteur terminal audit cadre d'arbre ;

    un élément d'entraînement d'articulation (1440, 1450) configuré pour faire tourner ledit effecteur terminal autour dudit joint d'articulation ; et

    un premier verrou d'articulation (6496) pouvant être actionné de manière sélective pour venir en prise avec ledit cadre d'effecteur terminal et empêcher que ledit cadre d'effecteur terminal ne tourne par rapport audit cadre d'arbre ;

    caractérisé par un deuxième verrou d'articulation (6494) pouvant être actionné de manière sélective pour venir en prise avec ledit dispositif d'entraînement d'articulation et empêcher le déplacement dudit dispositif d'entraînement d'articulation pour empêcher que ledit cadre d'effecteur terminal ne tourne par rapport audit cadre d'arbre.


     
    2. Ensemble d'arbre selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit premier verrou d'articulation et ledit deuxième verrou d'articulation sont tous deux configurés pour être actionnés dans un état verrouillé par un actionneur de verrouillage (6480) au cours d'un mouvement de verrouillage.
     
    3. Ensemble d'arbre selon la revendication 2, dans lequel ledit premier verrou d'articulation est configuré pour venir en prise avec ledit cadre d'effecteur terminal avant que ledit deuxième verrou d'articulation ne vienne en prise avec ledit dispositif d'entraînement d'articulation au cours dudit mouvement de verrouillage.
     
    4. Ensemble d'arbre selon la revendication 2 ou la revendication 3, dans lequel ledit deuxième verrou d'articulation est configuré pour se désengager dudit dispositif d'entraînement d'articulation avant que ledit premier verrou d'articulation ne se désengage dudit cadre d'effecteur terminal au cours d'un mouvement de déverrouillage dudit actionneur de verrouillage.
     
    5. Ensemble d'arbre selon la revendication 2, dans lequel ledit premier verrou d'articulation est configuré pour venir en prise avec ledit cadre d'effecteur terminal après que ledit deuxième verrou d'articulation est venu en prise avec ledit dispositif d'entraînement d'articulation au cours dudit mouvement de verrouillage.
     
    6. Ensemble d'arbre selon la revendication 5, dans lequel ledit deuxième verrou d'articulation est configuré pour se désengager dudit dispositif d'entraînement d'articulation après que ledit premier verrou d'articulation s'est désengagé dudit cadre d'effecteur terminal au cours d'un mouvement de déverrouillage dudit actionneur de verrouillage.
     
    7. Ensemble d'arbre selon la revendication 2, dans lequel ledit premier verrou d'articulation est configuré pour venir en prise avec ledit cadre d'effecteur terminal en même temps que ledit deuxième verrou d'articulation vient en prise avec ledit dispositif d'entraînement d'articulation au cours dudit mouvement de verrouillage.
     
    8. Ensemble d'arbre selon la revendication 7, dans lequel ledit deuxième verrou d'articulation est configuré pour se désengager dudit dispositif d'entraînement d'articulation en même temps que ledit premier verrou d'articulation se désengage dudit cadre d'effecteur terminal au cours d'un mouvement de déverrouillage dudit actionneur de verrouillage.
     
    9. Ensemble d'arbre selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 8, dans lequel ledit dispositif d'entraînement d'articulation comprend un premier dispositif d'entraînement d'articulation configuré pour faire tourner ledit effecteur terminal dans une première direction, ledit ensemble d'arbre comprenant en outre un deuxième dispositif d'entraînement d'articulation configuré pour faire tourner ledit effecteur terminal autour dudit joint d'articulation dans une deuxième direction, et dans lequel ladite deuxième direction est opposée à ladite première direction.
     
    10. Ensemble d'arbre selon la revendication 9, dans lequel ledit deuxième verrou d'articulation est configuré pour venir en prise avec ledit deuxième dispositif d'entraînement d'articulation et pour empêcher que ledit cadre d'effecteur terminal ne tourne par rapport audit cadre d'arbre lorsque ledit deuxième verrou d'articulation est actionné.
     
    11. Ensemble d'arbre selon la revendication 9 ou la revendication 10, dans lequel ledit deuxième verrou d'articulation est configuré pour venir en prise avec ledit premier dispositif d'entraînement d'articulation et ledit deuxième dispositif d'entraînement d'articulation en même temps lorsque ledit deuxième verrou d'articulation est actionné.
     
    12. Ensemble d'arbre selon l'une quelconque des revendications 9 à 11, dans lequel ledit deuxième verrou d'articulation comprend un premier bras configuré pour venir en prise avec ledit premier dispositif d'entraînement d'articulation et un deuxième bras configuré pour venir en prise avec ledit deuxième dispositif d'entraînement d'articulation, et dans lequel ledit deuxième verrou d'articulation est configuré pour venir en prise avec ledit premier bras avec ledit premier dispositif d'entraînement d'articulation et avec ledit deuxième bras avec ledit deuxième dispositif d'entraînement d'articulation au cours d'un mouvement de verrouillage dudit deuxième verrou d'articulation.
     
    13. Ensemble d'arbre selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 12, dans lequel ledit effecteur terminal comprend en outre une cartouche d'agrafes (1320).
     
    14. Ensemble d'arbre selon la revendication 13, dans lequel ladite cartouche d'agrafes est remplaçable.
     




    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