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1. (EP2517650) Circular stapler with controlled tissue compression
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Claims

1. A surgical stapling instrument (10) that compresses tissue and applies staples, comprising:

a clamping actuator (30) for applying torque to an approximating mechanism of the surgical stapling instrument to compress tissue; and

a torque limiting mechanism (40) comprising:

a driven member (50) engaged with the approximating mechanism of the surgical stapling instrument, the driven member (50) having a driven surface (80,112,156);

a driving member (82) having a driving surface (84,114,158) engaged with the driven surface (80,112,156) of the driven member and connected to the clamping actuator (30) of the instrument, wherein the driving member (82) is rotatable relative to the driven member (50); and

a spring (98) engaged with the driving member (82), whereby the driving member (82) is spring biased into engagement with the driven member (50) at a predetermined engagement pressure,

wherein the driving surface (84,114,158) of the driving member slips relative to the driven surface (80,112,156) of the driven member when a predetermined maximum torque dependent on said predetermined engagement pressure and corresponding to a predetermined maximum compression force on the tissue is reached; and
characterized in that the surgical stapling instrument (10) further comprises a torque control (42) having a member that adjusts the predetermined engagement pressure applied by the driving member (82) to the driven member (50), whereby a user can adjust the maximum compression force to be applied to the tissue.
  2. The surgical stapling instrument as recited in claim 1, wherein the driving surface (84) frictionally engages the driven surface (80).
  3. The surgical stapling instrument as recited in claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the driving surface (114) and the driven surface (112) have interengaging structure.
  4. The surgical stapling instrument as recited in claim 3, wherein the driving surface (114) and the driven surface (112) have interengaging teeth (126,128).
  5. The surgical stapling instrument as recited in claim 3, wherein the interengaging structure is a detent mechanism comprising at least one movable connector (160) between the driving surface (158) and the driven surface (156).
  6. The surgical stapling instrument as recited in claim 5, wherein at least one of the driving surface (158) and driven surface (156) includes cups (164,166) and the other of the driving surface (158) and driven surfaces (156) supports balls (162) removably engageable with the cups (164,166).
  7. The surgical stapling instrument as recited in claim 1, wherein the member of the torque control (42) engages with the biasing spring (98).
  8. The surgical stapling instrument as recited in claim 7, wherein the torque control (42) includes a hook (104) engageable with the biasing spring (98) and a slide member (102).
  9. The surgical stapling instrument as recited in any preceding claim, comprising:

a body portion (14);

a first clamping member (20) mounted on the body portion and a second clamping member (22) movable relative to the first clamping member (20);

wherein said approximating mechanism moves the second clamping member (22) relative to the first clamping member (20), the approximating mechanism including a longitudinally movable drive screw (48) having a helical groove (60) formed therein and a rotatable sleeve (50) mounted about the drive screw (48), the rotatable sleeve (50) including a drive pin (70) extending into the helical groove (60) such that rotation of the rotatable sleeve (50) longitudinally translates the drive screw (48) within the body portion; and

wherein said driven surface (80,112,156) is affixed to the rotatable sleeve (50).