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1. (WO2019003113) ARTICULATION SYSTEMS FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS
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TITLE

ARTICULATION SYSTEMS FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS

BACKGROUND

[0001] The present invention relates to surgical instruments and, in various arrangements, to surgical stapling and cutting instruments and staple cartridges for use therewith that are designed to staple and cut tissue.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0002] 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:

[0003] FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a surgical system comprising a handle assembly and multiple interchangeable surgical tool assemblies that may be used therewith;

[0004] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one of the interchangeable surgical tool assemblies of FIG. 1 operably coupled to the handle assembly of FIG. 1 ;

[0005] FIG. 3 is an exploded assembly view of portions of the handle assembly and interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 1 and 2;

[0006] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another one of the interchangeable surgical tool assemblies depicted in FIG. 1 ;

[0007] FIG. 5 is a partial cross-sectional perspective view of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIG. 4;

[0008] FIG. 6 is another partial cross-sectional view of a portion of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 4 and 5;

[0009] FIG. 7 is an exploded assembly view of a portion of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 4-6;

[0010] FIG. 7A is an enlarged top view of a portion of an elastic spine assembly of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIG. 7;

[0011] FIG. 8 is an exploded assembly view of a portion of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 4-7;

[0012] FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional perspective view of a surgical end effector portion of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 4-8;

[0013] FIG. 10 is an exploded assembly view of the surgical end effector portion of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly depicted in FIG. 9;

[0014] FIG. 1 1 is a perspective view, a side elevational view and a front elevational view of a firing member that may be employed in the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 4-10;

[0015] FIG. 12 is a perspective view of an anvil that may be employed in the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 4-1 1 ;

[0016] FIG. 13 is a cross-sectional side elevational view of the anvil of FIG. 12;

[0017] FIG. 14 is a bottom view of the anvil of FIGS. 12 and 13;

[0018] FIG. 15 is a cross-sectional side elevational view of a portion of a surgical end effector and shaft portion of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIG. 4 with an unspent surgical staple cartridge properly seated within an elongate channel of the surgical end effector;

[0019] FIG. 16 is a cross-sectional side elevational view of the surgical end effector and shaft portion of FIG. 15 after the surgical staple cartridge has been fired during a staple firing stroke and a firing member being retracted to a starting position after the staple firing stroke;

[0020] FIG. 17 is another cross-sectional side elevational view of the surgical end effector and shaft portion of FIG. 16 after the firing member has been fully retracted back to its starting position;

[0021] FIG. 18 is a top cross-sectional view of the surgical end effector and shaft portion depicted in FIG. 15 with the unspent surgical staple cartridge properly seated with the elongate channel of the surgical end effector;

[0022] FIG. 19 is another top cross-sectional view of the surgical end effector of FIG. 15 with a fired surgical staple cartridge mounted therein illustrating the firing member retained in a locked position;

[0023] FIG. 20 is a partial cross-sectional view of portions of the anvil and elongate channel of the interchangeable tool assembly of FIG. 4;

[0024] FIG. 21 is an exploded side elevational view of portions of the anvil and elongate channel of FIG. 20;

[0025] FIG. 22 is a rear perspective view of an anvil mounting portion of an anvil in accordance with at least one embodiment;

[0026] FIG. 23 is a rear perspective view of an anvil mounting portion of another anvil in accordance with at least one embodiment;

[0027] FIG. 24 is a rear perspective view of an anvil mounting portion of another anvil in accordance with at least one embodiment;

[0028] FIG. 25 is a perspective view of an anvil in accordance with at least one embodiment;

[0029] FIG. 26 is an exploded perspective view of the anvil of FIG. 25;

[0030] FIG. 27 is a cross-sectional end view of the anvil of FIG. 25;

[0031] FIG. 28 is a perspective view of another anvil in accordance with at least one embodiment;

[0032] FIG. 29 is an exploded perspective view of the anvil embodiment of FIG. 28;

[0033] FIG. 30 is a top view of a distal end portion of an anvil body portion of the anvil of FIG.

28;

[0034] FIG. 31 is a top view of a distal end portion of an anvil body portion of another anvil in accordance with at least one embodiment;

[0035] FIG. 32 is a cross-sectional end perspective view of the anvil of FIG. 31 ;

[0036] FIG. 33 is a cross-sectional end perspective view of another anvil in accordance with at least one embodiment;

[0037] FIG. 34 is a cross-sectional perspective view of a staple forming pocket arrangement comprising a proximal forming pocket and a distal forming pocket, wherein each forming pocket comprises a forming surface having an entry zone and an exit zone comprising different radii of curvature;

[0038] FIG. 35 is a plan view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 34;

[0039] FIG. 36 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 34 taken along line 36-36 in FIG. 35;

[0040] FIG. 37 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 34 taken along line 37-37 in FIG. 35;

[0041] FIG. 38 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 34 taken along line 38-38 in FIG. 35;

[0042] FIG. 39 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 34 taken along line 39-39 in FIG. 35;

[0043] FIG. 40 is a cross-sectional perspective view of a staple forming pocket arrangement comprising a proximal forming pocket, a distal forming pocket, and primary sidewalls, wherein each forming pocket comprises a pair of contoured sidewalls;

[0044] FIG. 41 is a plan view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 40;

[0045] FIG. 42 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 40 taken along line 42-42 in FIG. 41 ;

[0046] FIG. 43 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 40 taken along line 43-43 in FIG. 41 ;

[0047] FIG. 44 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 40 taken along line 44-44 in FIG. 41 ;

[0048] FIG. 45 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 40 taken along line 45-45 in FIG. 41 ;

[0049] FIG. 46 depicts a staple formed with the forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 40 in a fully formed configuration, wherein the staple contacted the forming pockets in an aligned state;

[0050] FIG. 47 depicts a staple formed with the forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 40 in a fully formed configuration, wherein the staple contacted the forming pockets in a misaligned state;

[0051] FIG. 48 is a cross-sectional perspective view of a staple forming pocket arrangement comprising a proximal forming pocket and a distal forming pocket;

[0052] FIG. 49 is a cross-sectional perspective view of a portion of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 48;

[0053] FIG. 50 is a plan view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 48;

[0054] FIG. 51 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 48 taken along line 51 -51 in FIG. 50;

[0055] FIG. 52 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 48 taken along line 52-52 in the entry zone of the distal forming pocket of FIG. 50;

[0056] FIG. 53 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 48 taken along line 53-53 in the transition zone of the distal forming pocket in FIG. 50;

[0057] FIG. 54 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 48 taken along line 54-54 in the exit zone of the distal forming pocket of FIG. 50;

[0058] FIG. 54A is a partial negative view of a forming pocket of the staple forming pocket arrangements of FIG. 48, wherein the partial negative view comprises various slices taken in multiple planes along the forming pocket which are perpendicular to a tissue-facing surface of the staple forming pocket arrangement and a pocket axis of the staple forming pocket arrangement;

[0059] FIG. 54B is a table comprising the dimensions of the slices of FIG. 54A which are labeled in FIG. 54A;

[0060] FIG. 54C is a cross-sectional view of the forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 48 taken along a pocket axis of the forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 48, wherein various dimensions of the forming pocket arrangement are labeled thereon;

[0061] FIG. 55 is a cross-sectional perspective view of a staple forming pocket arrangement comprising a proximal forming pocket and a distal forming pocket;

[0062] FIG. 56 is a plan view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 55;

[0063] FIG. 57 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 55 taken along line 57-57 in FIG. 56;

[0064] FIG. 58 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 55 taken along line 58-58 in the entry zone of the distal forming pocket of FIG. 56;

[0065] FIG. 59 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 55 taken along line 59-59 in the transition zone of the distal forming pocket of FIG. 56;

[0066] FIG. 60 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 55 taken along line 60-60 in the exit forming zone of the distal forming pocket of FIG. 56;

[0067] FIG. 60A is a partial negative view of a forming pocket of the staple forming pocket arrangements of FIG. 55, wherein the partial negative view comprises various slices taken in multiple planes along the forming pocket which are perpendicular to a tissue-facing surface of the staple forming pocket arrangement and a pocket axis of the staple forming pocket arrangement;

[0068] FIG. 60B is a table comprising the dimensions of the slices of FIG. 60A which are labeled in FIG. 60A;

[0069] FIG. 60C is a cross-sectional view of the forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 55 taken along a pocket axis of the forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 55, wherein various dimensions of the forming pocket arrangement are labeled thereon;

[0070] FIG. 61 is a cross-sectional perspective view of a staple forming pocket arrangement comprising a proximal forming pocket and a distal forming pocket;

[0071] FIG. 62 is a plan view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 61 ;

[0072] FIG. 63 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 61 taken along line 63-63 in FIG. 62;

[0073] FIG. 64 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 61 taken along line 64-64 in the entry forming zone of the distal forming pocket of FIG. 62;

[0074] FIG. 65 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 61 taken along line 65-65 in the entry forming zone of the distal forming pocket of FIG. 62;

[0075] FIG. 66 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 61 taken along line 66-66 in the transition zone of the distal forming pocket of FIG. 62;

[0076] FIG. 67 is a cross-sectional view of the staple forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 61 taken along line 67-67 in the exit forming zone of the distal forming pocket of FIG. 62;

[0077] FIG. 67A is a partial negative view of a forming pocket of the staple forming pocket arrangements of FIG. 61 , wherein the partial negative view comprises various slices taken in multiple planes along the forming pocket which are perpendicular to a tissue-facing surface of the staple forming pocket arrangement and a pocket axis of the staple forming pocket arrangement;

[0078] FIG. 67B is a table comprising the dimensions of the slices of FIG. 67A which are labeled in FIG. 67A;

[0079] FIG. 67C is a cross-sectional view of the forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 61 taken along a pocket axis of the forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 61 , wherein various dimensions of the forming pocket arrangement are labeled thereon;

[0080] FIG. 68 is a plan view of a staple formed with the forming pocket arrangement of FIG. 55 in a fully formed configuration, wherein the staple contacted the forming pockets in a misaligned state;

[0081] FIG. 69 is an elevation view of the staple of FIG. 68;

[0082] FIG. 70 is a cross-sectional elevation view of a surgical end effector with various components removed depicting an anvil and a staple cartridge having a plurality of staples, further depicting the end effector in a closed position in which a uniform tissue gap is defined between the staple cartridge and the anvil, and further depicting the staples fired from the staple cartridge and formed to a uniform height by forming pockets in the anvil;

[0083] FIG. 71 is a cross-sectional elevation view of a surgical end effector with various components removed depicting an anvil and a staple cartridge having a plurality of staples, wherein the anvil comprises a stepped tissue compression surface, further depicting the end effector in a closed position in which a variable tissue gap is defined between the staple cartridge and the anvil, and further depicting the staples fired from the staple cartridge and formed to a uniform height by forming pockets in the anvil;

[0084] FIG. 72 is a cross-sectional elevation view of a surgical end effector with various components removed depicting an anvil and a staple cartridge having a plurality of staples and a stepped tissue compression surface, further depicting the end effector in a closed position in which a variable tissue gap is defined between the staple cartridge and the anvil, and further depicting the staples fired from the staple cartridge and formed to a uniform height by forming pockets in the anvil;

[0085] FIG. 73 is a cross-sectional elevation view of a surgical end effector with various components removed depicting an anvil and a staple cartridge having a plurality of staples, wherein the anvil and the staple cartridge comprise stepped tissue compression surfaces, further depicting the end effector in a closed position in which a variable tissue gap is defined between the staple cartridge and the anvil, and further depicting the staples fired from the staple cartridge and formed to a uniform height by forming pockets in the anvil;

[0086] FIG. 74 is a partial cross-sectional perspective view of an articulation joint for a surgical tool assembly with various components removed depicting the articulation joint in an

unarticulated position;

[0087] FIG. 75 is a partial cross-sectional plan view of the articulation joint of FIG. 74 in the unarticulated configuration;

[0088] FIG. 76 is a partial cross-sectional plan view of the articulation joint of FIG. 74 in a partially articulated configuration;

[0089] FIG. 77 is a partial cross-sectional plan view of the articulation joint of FIG. 74 in a fully articulated configuration; and

[0090] FIG. 77A is a detail view of a reinforcement feature of the articulation joint of FIG. 74 in the fully articulated configuration of FIG. 77.

[0091] 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

[0092] Applicant of the present application owns the following U.S. Patent Applications that were filed on even date herewith and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. entitled SURGICAL ANVIL

MANUFACTURING METHODS; Attorney Docket No. END8165USNP/170079M;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. entitled SURGICAL ANVIL

ARRANGEMENTS; Attorney Docket No. END8168USNP/170080;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. entitled SURGICAL ANVIL

ARRANGEMENTS; Attorney Docket No. END8170USNP/170081 ;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. entitled SURGICAL ANVIL

ARRANGEMENTS; Attorney Docket No. END8164USNP/170082;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. entitled SURGICAL FIRING MEMBER

ARRANGEMENTS; Attorney Docket No. END8169USNP/170083;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. entitled STAPLE FORMING POCKET

ARRANGEMENTS; Attorney Docket No. END8167USNP/170085;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. entitled STAPLE FORMING POCKET

ARRANGEMENTS; Attorney Docket No. END8232USNP/170086; and

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. entitled SURGICAL END EFFECTORS

AND ANVILS; Attorney Docket No. END8166USNP/170087.

[0093] Applicant of the present application owns the following U.S. Patent Applications that were filed on December 21 , 2016 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/386,185, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING

INSTRUMENTS AND REPLACEABLE TOOL ASSEMBLIES THEREOF;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/386,230, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/386,221 , entitled LOCKOUT ARRANGEMENTS FOR SURGICAL END EFFECTORS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/386,209, entitled SURGICAL END EFFECTORS AND FIRING MEMBERS THEREOF;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/386, 198, entitled LOCKOUT ARRANGEMENTS FOR SURGICAL END EFFECTORS AND REPLACEABLE TOOL ASSEMBLIES;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/386,240, entitled SURGICAL END EFFECTORS AND ADAPTABLE FIRING MEMBERS THEREFOR;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,939, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGES AND ARRANGEMENTS OF STAPLES AND STAPLE CAVITIES THEREIN;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,941 , entitled SURGICAL TOOL ASSEMBLIES WITH CLUTCHING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SHIFTING BETWEEN CLOSURE SYSTEMS WITH CLOSURE STROKE REDUCTION FEATURES AND ARTICULATION AND FIRING SYSTEMS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,943, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING

INSTRUMENTS AND STAPLE-FORMING ANVILS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,950, entitled SURGICAL TOOL ASSEMBLIES WITH CLOSURE STROKE REDUCTION FEATURES;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,945, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGES AND ARRANGEMENTS OF STAPLES AND STAPLE CAVITIES THEREIN;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,946, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING

INSTRUMENTS AND STAPLE-FORMING ANVILS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,951 , entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH JAW OPENING FEATURES FOR INCREASING A JAW OPENING DISTANCE;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,953, entitled METHODS OF STAPLING TISSUE;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,954, entitled FIRING MEMBERS WITH NON-PARALLEL JAW ENGAGEMENT FEATURES FOR SURGICAL END EFFECTORS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,955, entitled SURGICAL END EFFECTORS WITH EXPANDABLE TISSUE STOP ARRANGEMENTS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,948, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING

INSTRUMENTS AND STAPLE-FORMING ANVILS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,956, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH POSITIVE JAW OPENING FEATURES;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,958, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH LOCKOUT ARRANGEMENTS FOR PREVENTING FIRING SYSTEM ACTUATION UNLESS AN UNSPENT STAPLE CARTRIDGE IS PRESENT;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,947, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGES AND ARRANGEMENTS OF STAPLES AND STAPLE CAVITIES THEREIN;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,896, entitled METHOD FOR RESETTING A FUSE OF A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT SHAFT;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,898, entitled STAPLE FORMING POCKET ARRANGEMENT TO ACCOMMODATE DIFFERENT TYPES OF STAPLES;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,899, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING IMPROVED JAW CONTROL;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,901 , entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE AND STAPLE CARTRIDGE CHANNEL COMPRISING WINDOWS DEFINED THEREIN;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,902, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING A CUTTING MEMBER;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,904, entitled STAPLE FIRING MEMBER COMPRISING A MISSING CARTRIDGE AND/OR SPENT CARTRIDGE LOCKOUT;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,905, entitled FIRING ASSEMBLY

COMPRISING A LOCKOUT;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,907, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT SYSTEM COMPRISING AN END EFFECTOR LOCKOUT AND A FIRING ASSEMBLY LOCKOUT;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,908, entitled FIRING ASSEMBLY

COMPRISING A FUSE;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,909, entitled FIRING ASSEMBLY COMPRISING A MULTIPLE FAILED-STATE FUSE;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,920, entitled STAPLE FORMING POCKET ARRANGEMENTS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,913, entitled ANVIL ARRANGEMENTS FOR SURGICAL STAPLE/FASTENERS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,914, entitled METHOD OF DEFORMING STAPLES FROM TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF STAPLE CARTRIDGES WITH THE SAME SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENT;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,893, entitled BILATERALLY ASYMMETRIC STAPLE FORMING POCKET PAIRS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,929, entitled CLOSURE MEMBERS WITH CAM SURFACE ARRANGEMENTS FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH SEPARATE AND DISTINCT CLOSURE AND FIRING SYSTEMS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385, 91 1 , entitled SURGICAL

STAPLE/FASTENERS WITH INDEPENDENTLY ACTUATABLE CLOSING AND FIRING SYSTEMS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,927, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING

INSTRUMENTS WITH SMART STAPLE CARTRIDGES;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,917, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE

COMPRISING STAPLES WITH DIFFERENT CLAMPING BREADTHS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,900, entitled STAPLE FORMING POCKET ARRANGEMENTS COMPRISING PRIMARY SIDEWALLS AND POCKET SIDEWALLS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,931 , entitled NO-CARTRIDGE AND SPENT CARTRIDGE LOCKOUT ARRANGEMENTS FOR SURGICAL STAPLE/FASTENERS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,915, entitled FIRING MEMBER PIN ANGLE;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,897, entitled STAPLE FORMING POCKET ARRANGEMENTS COMPRISING ZONED FORMING SURFACE GROOVES;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,922, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT WITH MULTIPLE FAILURE RESPONSE MODES;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,924, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT WITH PRIMARY AND SAFETY PROCESSORS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,912, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH JAWS THAT ARE PIVOTABLE ABOUT A FIXED AXIS AND INCLUDE SEPARATE AND DISTINCT CLOSURE AND FIRING SYSTEMS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,910, entitled ANVIL HAVING A KNIFE SLOT WIDTH;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,906, entitled FIRING MEMBER PIN

CONFIGURATIONS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/386,188, entitled STEPPED STAPLE CARTRIDGE WITH ASYMMETRICAL STAPLES;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/386,192, entitled STEPPED STAPLE CARTRIDGE WITH TISSUE RETENTION AND GAP SETTING FEATURES;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/386,206, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE WITH DEFORMABLE DRIVER RETENTION FEATURES;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/386,226, entitled DURABILITY FEATURES FOR END EFFECTORS AND FIRING ASSEMBLIES OF SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/386,222, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING

INSTRUMENTS HAVING END EFFECTORS WITH POSITIVE OPENING FEATURES;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/386,236, entitled CONNECTION PORTIONS FOR DEPOSABLE LOADING UNITS FOR SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,887, entitled METHOD FOR ATTACHING A SHAFT ASSEMBLY TO A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT AND, ALTERNATIVELY, TO A

SURGICAL ROBOT;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,889, entitled SHAFT ASSEMBLY

COMPRISING A MANUALLY-OPERABLE RETRACTION SYSTEM FOR USE WITH A

MOTORIZED SURGICAL INSTRUMENT SYSTEM;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,890, entitled SHAFT ASSEMBLY

COMPRISING SEPARATELY ACTUATABLE AND RETRACTABLE SYSTEMS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,891 , entitled SHAFT ASSEMBLY

COMPRISING A CLUTCH CONFIGURED TO ADAPT THE OUTPUT OF A ROTARY FIRING MEMBER TO TWO DIFFERENT SYSTEMS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,892, entitled SURGICAL SYSTEM

COMPRISING A FIRING MEMBER ROTATABLE INTO AN ARTICULATION STATE TO ARTICULATE AN END EFFECTOR OF THE SURGICAL SYSTEM;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,894, entitled SHAFT ASSEMBLY COMPRISING A LOCKOUT;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,895, entitled SHAFT ASSEMBLY

COMPRISING FIRST AND SECOND ARTICULATION LOCKOUTS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,916, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING

SYSTEMS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,918, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING

SYSTEMS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,919, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING

SYSTEMS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,921 , entitled SURGICAL STAPLE/FASTENER CARTRIDGE WITH MOVABLE CAMMING MEMBER CONFIGURED TO DISENGAGE FIRING MEMBER LOCKOUT FEATURES;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,923, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING

SYSTEMS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,925, entitled JAW ACTUATED LOCK

ARRANGEMENTS FOR PREVENTING ADVANCEMENT OF A FIRING MEMBER IN A SURGICAL END EFFECTOR UNLESS AN UNFIRED CARTRIDGE IS INSTALLED IN THE END EFFECTOR;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,926, entitled AXIALLY MOVABLE CLOSURE SYSTEM ARRANGEMENTS FOR APPLYING CLOSURE MOTIONS TO JAWS OF SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,928, entitled PROTECTIVE COVER

ARRANGEMENTS FOR A JOINT INTERFACE BETWEEN A MOVABLE JAW AND ACTUATOR SHAFT OF A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,930, entitled SURGICAL END EFFECTOR WITH TWO SEPARATE COOPERATING OPENING FEATURES FOR OPENING AND CLOSING END EFFECTOR JAWS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,932, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL END EFFECTOR WITH ASYMMETRIC SHAFT ARRANGEMENT;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,933, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENT WITH INDEPENDENT PIVOTABLE LINKAGE DISTAL OF AN ARTICULATION LOCK;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,934, entitled ARTICULATION LOCK

ARRANGEMENTS FOR LOCKING AN END EFFECTOR IN AN ARTICULATED POSITION IN RESPONSE TO ACTUATION OF A JAW CLOSURE SYSTEM;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,935, entitled LATERALLY ACTUATABLE ARTICULATION LOCK ARRANGEMENTS FOR LOCKING AN END EFFECTOR OF A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT IN AN ARTICULATED CONFIGURATION; and

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,936, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH ARTICULATION STROKE AMPLIFICATION FEATURES.

[0094] Applicant of the present application owns the following U.S. Patent Applications that were filed on June 24, 2016 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/191 ,775, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE

COMPRISING WIRE STAPLES AND STAMPED STAPLES;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/191 ,807, entitled STAPLING SYSTEM FOR USE WITH WIRE STAPLES AND STAMPED STAPLES;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/191 ,834, entitled STAMPED STAPLES AND STAPLE CARTRIDGES USING THE SAME;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/191 ,788, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE

COMPRISING OVERDRIVEN STAPLES; and

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/191 ,818, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE

COMPRISING OFFSET LONGITUDINAL STAPLE ROWS.

[0095] Applicant of the present application owns the following U.S. Patent Applications that were filed on June 24, 2016 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entireties:

U.S. Design Patent Application Serial No. 29/569,218, entitled SURGICAL FASTENER; U.S. Design Patent Application Serial No. 29/569,227, entitled SURGICAL FASTENER; U.S. Design Patent Application Serial No. 29/569,259, entitled SURGICAL FASTENER CARTRIDGE; and

U.S. Design Patent Application Serial No. 29/569,264, entitled SURGICAL FASTENER CARTRIDGE.

[0096] Applicant of the present application owns the following patent applications that were filed on April 1 , 2016 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entirety:

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,325, entitled METHOD FOR OPERATING A SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,321 , entitled MODULAR SURGICAL

STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING A DISPLAY;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,326, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING A DISPLAY INCLUDING A RE-ORIENTABLE DISPLAY FIELD;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,263, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT HANDLE ASSEMBLY WITH RECONFIGURABLE GRIP PORTION;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,262, entitled ROTARY POWERED

SURGICAL INSTRUMENT WITH MANUALLY ACTUATABLE BAILOUT SYSTEM;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,277, entitled SURGICAL CUTTING AND STAPLING END EFFECTOR WITH ANVIL CONCENTRIC DRIVE MEMBER;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,296, entitled INTERCHANGEABLE

SURGICAL TOOL ASSEMBLY WITH A SURGICAL END EFFECTOR THAT IS SELECTIVELY ROTATABLE ABOUT A SHAFT AXIS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,258, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING A SHIFTABLE TRANSMISSION;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,278, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM CONFIGURED TO PROVIDE SELECTIVE CUTTING OF TISSUE;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,284, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING A CONTOURABLE SHAFT;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,295, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING A TISSUE COMPRESSION LOCKOUT;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,300, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING AN UNCLAMPING LOCKOUT;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,196, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING A JAW CLOSURE LOCKOUT;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,203, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING A JAW ATTACHMENT LOCKOUT;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,210, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING A SPENT CARTRIDGE LOCKOUT;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,324, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING A SHIFTING MECHANISM;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,335, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING

INSTRUMENT COMPRISING MULTIPLE LOCKOUTS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,339, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING

INSTRUMENT;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,253, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM CONFIGURED TO APPLY ANNULAR ROWS OF STAPLES HAVING DIFFERENT HEIGHTS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,304, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING A GROOVED FORMING POCKET;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,331 , entitled ANVIL MODIFICATION

MEMBERS FOR SURGICAL STAPLE/FASTENERS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,336, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGES WITH ATRAUMATIC FEATURES;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,312, entitled CIRCULAR STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING AN INCISABLE TISSUE SUPPORT;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,309, entitled CIRCULAR STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING ROTARY FIRING SYSTEM; and

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/089,349, entitled CIRCULAR STAPLING SYSTEM COMPRISING LOAD CONTROL.

[0097] Applicant of the present application also owns the U.S. Patent Applications identified below which were filed on December 31 , 2015 which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entirety:

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/984,488, entitled MECHANISMS FOR

COMPENSATING FOR BATTERY PACK FAILURE IN POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/984,525, entitled MECHANISMS FOR

COMPENSATING FOR DRIVETRAIN FAILURE IN POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS; and

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/984,552, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH SEPARABLE MOTORS AND MOTOR CONTROL CIRCUITS.

[0098] Applicant of the present application also owns the U.S. Patent Applications identified below which were filed on February 9, 2016 which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entirety:

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/019,220, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT WITH ARTICULATING AND AXIALLY TRANSLATABLE END EFFECTOR;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/019,228, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH MULTIPLE LINK ARTICULATION ARRANGEMENTS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/019,196, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT ARTICULATION MECHANISM WITH SLOTTED SECONDARY CONSTRAINT;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/019,206, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH AN END EFFECTOR THAT IS HIGHLY ARTICULATABLE RELATIVE TO AN ELONGATE SHAFT ASSEMBLY;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/019,215, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH NON-SYMMETRICAL ARTICULATION ARRANGEMENTS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/019,227, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH SINGLE ARTICULATION LINK ARRANGEMENTS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/019,235, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH TENSIONING ARRANGEMENTS FOR CABLE DRIVEN ARTICULATION SYSTEMS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/019,230, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH OFF-AXIS FIRING BEAM ARRANGEMENTS; and

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/019,245, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH CLOSURE STROKE REDUCTION ARRANGEMENTS.

[0099] Applicant of the present application also owns the U.S. Patent Applications identified below which were filed on February 12, 2016 which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entirety:

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/043,254, entitled MECHANISMS FOR

COMPENSATING FOR DRIVETRAIN FAILURE IN POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/043,259, entitled MECHANISMS FOR

COMPENSATING FOR DRIVETRAIN FAILURE IN POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/043,275, entitled MECHANISMS FOR

COMPENSATING FOR DRIVETRAIN FAILURE IN POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS; and

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/043,289, entitled MECHANISMS FOR

COMPENSATING FOR DRIVETRAIN FAILURE IN POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS.

[0100] Applicant of the present application owns the following patent applications that were filed on June 18, 2015 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entirety:

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/742,925, entitled SURGICAL END EFFECTORS WITH POSITIVE JAW OPENING ARRANGEMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0367256;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/742,941 , entitled SURGICAL END EFFECTORS WITH DUAL CAM ACTUATED JAW CLOSING FEATURES, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0367248;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/742,914, entitled MOVABLE FIRING BEAM SUPPORT ARRANGEMENTS FOR ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0367255;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/742,900, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH COMPOSITE FIRING BEAM STRUCTURES WITH CENTER FIRING SUPPORT MEMBER FOR ARTICULATION SUPPORT, now U.S. Patent Application

Publication No. 2016/0367254;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/742,885, entitled DUAL ARTICULATION DRIVE SYSTEM ARRANGEMENTS FOR ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0367246; and

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/742,876, entitled PUSH/PULL ARTICULATION DRIVE SYSTEMS FOR ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0367245.

[0101] Applicant of the present application owns the following patent applications that were filed on March 6, 2015 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entirety:

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/640,746, entitled POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0256184;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/640,795, entitled MULTIPLE LEVEL

THRESHOLDS TO MODIFY OPERATION OF POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/02561 185;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/640,832, entitled ADAPTIVE TISSUE

COMPRESSION TECHNIQUES TO ADJUST CLOSURE RATES FOR MULTIPLE TISSUE TYPES, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0256154;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/640,935, entitled OVERLAID MULTI SENSOR RADIO FREQUENCY (RF) ELECTRODE SYSTEM TO MEASURE TISSUE COMPRESSION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0256071 ;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/640,831 , entitled MONITORING SPEED

CONTROL AND PRECISION INCREMENTING OF MOTOR FOR POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0256153;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/640,859, entitled TIME DEPENDENT

EVALUATION OF SENSOR DATA TO DETERMINE STABILITY, CREEP, AND

VISCOELASTIC ELEMENTS OF MEASURES, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0256187;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/640,817, entitled INTERACTIVE FEEDBACK SYSTEM FOR POWERED SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application

Publication No. 2016/0256186;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/640,844, entitled CONTROL TECHNIQUES AND SUB-PROCESSOR CONTAINED WITHIN MODULAR SHAFT WITH SELECT CONTROL PROCESSING FROM HANDLE, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0256155;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/640,837, entitled SMART SENSORS WITH LOCAL SIGNAL PROCESSING, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0256163;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/640,765, entitled SYSTEM FOR DETECTING THE MIS-INSERTION OF A STAPLE CARTRIDGE INTO A SURGICAL STAPLE/FASTENER, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0256160;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/640,799, entitled SIGNAL AND POWER

COMMUNICATION SYSTEM POSITIONED ON A ROTATABLE SHAFT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0256162; and

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/640,780, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING A LOCKABLE BATTERY HOUSING, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0256161.

[0102] Applicant of the present application owns the following patent applications that were filed on February 27, 2015, and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entirety:

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/633,576, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT SYSTEM COMPRISING AN INSPECTION STATION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0249919;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/633,546, entitled SURGICAL APPARATUS CONFIGURED TO ASSESS WHETHER A PERFORMANCE PARAMETER OF THE SURGICAL APPARATUS IS WITHIN AN ACCEPTABLE PERFORMANCE BAND, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0249915;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/633,560, entitled SURGICAL CHARGING

SYSTEM THAT CHARGES AND/OR CONDITIONS ONE OR MORE BATTERIES, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0249910;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/633,566, entitled CHARGING SYSTEM THAT ENABLES EMERGENCY RESOLUTIONS FOR CHARGING A BATTERY, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0249918;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/633,555, entitled SYSTEM FOR MONITORING WHETHER A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT NEEDS TO BE SERVICED, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0249916;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/633,542, entitled REINFORCED BATTERY FOR A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0249908;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/633,548, entitled POWER ADAPTER FOR A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0249909;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/633,526, entitled ADAPTABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENT HANDLE, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0249945;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/633,541 , entitled MODULAR STAPLING

ASSEMBLY, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0249927; and

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/633,562, entitled SURGICAL APPARATUS CONFIGURED TO TRACK AN END-OF-LIFE PARAMETER, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0249917.

[0103] Applicant of the present application owns the following patent applications that were filed on December 18, 2014 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entirety:

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/574,478, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT SYSTEMS COMPRISING AN ARTICULATABLE END EFFECTOR AND MEANS FOR ADJUSTING THE FIRING STROKE OF A FIRING MEMBER, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0174977;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/574,483, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT ASSEMBLY COMPRISING LOCKABLE SYSTEMS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0174969;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/575,139, entitled DRIVE ARRANGEMENTS FOR ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0174978;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/575,148, entitled LOCKING ARRANGEMENTS FOR DETACHABLE SHAFT ASSEMBLIES WITH ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL END EFFECTORS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0174976;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/575,130, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT WITH AN ANVIL THAT IS SELECTIVELY MOVABLE ABOUT A DISCRETE NON-MOVABLE AXIS RELATIVE TO A STAPLE CARTRIDGE, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No.

2016/0174972;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/575,143, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH IMPROVED CLOSURE ARRANGEMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0174983;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/575,1 17, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH ARTICULATABLE END EFFECTORS AND MOVABLE FIRING BEAM SUPPORT ARRANGEMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0174975;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/575,154, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH ARTICULATABLE END EFFECTORS AND IMPROVED FIRING BEAM SUPPORT ARRANGEMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0174973;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/574,493, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT ASSEMBLY COMPRISING A FLEXIBLE ARTICULATION SYSTEM, now U.S. Patent

Application Publication No. 2016/0174970; and

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/574,500, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT ASSEMBLY COMPRISING A LOCKABLE ARTICULATION SYSTEM, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0174971 .

[0104] Applicant of the present application owns the following patent applications that were filed on March 1 , 2013 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entirety:

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/782,295, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH CONDUCTIVE PATHWAYS FOR SIGNAL COMMUNICATION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0246471 ;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/782,323, entitled ROTARY POWERED

ARTICULATION JOINTS FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0246472;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/782,338, entitled THUMBWHEEL SWITCH ARRANGEMENTS FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0249557;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/782,499, entitled ELECTROMECHANICAL SURGICAL DEVICE WITH SIGNAL RELAY ARRANGEMENT, now U.S. Patent No. 9,358,003;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/782,460, entitled MULTIPLE PROCESSOR MOTOR CONTROL FOR MODULAR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent No.

9,554,794;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/782,358, entitled JOYSTICK SWITCH

ASSEMBLIES FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent No. 9,326,767;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/782,481 , entitled SENSOR STRAIGHTENED END EFFECTOR DURING REMOVAL THROUGH TROCAR, now U.S. Patent No. 9,468,438;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/782,518, entitled CONTROL METHODS FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH REMOVABLE IMPLEMENT PORTIONS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0246475;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/782,375, entitled ROTARY POWERED

SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH MULTIPLE DEGREES OF FREEDOM, now U.S. Patent No. 9,398,91 1 ; and

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/782,536, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT SOFT STOP, now U.S. Patent No. 9,307,986.

[0105] Applicant of the present application also owns the following patent applications that were filed on March 14, 2013 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entirety:

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/803,097, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING A FIRING DRIVE, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263542;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/803, 193, entitled CONTROL ARRANGEMENTS FOR A DRIVE MEMBER OF A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Patent No. 9,332,987;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/803,053, entitled INTERCHANGEABLE SHAFT ASSEMBLIES FOR USE WITH A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263564;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/803,086, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING AN ARTICULATION LOCK, now U.S. Patent Application

Publication No. 2014/0263541 ;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/803,210, entitled SENSOR ARRANGEMENTS FOR ABSOLUTE POSITIONING SYSTEM FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263538;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/803,148, entitled MULTI-FUNCTION MOTOR FOR A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263554;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/803,066, entitled DRIVE SYSTEM LOCKOUT ARRANGEMENTS FOR MODULAR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent No.

9,629,623;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/803,1 17, entitled ARTICULATION CONTROL SYSTEM FOR ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent No. 9,351 ,726;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/803,130, entitled DRIVE TRAIN CONTROL ARRANGEMENTS FOR MODULAR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent No.

9,351 ,727; and

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/803,159, entitled METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR OPERATING A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No.

2014/0277017.

[0106] Applicant of the present application also owns the following patent application that was filed on March 7, 2014 and is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety:

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/200,1 1 1 , entitled CONTROL SYSTEMS FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent No. 9,629,629.

[0107] Applicant of the present application also owns the following patent applications that were filed on March 26, 2014 and are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entirety:

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/226, 106, entitled POWER MANAGEMENT CONTROL SYSTEMS FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application

Publication No. 2015/0272582;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/226,099, entitled STERILIZATION VERIFICATION CIRCUIT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272581 ;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/226,094, entitled VERIFICATION OF NUMBER OF BATTERY EXCHANGES/PROCEDURE COUNT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272580;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/226, 1 17, entitled POWER MANAGEMENT THROUGH SLEEP OPTIONS OF SEGMENTED CIRCUIT AND WAKE UP CONTROL, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272574;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/226,075, entitled MODULAR POWERED

SURGICAL INSTRUMENT WITH DETACHABLE SHAFT ASSEMBLIES, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272579;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/226,093, entitled FEEDBACK ALGORITHMS FOR MANUAL BAILOUT SYSTEMS FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272569;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/226,1 16, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT UTILIZING SENSOR ADAPTATION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No.

2015/0272571 ;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/226,071 , entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT CONTROL CIRCUIT HAVING A SAFETY PROCESSOR, now U.S. Patent Application

Publication No. 2015/0272578;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/226,097, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING INTERACTIVE SYSTEMS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No.

2015/0272570;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/226,126, entitled INTERFACE SYSTEMS FOR USE WITH SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No.

2015/0272572;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/226, 133, entitled MODULAR SURGICAL

INSTRUMENT SYSTEM, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272557;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/226,081 , entitled SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR CONTROLLING A SEGMENTED CIRCUIT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No.

2015/0277471 ;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/226,076, entitled POWER MANAGEMENT THROUGH SEGMENTED CIRCUIT AND VARIABLE VOLTAGE PROTECTION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0280424;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/226,1 1 1 , entitled SURGICAL STAPLING

INSTRUMENT SYSTEM, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272583; and

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/226,125, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING A ROTATABLE SHAFT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No.

2015/0280384.

[0108] Applicant of the present application also owns the following patent applications that were filed on September 5, 2014 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entirety:

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/479,103, entitled CIRCUITRY AND SENSORS FOR POWERED MEDICAL DEVICE, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No.

2016/0066912;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/479,1 19, entitled ADJUNCT WITH INTEGRATED SENSORS TO QUANTIFY TISSUE COMPRESSION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0066914;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/478,908, entitled MONITORING DEVICE

DEGRADATION BASED ON COMPONENT EVALUATION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0066910;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/478,895, entitled MULTIPLE SENSORS WITH ONE SENSOR AFFECTING A SECOND SENSOR'S OUTPUT OR INTERPRETATION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0066909;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/479,1 10, entitled POLARITY OF HALL MAGNET TO DETECT MISLOADED CARTRIDGE, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No.

2016/0066915;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/479,098, entitled SMART CARTRIDGE WAKE UP OPERATION AND DATA RETENTION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No.

2016/006691 1 ;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/479,1 15, entitled MULTIPLE MOTOR CONTROL FOR POWERED MEDICAL DEVICE, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No.

2016/0066916; and

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/479, 108, entitled LOCAL DISPLAY OF TISSUE PARAMETER STABILIZATION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2016/0066913.

[0109] Applicant of the present application also owns the following patent applications that were filed on April 9, 2014 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entirety:

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/248,590, entitled MOTOR DRIVEN SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH LOCKABLE DUAL DRIVE SHAFTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0305987;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/248,581 , entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING A CLOSING DRIVE AND A FIRING DRIVE OPERATED FROM THE SAME ROT ATABLE OUTPUT, now U.S. Patent 9,649,1 10;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/248,595, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT SHAFT INCLUDING SWITCHES FOR CONTROLLING THE OPERATION OF THE SURGICAL INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0305988;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/248,588, entitled POWERED LINEAR SURGICAL STAPLE/FASTENER, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0309666;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/248,591 , entitled TRANSMISSION ARRANGEMENT FOR A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0305991 ;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/248,584, entitled MODULAR MOTOR DRIVEN SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH ALIGNMENT FEATURES FOR ALIGNING ROTARY DRIVE SHAFTS WITH SURGICAL END EFFECTOR SHAFTS, now U.S. Patent Application

Publication No. 2014/0305994;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/248,587, entitled POWERED SURGICAL

STAPLE/FASTENER, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0309665;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/248,586, entitled DRIVE SYSTEM DECOUPLING ARRANGEMENT FOR A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0305990; and

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/248,607, entitled MODULAR MOTOR DRIVEN SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH STATUS INDICATION ARRANGEMENTS, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0305992.

[0110] Applicant of the present application also owns the following patent applications that were filed on April 16, 2013 and which are each herein incorporated by reference in their respective entirety:

U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 61/812,365, entitled SURGICAL

INSTRUMENT WITH MULTIPLE FUNCTIONS PERFORMED BY A SINGLE MOTOR;

U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 61/812,376, entitled LINEAR CUTTER WITH POWER;

U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 61/812,382, entitled LINEAR CUTTER WITH MOTOR AND PISTOL GRIP;

U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 61/812,385, entitled SURGICAL

INSTRUMENT HANDLE WITH MULTIPLE ACTUATION MOTORS AND MOTOR CONTROL; and

U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 61/812,372, entitled SURGICAL

INSTRUMENT WITH MULTIPLE FUNCTIONS PERFORMED BY A SINGLE MOTOR.

[0111] 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.

[0112] 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.

[0113] 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.

[0114] 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.

[0115] 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. Other embodiments are envisioned which do not include an articulation joint.

[0116] 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.

[0117] 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.

[0118] 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.

[0119] FIG. 1 depicts a motor-driven surgical system 10 that may be used to perform a variety of different surgical procedures. As can be seen in that Figure, one example of the surgical system 10 includes four interchangeable surgical tool assemblies 100, 200, 300, and 1000 that are each adapted for interchangeable use with a handle assembly 500. Each interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100, 200, 300, and 1000 may be designed for use in connection with the performance of one or more specific surgical procedures. In another surgical system

embodiment, the interchangeable surgical tool assemblies may be effectively employed with a tool drive assembly of a robotically controlled or automated surgical system. For example, the surgical tool assemblies disclosed herein may be employed with various robotic systems, instruments, components and methods such as, but not limited to, those disclosed in U.S.

Patent No. 9,072,535, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS WITH ROTATABLE STAPLE DEPLOYMENT ARRANGEMENTS, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

[0120] FIG. 2 illustrates one form of an interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 that is operably coupled to the handle assembly 500. FIG. 3 illustrates attachment of the

interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 to the handle assembly 500. The attachment arrangement and process depicted in FIG. 3 may also be employed in connection with attachment of any of the interchangeable surgical tool assemblies 100, 200, 300, and 1000 to a tool drive portion or tool drive housing of a robotic system. The handle assembly 500 may comprise a handle housing 502 that includes a pistol grip portion 504 that can be gripped and manipulated by the clinician. As will be briefly discussed below, the handle assembly 500 operably supports a plurality of drive systems that are configured to generate and apply various control motions to corresponding portions of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100, 200, 300, and/or 1000 that is operably attached thereto.

[0121] Referring now to FIG. 3, the handle assembly 500 may further include a frame 506 that operably supports the plurality of drive systems. For example, the frame 506 can operably support a first or closure drive system, generally designated as 510, which may be employed to apply closing and opening motions to the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100, 200, 300, and 1000 that is operably attached or coupled to the handle assembly 500. In at least one form, the closure drive system 510 may include an actuator in the form of a closure trigger 512 that is pivotally supported by the frame 506. Such an arrangement enables the closure trigger 512 to be manipulated by a clinician such that, when the clinician grips the pistol grip portion 504 of the handle assembly 500, the closure trigger 512 may be pivoted from a starting or "unactuated" position to an "actuated" position and more particularly to a fully compressed or fully actuated position. In various forms, the closure drive system 510 further includes a closure linkage assembly 514 that is pivotally coupled to the closure trigger 512 or otherwise operably interfaces therewith. As will be discussed in further detail below, the closure linkage assembly 514 includes a transverse attachment pin 516 that facilitates attachment to a corresponding drive system on the surgical tool assembly. To actuate the closure drive system, the clinician depresses the closure trigger 512 towards the pistol grip portion 504. As described in further detail in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/226,142, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING A SENSOR SYSTEM, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No.

2015/0272575, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety herein, the closure drive system is configured to lock the closure trigger 512 into the fully depressed or fully actuated position when the clinician fully depresses the closure trigger 512 to attain the full closure stroke. When the clinician desires to unlock the closure trigger 512 to permit the closure trigger 512 to be biased to the unactuated position, the clinician simply activates a closure release button assembly 518 which enables the closure trigger to return to unactuated position. The closure release button 518 may also be configured to interact with various sensors that communicate with a microcontroller 520 in the handle assembly 500 for tracking the position of the closure trigger 512. Further details concerning the configuration and operation of the closure release button assembly 518 may be found in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272575.

[0122] In at least one form, the handle assembly 500 and the frame 506 may operably support another drive system referred to herein as a firing drive system 530 that is configured to apply firing motions to corresponding portions of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly that is attached thereto. As was described in detail in U.S. Patent Application Publication No.

2015/0272575, the firing drive system 530 may employ an electric motor (not shown in FIGS. 1 -3) that is located in the pistol grip portion 504 of the handle assembly 500. In various forms, the motor may be a DC brushed driving motor having a maximum speed of approximately 25,000 RPM, for example. In other arrangements, the motor may include a brushless motor, a cordless motor, a synchronous motor, a stepper motor, or any other suitable electric motor. The motor may be powered by a power source 522 that in one form may comprise a removable power pack. The power pack may support a plurality of Lithium Ion ("LI") or other suitable batteries therein. A number of batteries may be connected in series may be used as the power source

522 for the surgical system 10. In addition, the power source 522 may be replaceable and/or rechargeable.

[0123] The electric motor is configured to axially drive a longitudinally movable drive member 540 in distal and proximal directions depending upon the polarity of the voltage applied to the motor. For example, when the motor is driven in one rotary direction, the longitudinally movable drive member 540 the will be axially driven in the distal direction "DD". When the motor is driven in the opposite rotary direction, the longitudinally movable drive member 540 will be axially driven in a proximal direction "PD". The handle assembly 500 can include a switch 513 which can be configured to reverse the polarity applied to the electric motor by the power source 522 or otherwise control the motor. The handle assembly 500 can also include a sensor or sensors that are configured to detect the position of the drive member 540 and/or the direction in which the drive member 540 is being moved. Actuation of the motor can be controlled by a firing trigger 532 (FIG. 1 ) that is pivotally supported on the handle assembly 500. The firing trigger 532 may be pivoted between an unactuated position and an actuated position. The firing trigger 532 may be biased into the unactuated position by a spring or other biasing arrangement such that, when the clinician releases the firing trigger 532, the firing trigger 532 may be pivoted or otherwise returned to the unactuated position by the spring or biasing arrangement. In at least one form, the firing trigger 532 can be positioned "outboard" of the closure trigger 512 as was discussed above. As discussed in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272575, the handle assembly 500 may be equipped with a firing trigger safety button to prevent inadvertent actuation of the firing trigger 532. When the closure trigger 512 is in the unactuated position, the safety button is contained in the handle assembly 500 where the clinician cannot readily access the safety button and move it between a safety position preventing actuation of the firing trigger 532 and a firing position wherein the firing trigger 532 may be fired. As the clinician depresses the closure trigger 512, the safety button and the firing trigger 532 pivot downwardly where they can then be manipulated by the clinician.

[0124] In at least one form, the longitudinally movable drive member 540 may have a rack of teeth formed thereon for meshing engagement with a corresponding drive gear arrangement that interfaces with the motor. Further details regarding those features may be found in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272575. In at least one form, the handle assembly 500 also includes a manually-actuatable "bailout" assembly that is configured to enable the clinician to manually retract the longitudinally movable drive member 540 should the motor become disabled. The bailout assembly may include a lever or bailout handle assembly that is stored within the handle assembly 500 under a releasable door 550. The lever is configured to

be manually pivoted into ratcheting engagement with the teeth in the drive member 540. Thus, the clinician can manually retract the drive member 540 by using the bailout handle assembly to ratchet the drive member 5400 in the proximal direction "PD". U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 12/249, 1 17, entitled POWERED SURGICAL CUTTING AND STAPLING APPARATUS WITH MANUALLY RETRACTABLE FIRING SYSTEM, now U.S. Patent No. 8,608,045, the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein, discloses bailout arrangements that may also be employed with the various surgical tool assemblies disclosed herein.

[0125] Turning now to FIG. 2, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 includes a surgical end effector 1 10 that comprises a first jaw and a second jaw. In one arrangement, the first jaw comprises an elongate channel 1 12 that is configured to operably support a surgical staple cartridge 1 16 therein. The second jaw comprises an anvil 1 14 that is pivotally supported relative to the elongate channel 1 12. The interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 also includes a lockable articulation joint 120 which can be configured to releasably hold the end effector 1 10 in a desired position relative to a shaft axis SA. Details regarding various constructions and operation of the end effector 1 10, the articulation joint 120 and the articulation lock are set forth in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/803,086, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING AN ARTICULATION LOCK, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541 , which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. As can be further seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 can include a proximal housing or nozzle 130 and a closure tube assembly 140 which can be utilized to close and/or open the anvil 1 14 of the end effector 1 10. As discussed in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0272575, the closure tube assembly 140 is movably supported on a spine 145 which supports an articulation driver arrangement 147 configured to apply articulation motions to the surgical end effector 1 10. The spine 145 is configured to, one, slidably support a firing bar 170 therein and, two, slidably support the closure tube assembly 140 which extends around the spine 145. In various circumstances, the spine 145 includes a proximal end that is rotatably supported in a chassis 150. See FIG. 3. In one arrangement, for example, the proximal end of the spine 145 is attached to a spine bearing that is configured to be supported within the chassis 150. Such an arrangement facilitates the rotatable attachment of the spine 145 to the chassis 150 such that the spine 145 may be selectively rotated about a shaft axis SA relative to the chassis 150.

[0126] Still referring to FIG. 3, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 includes a closure shuttle 160 that is slidably supported within the chassis 150 such that the closure shuttle 160 may be axially moved relative to the chassis 150. As can be seen in FIG. 3, the closure shuttle 160 includes a pair of proximally-protruding hooks 162 that are configured to be attached to the attachment pin 516 that is attached to the closure linkage assembly 514 in the handle assembly 500. A proximal closure tube segment 146 of the closure tube assembly 140 is rotatably coupled to the closure shuttle 160. Thus, when the hooks 162 are hooked over the pin 516, actuation of the closure trigger 512 will result in the axial movement of the closure shuttle 160 and, ultimately, the closure tube assembly 140 on the spine 145. A closure spring may also be journaled on the closure tube assembly 140 and serves to bias the closure tube assembly 140 in the proximal direction "PD" which can serve to pivot the closure trigger 512 into the unactuated position when the shaft assembly 100 is operably coupled to the handle assembly 500. In use, the closure tube assembly 140 is translated distally (direction DD) to close the anvil 1 14 in response to the actuation of the closure trigger 512. The closure tube assembly 140 includes a distal closure tube segment 142 that is pivotally pinned to a distal end of a proximal closure tube segment 146. The distal closure tube segment 142 is configured to axially move with the proximal closure tube segment 146 relative to the surgical end effector 1 10. When the distal end of the distal closure tube segment 142 strikes a proximal surface or ledge 1 15 on the anvil 1 14, the anvil 1 14 is pivoted closed. Further details concerning the closure of anvil 1 14 may be found in the aforementioned U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541 and will be discussed in further detail below. As was also described in detail in U.S. Patent

Application Publication No. 2014/0263541 , the anvil 1 14 is opened by proximally translating the distal closure tube segment 142. The distal closure tube segment 142 has a horseshoe aperture 143 therein that defines a downwardly extending return tab that cooperates with an anvil tab 1 17 formed on the proximal end of the anvil 1 14 to pivot the anvil 1 14 back to an open position. In the fully open position, the closure tube assembly 140 is in its proximal-most or unactuated position.

[0127] As was also indicated above, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 further includes a firing bar 170 that is supported for axial travel within the shaft spine 145. The firing bar 170 includes an intermediate firing shaft portion that is configured to be attached to a distal cutting portion or knife bar that is configured for axial travel through the surgical end effector 1 10. In at least one arrangement, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 includes a clutch assembly which can be configured to selectively and releasably couple the articulation driver to the firing bar 170. Further details regarding the clutch assembly features and operation may be found in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541 . As discussed in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541 , distal movement of the firing bar 170 can

move the articulation driver arrangement 147 distally and, correspondingly, proximal movement of the firing bar 170 can move the articulation driver arrangement 147 proximally when the clutch assembly is in its engaged position. When the clutch assembly is in its disengaged position, movement of the firing bar 170 is not transmitted to the articulation driver arrangement 147 and, as a result, the firing bar 170 can move independently of the articulation driver arrangement 147. The interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 may also include a slip ring assembly which can be configured to conduct electrical power to and/or from the end effector 1 10 and/or communicate signals to and/or from the end effector 1 10. Further details regarding the slip ring assembly may be found in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541. U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/800,067, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE TISSUE

THICKNESS SENSOR SYSTEM, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263552 is incorporated by reference in its entirety. U.S. Patent No. 9,345,481 , entitled STAPLE

CARTRIDGE TISSUE THICKNESS SENSOR SYSTEM, is also hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0128] Still referring to FIG. 3, the chassis 150 has one or more tapered attachment portions 152 formed thereon that are adapted to be received within corresponding dovetail slots 507 formed within a distal end of the frame 506. Each dovetail slot 507 may be tapered or, stated another way, may be somewhat V-shaped to seatingly receive the tapered attachment portions 152 therein. As can be further seen in FIG. 3, a shaft attachment lug 172 is formed on the proximal end of the firing shaft 170. When the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 is coupled to the handle assembly 500, the shaft attachment lug 172 is received in a firing shaft attachment cradle 542 formed in the distal end of the longitudinally movable drive member 540. The interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 also employs a latch system 180 for releasably latching the shaft assembly 100 to the frame 506 of the handle assembly 500. In at least one form, the latch system 180 includes a lock member or lock yoke 182 that is movably coupled to the chassis 150, for example. The lock yoke 182 includes two proximally protruding lock lugs 184 that are configured for releasable engagement with corresponding lock detents or grooves 509 in the distal attachment flange of the frame 506. In various forms, the lock yoke 182 is biased in the proximal direction by spring or biasing member. Actuation of the lock yoke 182 may be accomplished by a latch button 186 that is slidably mounted on a latch actuator assembly that is mounted to the chassis 150. The latch button 186 may be biased in a proximal direction relative to the lock yoke 182. As will be discussed in further detail below, the lock yoke 182 may be moved to an unlocked position by biasing the latch button 186 the in distal direction DD which also causes the lock yoke 182 to pivot out of retaining engagement with the distal

attachment flange of the frame 506. When the lock yoke 182 is in retaining engagement with the distal attachment flange of the frame 506, the lock lugs 184 are retainingly seated within the corresponding lock detents or grooves 509 in the distal end of the frame 506. Further details concerning the latching system may be found in U.S. Patent Application Publication No.

2014/0263541 .

[0129] To attach the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 to the handle assembly 500 A clinician may position the chassis 150 of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 above or adjacent to the distal end of the frame 506 such that the tapered attachment portions 152 formed on the chassis 150 are aligned with the dovetail slots 507 in the frame 506. The clinician may then move the surgical tool assembly 100 along an installation axis IA that is perpendicular to the shaft axis SA to seat the tapered attachment portions 152 in operable engagement with the corresponding dovetail receiving slots 507 in the distal end of the frame 506. In doing so, the shaft attachment lug 172 on the firing shaft 170 will also be seated in the cradle 542 in the longitudinally movable drive member 540 and the portions of pin 516 on the closure link 514 will be seated in the corresponding hooks 162 in the closure shuttle 160. As used herein, the term "operable engagement" in the context of two components means that the two components are sufficiently engaged with each other so that, upon application of an actuation motion thereto, the components carry out their intended action, function, and/or procedure.

[0130] Returning now to FIG. 1 , the surgical system 10 includes four interchangeable surgical tool assemblies 100, 200, 300, and 1000 that may each be effectively employed with the same handle assembly 500 to perform different surgical procedures. The construction of an exemplary form of interchangeable surgical tool assembly 100 was briefly discussed above and is discussed in further detail in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541 . Various details regarding interchangeable surgical tool assemblies 200 and 300 may be found in the various U.S. Patent Applications which have been incorporated by reference herein. Various details regarding interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 will be discussed in further detail below.

[0131] As illustrated in FIG. 1 , each of the surgical tool assemblies 100, 200, 300, and 1000 includes a pair of jaws wherein at least one of the jaws is movable to capture, manipulate, and/or clamp tissue between the two jaws. The movable jaw is moved between open and closed positions upon the application of closure and opening motions applied thereto from the handle assembly or the robotic or automated surgical system to which the surgical tool assembly is operably coupled. In addition, each of the illustrated interchangeable surgical tool assemblies includes a firing member that is configured to cut tissue and fire staples from a staple cartridge that is supported in one of the jaws in response to firing motions applied thereto by the handle assembly or robotic system. Each surgical tool assembly may be uniquely designed to perform a specific procedure, for example, to cut and fasten a particular type of and thickness of tissue within a certain area in the body. The closing, firing and articulation control systems in the handle assembly 500 or robotic system may be configured to generate axial control motions and/or rotary control motions depending upon the type of closing, firing, and articulation system configurations that are employed in the surgical tool assembly. In one arrangement, one of the closure system control components moves axially from an unactuated position to its fully actuated position when a closure control system in the handle assembly or robotic system is fully actuated. The axial distance that the closure tube assembly moves between its unactuated position to its fully actuated position may be referred to herein as its "closure stroke length". Similarly, one of the firing system control components moves axially from its unactuated position to its fully actuated or fired position when a firing system in the handle assembly or robotic system is fully actuated. The axial distance that the longitudinally movable drive member moves between its unactuated position and its fully fired position may be referred to herein as its "firing stroke length". For those surgical tool assemblies that employ articulatable end effector arrangements, the handle assembly or robotic system may employ articulation control components that move axially through an "articulation drive stroke length". In many circumstances, the closure stroke length, the firing stroke length, and the articulation drive stroke length are fixed for a particular handle assembly or robotic system. Thus, each of the surgical tool assemblies must be able to accommodate control movements of the closure, firing, and/or articulation components through each of their entire stroke lengths without placing undue stress on the surgical tool components which might lead to damage the surgical tool assembly.

[0132] Turning now to FIGS. 4-10, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 includes a surgical end effector 1 100 that comprises an elongate channel 1 102 that is configured to operably support a staple cartridge 1 1 10 therein. The end effector 1 100 may further include an anvil 1 130 that is pivotally supported relative to the elongate channel 1 102. The

interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 may further include an articulation joint 1200 and an articulation lock 1210 (FIGS. 5 and 8-10) which can be configured to releasably hold the end effector 1 100 in a desired articulated position relative to a shaft axis SA. Details regarding the construction and operation of the articulation lock 1210 may be found in in U.S. Patent

Application Serial No. 13/803,086, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING AN ARTICULATION LOCK, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No.

2014/0263541 , the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein.

Additional details concerning the articulation lock may also be found in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/019,196, filed February 9, 2016, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT

ARTICULATION MECHANISM WITH SLOTTED SECONDARY CONSTRAINT, the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein. As can be seen in FIG. 7, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 can further include a proximal housing or nozzle 1300 comprised of nozzle portions 1302, 1304 as well as an actuator wheel portion 1306 that is configured to be coupled to the assembled nozzle portions 1302, 1304 by snaps, lugs, and/or screws, for example. The interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 can further include a closure tube assembly 1400 which can be utilized to close and/or open the anvil 1 130 of the end effector 1 100 as will be discussed in further detail below. Primarily referring now to FIGS. 8 and 9, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 can include a spine assembly 1500 which can be configured to support the articulation lock 1210. The spine assembly 1500 comprises an "elastic" spine or frame member 1510 which will be described in further detail below. A distal end portion 1522 of the elastic spine member 1510 is attached to a distal frame segment 1560 that operably supports the articulation lock 1210 therein. As can be seen in FIGS. 7 and 8, the spine assembly 1500 is configured to, one, slidably support a firing member assembly 1600 therein and, two, slidably support the closure tube assembly 1400 which extends around the spine assembly 1500. The spine assembly 1500 can also be configured to slidably support a proximal articulation driver 1700.

[0133] As can be seen in FIG. 10, the distal frame segment 1560 is pivotally coupled to the elongate channel 1 102 by an end effector mounting assembly 1230. In one arrangement, the distal end 1562 of the distal frame segment 1560 has a pivot pin 1564 formed thereon, for example. The pivot pin 1564 is adapted to be pivotally received within a pivot hole 1234 formed in pivot base portion 1232 of the end effector mounting assembly 1230. The end effector mounting assembly 1230 is attached to the proximal end 1 103 of the elongate channel 1 102 by a spring pin 1 108 or other suitable member. The pivot pin 1564 defines an articulation axis B-B that is transverse to the shaft axis SA. See FIG. 4. Such an arrangement facilitates pivotal travel (i.e., articulation) of the end effector 1 100 about the articulation axis B-B relative to the spine assembly 1500.

[0134] Still referring to FIG. 10, the articulation driver 1700 has a distal end 1702 that is configured to operably engage the articulation lock 1210. The articulation lock 1210 includes an articulation frame 1212 that is adapted to operably engage a drive pin 1238 on the pivot base portion 1232 of the end effector mounting assembly 1230. In addition, a cross-link 1237 may be

linked to the drive pin 1238 and articulation frame 1212 to assist articulation of the end effector 1 100. As indicated above, further details regarding the operation of the articulation lock 1210 and the articulation frame 1212 may be found in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/803,086, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541. Further details regarding the end effector mounting assembly and a crosslink may be found in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/019,245, filed February 9, 2016, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH CLOSURE STROKE REDUCTION ARRANGEMENTS, the entire disclosure of which is hereby

incorporated by reference herein. In various circumstances, the elastic spine member 1510 includes a proximal end 1514 which is rotatably supported in a chassis 1800. In one arrangement, the proximal end 1514 of the elastic spine member 1510 has a thread 1516 formed thereon for threaded attachment to a spine bearing that is configured to be supported within the chassis 1800, for example. Such an arrangement facilitates rotatable attachment of the elastic spine member 1510 to the chassis 1800 such that the spine assembly 1500 may be selectively rotated about a shaft axis SA relative to the chassis 1800.

[0135] Referring primarily to FIG. 7, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 includes a closure shuttle 1420 that is slidably supported within the chassis 1800 such that the closure shuttle 1420 may be axially moved relative to the chassis 1800. In one form, the closure shuttle 1420 includes a pair of proximally-protruding hooks 1421 that are configured to be attached to the attachment pin 516 that is attached to the closure linkage assembly 514 of the handle assembly 500 as was discussed above. A proximal end 1412 of a proximal closure tube segment 1410 is rotatably coupled to the closure shuttle 1420. For example, a U-shaped connector 1424 is inserted into an annular slot 1414 in the proximal end 1412 of the proximal closure tube segment 1410 and is retained within vertical slots 1422 in the closure shuttle 1420. See FIG. 7. Such an arrangement serves to attach the proximal closure tube segment 1410 to the closure shuttle 1420 for axial travel therewith while enabling the closure tube assembly 1400 to rotate relative to the closure shuttle 1420 about the shaft axis SA. A closure spring is journaled on the proximal end 1412 of the proximal closure tube segment 1410 and serves to bias the closure tube assembly 1400 in the proximal direction PD which can serve to pivot the closure trigger 512 on the handle assembly 500 (FIG. 3) into the unactuated position when the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 is operably coupled to the handle assembly 500.

[0136] As indicated above, the illustrated interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 includes an articulation joint 1200. Other interchangeable surgical tool assemblies, however, may not be capable of articulation. As can be seen in FIG. 10, upper and lower tangs 1415, 1416 protrude distally from a distal end of the proximal closure tube segment 1410 which are

configured to be movably coupled to an end effector closure sleeve or distal closure tube segment 1430 of the closure tube assembly 1400. As can be seen in FIG. 10, the distal closure tube segment 1430 includes upper and lower tangs 1434, 1436 that protrude proximally from a proximal end thereof. An upper double pivot link 1220 includes proximal and distal pins that engage corresponding holes in the upper tangs 1415, 1434 of the proximal closure tube segment 1410 and distal closure tube segment 1430, respectively. Similarly, a lower double pivot link 1222 includes proximal and distal pins that engage corresponding holes in the lower tangs 1416 and 1436 of the proximal closure tube segment 1410 and distal closure tube segment 1430, respectively. As will be discussed in further detail below, distal and proximal axial translation of the closure tube assembly 1400 will result in the closing and opening of the anvil 1 130 relative to the elongate channel 1 102.

[0137] As mentioned above, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 further includes a firing member assembly 1600 that is supported for axial travel within the spine assembly 1500. The firing member assembly 1600 includes an intermediate firing shaft portion 1602 that is configured to be attached to a distal cutting portion or knife bar 1610. The firing member assembly 1600 may also be referred to herein as a "second shaft" and/or a "second shaft assembly". As can be seen in FIGS. 7-10, the intermediate firing shaft portion 1602 may include a longitudinal slot 1604 in the distal end thereof which can be configured to receive a tab on the proximal end of the knife bar 1610. The longitudinal slot 1604 and the proximal end of the knife bar 1610 can be sized and configured to permit relative movement therebetween and can comprise a slip joint 1612. The slip joint 1612 can permit the intermediate firing shaft portion 1602 of the firing member assembly 1600 to be moved to articulate the end effector 1 100 without moving, or at least substantially moving, the knife bar 1610. Once the end effector 1 100 has been suitably oriented, the intermediate firing shaft portion 1602 can be advanced distally until a proximal sidewall of the longitudinal slot 1604 comes into contact with the tab on the knife bar 1610 to advance the knife bar 1610 and fire the staple cartridge 1 1 10 positioned within the elongate channel 1 102. As can be further seen in FIGS. 8 and 9, the elastic spine member 1520 has an elongate opening or window 1525 therein to facilitate the assembly and insertion of the intermediate firing shaft portion 1602 into the elastic spine member 1520. Once the intermediate firing shaft portion 1602 has been inserted therein, a top frame segment 1527 may be engaged with the elastic spine member 1520 to enclose the intermediate firing shaft portion 1602 and knife bar 1610 therein. Further description of the operation of the firing member assembly 1600 may be found in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/803,086, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541 .

[0138] Further to the above, the interchangeable tool assembly 1000 can include a clutch assembly 1620 which can be configured to selectively and releasably couple the articulation driver 1700 to the firing member assembly 1600. In one form, the clutch assembly 1620 includes a lock collar, or sleeve 1622, positioned around the firing member assembly 1600 wherein the lock sleeve 1622 can be rotated between an engaged position in which the lock sleeve 1622 couples the articulation driver 1700 to the firing member assembly 1600 and a disengaged position in which the articulation driver 1700 is not operably coupled to the firing member assembly 1600. When the lock sleeve 1622 is in its engaged position, distal movement of the firing member assembly 1600 can move the articulation driver 1700 distally and, correspondingly, proximal movement of the firing member assembly 1600 can move the articulation driver 1700 proximally. When the lock sleeve 1622 is in its disengaged position, movement of the firing member assembly 1600 is not transmitted to the articulation driver 1700 and, as a result, the firing member assembly 1600 can move independently of the articulation driver 1700. In various circumstances, the articulation driver 1700 can be held in position by the articulation lock 1210 when the articulation driver 1700 is not being moved in the proximal or distal directions by the firing member assembly 1600.

[0139] Referring primarily to FIG. 7, the lock sleeve 1622 can comprise a cylindrical, or an at least substantially cylindrical, body including a longitudinal aperture 1624 defined therein configured to receive the firing member assembly 1600. The lock sleeve 1622 can comprise diametrically-opposed, inwardly-facing lock protrusions 1626, 1628 and an outwardly-facing lock member 1629. The lock protrusions 1626, 1628 can be configured to be selectively engaged with the intermediate firing shaft portion 1602 of the firing member assembly 1600. More particularly, when the lock sleeve 1622 is in its engaged position, the lock protrusions 1626, 1628 are positioned within a drive notch 1605 defined in the intermediate firing shaft portion 1602 such that a distal pushing force and/or a proximal pulling force can be transmitted from the firing member assembly 1600 to the lock sleeve 1622. When the lock sleeve 1622 is in its engaged position, the second lock member 1629 is received within a drive notch 1704 defined in the articulation driver 1700 such that the distal pushing force and/or the proximal pulling force applied to the lock sleeve 1622 can be transmitted to the articulation driver 1700. In effect, the firing member assembly 1600, the lock sleeve 1622, and the articulation driver 1700 will move together when the lock sleeve 1622 is in its engaged position. On the other hand, when the lock sleeve 1622 is in its disengaged position, the lock protrusions 1626, 1628 may not be positioned within the drive notch 1605 of the intermediate firing shaft portion 1602 of the firing member assembly 1600 and, as a result, a distal pushing force and/or a proximal pulling force may not be transmitted from the firing member assembly 1600 to the lock sleeve 1622.

Correspondingly, the distal pushing force and/or the proximal pulling force may not be transmitted to the articulation driver 1700. In such circumstances, the firing member assembly 1600 can be slid proximally and/or distally relative to the lock sleeve 1622 and the proximal articulation driver 1700. The clutching assembly 1620 further includes a switch drum 1630 that interfaces with the lock sleeve 1622. Further details concerning the operation of the switch drum and lock sleeve 1622 may be found in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/803,086, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541 , and Serial No. 15/019,196. The switch drum 1630 can further comprise at least partially circumferential openings 1632, 1634 defined therein which can receive circumferential mounts 1305 that extend from the nozzle halves 1302, 1304 and permit relative rotation, but not translation, between the switch drum 1630 and the proximal nozzle 1300. See FIG. 6. Rotation of the nozzle 1300 to a point where the mounts reach the end of their respective slots 1632, 1634 in the switch drum 1630 will result in rotation of the switch drum 1630 about the shaft axis SA. Rotation of the switch drum 1630 will ultimately result in the movement of the lock sleeve 1622 between its engaged and disengaged positions. Thus, in essence, the nozzle 1300 may be employed to operably engage and disengage the articulation drive system with the firing drive system in the various manners described in further detail in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/803,086, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541 , and U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/019,196, which have each been herein incorporated by reference in their respective entirety.

[0140] In the illustrated arrangement, the switch drum 1630 includes a an L-shaped slot 1636 that extends into a distal opening 1637 in the switch drum 1630. The distal opening 1637 receives a transverse pin 1639 of a shifter plate 1638. In one example, the shifter plate 1638 is received within a longitudinal slot that is provided in the lock sleeve 1622 to facilitate the axial movement of the lock sleeve 1622 when engaged with the articulation driver 1700. Further details regarding the operation of the shifter plate and shift drum arrangements may be found in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/868,718, filed September 28, 2015, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENT WITH SHAFT RELEASE, POWERED FIRING AND POWERED ARTICULATION, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2017/0086823, the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein.

[0141] As also illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8, the interchangeable tool assembly 1000 can comprise a slip ring assembly 1640 which can be configured to conduct electrical power to and/or from the end effector 1 100, and/or communicate signals to and/or from the end effector 1 100, back to a microprocessor in the handle assembly or robotic system controller, for

example. Further details concerning the slip ring assembly 1640 and associated connectors may be found in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/803,086, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263541 , and U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/019, 196 which have each been herein incorporated by reference in their respective entirety as well as in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/800,067, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE TISSUE THICKNESS SENSOR SYSTEM, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263552, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. As also described in further detail in the aforementioned patent applications that have been incorporated by reference herein, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 can also comprise at least one sensor that is configured to detect the position of the switch drum 1630.

[0142] Referring again to FIG. 7, the chassis 1800 includes one or more tapered attachment portions 1802 formed thereon that are adapted to be received within corresponding dovetail slots 507 formed within the distal end portion of the frame 506 of the handle assembly 500 as was discussed above. As can be further seen in FIG. 7, a shaft attachment lug 1605 is formed on the proximal end of the intermediate firing shaft 1602. As will be discussed in further detail below, the shaft attachment lug 1605 is received in a firing shaft attachment cradle 542 that is formed in the distal end of the longitudinal drive member 540 when the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 is coupled to the handle assembly 500. See FIG. 3.

[0143] Various interchangeable surgical tool assemblies employ a latch system 1810 for removably coupling the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 to the frame 506 of the handle assembly 500. In at least one form, as can be seen in FIG. 7, the latch system 1810 includes a lock member or lock yoke 1812 that is movably coupled to the chassis 1800. The lock yoke 1812 has a U-shape with two spaced downwardly extending legs 1814. The legs 1814 each have a pivot lug formed thereon that are adapted to be received in corresponding holes 1816 formed in the chassis 1800. Such an arrangement facilitates the pivotal attachment of the lock yoke 1812 to the chassis 1800. The lock yoke 1812 may include two proximally protruding lock lugs 1818 that are configured for releasable engagement with corresponding lock detents or grooves 509 in the distal end of the frame 506 of the handle assembly 500. See FIG. 3. In various forms, the lock yoke 1812 is biased in the proximal direction by a spring or biasing member 1819. Actuation of the lock yoke 1812 may be accomplished by a latch button 1820 that is slidably mounted on a latch actuator assembly 1822 that is mounted to the chassis 1800. The latch button 1820 may be biased in a proximal direction relative to the lock yoke 1812. The lock yoke 1812 may be moved to an unlocked position by biasing the latch button 1820 the in distal direction which also causes the lock yoke 1812 to pivot out of retaining

engagement with the distal end of the frame 506. When the lock yoke 1812 is in retaining engagement with the distal end of the frame 506, the lock lugs 1818 are retainingly seated within the corresponding lock detents or grooves 509 in the distal end of the frame 506.

[0144] In the illustrated arrangement, the lock yoke 1812 includes at least one and preferably two lock hooks 1824 that are adapted to contact corresponding lock lug portions 1426 that are formed on the closure shuttle 1420. When the closure shuttle 1420 is in an unactuated position, the lock yoke 1812 may be pivoted in a distal direction to unlock the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 from the handle assembly 500. When in that position, the lock hooks 1824 do not contact the lock lug portions 1426 on the closure shuttle 1420. However, when the closure shuttle 1420 is moved to an actuated position, the lock yoke 1812 is prevented from being pivoted to an unlocked position. Stated another way, if the clinician were to attempt to pivot the lock yoke 1812 to an unlocked position or, for example, the lock yoke 1812 was in advertently bumped or contacted in a manner that might otherwise cause it to pivot distally, the lock hooks 1824 on the lock yoke 1812 will contact the lock lugs 1426 on the closure shuttle 1420 and prevent movement of the lock yoke 1812 to an unlocked position.

[0145] Still referring to FIG. 10, the knife bar 1610 may comprise a laminated beam structure that includes at least two beam layers. Such beam layers may comprise, for example, stainless steel bands that are interconnected by, for example, welds and/or pins at their proximal ends and/or at other locations along the length of the bands. In alternative embodiments, the distal ends of the bands are not connected together to allow the laminates or bands to splay relative to each other when the end effector is articulated. Such an arrangement permits the knife bar 1610 to be sufficiently flexible to accommodate articulation of the end effector. Various laminated knife bar arrangements are disclosed in U.S. Patent Application Serial No.

15/019,245. As can also be seen in FIG. 10, a middle support member 1614 is employed to provide lateral support to the knife bar 1610 as it flexes to accommodate articulation of the surgical end effector 1 100. Further details concerning the middle support member and alternative knife bar support arrangements are disclosed in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/019,245. As can also be seen in FIG. 10, a firing member or knife member 1620 is attached to the distal end of the knife bar 1610.

[0146] FIG. 1 1 illustrates one form of a firing member 1660 that may be employed with the interchangeable tool assembly 1000. The firing member 1660 comprises a body portion 1662 that includes a proximally extending connector member 1663 that is configured to be received in a correspondingly shaped connector opening 1614 in the distal end of the knife bar 1610. See FIG. 10. The connector 1663 may be retained within the connector opening 1614 by friction, welding, and/or a suitable adhesive, for example. Referring to FIGS. 15-17, the body portion 1662 protrudes through an elongate slot 1 104 in the elongate channel 1 102 and terminates in a foot member 1664 that extends laterally on each side of the body portion 1662. As the firing member 1660 is driven distally through the surgical staple cartridge 1 1 10, the foot member 1664 rides within a passage in the elongate channel 1 102 that is located under the surgical staple cartridge 1 1 10. As can be seen in FIG. 1 1 , the firing member 1660 may further include laterally protruding central tabs, pins, or retainer features 1680. As the firing member 1660 is driven distally through the surgical staple cartridge 1 1 10, the central retainer features 1680 ride on the inner surface 1 106 of the elongate channel 1 102. The body portion 1662 of the firing member 1660 further includes a tissue cutting edge or feature 1666 that is disposed between a distally protruding shoulder 1665 and a distally protruding top nose portion 1670. As can be further seen in FIG. 1 1 , the firing member 1660 may further include two laterally extending top tabs, pins or anvil engagement features 1665. See FIGS. 13 and 14. As the firing member 1660 is driven distally, a top portion of the body 1662 extends through a centrally disposed anvil slot 1 138 (FIG. 14) and the top anvil engagement features 1672 ride on corresponding ledges 1 136 formed on each side of the anvil slot 1 134.

[0147] Returning to FIG. 10, the firing member 1660 is configured to operably interface with a sled 1 120 that is supported within the body 1 1 1 1 of the surgical staple cartridge 1 1 10. The sled 1 120 is slidably displaceable within the surgical staple cartridge body 1 1 1 1 from a proximal starting position adjacent the proximal end 1 1 12 of the cartridge body 1 1 1 1 to an ending position adjacent a distal end 1 1 13 of the cartridge body 1 1 1 1 . The cartridge body 1 1 1 1 operably supports therein a plurality of staple drivers (not shown in FIG. 10) that are aligned in rows on each side of a centrally disposed slot 1 1 14. The centrally disposed slot 1 1 14 enables the firing member 1660 to pass therethrough and cut the tissue that is clamped between the anvil 1 130 and the staple cartridge 1 1 10. The drivers are associated with corresponding pockets 1 1 15 that open through the upper deck surface of the cartridge body. Each of the staple drivers supports one or more surgical staples or fasteners thereon. The sled 1 120 includes a plurality of sloped or wedge-shaped cams 1 122 wherein each cam 1 122 corresponds to a particular line of fasteners or drivers located on a side of the slot 1 1 14. In the illustrated example, one cam 1 122 is aligned with one line of "double" drivers that each support two staples or fasteners thereon and another cam 1 122 is aligned with another line of "single" drivers on the same side of the slot 1 1 14 that each support a single surgical staple or fastener thereon. Thus, in the illustrated example, when the surgical staple cartridge 1 1 10 is "fired", there will be three lines of staples on each lateral side of the tissue cut line. However, other cartridge and driver configurations could also be employed to fire other staple/fastener arrangements. The sled 1 120 has a central body portion 1 124 that is configured to be engaged by the shoulder 1665 of the firing member 1660. When the firing member 1660 is fired or driven distally, the firing member 1660 drives the sled 1 120 distally as well. As the firing member 1660 moves distally through the cartridge 1 1 10, the tissue cutting feature 1666 cuts the tissue that is clamped between the anvil assembly 1 130 and the cartridge 1 1 10 and, also, the sled 1 120 drives the drivers upwardly in the cartridge which drive the corresponding staples or fasteners into forming contact with the anvil assembly 1 130.

[0148] In embodiments where the firing member includes a tissue cutting surface, it may be desirable for the elongate shaft assembly to be configured in such a way so as to prevent the inadvertent advancement of the firing member unless an unspent staple cartridge is properly supported in the elongate channel 1 102 of the surgical end effector 1 100. If, for example, no staple cartridge is present at all and the firing member is distally advanced through the end effector, the tissue would be severed, but not stapled. Similarly, if a spent staple cartridge (i.e., a staple cartridge wherein at least some of the staples have already been fired therefrom) is present in the end effector and the firing member is advanced, the tissue would be severed, but may not be completely stapled, if at all. It will be appreciated that such occurrences could lead to undesirable results during the surgical procedure. U.S. Patent No. 6,988,649 entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENT HAVING A SPENT CARTRIDGE LOCKOUT, U.S. Patent No. 7,044,352 entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENT HAVING A SINGLE LOCKOUT MECHANISM FOR PREVENTION OF FIRING, and U.S. Patent No. 7,380,695 entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENT HAVING A SINGLE LOCKOUT MECHANISM FOR PREVENTION OF FIRING, and U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/742,933, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS WITH LOCKOUT ARRANGEMENTS FOR PREVENTING FIRING SYSTEM ACTUATION WHEN A CARTRIDGE IS SPENT OR MISSING

each disclose various firing member lockout arrangements. Each of those references is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety herein.

[0149] An "unfired", "unspent", "fresh" or "new" fastener cartridge 1 1 10 means that the fastener cartridge 1 1 10 has all of its fasteners in their "ready-to-be-fired positions". The new cartridge 1 1 10 is seated within the elongate channel 1 102 and may be retained therein by snap features on the cartridge body that are configured to retainingly engage corresponding portions of the elongate channel 1 102. FIGS. 15 and 18 illustrate a portion of the surgical end effector 1 100 with a new or unfired surgical staple cartridge 1 1 10 seated therein. As can be seen in FIGS. 15 and 18, the sled 1 120 is in its starting position. To prevent the firing system from

being activated and, more precisely, to prevent the firing member 1660 from being distally driven through the end effector 1 1 10 unless an unfired or new surgical staple cartridge has been properly seated within the elongate channel 1 102, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 employs a firing member lockout system generally designated as 1650.

[0150] Referring now to FIGS. 10 and 15-19, the firing member lockout system 1650 includes a movable lock member 1652 that is configured to retainingly engage the firing member 1660 when a new surgical staple cartridge 1 1 10 is not seated properly within the elongate channel 1 102. More specifically, the lock member 1652 comprises at least one laterally moving locking portion 1654 that is configured to retainingly engage a corresponding portion of the firing member 1660 when the sled 1 120 is not present within the cartridge 1 1 10 in its starting position. In fact, the lock member 1652 employs two laterally moving locking portions 1654 which each engage a laterally extending portion of the firing member 1660. Other lockout arrangements can be used.

[0151] The lock member 1652 comprises a generally U-shaped spring member where each laterally movable leg or locking portion 1654 extends from a central spring portion 1653 and is configured to move in lateral directions represented by "L" in FIGS. 18 and 19. It will be appreciated that the term "lateral directions" refers to directions that are transverse to the shaft axis SA (FIG. 2). The spring or lock member 1652 may be fabricated from high strength spring steel and/or a similar material, for example. The central spring portion 1653 is seated within a slot 1236 in the end effector mounting assembly 1230. See FIG. 10. As can be seen in FIGS. 15-17, each of the laterally movable legs or locking portions 1654 has a distal end 1656 with a locking window 1658 therein. When the locking member 1652 is in a locked position, the central retainer feature 1680 on each lateral side of the firing member 1660 extends into corresponding locking windows 1658 defined in the locking portions 1654 to retainingly prevent the firing member from being distally, or axially, advanced.

[0152] Operation of the firing member lock out system will be explained with reference to FIGS. 15-19. FIGS. 15 and 18 illustrate a portion of the surgical end effector 1 100 with a new unfired cartridge 1 1 10 properly installed therein. As can be seen in FIGS. 15 and 18, the sled 1 120 includes an unlocking feature 1 126 that corresponds to each of the laterally movable locking portions 1654. An unlocking feature 1 126 is provided on or extends proximally from each of the central wedge-shaped cams 1 122. In alternative arrangements, the unlocking feature 1 126 may comprise a proximally protruding portion of the corresponding wedge-shaped cam 1 122. As can be seen in FIG. 18, the unlocking features 1 124 engage and bias the corresponding locking portions 1654 laterally in a direction that is transverse to the shaft axis SA (FIG. 2) when the sled 1 120 is in its starting position. When the locking portions 1654 are in such unlocked orientations, the central retainer features 1680 are not in retaining engagement with the locking windows 1658. In such instances, the firing member 1660 may be distally, or axially, advanced (fired). However, when a cartridge is not present in the elongate channel 1 102 or the sled 1 120 has been moved out of its starting position (meaning the cartridge is partially or completely fired), the locking portions 1654 spring laterally into retaining engagement with the firing member 1660. In such instances, referring to FIG. 19, the firing member 1660 cannot be moved distally.

[0153] FIGS. 16 and 17 illustrate the retraction of the firing member 1660 back to its starting, or unfired, position after performing a staple firing stroke as discussed above. FIG. 16 depicts the initial reengagement of the retaining features 1680 into their corresponding locking windows 1658. FIG. 17 illustrates the retaining feature in its locked position when the firing member 1660 has been fully retracted back to its starting position. To assist in the lateral displacement of the locking portions 1654 when they are contacted by the proximally moving retaining features 1680, each of the retaining features 1680 may be provided with a proximally-facing, laterally-tapered end portion. Such a lockout system prevents the actuation of the firing member 1660 when a new unfired cartridge is not present or when a new unfired cartridge is present, but has not been properly seated in the elongate channel 1 102. In addition, the lockout system may prevent the clinician from distally advancing the firing member in the case where a spent or partially fired cartridge has been inadvertently properly seated within the elongate channel. Another advantage that may be provided by the lockout system 1650 is that, unlike other firing member lock out arrangements that require movement of the firing member into and out of alignment with the corresponding slots/passages in the staple cartridge, the firing member 1660 remains in alignment with the cartridge passages while in the locked and unlocked positions. The locking portions 1654 are designed to move laterally into and out of engagement with corresponding sides of the firing member. Such lateral movement of the locking portions or portion is distinguishable from other locking arrangements that move in vertical directions to engage and disengage portions of the firing member.

[0154] Returning to FIGS. 13 and 14, the anvil 1 130 includes an elongate anvil body portion 1 132 and a proximal anvil mounting portion 1 150. The elongate anvil body portion 1 132 includes an outer surface 1 134 that defines two downwardly extending tissue stop members 1 136 that are adjacent to the proximal anvil mounting portion 1 150. The elongate anvil body portion 1 132 also includes an underside 1 135 that defines an elongate anvil slot 1 138. In the illustrated arrangement shown in FIG. 14, the anvil slot 1 138 is centrally disposed in the

underside 1 135. The underside 1 135 includes three rows 1 140, 1 141 , 1 142 of staple forming pockets 1 143, 1 144 and 1 145 located on each side of the anvil slot 1 138. Adjacent each side of the anvil slot 1 138 are two elongate anvil passages 1 146. Each passage 1 146 has a proximal ramp portion 1 148. See FIG. 13. As the firing member 1660 is advanced distally, the top anvil engagement features 1632 initially enter the corresponding proximal ramp portions 1 148 and into the corresponding elongate anvil passages 1 146.

[0155] Turning to FIGS. 12 and 13, the anvil slot 1 138, as well as the proximal ramp portion 1 148, extend into the anvil mounting portion 1 150. Stated another way, the anvil slot 1 138 divides or bifurcates the anvil mounting portion 1 150 into two anvil attachment flanges 1 151 . The anvil attachments flanges 1 151 are coupled together at their proximal ends by a connection bridge 1 153. The connection bridge 1 153 supports the anvil attachment flanges 1 151 and can serve to make the anvil mounting portion 1 150 more rigid than the mounting portions of other anvil arrangements which are not connected at their proximal ends. As can also be seen in FIGS. 12 and 14, the anvil slot 1 138 has a wide portion 1 139 to accommodate the top portion including the top anvil engagement features 1632, of the firing member 1660 when the firing member 1660 is in its proximal unfired position.

[0156] As can be seen in FIGS. 13 and 20-24, each of the anvil attachment flanges 1 151 includes a transverse mounting hole 1 156 that is configured to receive a pivot pin 1 158 (FIGS. 10 and 20) therethrough. The anvil mounting portion 1 150 is pivotally pinned to the proximal end 1 103 of the elongate channel 1 102 by the pivot pin 1 158 which extends through mounting holes 1 107 in the proximal end 1 103 of the elongate channel 1 102 and the mounting hole 1 156 in anvil mounting portion 1 150. Such an arrangement pivotally affixes the anvil 1 130 to the elongate channel 1 102 s that the anvil 1 130 can be pivoted about a fixed anvil axis A-A which is transverse to the shaft axis SA. See FIG. 5. The anvil mounting portion 1 150 also includes a cam surface 1 152 that extends from a centralized firing member parking area 1 154 to the outer surface 1 134 of the anvil body portion 1 132.

[0157] Further to the above, the anvil 1 130 is movable between an open position and closed positions by axially advancing and retracting the distal closure tube segment 1430, as discussed further below. A distal end portion of the distal closure tube segment 1430 has an internal cam surface formed thereon that is configured to engage the cam surface 1552, or cam surfaces formed on the anvil mounting portion 1 150, and move the anvil 1 130. FIG. 22 illustrates a cam surface 1 152a formed on the anvil mounting portion 1 150 so as to establish a single contact path 1 155a with the internal cam surface 1444, for example, on the distal closure tube segment 1430. FIG. 23 illustrates a cam surface 1 152b that is configured relative to the internal cam surface 1444 on the distal closure tube segment to establish two separate and distinct arcuate contact paths 1 155b between the cam surface 1 152 on the anvil mounting portion 1 150 and internal cam surface 1444 on the distal closure tube segment 1430. In addition to other potential advantages discussed herein, such an arrangement may better distribute the closure forces from the distal closure tube segment 1430 to the anvil 1 130. FIG. 24 illustrates a cam surface 1 152c that is configured relative to the internal cam surface 1444 of the distal closure tube segment 1430 to establish three distinct zones of contact 1 155c and 1 155d between the cam surfaces on the anvil mounting portion 1 150 and the distal closure tube segment 1430. The zones 1 155c, 1 155d establish larger areas of camming contact between the cam surface or cam surfaces on the distal closure tube segment 1430 and the anvil mounting portion 1 150 and may better distribute the closure forces to the anvil 1 130.

[0158] As the distal closure tube segment 1430 cammingly engages the anvil mounting portion 1 150 of the anvil 1 130, the anvil 1 130 is pivoted about the anvil axis AA (FIG. 5) which results in the pivotal movement of the distal end of the end 1 133 of elongate anvil body portion 1 132 toward the surgical staple cartridge 1 1 10 and the distal end 1 105 of the elongate channel 1 102. As the anvil body portion 1 132 begins to pivot, it contacts the tissue that is to be cut and stapled which is now positioned between the underside 1 135 of the elongate anvil body portion 1 132 and the deck 1 1 16 of the surgical staple cartridge 1 1 10. As the anvil body portion 1 132 is compressed onto the tissue, the anvil 1 130 may experience considerable amounts of resistive forces and/or bending loads, for example. These resistive forces are overcome as the distal closure tube 1430 continues its distal advancement. However, depending upon their magnitudes and points of application to the anvil body portion 1 132, these resistive forces could tend to cause portions of the anvil 1 130 to flex away from the staple cartridge 1 1 10 which may generally be undesirable. For example, such flexure may cause misalignment between the firing member 1660 and the passages 1 148, 1 146 within the anvil 1 130. In instances wherein the flexure is excessive, such flexure could significantly increase the amount of firing force required to fire the instrument (i.e., drive the firing member 1660 through the tissue from its starting to ending position). Such excessive firing force may result in damage to the end effector, the firing member, the knife bar, and/or the firing drive system components, for example. Thus, it may be advantageous for the anvil to be constructed so as to resist such flexure.

[0159] FIGS. 25-27 illustrate an anvil 1 130' that includes features that improve the stiffness of the anvil body and its resistance to flexure forces that may be generated during the closing and/or firing processes. The anvil 1 130' may otherwise be identical in construction to the anvil 1 130 described above except for the differences discussed herein. As can be seen in FIGS. 25-27, the anvil 1 130' has an elongate anvil body 1 132' that has an upper body portion 1 165 that and anvil cap 1 170 attached thereto. The anvil cap 1 170 is roughly rectangular in shape and has an outer cap perimeter 1 172, although the anvil cap 1 170 can have any suitable shape. The perimeter 1 172 of the anvil cap 1 170 is configured to be inserted into a correspondingly-shaped opening 1 137 formed in the upper body portion 1 165 and positioned against axially extending internal ledge portions 1 139 formed therein. See FIG. 27. The internal ledge portions 1 139 are configured to support the corresponding long sides 1 177 of the anvil cap 1 170. In an alternative embodiment, the anvil cap 1 170 may be slid onto the internal ledges 1 139 through an opening in the distal end 1 133 of the anvil body 1 132'. In yet another embodiment, no internal ledge portions are provided. The anvil body 1 132' and the anvil cap 1 170 may be fabricated from suitable metal that is conducive to welding. A first weld 1 178 may extend around the entire cap perimeter 1 172 of the anvil cap 1 170 or it may only be located along the long sides 1 177 of the anvil cap 1 170 and not the distal end 1 173 and/or proximal end 1 175 thereof. The first weld 1 178 may be continuous or it may be discontinuous or intermittent. In those embodiments where the first weld 1 178 is discontinuous or intermittent, the weld segments may be equally distributed along the long sides 1 177 of the anvil cap 1 170, more densely spaced closer to the distal ends of the long sides 1 177, and/or more densely spaced closer to the proximal ends of the long sides 1 177. In certain arrangements, the weld segments may be more densely spaced in the center areas of the long sides 1 177 of the anvil cap 1 170.

[0160] FIGS. 28-30 illustrate an anvil cap 1 170' that is configured to be mechanically interlocked to the anvil body 1 132' as well as welded to the upper body portion 1 165. In this embodiment, a plurality of retention formations 1 182 are defined in the wall 1 180 of the upper body portion 1 165 that defines opening 1 137. As used in this context, the term "mechanically interlocked" means that the anvil cap will remain affixed to the elongate anvil body regardless of the orientation of the elongate anvil body and without any additional retaining or fastening such as welding and/or adhesive, for example. The retention formations 1 182 may protrude inwardly into the opening 1 137 from the opening wall 1 180, although any suitable arrangement can be used. The retention formations 1 182 may be integrally formed into the wall 1 180 or otherwise be attached thereto. The retention formations 1 182 are designed to frictionally engage a corresponding portion of the anvil cap 1 170' when the anvil cap 1 170' is installed in the opening 1 137 to frictionally retain the anvil cap 1 170' therein. The retention formations 1 182 protrude inwardly into the opening 1 137 and are configured to be frictionally received within a

correspondingly shaped engagement area 1 184 formed in the outer perimeter 1 172' of the anvil cap 1 170'. The retention formations 1 182 only correspond to the long sides 1 177' of the anvil cap 1 170' and are not provided in the portions of the wall 1 180 that correspond to the distal end 1 173 or proximal end 1 175 of the anvil cap 1 170'. In alternative arrangements, the retention formations 1 182 may also be provided in the portions of the wall 1 180 that correspond to the distal end 1 173 and proximal end 1 175 of the anvil cap 1 170' as well as the long sides 1 177' thereof. In still other arrangements, the retention formations 1 182 may only be provided in the portions of the wall 1 180 that correspond to one or both of the distal and proximal ends 1 173, 1 175 of the anvil cap 1 170'. In still other arrangements, the retention formations 1 182 may be provided in the portions of the wall 1 180 corresponding to the long sides 1 177' and only one of the proximal and distal ends 1 173, 1 175 of the anvil cap 1 170'. It will be further understood that the retention protrusions in all of the foregoing embodiments may be alternatively formed on the anvil cap with the engagement areas being formed in the elongate anvil body.

[0161] In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 28-30, the retention formations 1 182 are equally spaced or equally distributed along the wall portions 1 180 of the anvil cap 1 170'. In alternative embodiments, the retention formations 1 182 may be more densely spaced closer to the distal ends of the long sides 1 177' or more densely spaced closer to the proximal ends of the long sides 1 177'. Stated another way, the spacing between those retention formations adjacent the distal end, the proximal end or both the distal and proximal ends may be less than the spacing of the formations located in the central portion of the anvil cap 1 170'. In still other arrangements, the retention formations 1 182 may be more densely spaced in the center areas of the long sides 1 177' of the anvil cap 1 170'. In some alternative embodiments, the correspondingly shaped engagement areas 1 184 may not be provided in the outer perimeter 1 172' or in portions of the outer perimeter 1 172' of the anvil cap 1 170'. In other embodiments, the retention formations and correspondingly-shaped engagement areas may be provided with different shapes and sizes. In alternative arrangements, the retention formations may be sized relative to the engagement areas so that there is no interference fit therebetween. In such arrangements, the anvil cap may be retained in position by welding, and/or an adhesive, for example.

[0162] In the illustrated example, a weld 1 178' extends around the entire perimeter 1 172' of the anvil cap 1 170'. Alternatively, the weld 1 178' is located along the long sides 1 177' of the anvil cap 1 170' and not the distal end 1 173 and/or proximal end 1 175 thereof. The weld 1 178' may be continuous or it may be discontinuous or intermittent. In those embodiments where the weld 1 178' is discontinuous or intermittent, the weld segments may be equally distributed along the long sides 1 177' of the anvil cap 1 170' or the weld segments may be more densely spaced

closer to the distal ends of the long sides 1 177' or more densely spaced closer to the proximal ends of the long sides 1 177'. In still other arrangements, the weld segments may be more densely spaced in the center areas of the long sides 1 177' of the anvil cap 1 170'.

[0163] FIGS. 31 and 32 illustrate another anvil arrangement 1 130" that has an anvil cap 1 170" attached thereto. The anvil cap 1 170" is roughly rectangular in shape and has an outer cap perimeter 1 172"; however, the anvil cap 1 170" can comprise of any suitable configuration. The outer cap perimeter 1 172" is configured to be inserted into a correspondingly-shaped opening 1 137" in upper body portion 1 165 of the anvil body 1 132" and received on axially extending internal ledge portions 1 139" and 1 190" formed therein. See FIG. 32. The ledge portions 1 139" and 1 190" are configured to support the corresponding long sides 1 177" of the anvil cap 1 170". In an alternative embodiment, the anvil cap 1 170" is slid onto the internal ledges 1 139" and 1 190" through an opening in the distal end 1 133" of the anvil body 1 132'. The anvil body 1 132" and the anvil cap 1 170" may be fabricated from metal material that is conducive to welding. A first weld 1 178" may extend around the entire perimeter 1 172" of the anvil cap 1 170" or it may only be located along the long sides 1 177" of the anvil cap 1 170" and not the distal end 1 173" and/or proximal end thereof. The weld 1 178" may be continuous or it may be discontinuous or intermittent. It will be appreciated that the continuous weld

embodiment has more weld surface area due to the irregularly shape perimeter of the anvil cap 1 170" as compared to the embodiments with a straight perimeter sides such as the anvil caps shown in FIG. 26, for example. In those embodiments where the weld 1 178" is discontinuous or intermittent, the weld segments may be equally distributed along the long sides 1 177" of the anvil cap 1 170" or the weld segments may be more densely spaced closer to the distal ends of the long sides 1 177" or more densely spaced closer to the proximal ends of the long sides 1 177". In still other arrangements, the weld segments may be more densely spaced in the center areas of the long sides 1 177" of the anvil cap 1 170".

[0164] Still referring to FIGS. 31 and 32, the anvil cap 1 170" may be additionally welded to the anvil body 1 132" by a plurality of second discrete "deep" welds 1 192". For example, each weld 1 192" may be placed at the bottom of a corresponding hole or opening 1 194" provided through the anvil cap 1 170" so that a discrete weld 1 192" may be formed along the portion of the anvil body 1 132" between the ledges 1 190" and 1 139". See FIG. 32. The welds 1 192" may be equally distributed along the long sides 1 177" of the anvil cap 1 170" or the welds 1 192" may be more densely spaced closer to the distal ends of the long sides 1 177" or more densely spaced closer to the proximal ends of the long sides 1 177". In still other arrangements, the welds 1 192" may be more densely spaced in the center areas of the long sides 1 177" of the anvil cap 1 170".

[0165] FIG. 33 illustrates another anvil cap 1 170"' that is configured to be mechanically interlocked to the anvil body 1 132"' as well as welded to the upper body portion 1 165. In this embodiment, a tongue-and-groove arrangement is employed along each long side 1 177"' of the anvil cap 1 170"'. In particular, a laterally extending continuous or intermittent tab 1 195"' protrudes from each of the long sides 1 177"' of the anvil cap 1 170"'. Each tab 1 195" corresponds to an axial slot 1 197"' formed in the anvil body 1 132"'. The anvil cap 1 170"' is slid in from an opening in the distal end of the anvil body 1 132"' to "mechanically" affix the anvil cap to the anvil body 1 132"'. The tabs 1 195"' and slots 1 197"' may be sized relative to each other to establish a sliding frictional fit therebetween. In addition, the anvil cap 1 170"' may be welded to the anvil body 1 132"'. The anvil body 1 132"' and the anvil cap 1 170"' may be fabricated from metal that is conducive to welding. The weld 1 178"' may extend around the entire perimeter 1 172"' of the anvil cap 1 170"' or it may only be located along the long sides 1 177"' of the anvil cap 1 170"'. The weld 1 178"' may be continuous or it may be discontinuous or intermittent. In those embodiments where the weld 1 178"' is discontinuous or intermittent, the weld segments may be equally distributed along the long sides 1 177"' of the anvil cap 1 170"' or the weld segments may be more densely spaced closer to the distal ends of the long sides 1 177"' or more densely spaced closer to the proximal ends of the long sides 1 177"'. In still other arrangements, the weld segments may be more densely spaced in the center areas of the long sides 1 177"' of the anvil cap 1 170"'.

[0166] The anvil embodiments described herein with anvil caps may provide several advantages. One advantage for example, may make the anvil and firing member assembly process easier. That is, the firing member may be installed through the opening in the anvil body while the anvil is attached to the elongate channel. Another advantage is that the upper cap may improve the anvil's stiffness and resistance to the above-mentioned flexure forces that may be experienced when clamping tissue. By resisting such flexure, the frictional forces normally encountered by the firing member 1660 may be reduced. Thus, the amount of firing force required to drive the firing member from its starting to ending position in the surgical staple cartridge may also be reduced.

[0167] FIGS. 34-39 depict a forming pocket arrangement 10200 that is configured to deform a staple during a surgical stapling procedure. The forming pocket arrangement 10200 and various alternative forming pocket arrangements are further described in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,914, entitled METHOD OF DEFORMING STAPLES FROM TWO DIFFERENT

TYPES OF STAPLE CARTRIDGES WITH THE SAME SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENT, which was filed December 21 , 2016. U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,914 is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. The forming pocket arrangement 10200 comprises a proximal forming pocket 10210 and a distal forming pocket 10230 defined in a planar, or tissue-engaging, surface 10207 of an anvil 10201. The pockets 10210, 10230 are aligned along a longitudinal pocket axis 10203 of the forming pocket arrangement 10200. A staple is intended to be formed along the pocket axis 10203 by the forming pocket arrangement 10200 when deployed from a staple cartridge. Referring to FIGS. 35 and 36, the forming pocket arrangement 10200 further comprises a bridge portion 10205 defined between the forming pockets 10210, 10230. In this instance, the bridge portion 10205 is recessed with respect to the planar surface 10207 of the anvil 10201. The bridge portion 10205 comprises a bridge width "W and a bridge depth "D". The bridge depth "D" is the distance that the bridge portion 10205 is recessed with respect to the planar surface 10207. The forming pocket arrangement 10200 comprises a center "C" defined within the bridge portion 10205. The forming pocket

arrangement 10200 is bilaterally symmetric with respect to the bridge portion 10205, bilaterally symmetric with respect to pocket axis 10203, and rotationally symmetric with respect to the center "C".

[0168] The forming pocket arrangement 10200 further comprises a pair of primary sidewalls 10208 extending from the planar surface 10207 of the anvil 10201 toward the pockets 10210, 10230 and the bridge portion 10205. The primary sidewalls 10208 are angled at angle θ2 (FIG. 37) with respect to the planar surface 10207 of the anvil 10201 . The forming pocket

arrangement 10200 further comprises edge features 10215, 10235 which provide a transition feature between the outer edges of the pockets 10210, 10230 and the planar surface 10207, between the longitudinal edges of the pockets 10210, 10230 and the primary sidewalls 10208, and between the inner edges of pockets 10210, 10230 and the bridge portion 10205. These edges 10215, 10235 can be rounded, and/or chamfered, for example. The edge features 10215, 10235 may help prevent staple tips from sticking.

[0169] The forming pocket 10210 comprises a pair of pocket sidewalls 10213 and the forming pocket 10230 comprises a pair of pocket sidewalls 10233. The pocket sidewalls 10213, 10233 are configured to direct the staple tips and the legs of the staples toward the forming surfaces of the pockets 10210, 10230 in the event that the staple tips and/or the legs of the staples initially strike the sidewalls 10213, 10233 of the pockets 10210, 10230. The sidewalls 10213, 10233 extend from the transition edges 10215, 10235 toward the forming surfaces of each pocket 10210, 10230. The sidewalls 10213, 10233 of the forming pockets 10210, 10230 are angled

with respect to the planar surface 10207 of the anvil 10201 at angle (FIG. 38) in order to direct, or channel, the legs and/or the staple tips of the staples toward the forming surfaces of the pockets 10210, 10230. The sidewalls 10213, 10233 are configured to encourage the staple tips and/or the legs of the staples to form along the pocket axis 10203 as the staples are formed against the forming surfaces of the pockets 10210, 10230. Collectively, the primary sidewalls 10208 and the pocket sidewalls 10213, 10233 can provide a funnel-like configuration for directing staple tips. Referring to FIGS. 37 and 38, the angle θ-\ is greater than the angle θ2.

[0170] The pockets 10210, 10230 further comprise transition edges 10214, 10234 which provide a transition feature between the pocket sidewalls 10213, 10233 and the forming surfaces, as discussed in greater detail below. In various instances, the transition edges 10214, 10234 can comprise a similar profile as the transition edges 10215, 10235. In other instances, the transition edges 10214, 10234 can comprise a different profile than the transition edges 10215, 10235. That said, the edges 10214, 10234 can be rounded, or chamfered, for example. The edges 10214, 10234 comprise a first end where the edges 10214, 10234 meet the outer ends of the pockets 10210, 10230 and a second end where the edges 10214, 10234 approach the bridge portion 10205, or the inner ends of the pockets 10210, 10230. The edges 10214, 10234 may transition into the transition edges 10215, 10235 near the bridge portion 10205. The edge features 10214, 10234 may also help prevent staple tips from sticking in the pockets 10210, 10230 when forming.

[0171] Referring again to FIG. 35, the forming surfaces of the pockets 10210, 10230 comprise an entry zone forming surface 1021 1 , 10231 and an exit zone forming surface 10212, 10232, respectively. In this instance, the amount of surface area of the forming surfaces that the entry zone forming surfaces 1021 1 , 10231 cover is greater than the amount of surface area of the forming surfaces that the exit zone forming surfaces 10212, 10232 cover. As a result, the entry zone forming surfaces 1021 1 , 10231 do not transition to the exit zone forming surfaces 10212, 10232 in the center of each pocket 10210, 10230. Rather, the transition points where the entry zones 1021 1 , 10231 transition to the exit zones 10212, 10232 are closer to the bridge portion 10205. The transitions between the entry zone forming surfaces 1021 1 , 10231 and the exit zone forming surfaces 10212, 10232 define a valley, or trough of each pocket 10210, 10230. The valleys of the forming pockets 10210, 10230 define a portion, or segment, of the forming surfaces having the greatest vertical distance from the planar surface 10207.

[0172] Referring to FIG. 36, the forming surfaces of each pocket 10210, 10230 comprise more than one radius of curvature. Specifically, the pocket 10210 comprises an entry radius of curvature 10217 corresponding to the entry zone forming surface 1021 1 and an exit radius of curvature 10218 corresponding to the exit zone forming surface 10212. Similarly, the pocket 10230 comprises an entry radius of curvature 10237 corresponding to the entry zone forming surface 10231 and an exit radius of curvature 10238 corresponding to the exit zone forming surface 10232. In this instance, the entry radii of curvature 10217, 10237 are larger than the exit radii of curvature 10218, 10238, respectively. Specific relationships between the radii of curvature and various pocket features along with some potential advantages and patterns of the specific relationships are further described in U.S. Patent Application No. 15/385,914.

[0173] In addition to defining the transition points where the entry zones transition to the exit zones, the valleys of the forming pockets 10210, 10230 also define the narrowest portion of the forming surfaces of each pocket 10210, 10230. The outer edges of each pocket 10210, 10230, also referred to as entry edges because they define the beginning of the entry zone forming surfaces 1021 1 , 10231 , comprise an entry width. The inner edges of each pocket 10210, 10230, also referred to as exit edges because they define the end of the exit zone forming surfaces 10212, 10232, comprise an exit width. In this instance, the entry width is greater than the exit width. Also, the exit width is greater than the valley width, or the narrowest portion of the forming surfaces. FIG. 38 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming pocket 10230 taken along line 38-38 in FIG. 35. This view illustrates the valley, or trough, of the distal forming pocket 10230. This valley, or trough, is also the transition between the entry zone forming surface 10231 and the exit zone forming surface 10232. FIG. 37 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the distal forming pocket 10230 taken along line 37-37 in FIG. 35 which is located within the exit zone forming surface 10232 of the forming pocket 10230. FIG. 39 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming pocket 10230 taken along line 39-39 in FIG. 35 which is within the entry zone forming surface 10232 of the distal forming pocket 10230.

[0174] The forming pocket arrangement 10200, and various other forming pocket arrangements disclosed herein, are configured to be used with staples with various diameters. The diameters of staples to be used with the forming pocket arrangement 10200 can vary between about 0.0079 inches and about 0.0094 inches, for example. Additionally, the entry radius of curvature and the exit radius of curvature of each forming surface comprise a ratio of about 1 .5: 1 to about 3: 1 when the entry radius is between about 8x the staple diameter and 10x the staple diameter, for example. In at least one instance, the entry radius of curvature and the exit radius of curvature of each forming surface comprise a ratio of about 2:1 when the entry radius is 9x the staple diameter, for example. In other instances, the entry radius of curvature and the exit radius of curvature of each forming surface comprise a ratio of about 1.5:1 to about 3: 1 when the entry radius is above about 0.6x the staple crown length and the ridge, or bridge, width is less than 1x the staple diameter, for example. In at least one instance, the entry radius of curvature and the exit radius of curvature of each forming surface comprise a ratio of about 2:1 when the entry radius is above about 0.6x the staple crown length and the ridge, or bridge, width is less than 1x the staple diameter. The exit radius of curvature is between about 4x the staple diameter and about 6x diameter, for example. In at least one instance, the exit radius of curvature is about 4.5x the staple diameter.

[0175] FIGS. 40-45 depict a forming pocket arrangement 10500 that is configured to deform a staple during a surgical stapling procedure. The forming pocket arrangement 10500 and various alternative forming pocket arrangements are further described in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,914, entitled METHOD OF DEFORMING STAPLES FROM TWO

DIFFERENT TYPES OF STAPLE CARTRIDGES WITH THE SAME SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENT, which was filed December 21 , 2016. U.S. Patent Application Serial No.

15/385,914 is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. The forming pocket arrangement 10500 comprises a proximal forming pocket 10510 and a distal forming pocket 10530 defined in a planar, or tissue-contacting, surface 10507 of an anvil 10501 . The pockets 10510, 10530 are aligned along a longitudinal pocket axis 10503 of the forming pocket arrangement 10500. A staple is intended to be formed along the pocket axis 10503 by the forming pocket arrangement 10500 when deployed from a staple cartridge. Referring to FIGS. 41 and 42, the forming pocket arrangement 10500 further comprises a bridge portion 10505 defined between the forming pockets 10510, 10530. In this instance, the bridge portion 10505 is recessed with respect to the planar surface 10507 of the anvil 10501. The bridge portion 10505 comprises a bridge width "W and a bridge depth "D". The bridge portion 10505 is substantially V-shaped with a rounded bottom portion. The bridge depth "D" is the distance that the bottom portion of the bridge portion 10505 is recessed with respect to the planar surface 10507. The forming pocket arrangement 10500 comprises a center "C" defined within the bridge portion 10505. The forming pocket arrangement 10500 is bilaterally symmetric with respect to the bridge portion 10505, bilaterally symmetric with respect to pocket axis 10503, and rotationally symmetric with respect to the center "C".

[0176] The forming pocket arrangement 10500 further comprises a pair of primary sidewalls 10508 extending from the planar surface 10507 of the anvil 10501 toward the pockets 10510, 10530 and the bridge portion 10505. The primary sidewalls 10508 are angled at angle θ-\ (FIG. 43) with respect to the planar surface 10507 of the anvil 10501 . The primary sidewalls 10508 comprise inner edges that are curved, or contoured, with respect to the pockets 10510, 10530. [0177] The forming pocket 10510 comprises a pair of pocket sidewalls 10513 and the forming pocket 10530 comprises a pair of pocket sidewalls 10533. The pocket sidewalls 10513, 10533 comprise curved, or contoured, profiles and are configured to direct the staple tips and the legs of the staples toward the forming surfaces of the pockets 10510, 10530 as well as help control the forming process of the staples. The sidewalls 10513, 10533 extend from the primary sidewalls 10508 and the planar surface 10507 toward the forming surfaces of each pocket 10510, 10530. The sidewalls 10513, 10533 are configured to encourage the staple tips and/or the legs of the staples to form along the pocket axis 10503 as the staples are formed against the forming surfaces of the pockets 10510, 10530. Collectively, the primary sidewalls 10508 and the pocket sidewalls 10513, 10533 cooperate to funnel corresponding staple tips toward the lateral center of each pocket 10510, 10530. Discussed in greater detail below, the sidewalls 10513, 10533 comprise entry portions and exit portions where the entry portions comprise a less aggressive channeling configuration than the exit portions.

[0178] Referring again to FIG. 41 , the forming surfaces of the pockets 10510, 10530 comprise an entry zone forming surface 1051 1 , 10531 and an exit zone forming surface 10512, 10532, respectively. The entry zone forming surfaces 1051 1 , 10531 coincide with the less aggressive channeling portions of the sidewalls 10513, 10533. Similarly, the exit zone forming surfaces 10512, 10532 coincide with the more aggressive channeling portions of the sidewalls 10513, 10533. The pockets 10510, 10530 further comprise a forming, or guiding, groove 10515, 10535, also referred to as a tip control channel, extending the entire longitudinal length of each pocket 10510, 10530 and positioned centrally with respect to the outer lateral edges of the pockets 10510, 10530. The grooves 10515, 10535 are narrower at the outer longitudinal edges of the pockets 10510, 10530 than the inner longitudinal edges of the pockets 10510, 10530. The grooves 10515, 10535 meet at the bridge portion 10505 to encourage the staple tips, and staple legs, to contact each other during the forming process, as further discussed in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,914. In some instances, grooves defined in the forming surfaces of forming pockets can have a similar effect in staple forming as more aggressively-angled exit walls and/or narrowly-configured exit walls.

[0179] Referring to FIG. 42, the forming surfaces of each pocket 10510, 10530 comprise more than one radius of curvature. Specifically, the pocket 10510 comprises an entry radius of curvature 10517 corresponding to the entry zone forming surface 1051 1 and an exit radius of curvature 10518 corresponding to the exit zone forming surface 10512. Similarly, the pocket 10530 comprises an entry radius of curvature 10537 corresponding to the entry zone forming surface 10531 and an exit radius of curvature 10538 corresponding to the exit zone forming

surface 10532. In this instance, the entry radii of curvature 10517, 10537 are larger than the exit radii of curvature 10518, 10538. Specific relationships between the radii of curvature and various pocket features along with some potential advantages and patterns of the specific relationships are further described in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,914.

[0180] Referring now to FIGS. 43-45, the outer longitudinal edges of each pocket 10510, 10530 are referred to as entry edges because they define the beginning of the entry zone forming surfaces 1051 1 , 10531 . The entry edges comprise an entry width which is the largest width of the forming surfaces of each pocket 10510, 10530. The inner edges of each pocket 10510, 10530 are referred to as exit edges because they define the end of the exit zone forming surfaces 10512, 10532. The exit edges comprise an exit width, also referred to as the bridge width "W, which is the narrowest section of the forming surfaces of each pocket 10510, 10530. The transitions between entry and exit zones comprise a transition width which is less than the entry width but greater than the exit width. FIG. 44 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming pocket 10530 taken along line 44-44 in FIG. 41 . This view is taken near the valley, or trough, of the distal forming pocket 10530. This valley, or trough, is also the transition between the entry zone forming surface 10531 and the exit zone forming surface 10532. In various instances, the transition between entry and exit zones does not occur at the valley, or trough, of the pocket. FIG. 43 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the distal forming pocket 10530 taken along line 43-43 in FIG. 41 which is located within the exit zone forming surface 10532 of the forming pocket 10530. FIG. 45 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming pocket 10530 taken along line 45-45 in FIG. 41 which is within the entry zone forming surface 10532 of the distal forming pocket 10530. The sidewalls 10533 are illustrated in this figure as linear, or at least substantially linear, and are angled at angle θ2 (FIG. 45) with respect to the planar surface 10507. Angle θ2 is greater than angle θ-\ (FIG. 43).

[0181] FIGS. 46 and 47 depict staples formed with the forming pocket arrangement 10500 where one staple was aligned with the pocket axis 10503 of the forming pocket arrangement 10500 and the other staple was misaligned with the pocket axis 10503 of the forming pocket arrangement 10500. FIG. 46 depicts a side view 13100 and a bottom view 13100' of a staple 13101 in a fully-formed configuration formed with the forming pocket arrangement 10500. This staple 13101 was aligned with the pocket axis 10503 of the forming pocket arrangement 10500 during the forming process. The tips 13104 of the staple legs 13103 struck the forming pocket arrangement 10500 along the pocket axis 10503.

[0182] The staple 13101 comprises a first tip alignment axis TA1 , a second tip alignment axis TA2, and a crown alignment axis CA. When aligned with the pocket axis 10503, the staple

13101 forms such that the second tip alignment axis TA2 and the crown alignment axis CA are substantially aligned or, in other words, the staple 13101 assumes a substantially planar configuration. The force to fire the staple 13101 is illustrated in the graph 131 10.

[0183] FIG. 47 depicts a side view 13120 and a bottom view 13120' of a staple 13121 in a fully formed configuration formed with the forming pocket arrangement 10500. This staple 13121 was misaligned with the pocket axis 10503 of the forming pocket arrangement 10500 during the forming process. The staple 13121 was driven off plane with respect to the pocket axis 10503. The tips 13124 of the staple legs 13123 did not strike the forming pocket arrangement 10500 along the pocket axis 10503 nor was the crown, or base, 13122 of the staple 13121 aligned with the pocket axis 10503 during forming.

[0184] The staple 13121 comprises a first tip alignment axis TA1 , a second tip alignment axis TA2, and a crown alignment axis CA. When misaligned with the pocket axis 10503, the staple 13121 forms such that the second tip alignment axis TA2 and the crown alignment axis CA are substantially aligned with each other or, in other words, the staple 13121 assumes a

substantially planar configuration. Compared to FIG. 46 where the staple 13101 was aligned with the pocket axis 10503, the staple 13121 forms into a fully-formed configuration that may be more acceptable to a surgeon to more adequately seal tissue than staples formed with other forming pocket arrangements which form in a misaligned state.

[0185] FIGS. 48-54 depict a forming pocket arrangement 6500 that is configured to deform a staple during a surgical stapling procedure. The forming pocket arrangement 6500 comprises a proximal forming cup, or pocket, 6510 and a distal forming cup, or pocket, 6530 defined in a planar, or tissue-contacting, surface 6507 of an anvil 6501 . The tissue-contacting surface 6507 of the anvil 6501 can be configured to compress tissue against a staple cartridge when the anvil 6501 is clamped or closed relative to the staple cartridge. Each cup 6510, 6530 is defined by a boundary surface as further described herein. The cups 6510, 6530 are aligned along a pocket axis 6503 of the forming pocket arrangement 6500. A staple is intended to be formed along the pocket axis 6503 by the forming pocket arrangement 6500 when deployed from a staple cartridge. For example, a first leg of the staple is formed by the proximal forming cup 6510 and a second leg of the staple is formed by the distal forming cup 6530. In such instances, the first leg of the staple is aligned with a portion of the proximal forming cup 6510 and the second leg of the staple is aligned with a portion of the distal forming cup 6530 when the anvil 6501 is clamped relative to the staple cartridge.

[0186] Referring to FIGS. 50 and 51 , the forming pocket arrangement 6500 further comprises a bridge portion 6505 defined between the forming cups 6510, 6530. In this instance, the bridge portion 6505 is recessed with respect to the planar surface 6507 of the anvil 6501 . The bridge portion 6505 comprises a bridge width BW and a bridge depth BD (FIG. 54). The bridge depth BD is the distance that the bottom portion of the bridge portion 6505 is recessed with respect to the planar surface 6507. The bridge width BW is the width of the pocket arrangement 6500 between the cups 6510, 6530. In this instance, the bridge width BW is the narrowest section of the forming surfaces of each cup 6510, 6530. The forming pocket arrangement 6500 comprises a center C (FIGS. 48-50) defined within the bridge portion 6505. The forming pocket arrangement 6500 is bilaterally symmetric with respect to the bridge portion 6505, bilaterally symmetric with respect to pocket axis 6503, and rotationally symmetric with respect to the center C.

[0187] The forming pocket arrangement 6500 further comprises a pair of primary sidewalls 6508 extending from the planar surface 6507 of the anvil 6501 toward the cups 6510, 6530 and the bridge portion 6505. The primary sidewalls 6508 are angled at an angle θ-\ (FIGS. 52-54) with respect to the planar surface 6507 of the anvil 6501. The cups 6510, 6530 define a perimeter 6520 and the inner edges of the primary sidewalls 6508 extend between the planar surface 6507 and the perimeter 6520 of the cups 6510, 6530. Referring primarily to FIG. 50, the inner edges of the primary sidewalls 6508 are curved, or contoured, with respect to the cups 6510, 6530.

[0188] In certain instances, the forming pocket arrangement 6500 may not include the primary sidewalls 6508. In such instances, the cups 6510, 6530 can extend directly to the planar surface 6507 and the perimeter 6520 of the cups 6510, 6530 can be defined in the planar surface 6507.

[0189] Referring again to FIGS. 50 and 51 , the proximal forming cup 6510 comprises a pair of cup sidewalls 6513 and the distal forming cup 6530 comprises a pair of cup sidewalls 6533. The cup sidewalls 6513, 6533 comprise curved, or contoured, profiles and are configured to direct the staple tips and the legs of the staples toward the forming surfaces of the cups 6510, 6530 as well as help control the forming process of the staples. The sidewalls 6513, 6533 extend from the primary sidewalls 6508 and the planar surface 6507 toward the forming surfaces of each cup 6510, 6530. The sidewalls 6513, 6533 are configured to encourage the staple tips and/or the legs of the staples to form along the pocket axis 6503 as the staples are formed against the forming surfaces of the cups 6510, 6530. Collectively, the primary sidewalls 6508 and the cup sidewalls 6513, 6533 cooperate to funnel corresponding staple tips toward the lateral center of each cup 6510, 6530. An inflection surface, or bottom surface, 6514, 6534

extends along the lateral center of each respective cup 6510, 6530 intermediate the respective sidewalls 6513, 6533.

[0190] Referring still to FIG. 50, the forming surfaces of the cups 6510, 6530 comprise an entry zone forming surface 651 1 , 6531 , respectively, and an exit zone forming surface 6512, 6532, respectively. The entry zone forming surfaces 651 1 , 6531 can coincide with less aggressive channeling portions of the sidewalls 6513, 6533. Similarly, the exit zone forming surfaces 6512, 6532 can coincide with more aggressive channeling portions of the sidewalls 6513, 6533.

[0191] Referring primarily now to FIG. 51 , the forming surfaces of each cup 6510, 6530 are defined by a depth profile or contour. The proximal forming cup 6510 includes the depth profile 6522, and the distal forming cup 6530 includes the depth profile 6542. The depth profiles 6522, 6542 define the depth of the cups 6510, 6530, respectively, along the length thereof. The cups 6510, 6530 reach a maximum cup depth CD within their respective transition zones 6509, 6529, which are further described below. The cup depth CD of the pockets 6510, 6530 can be between 0.3 and 0.5 millimeters, for example. For example, the cup depth CD can be 0.4 millimeters. In other instances, the cup depth CD can be less than 0.3 millimeters or more than 0.5 millimeters, for example.

[0192] The depth profiles 6522, 6542 are curved profiles, which are devoid of linear portions. Moreover, the depth profiles 6522, 6542 can comprise one or more radii of curvature.

Specifically, the depth profile 6522 of the proximal forming cup 6510 comprises an entry radius of curvature 6517 corresponding to the entry zone forming surface 651 1 and an exit radius of curvature 6518 corresponding to the exit zone forming surface 6512. Similarly, the depth profile 6542 of the distal forming cup 6530 comprises an entry radius of curvature 6537 corresponding to the entry zone forming surface 6531 and an exit radius of curvature 6538 corresponding to the exit zone forming surface 6532. In this instance, the entry radii of curvature 6517, 6537 are larger than the exit radii of curvature 6518, 6538. Specific relationships between the entry zone and exit zone radii of curvature and various pocket features along with some potential advantages and patterns of the specific relationships are further described in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,914.

[0193] The outer longitudinal edges of each cup 6510, 6530 are referred to as entry edges because they define the beginning of the entry zone forming surfaces 651 1 , 6531. The entry edges comprise an entry width which is the largest width of the forming surfaces of each cup 6510, 6530. The inner edges of each cup 6510, 6530 are referred to as exit edges because they define the end of the exit zone forming surfaces 6512, 6532. The exit edges comprise an exit width, also referred to as the bridge width BW (FIG. 54) which is the narrowest section of the forming surfaces of each cup 6510, 6530. A transition zone 6509, 6529 is positioned intermediate the entry zone and exit zone of each cup. The transition zones 6509, 6529 have a transition width which is less than the entry width but greater than the exit width. The transition zones 6509, 6529 include an inflection portion of the respective depth profiles 6522, 6542 and, thus, include the deepest portion of each cup 6510, 6530. In various instances, the transition zones 6509, 6529 comprise the majority of the length of each cup 6510, 6530. More specifically, the length of the transition zone 6509, 6529 can be greater than the combined length of the respective entry zone and exit zone of each cup 6510, 6530. The transition zones 6509, 6529 can extend along the tapered or narrowing section of each cup 6510, 6530. For example, each transition zone 6509, 6529 can extend inward from the widest section of the respective cup 6510, 6530 toward the bridge 6505.

[0194] FIG. 53 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming cup 6530 taken along line 53-53 in FIG. 50. This view is taken near the valley, or trough, of the distal forming cup 6530. This valley, or trough, is also the transition between the entry zone forming surface 6531 and the exit zone forming surface 6532. In various instances, the transition between entry and exit zones does not occur at the valley, or trough, of the cup. FIG. 54 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the distal forming cup 6530 taken along line 54-54 in FIG. 50 which is located within the exit zone forming surface 6532 of the distal forming cup 6530. FIG. 52 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming cup 6530 taken along line 52-52 in FIG. 50 which is within the entry zone forming surface 6532 of the distal forming cup 6530.

[0195] Referring primarily to FIGS. 52-54, the pair of cup sidewalls 6533 of the distal forming cup 6530 includes a first sidewall 6533a and a second sidewall 6533b. The first and second sidewalls 6533a, 6533b are opposing sidewalls which extend toward each other from laterally-opposed sides of the distal forming cup 6530. The inflection surface, or bottom surface, 6534 of the distal forming cup 6530 is positioned between the first and second sidewalls 6533a, 6533b. The bottom surface 6534 of the distal forming cup 6530 is an entirely-curved, non-flat surface. In other words, the bottom surface 6534 is devoid of flat, planar surfaces. The bottom surface 6534 can define one or more radii of curvature. For example, at various longitudinal positions along the pocket axis 6503, the bottom surface 6534 defines different radii of curvature. A tangent to the bottom surface 6534 at the lateral center of the cup 6530 is parallel to the planar surface 6507 along the length thereof.

[0196] In various instances, the curvature of the bottom surface 6534 can be dimensioned such that the staple leg does not travel along a flat surface during the staple forming process. In such instances, the bottom surface 6543 can encourage the staple to form into a more planar

formed configuration than staples formed along flat bottom surfaces, especially when the staples are misaligned with the pocket axis 6503 during formation. The curvature of the bottom surface 6543 can be dimensioned such that the bottom surface 6543 provides a plurality of contact surfaces for the staple leg. For example, the radius of curvature of the bottom surface 6534 can be less than the radius of curvature of the staple leg.

[0197] The cup sidewalls 6513, 6533 are entirely-curved, non-flat surfaces. In other words, the cup sidewalls 6513, 6533 are devoid of flat, planar surfaces. Referring again to FIGS. 52-54, the sidewalls 6533a, 6533b define one or more radii of curvature. For example, at various longitudinal positions along the pocket axis 6503, the sidewalls 6533a, 6533b define different radii of curvature. The entirely-curved contours of the cup sidewalls 6513, 6533 and the bottom surface 6534 can define curvilinear boundary surfaces of the cups 6510, 6530. The cups 6513, 6533 can be entirely-curved and devoid of flat, planar surfaces.

[0198] The sidewalls 6533a, 6533b are oriented at an entry angle θ2 relative to the tissue-contacting surface 6507 at various transverse cross-sections of the distal forming cup 6530. More specifically, a tangent T to each sidewall 6533a, 6533b at the perimeter 6520 of the distal forming cup 6530 is oriented at the angle θ2 relative to the tissue-contacting surface 6507 in FIGS. 52-54. The entry angle θ2 is constant within the transition forming zone 6529 (FIGS. 50 and 51 ) and along the majority of the length of the distal forming cup 6530. Though the tangent to such sidewalls is oriented at a constant angle along the length, or substantial length, of the cups 6510, 6530, the radius of curvature and the length of the arcs defining the sidewalls can vary as the depth and width of the cups varies along the length thereof. In various instances, the angle 92 can be between 55 degrees and 80 degrees, for example. For example, in FIGS. 52-54, the angle θ2 is 80 degrees. In other instances, the angle θ2 can be less than 55 degrees or more than 80 degrees. The sidewalls 6533a, 6533b are non-vertical sidewalls and, thus, the angle θ2 of the tangent T along the perimeter 6520 can be less than 90 degrees, for example.

[0199] A datum point at the transition between the sidewalls 6533a, 6533b and the bottom surface 6534 is indicated for illustrative purposes in FIGS. 52-54. For example, the curved boundary surface of the distal forming cup 6530 includes a datum point A at the transition between the sidewall 6533a and the bottom surface 6534. At each longitudinal position along the cup 6530, the first sidewall 6533a and the second sidewall 6533b define a sidewall radius of curvature 6543 and the bottom surface 6534 defines a bottom radius of curvature 6544. The bottom radius of curvature 6544 can be different than the sidewall radius of curvature 6543. The transition between radii of curvature at the datum point A comprises a smooth, non-abrupt transition.

[0200] A datum line B is also depicted in FIGS. 52-54 for illustrative purposes. The datum line B extends between the first datum point A and the perimeter 6520 of the distal forming cup 6530. The datum line B is oriented at an angle θ3 in FIGS. 52-54. The angle θ3 can determine where the curved sidewall 6533a meets the curved bottom surface 6534. Moreover, the steepness of the sidewall 6533a can be impacted by the angle θ3. For example, for a constant angle θ2, an increase in the angle 93 can result in a deeper and narrower cup. In certain instances, the angle 93 can be limited by a desirable minimum pocket width in the deepest portion of the cup. For example, the desirable minimum pocket width can be a requirement of the tooling process for the anvil 6501 and/or necessitated by the width of the staple wire.

[0201] The angle θ3 is constant within the transition forming surface zone 6529 (FIG. 51 ) and along the majority of the length of the distal forming cup 6530. In various instances, the angle 93 can be less than the angle θ2. The angle θ3 in FIGS. 52-54 is approximately 55 degrees, for example. In other instances, the angle θ3 can be less than 55 degrees or more than 80 degrees, for example. Though the angles θ2 and θ3 are constant along the length of the distal forming cup 6530, or at least along the substantial length of the distal forming cup 6530, the radius of curvature and the length of the arcs defining the sidewalls 6533a, 6533b varies as the depth and width of the distal forming cup 6530 varies along the length thereof.

[0202] The angle θ2 relative to a tissue-contacting surface can comprise a relatively steep angle. For example, the angle θ2 can be greater than the angles θ-\ and θ3. The steepness of the angle 92 can encourage the staple to form along the pocket axis. Moreover, a constant angle 92 along the length of the distal forming cup 6530 can encourage a misaligned staple leg to move from the perimeter toward the lateral center or axis 6503 of the cup 6530. As described herein, the depth of the pocket can vary along the length thereof. However, maintaining a constant angle 92 can encourage a misaligned staple leg to move from the perimeter toward the lateral center of the distal forming cup 6530 even in shallower regions of the cup 6530.

[0203] In certain instances, the maximum cup depth CD can vary between staple-forming pockets and/or arrangements in an anvil. For example, different depths can be utilized to form staples to different heights and/or to form staples driven by drivers having different heights, as further described herein. The depth of the pockets can vary across the rows of pockets and/or within one or more rows of pockets, for example. Deeper pockets can provide increased control over staple formation; however, the depth of the pockets can be limited by anvil tooling constraints and the geometry of the staples. In instances in which certain pockets are shallower than other pockets, the sidewalls of the shallower pockets can be oriented at the same entry angle θ2 as the deeper pockets to encourage the staples formed by the shallower pockets to form along the pocket axis.

[0204] FIG. 54A is a partial negative view of various slices of a forming pocket of the forming pocket arrangement 6500. The dimensions of the various slices are labeled thereon. The slices are of only a single sidewall of the forming pocket and are taken in planes along the forming pocket which are perpendicular to the tissue-contacting surface 6507 and the pocket axis 6503. Each slice comprises a width "x", a height "y", an upper radius of curvature "ra", and a lower radius of curvature "rb". The width "x" is defined as the x-component of the distance between the perimeter 6520 of the forming pocket and the bottom radius of curvature 6544 of the forming pocket. The height "y" is defined as the y-component of the distance between the perimeter 6520 of the forming pocket and the bottom radius of curvature 6544 of the forming pocket. The upper radius of curvature "ra" is defined as the radius of curvature of an upper portion of the sidewall. The lower radius of curvature "rb" is defined as the radius of curvature of an lower portion of the sidewall. Each dimension includes a number indicating which slice the dimension corresponds to. For example, Slice 1 includes a width "x^, a height "yi", an upper radius of curvature "ra^', and a lower radius of curvature "rb '. FIG. 54B is a table 6550 comprising the dimensions of the Slices 1-12 of FIG. 54A, in at least one embodiment.

[0205] FIG. 54C is a cross-sectional view of the forming pocket arrangement 6500 taken along the pocket axis 6503. FIG. 54C includes various dimensions of the distal forming pocket 6530 of forming pocket arrangement 6500. The length of the forming pocket 6530 is 1 .90mm, for example. The depth of the forming pocket 6530 is 0.40mm, for example. In certain instances, the distal forming pocket 6530 comprises three radii of curvature: an entry radius of curvature which is 1.90mm, a first exit radius of curvature which is 1 .00mm, and a second exit radius of curvature which is 0.10mm, for example. The width of the bridge portion of the distal forming pocket 6530 is defined, in this instance, as the distance between the center of the forming pocket arrangement 6500 and the inner-most edge of the first exit radius of curvature (the edge of the first exit radius of curvature closest to the center of the forming pocket arrangement 6500) is 0.10mm, for example. The bridge depth is 0.05mm, for example.

[0206] FIGS. 55-60 depict another forming pocket arrangement 6600 in the anvil 6501 . The forming pocket arrangement 6600 is configured to deform a staple during a surgical stapling procedure, and comprises a proximal forming cup, or pocket, 6610 and a distal forming cup, or pocket, 6630 defined in the planar, or tissue-contacting, surface 6507 of the anvil 6501 . The forming pocket arrangement 6600 can be similar in many respects to the forming pocket arrangement 6500. For example, sidewalls of the staple-forming cups 6610, 6630 can intersect

the planar surface 6507 at the same constant entry angle θ2 along the length thereof. Though the sidewall entry angles 92 can be the same for cups 6610 and 6630 as for cups 6510 and 6530 (FIGS. 48-54), the maximum cup depth CD can be different, as further described herein. In such instances, the sidewalls of the shallower pockets can define the same entry angle θ2 as the sidewalls of the deeper pockets, which can encourage proper, planar formation of the staples formed by the different depth pockets.

[0207] In other instances, the forming pocket arrangement 6600 can be defined in a different anvil. For example, the anvil 6501 may not include different forming pocket arrangements. Rather, an anvil, such as the anvil 6501 , can consist of uniform or identical forming pocket arrangements, for example. In certain instances, the forming pocket arrangement 6600 can be the only forming pocket arrangement in a particular anvil.

[0208] Each cup 6610, 6630 is defined by a boundary surface as further described herein. The cups 6610, 6630 are aligned along a pocket axis 6603 of the forming pocket arrangement 6600. A staple is intended to be formed along the pocket axis 6603 by the forming pocket

arrangement 6600 when deployed from a staple cartridge. For example, a first leg of the staple can be formed by the proximal forming cup 6610 and a second leg of the staple can be formed by the distal forming cup 6630. In such instances, the first leg of the staple is aligned with a portion of the proximal forming cup 6610 and the second leg of the staple is aligned with a portion of the distal forming cup 6630 when the anvil 6501 is clamped relative to the staple cartridge.

[0209] Referring to FIGS. 56 and 57, the forming pocket arrangement 6600 further comprises a bridge portion 6605 defined between the forming cups 6610, 6630. The bridge portion 6605 is recessed with respect to the planar surface 6507 of the anvil 6501 , however, the bridge portion 6605 can be flush with the planar surface 6507. The bridge portion 6605 comprises a bridge width BW and a bridge depth BD (FIG. 60). The bridge depth BD is the distance that the bottom portion of the bridge portion 6605 is recessed with respect to the planar surface 6507. The bridge width BW is the width of the pocket arrangement 6600 between the cups 6610, 6630. In this instance, the bridge width BW is the narrowest section of the forming surfaces of each cup 6610, 6630. The forming pocket arrangement 6600 comprises a center C (FIGS. 55 and 56) defined within the bridge portion 6605. The forming pocket arrangement 6600 is bilaterally symmetric with respect to the bridge portion 6605, bilaterally symmetric with respect to pocket axis 6603, and rotationally symmetric with respect to the center C.

[0210] The forming pocket arrangement 6605 further comprises a pair of primary sidewalls 6608 extending from the planar surface 6507 of the anvil 6501 toward the cups 6610, 6630 and the bridge portion 6605. The primary sidewalls 6608 are angled at an angle (FIGS. 58-60) with respect to the planar surface 6507 of the anvil 6501. The cups 6610, 6630 define a perimeter 6620 and the inner edges of the primary sidewalls 6608 extend between the planar surface 6507 and the perimeter 6620 of the cups 6610, 6630. Referring primarily to FIG. 56, the inner edges of the primary sidewalls 6608 are curved, or contoured, with respect to the cups 6610, 6630.

[0211] In certain instances, the forming pocket arrangement 6600 may not include the primary sidewalls 6608. In such instances, the cups 6610, 6630 can extend directly to the planar surface 6507 and the perimeter 6620 of the cups 6610, 6630 can be defined in the planar surface 6507.

[0212] Referring again to FIGS. 56 and 57, the proximal forming cup 6610 comprises a pair of cup sidewalls 6613 and the distal forming cup 6630 comprises a pair of cup sidewalls 6633. The cup sidewalls 6613, 6633 comprise curved, or contoured, profiles and are configured to direct the staple tips and the legs of the staples toward the forming surfaces of the cups 6610, 6630 as well as help control the forming process of the staples. The sidewalls 6613, 6633 extend from the primary sidewalls 6608 and the planar surface 6507 toward the forming surfaces of each cup 6610, 6630. The sidewalls 6613, 6633 are configured to encourage the staple tips and/or the legs of the staples to form along the pocket axis 6603 as the staples are formed against the forming surfaces of the cups 6610, 6630. Collectively, the primary sidewalls 6608 and the cup sidewalls 6613, 6633 cooperate to funnel corresponding staple tips toward the lateral center of each cup 6610, 6630. An inflection surface, or bottom surface, 6614, 6634 extends along the lateral center of each respective cup 6610, 6630 intermediate the respective sidewalls 6613, 6633.

[0213] Referring still to FIG. 56, the forming surfaces of the cups 6610, 6630 comprise an entry zone forming surface 661 1 , 6631 , respectively, and an exit zone forming surface 6612, 6632, respectively. The entry zone forming surfaces 661 1 , 6631 can coincide with less aggressive channeling portions of the sidewalls 6613, 6633. Similarly, the exit zone forming surfaces 6612, 6632 can coincide with more aggressive channeling portions of the sidewalls 6613, 6633.

[0214] Referring primarily now to FIG. 57, the forming surfaces of each cup 6610, 6630 are defined by a depth profile or contour. The proximal forming cup 6610 includes the depth profile 6622, and the distal forming cup 6630 includes the depth profile 6642. The depth profiles 6622, 6642 define the depth of the cups 6610, 6630, respectively, along the length thereof. The cups 6610, 6630 reach a maximum cup depth CD within their respective transition zone 6609, 6629, which are further described below. The cup depth CD of the pockets 6610, 6630 can be

between 0.2 and 0.4 millimeters, for example. For instance, the cup depth CD can be 0.3 millimeters. In other instances, the cup depth CD can be less than 0.2 millimeters or more than 0.4 millimeters.

[0215] The cup depth CD of the cups 6610, 6630 is less than the cup depth CD of the cups 6510, 6530 (FIG. 51). For example, the cup depth CD of the cups 6610, 6630 can be 0.2 millimeters less than the cup depth CD of the cups 6510, 6530. In certain instances, the cup depth CD of the cups 6610, 6630 can be 0.1 millimeters to 0.3 millimeters less than the cup depth CD of the cups 6510, 6530. The cup depth CD of the cups 6510, 6530 can be 25% to 50% greater than the cup depth CD of the cups 6610, 6630. For example, the cup depth CD of the cups 6510, 6530 can be 40% greater than the cup depth CD of the cups 6610, 6630. In various instances, the difference between the cup depth CD of the pocket forming arrangements 6500 and 6600 can be selected to be equal to, or substantially equal to, the diameter of a staple formed by the pocket forming arrangements 6500, 6600.

[0216] The depth profiles 6622, 6642 are curved profiles, which are devoid of linear portions. Moreover, the depth profiles 6622, 6642 can comprise one or more radii of curvature. In this instance, the depth profiles 6622, 6642 include more than one radius of curvature. Specifically, the depth profile 6622 of the proximal forming cup 6610 comprises an entry radius of curvature 6617 corresponding to the entry zone forming surface 661 1 and an exit radius of curvature 6618 corresponding to the exit zone forming surface 6612. Similarly, the depth profile 6642 of the distal forming cup 6630 comprises an entry radius of curvature 6637 corresponding to the entry zone forming surface 6631 and an exit radius of curvature 6638 corresponding to the exit zone forming surface 6632. In this instance, the entry radii of curvature 6617, 6637 are larger than the exit radii of curvature 6618, 6638. Specific relationships between the entry and exit radii of curvature and various pocket features along with some potential advantages and patterns of the specific relationships are further described in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,914.

[0217] The outer longitudinal edges of each cup 6610, 6630 are referred to as entry edges because they define the beginning of the entry zone forming surfaces 661 1 , 6631. The entry edges comprise an entry width which is the largest width of the forming surfaces of each cup 6610, 6630. The inner edges of each cup 6610, 6630 are referred to as exit edges because they define the end of the exit zone forming surfaces 6612, 6632. The exit edges comprise an exit width, also referred to as the bridge width BW (FIG. 60) which is the narrowest section of the forming surfaces of each cup 6610, 6630. A transition zone 6609, 6629 is positioned intermediate the entry zone and exit zone of each cup. The transition zones 6609, 6629 have a transition width which is less than the entry width but greater than the exit width. The transition zones 6609, 6629 include an inflection portion of the respective depth profiles 6622, 6642 and, thus, include the deepest portion of each cup 6610, 6630. In various instances, the transition zones 6609, 6629 comprise the majority of the length of each cup 6610, 6630. More specifically, the length of the transition zone 6609, 6629 can be greater than the combined length of the respective entry zone and exit zone of each cup 6610, 6630. The transition zones 6609, 6629 can extend along the tapered or narrowing section of each cup 6610, 6630. For example, each transition zone 6609, 6629 can extend inward from the widest section of the respective cup 6610, 6630 toward the bridge 6605.

[0218] FIG. 59 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming cup 6630 taken along line 59-59 in FIG. 56. This view is taken near the valley, or trough, of the distal forming cup 6630. This valley, or trough, is also the transition between the entry zone forming surface 6631 and the exit zone forming surface 6632. In various instances, the transition between entry and exit zones does not occur at the valley, or trough, of the cup. FIG. 60 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the distal forming cup 6630 taken along line 60-60 in FIG. 56 which is located within the exit zone forming surface 6632 of the forming cup 6630. FIG. 58 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming cup 6630 taken along line 58-58 in FIG. 56 which is located within the entry zone forming surface 6632 of the distal forming cup 6630.

[0219] Referring primarily to FIGS. 58-60, the pair of cup sidewalls 6633 of the distal forming cup 6630 includes a first sidewall 6633a and a second sidewall 6633b. The first and second sidewalls 6633a, 6633b are opposing sidewalls which extend toward each other from laterally-opposed sides of the distal forming cup 6630. The inflection surface, or bottom surface, 6634 of the distal forming cup 6630 is positioned between the first and second sidewalls 6633a, 6633b. The bottom surface 6634 of the distal forming cup 6630 is an entirely-curved, non-flat surface. In other words, the bottom surface 6634 is devoid of flat, planar surfaces. The bottom surface 6634 can define one or more radii of curvature. For example, at various longitudinal positions along the pocket axis 6603, the bottom surface 6634 defines different radii of curvature. A tangent to the bottom surface 6634 at the lateral center of the cup 6630 is parallel to the planar surface 6507 along the length thereof.

[0220] In various instances, the curvature of the bottom surface 6634 can be dimensioned such that the staple leg does not travel along a flat surface during the staple forming process. In such instances, the bottom surface 6643 can encourage staples to form into a more planar formed configuration than staples formed along flat bottom surfaces, especially when the staples are misaligned with the pocket axis 6603 during formation. The curvature of the bottom surface 6643 can be dimensioned such that the bottom surface 6643 provides a plurality of

contact surfaces for the staple leg. For example, the radius of curvature of the bottom surface 6634 can be less than the radius of curvature of the staple leg.

[0221] The cup sidewalls 6613, 6633 are entirely-curved, non-flat surfaces. In other words, the cup sidewalls 6613, 6633 are devoid of flat, planar surfaces. Referring again to FIGS. 58-60, the sidewalls 6633a, 6633b define one or more radii of curvature. For example, at various longitudinal positions along the pocket axis 6603, the sidewalls 6633a, 6633b define different radii of curvature. The entirely-curved contours of the cup sidewalls 6613, 6633 and the bottom surface 6634 can define curvilinear boundary surfaces of the cups 6610, 6630. The cups 6613, 6633 can be entirely-curved and devoid of flat, planar surfaces.

[0222] The sidewalls 6633a, 6633b are oriented at an entry angle θ2 relative to the tissue-contacting surface 6507 at various transverse cross-sections of the distal forming cup 6630. More specifically, a tangent T to each sidewall 6633a, 6633b at the perimeter 6620 of the distal forming cup 6630 is oriented at the angle θ2 relative to the tissue-contacting surface 6507 in FIGS. 58-60. The entry angle θ2 is constant within the transition forming surface zone 6629 (FIGS. 56 and 57) and along the majority of the length of the distal forming cup 6630. In various instances, the angle θ2 can be between 55 degrees and 80 degrees, for example. For instance, in FIGS. 58-60, the angle θ2 is 80 degrees. In other instances, the angle θ2 can be less than 55 degrees or more than 80 degrees. The sidewalls 6633a, 6633b are non-vertical sidewalls and, thus, the angle θ2 of the tangent T along the perimeter 6620 can be less than 90 degrees, for example.

[0223] A datum point at the transition between the sidewalls 6633a, 6633b and the bottom surface 6634 is indicated for illustrative purposes in FIGS. 58-60. For example, the curved boundary surface of the distal forming cup 6630 includes a datum point A at the transition between the sidewall 6633a and the bottom surface 6634. At each longitudinal position along the cup 6630, the first sidewall 6633a and the second sidewall 6633b define a sidewall radius of curvature 6643 and the bottom surface 6634 defines a bottom radius of curvature 6644. The bottom radius of curvature 6644 can be different than the sidewall radius of curvature 6643. The transition between radii of curvature at the datum point A comprises a smooth, non-abrupt transition.

[0224] A datum line B is also depicted in FIGS. 58-60 for illustrative purposes. The datum line B extends between the first datum point A and the perimeter 6620 of the distal forming cup 6630. The datum line B is oriented at an angle θ3 in FIGS. 58-60. The angle θ3 is constant within the transition forming surface zone 6629 (FIG. 57) and along the majority of the length of the distal forming cup 6630. In various instances, the angle 93 can be less than the angle θ2.

The angle θ3 in FIGS. 58-60 is approximately 55 degrees, for example. In other instances, the angle θ3 can be less than 55 degrees or more than 80 degrees. Though the angles θ2 and θ3 are constant along the length of the distal forming cup 6630, or at least along the substantial length of the distal forming cup 6630, the radius of curvature and the length of the arcs defining the sidewalls 6633a, 6633b varies as the depth and width of the distal forming cup 6630 varies along the length thereof.

[0225] The angle θ2 relative to a tissue-contacting surface can comprise a relatively steep angle. For example, the angle θ2 can be greater than the angles θ-\ and θ3. The steepness of the angle θ2 can encourage the staple to form along the pocket axis. A constant angle θ2 can encourage a misaligned staple leg to move from the perimeter toward the lateral center or axis 6603 of the distal forming cup 6630. As described herein, the depth of the pocket can vary along the length thereof. However, maintaining a constant angle θ2 can encourage a misaligned staple leg to move from the perimeter toward the lateral center of the distal forming cup 6630 even in shallower regions of the cup 6630.

[0226] Pocket arrangements having different cup depths CD can be dimensioned to have the same angles θ2 and θ3. For example, though the cup depth CD of the cups 6610, 6630 (FIG. 57) is less than the cup depth CD of the cups 6510, 6530 (FIG. 51 ), the angles θ2 and θ3 can be the same. In at least one instance, the angle θ2 can be 80 degrees and the angle θ3 can be 55 degrees for both forming pocket arrangements 6500 and 6600. In instances in which the tissue-contacting surface 6507 comprises a planar surface, the pocket forming arrangement 6600 can be configured to form staples to a reduced height in comparison to the pocket forming arrangement 6500. For example, a staple formed by the pocket forming arrangement 6600 can be shorter than an identical staple formed by the pocket forming arrangement 6500. In certain instances, variations to the formed height of the staples can be desirable to control the tissue compression and/or fluid flow between the anvil and the staple cartridge, for example. Though variations to the cup depth CD can be configured to control the formed height of the staples, maintaining constant entrance angles θ2 along the length, or at least a substantial portion of the length, of the different cups can be configured to ensure that even the shorter formed staples are formed to a more consistent, planar configuration, which is desirable in certain instances.

[0227] FIGS. 68 and 69 depict a staple 6701 formed with the forming pocket arrangement 6600 (FIGS. 55-60) where the staple 6701 was aligned with the pocket axis 6603 of the forming pocket arrangement 6600 during the forming process. FIG. 68 depicts a top view of the staple 6701 in a fully-formed configuration and FIG. 69 depicts a side view of the staple 6701 in the fully-formed configuration. The staple includes a base 6702 and staple legs 6703 that extend from the base 6702. The base 6702 is aligned with the pocket axis 6603 and the tips 6704 of the staple legs 6703 strike the forming pocket arrangement 6600 along the pocket axis 6603.

[0228] The staple 6701 comprises a centerline CL (FIG. 69) which transects the base 6702 and extends vertically intermediate the unformed staple legs 6703. As the staple 6701 is formed to the fully-formed configuration, the tips 6704 of the staple legs 6703 are bent toward the centerline CL and toward the base 6702. The staple legs 6703 are formed such that the staple 6701 defines a height H (FIG. 69) when in the fully-formed configuration. The height H can be less than the height of the staple 6701 if it had been formed with the forming pocket arrangement 6500 (FIGS. 48-54) because the cup depth CD of the cups 6610, 6630 (FIG. 57) is less than the cup depth CD of the cups 6510, 6530 (FIG. 51).

[0229] To achieve the shorter height H, a portion of the staples legs 6703 can deflect laterally relative to the centerline CL and/or the tips 6704 of the staple legs 6702 can extend up to and/or below the base 6704. Comparatively, if the staple 6701 had been formed with the forming pocket arrangement 6500 having the deeper cup depth CD, the staple legs 6703 may not deflect laterally relative to the centerline CL and/or the tips 6704 of the staple legs 6702 may not overlap the base 6704 (see, e.g., staple 13100 (FIG. 46)). Referring to FIG. 69, a portion of each staple leg 6703 crosses the centerline CL and the tips 6704 of the staple legs 6702 extend past, or below, a tissue-compressing surface of the base 6702. Moreover, the staple 6701 comprises a first tip alignment axis TA1 , a second tip alignment axis TA2, and a crown alignment axis CA. When aligned with the pocket axis 6603, the staple 6701 forms such that the first tip alignment axis TA1 and the second tip alignment axis TA2 are laterally offset and equidistant (D) from the crown alignment axis CA. The distance D can be approximately equal to the diameter of the staple 6701. As a result of the above, the staple 6701 assumes a substantially planar configuration; however, the tips 6704 are slightly overlapping and offset from the base 6702 to achieve the shorter height H.

[0230] FIG. 60A is a partial negative view of various slices of a forming pocket of the forming pocket arrangement 6600. The dimensions of the various slices are labeled thereon. The slices are of only a single sidewall of the forming pocket and are taken in planes along the forming pocket which are perpendicular to the tissue-contacting surface 6507 and the pocket axis 6603. Each slice comprises a width "x", a height "y", an upper radius of curvature "ra", and a lower radius of curvature "rb". The width "x" is defined as the x-component of the distance between the perimeter 6620 of the forming pocket and the bottom radius of curvature 6644 of the forming pocket. The height "y" is defined as the y-component of the distance between the perimeter 6620 of the forming pocket and the bottom radius of curvature 6644 of the forming

pocket. The upper radius of curvature "ra" is defined as the radius of curvature of an upper portion of the sidewall. The lower radius of curvature "rb" is defined as the radius of curvature of an lower portion of the sidewall. Each dimension includes a number indicating which slice the dimension corresponds to. For example, Slice 1 includes a width "x^, a height "yi", an upper radius of curvature "ra^', and a lower radius of curvature "rb '. FIG. 60B is a table 6650 comprising the dimensions of the Slices 1-12 of FIG. 60A, in at least one embodiment.

[0231] FIG. 60C is a cross-sectional view of the forming pocket arrangement 6600 taken along the pocket axis 6603. FIG. 60C includes various dimensions of the distal forming pocket 6630 of forming pocket arrangement 6600. The length of the forming pocket 6630 is 1 .90mm, for example. The depth of the forming pocket 6630 is 0.30mm, for example. In certain instances, the distal forming pocket 6630 comprises three radii of curvature: an entry radius of curvature which is 2.90mm, a first exit radius of curvature which is 0.70mm, and a second exit radius of curvature which is 0.10mm, for example. The width of the bridge portion of the distal forming pocket 6630 is defined, in this instance, as the distance between the center of the forming pocket arrangement 6600 and the inner-most edge of the first exit radius of curvature (the edge of the first exit radius of curvature closest to the center of the forming pocket arrangement 6600) is 0.10mm, for example. The bridge depth is 0.05mm, for example.

[0232] FIGS. 61 -67 depict a forming pocket arrangement 6800 that is configured to deform a staple during a surgical stapling procedure. The forming pocket arrangement 6800 comprises a proximal forming cup, or pocket, 6810 and a distal forming cup, or pocket, 6830 defined in a planar, or tissue-contacting, surface 6807 of an anvil 6801 . The tissue-contacting surface 6807 of the anvil 6801 is configured to compress tissue against a staple cartridge when the anvil 6801 is clamped or closed relative to the staple cartridge. The forming pocket arrangement 6800 can be similar in many respects to the forming pocket arrangement 6500. For example, sidewalls of the staple-forming cups 6810, 6830 intersect the planar surface 6807 at a constant angle along the length thereof. Each cup 6810, 6830 is defined by a boundary surface as further described herein. The cups 6810, 6830 are aligned along a pocket axis 6803 of the forming pocket arrangement 6800. A staple is intended to be formed along the pocket axis 6803 by the forming pocket arrangement 6800 when deployed from a staple cartridge. In at least one such instance, a first leg of the staple can be formed by the proximal forming cup 6810 and a second leg of the staple can be formed by the distal forming cup 6830. In such instances, the first leg of the staple is aligned with a portion of the proximal forming cup 6810 and the second leg of the staple is aligned with a portion of the distal forming cup 6830 when the anvil 6801 is clamped relative to the staple cartridge.

[0233] Referring to FIGS. 62 and 63, the forming pocket arrangement 6800 further comprises a bridge portion 6805 defined between the forming cups 6810, 6830. The bridge portion 6805 is recessed with respect to the planar surface 6807 of the anvil 6801 ; however, the bridge portion 6805 can be flush with the planar surface 6807 in other embodiments. The bridge portion 6805 comprises a bridge width BW and a bridge depth BD (FIG. 67). The bridge depth BD is the distance that the bottom portion of the bridge portion 6805 is recessed with respect to the planar surface 6807. The bridge width BW is the width of the pocket arrangement 6800 between the cups 6810, 6830. In this instance, the bridge width BW is the narrowest section of the forming surfaces of each cup 6810, 6830. The forming pocket arrangement 6800 comprises a center C (FIGS. 61 and 62) defined within the bridge portion 6805. The forming pocket arrangement 6800 is bilaterally symmetric with respect to the bridge portion 6805, bilaterally symmetric with respect to pocket axis 6803, and rotationally symmetric with respect to the center C.

[0234] The forming pocket arrangement 6800 further comprises a pair of primary sidewalls 6808 extending from the planar surface 6807 of the anvil 6801 toward the cups 6810, 6830 and the bridge portion 6805. The primary sidewalls 6808 are angled at angle θ-\ (FIG. 64) with respect to the planar surface 6807 of the anvil 6801 . The cups 6810, 6830 define a perimeter 6820 and the inner edges of the primary sidewalls 6808 extend between the planar surface

6807 and the perimeter 6820 of the cups 6810, 6830. Referring primarily to FIG. 62, the inner edges of the primary sidewalls 6808 are curved, or contoured, with respect to the cups 6810, 6830. In certain instances, the forming pocket arrangement 6800 may not include the primary sidewalls 6808. In such instances, the cups 6810, 6830 can extend directly to the planar surface 6807 and the perimeter 6820 of the cups 6810, 6830 can be defined in the planar surface 6807.

[0235] Referring again to FIGS. 62 and 63, the proximal forming cup 6810 comprises a pair of cup sidewalls 6813 and the distal forming cup 6830 comprises a pair of cup sidewalls 6833. The cup sidewalls 6813, 6833 comprise curved, or contoured, profiles and are configured to direct the staple tips and the legs of the staples toward the forming surfaces of the cups 6810, 6830 as well as help control the forming process of the staples. The sidewalls 6813, 6833 extend from the primary sidewalls 6808 and the planar surface 6807 toward the forming surfaces of each cup 6810, 6830. The sidewalls 6813, 6833 are configured to encourage the staple tips and/or the legs of the staples to form along the pocket axis 6803 as the staples are formed against the forming surfaces of the cups 6810, 6830. Collectively, the primary sidewalls

6808 and the cup sidewalls 6813, 6833 cooperate to funnel corresponding staple tips toward the lateral center of each cup 6810, 6830. An inflection surface, or bottom surface, 6814, 6834

extends along the lateral center of each respective cup 6810, 6830 intermediate the respective sidewalls 6813, 6833.

[0236] Referring still to FIG. 62, the forming surfaces of the cups 6810, 6830 comprise an entry zone forming surface 681 1 , 6831 , respectively, and an exit zone forming surface 6812, 6832, respectively. The entry zone forming surfaces 681 1 , 6831 can coincide with less aggressive channeling portions of the sidewalls 6813, 6833. Similarly, the exit zone forming surfaces 6812, 6832 can coincide with more aggressive channeling portions of the sidewalls 6813, 6833.

[0237] Referring primarily now to FIG. 63, the forming surfaces of each cup 6810, 6830 are defined by a depth profile or contour. The proximal forming cup 6810 includes the depth profile 6822, and the distal forming cup 6830 includes the depth profile 6842. The depth profiles 6822, 6842 define the depth of the cups 6810, 6830, respectively, along the length thereof. The cups 6810, 6830 reach a maximum cup depth CD within their respective transition zone 6809, 6829, which are further described below. The cup depth CD of the pockets 6810, 6830 can be between 0.4 and 0.6 millimeters, for example. For instance, the cup depth CD can be 0.5 millimeters. In other instances, the cup depth CD can be less than 0.4 millimeters or more than 0.6 millimeters.

[0238] The depth profiles 6822, 6842 are curved profiles which are devoid of linear portions. Moreover, the depth profiles 6822, 6842 can comprise one or more radii of curvature. In this instance, the depth profiles 6822, 6842 include more than one radius of curvature. Specifically, the depth profile 6822 of the proximal forming cup 6810 comprises an entry radius of curvature 6817 corresponding to the entry zone forming surface 681 1 and an exit radius of curvature 6818 corresponding to the exit zone forming surface 6812. Similarly, the depth profile 6842 of the distal forming cup 6830 comprises an entry radius of curvature 6837 corresponding to the entry zone forming surface 6831 and an exit radius of curvature 6838 corresponding to the exit zone forming surface 6832. In this instance, the entry radii of curvature 6817, 6837 are larger than the exit radii of curvature 6818, 6838. Specific relationships between the entry and exit radii of curvature and various pocket features along with some potential advantages and patterns of the specific relationships are further described in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/385,914.

[0239] The outer longitudinal edges of each cup 6810, 6830 are referred to as entry edges because they define the beginning of the entry zone forming surfaces 681 1 , 6831. The entry edges comprise an entry width which is the largest width of the forming surfaces of each cup 6810, 6830. The inner edges of each cup 6810, 6830 are referred to as exit edges because they define the end of the exit zone forming surfaces 6812, 6832. The exit edges comprise an exit width, also referred to as the bridge width BW (FIG. 67) which is the narrowest section of the forming surfaces of each cup 6810, 6830. A transition zone 6809, 6829 is positioned intermediate the entry zone and exit zone of each cup. The transition zones 6809, 6829 have a transition width which is less than the entry width but greater than the exit width. The transition zones 6809, 6829 include an inflection portion of the respective depth profiles 6822, 6842 and, thus, include the deepest portion of each cup 6810, 6830. In various instances, the transition zones 6809, 6829 comprise the majority of the length of each cup 6810, 6830. More specifically, the length of the transition zone 6809, 6829 can be greater than the combined length of the respective entry zone and exit zone of each cup 6810, 6830. The transition zones 6809, 6829 can extend along the tapered or narrowing section of each cup 6810, 6830. For example, each transition zone 6809, 6829 can extend inward from the widest section of the respective cup 6810, 6830 toward the bridge 6805.

[0240] FIG. 66 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming cup 6830 taken along line 66-66 in FIG. 62. This view is taken near the valley, or trough, of the distal forming cup 6830. This valley, or trough, is also the transition between the entry zone forming surface 6831 and the exit zone forming surface 6832. In various instances, the transition between entry and exit zones does not occur at the valley, or trough, of the cup. FIG. 67 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the distal forming cup 6830 taken along line 67-67 in FIG. 62 which is located within the exit zone forming surface 6832 of the forming cup 6830. FIG. 64 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming cup 6830 taken along line 64-64 in FIG. 62, and FIG. 65 is a cross-sectional view of the distal forming cup 6830 taken along line 65-65 in FIG. 62, which are both within the entry zone forming surface 6832 of the distal forming cup 6830.

[0241] Referring primarily to FIGS. 64-67, the pair of cup sidewalls 6833 of the distal forming cup 6830 includes a first sidewall 6833a and a second sidewall 6833b. The first and second sidewalls 6833a, 6833b are opposing sidewalls which extend toward each other from laterally-opposed sides of the distal forming cup 6830. The inflection surface, or bottom surface, 6834 of the distal forming cup 6830 is positioned between the first and second sidewalls 6833a, 6833b. The bottom surface 6834 of the distal forming cup 6830 is an entirely-curved, non-flat surface. In other words, the bottom surface 6834 is devoid of flat, planar surfaces. The bottom surface 6834 can define one or more radii of curvature. For example, at various longitudinal positions along the pocket axis 6803, the bottom surface 6834 defines different radii of curvature. A tangent to the bottom surface 6834 at the lateral center of the cup 6830 is parallel to the planar surface 6807 along the length thereof.

[0242] In various instances, the curvature of the bottom surface 6834 can be dimensioned such that the staple leg does not travel along a flat surface during the staple forming process. In such instances, the bottom surface 6843 can encourage staples to form into a more planar formed configuration than staples formed with flat bottom surfaces, especially when the staples are misaligned with the pocket axis 6803 during formation. The curvature of the bottom surface 6843 can be dimensioned such that the bottom surface 6843 provides a plurality of contact surfaces for the staple leg. For example, the radius of curvature of the bottom surface 6834 can be less than the radius of curvature of the staple leg.

[0243] The cup sidewalls 6813, 6833 are entirely-curved, non-flat surfaces. In other words, the cup sidewalls 6813, 6833 are devoid of flat, planar surfaces. The sidewalls 6833a, 6833b define one or more radii of curvature. For example, at various longitudinal positions along the pocket axis 6803, the sidewalls 6833a, 6833b define different radii of curvature. The entirely-curved contours of the cup sidewalls 6813, 6833 and the bottom surface 6834 can define curvilinear boundary surfaces of the cups 6810, 6830. The cups 6813, 6833 can be entirely-curved and devoid of flat, planar surfaces.

[0244] The sidewalls 6833a, 6833b are oriented at an entry angle θ2 relative to the tissue-contacting surface 6807 at various transverse cross-sections of the distal forming cup 6830. More specifically, a tangent T to each sidewall 6833a, 6833b at the perimeter 6820 of the distal forming cup 6830 is oriented at the angle θ2 relative to the tissue-contacting surface 6807 in FIGS. 64-67. The entry angle θ2 is constant within the transition forming surface zone 6829 (FIGS. 62 and 64) and along the majority of the length of the distal forming cup 6830. In various instances, the angle θ2 can be between 55 degrees and 80 degrees, for example. For instance, in FIGS. 64-67, the angle θ2 is 80 degrees. In other instances, the angle θ2 can be less than 55 degrees or more than 80 degrees. The sidewalls 6833a, 6833b are non-vertical sidewalls and, thus, the angle θ2 of the tangent T along the perimeter 6820 can be less than 90 degrees, for example.

[0245] A datum point at the transition between the sidewalls 6833a, 6833b and the bottom surface 6834 is indicated for illustrative purposes in FIGS. 64-67. For example, the curved boundary surface of the distal forming cup 6830 includes a datum point A at the transition between the sidewall 6833a and the bottom surface 6834. At each longitudinal position along the cup 6530, the first sidewall 6833a and the second sidewall 6833b define a sidewall radius of curvature 6843 and the bottom surface 6834 defines a bottom radius of curvature 6844. The bottom radius of curvature 6844 can be different than the sidewall radius of curvature 6843. The transition between radii of curvature at the datum point A comprises a smooth, non-abrupt transition.

[0246] A datum line B is also depicted in FIGS. 64-67 for illustrative purposes. The datum line B extends between the first datum point A and the perimeter 6820 of the distal forming cup 6830. The datum line B is oriented at an angle θ3 in FIGS. 64-67. The angle θ3 changes along the length of the distal forming cup 6830. In various instances, the angle 93 can be less than the angle θ2 along the length of the distal forming cup 6830. The angle θ3 can increase then decrease as the sidewalls 6833a, 6833b extend inward toward the center C. For example, the angle θ3 can increase from the entry edge of the cup 6830 toward the transition zone 6829, remain constant within the transition zone 6829, and decrease from the transition zone 6829 toward the exit edges of the cup 6830. In the depicted embodiment, the angle θ3 is 45 degrees in FIG. 64, the angle θ3· is 55 degrees in FIG. 65, the angle 93- is 70 degrees in FIG. 66, and the angle θ3- is 55 degrees in FIG. 67, for example. Though the angles θ2 and θ3 are constant within the transition zone 6829 of the distal forming cup 6830, the radius of curvature and the length of the arcs defining the sidewalls 6833a, 6833b varies as the depth and width of the distal forming cup 6830 varies along the length thereof.

[0247] The angle θ2 relative to a tissue-contacting surface can comprise a relatively steep angle. For example, the angle θ2 can be greater than the variable angle θ3. The steepness of the angle θ2 can encourage the staple to form along the pocket axis. A constant angle θ2 can encourage a misaligned staple leg to move from the perimeter toward the lateral center of the cup. In various instances, the angle θ2 can be constant and steep within the exit zone, which can improve staple formation quality. Additionally or alternatively, the angle 92 can be constant in the transition zone. As described herein, the depth of the pocket can vary along the length thereof. However, maintaining a constant angle θ2 can encourage a misaligned staple leg to move from the perimeter toward the lateral center of the cup even in shallower regions of the cup. Furthermore, the maximum cup depth CD in certain anvils can vary between pockets in the anvil. For example, different depths can be utilized to form staples to different heights and/or to form staples driven by drivers having different heights, as further described herein. In such instances, a constant angle 92 can encourage the staples formed by the shallower pockets to form along the pocket axis.

[0248] In certain instances, an anvil for a surgical end effector can include staple forming pockets of different depths. For example, the depth of staple forming pockets can vary between rows of forming pockets and/or longitudinally along the length of a row of forming pockets. Such depth differences can be selected to accommodate variations in the displacement of staple drivers within a staple cartridge during a staple firing stroke, variations in the overdrive distance of the fired staples, and/or the position of the anvil relative to the staple cartridge. Additionally or alternatively, depth differences between staple forming pockets can correspond to different tissue gaps between stepped tissue compression surfaces on the anvil and/or a staple cartridge. For example, to form staples to the same formed height when the staples are driven by drivers having different lift lengths that result in different amounts of staple overdrive, a depth difference between staple forming pockets can be selected that corresponds to the different stroke lengths and the different amounts of staple overdrive. In other instances, different depth staple forming pockets in an anvil can be selected to form staples to different formed heights, which may be desirable in certain instances to vary the compression of stapled tissue and/or to accommodate for variations in tissue thickness.

[0249] FIG. 67A is a partial negative view of various slices of a forming pocket of the forming pocket arrangement 6800. The dimensions of the various slices are labeled thereon. The slices are of only a single sidewall of the forming pocket and are taken in planes along the forming pocket which are perpendicular to the tissue-contacting surface 6807 and the pocket axis 6803. Each slice comprises a width "x", a height "y", an upper radius of curvature "ra", and a lower radius of curvature "rb". The width "x" is defined as the x-component of the distance between the perimeter 6820 of the forming pocket and the bottom radius of curvature 6844 of the forming pocket. The height "y" is defined as the y-component of the distance between the perimeter 6820 of the forming pocket and the bottom radius of curvature 6844 of the forming pocket. The upper radius of curvature "ra" is defined as the radius of curvature of an upper portion of the sidewall. The lower radius of curvature "rb" is defined as the radius of curvature of an lower portion of the sidewall. Each dimension includes a number indicating which slice the dimension corresponds to. For example, Slice 1 includes a width "x^, a height "yi", an upper radius of curvature "ra^', and a lower radius of curvature "rb '. FIG. 67B is a table 6850 comprising the dimensions of the Slices 1-12 of FIG. 67A, in at least one embodiment.

[0250] FIG. 67C is a cross-sectional view of the forming pocket arrangement 6800 taken along the pocket axis 6803. FIG. 67C includes various dimensions of the distal forming pocket 6830 of forming pocket arrangement 6800. The length of the forming pocket 6830 is 1 .90mm, for example. The depth of the forming pocket 6830 is 0.50mm, for example. In certain instances, the distal forming pocket 6830 comprises three radii of curvature: an entry radius of curvature which is 1.40mm, a first exit radius of curvature which is 0.80mm, and a second exit radius of curvature which is 0.10mm, for example. The width of the bridge portion of the distal forming pocket 6830 is defined, in this instance, as the distance between the center of the forming pocket arrangement 6800 and the inner-most edge of the first exit radius of curvature

(the edge of the first exit radius of curvature closest to the center of the forming pocket arrangement 6800) is 0.10mm, for example. The bridge depth is 0.15mm, for example.

[0251] Referring now to FIG. 70, a surgical end effector 7000 comprising an anvil 7001 and a staple cartridge 7060 having a plurality of staples 7080 is depicted. The end effector 7000 is in a closed, or clamped, position. More specifically, the anvil 7001 can be pivoted relative to the staple cartridge 7060 to move the end effector 7000 to the closed position and clamp tissue between the anvil 7001 and the staple cartridge 7060. In other instances, the anvil 7001 can be fixed and the staple cartridge 7060 can pivot relative to the anvil 7001 to move the end effector 7000 to the closed position and, in still other instances, both the anvil 7001 and the staple cartridge 7060 can be configured to pivot to move the end effector 7000 toward the closed position.

[0252] In the closed position, a uniform tissue gap TG is defined between the staple cartridge 7060 and the anvil 7001 . In other words, the tissue gap TG is constant laterally across the end effector 7000. The staple cartridge 7060 includes a planar, or substantially flat, tissue compression surface, or deck, 7062, and the anvil 7001 also includes a planar, or substantially flat, tissue compression surface 7007. Neither the deck 7062 of the staple cartridge 7060 nor the tissue compression surface 7007 of the anvil 7001 includes a stepped surface having longitudinal steps between adjacent longitudinal portions. In other instances, as described herein, the deck of a staple cartridge and/or the tissue compression surface of an anvil can include a stepped profile.

[0253] The staple cartridge 7060 includes a staple cartridge body 7064 having a longitudinal slot 7065 and a plurality of staple cavities 7066 defined therein. The slot 7065 extends along a central, longitudinal axis of the staple cartridge 7060. Each staple cavity 7066 comprises an opening in the deck 7062. The staple cavities 7066 are arranged in a plurality of longitudinally extending rows 7068 including a first row, or outer row, 7068a, a second row, or intermediate row, 7068b, and a third row, or inner row, 7068c on each side of the slot 7065. In other instances, the staple cartridge 7060 can have fewer than or more than six rows of staple cavities 7066. For example, a staple cartridge can have two staple cavity rows on each side of the longitudinal slot 7065.

[0254] A staple 7080 is removably stored in each staple cavity 7066, and each staple 7080 is supported by a staple driver 7070. In various instances, a staple driver 7070 can support and fire more than one staple 7080. For example, a driver may be configured to simultaneously fire staples from adjacent rows of staple cavities in a staple cartridge. The deck 7062 includes cavity extenders 7061 that protrude from the deck 7062 toward the tissue compression surface 7007 of the anvil 7001 . The cavity extenders 7061 are positioned around at least a portion of the staple cavities 7066 and can guide the staples 7080 above the deck 7062. The cavities extenders 7061 can also be configured to engage or grip tissue and/or support the staples 7080 and/or the drivers 7070 during firing. In other instances, the deck 7062 can be devoid of cavity extenders and can comprise a smooth tissue-contacting surface, for example.

[0255] The staples 7080 in FIG. 70 are depicted in a formed configuration in which the staples 7080 fired from the cavities 7066 across the rows 7068a, 7068b, 7068c on both sides of the slot 7065 have been formed to the same height H. Forming staples to a uniform height can tightly cinch the tissue and reduce bleeding therefrom.

[0256] The drivers 7070 are movably positioned in the cavities 7066. During a firing stroke, a firing member is configured to lift the drivers 7070 toward the anvil 7001 , which drives the staples 7080 supported on the drivers 7070 into forming engagement with the anvil 7001 . Each staple 7080 is driven into forming contact with a staple forming pocket arrangement 7002, 7004 defined in the planar surface 7007 of the anvil 7001 . The staple forming pocket arrangements 7002, 7004 are arranged in a plurality of longitudinally extending rows 7003 including a first row, or outer row, 7003a, a second row, or intermediate row, 7003b, and a third row, or inner row, 7003c on both lateral sides of the anvil 7001 . Each row of staple cavities 7066 is aligned with a row 7003 of staple forming pocket arrangements 7002, 7004. As described with respect to various staple forming pockets arrangements disclosed herein, the staple forming pocket arrangements 7002, 7004 can each include a pair of forming pockets or cups, e.g. , a proximal cup and a distal cup, and each cup can be positioned to receive a staple leg when the staple 7080 is driven into forming contact with the anvil 7001 .

[0257] The anvil 7001 includes two different staple forming pocket arrangements. More specifically, the anvil 7001 includes a first staple forming pocket arrangement 7002 comprising a first geometry and a second staple forming pocket arrangement 7004 comprising a second geometry. The first staple forming pocket arrangements 7002 are aligned with the outermost row 7068a of staple cavities 7066 on both sides of the slot 7065, and the second staple forming pocket arrangements 7004 are aligned with the rows 7068b, 7068c of staple cavities 7066 on both sides of the slot 7065. The cups of the first staple forming pocket arrangement 7002 define a cup depth CD-\ relative to the anvil planar surface 7007 and the cups of the second staple forming pocket arrangement 7004 define a cup depth CD2 relative to the anvil planar surface 7007. The cup depth CD-\ of the outer staple forming pocket arrangements 7002 is greater than the cup depth CD2 of the inner staple forming pocket arrangements 7004. As a result, the deeper staple forming pockets of the first arrangement 7002 are positioned laterally outboard of the shallower staple forming pockets of the second arrangement 7004, although any suitable arrangement can be used.

[0258] In various instances, the first staple forming pocket arrangements 7002 can be the same as or similar to the staple forming pocket arrangement 6800 (FIGS. 61 -67) and the second staple forming pocket arrangements 7004 can be the same as or similar to the staple forming pocket arrangement 6600 (FIGS. 55-61 ). Though the depth of the cups is different between the first forming pocket arrangement 7002 and the second forming pocket arrangement 7004, the sidewalls of the cups can intersect the planar surface 7007 at the same angle, i.e., a tangent to the sidewalls can be maintained at constant entry angle, along the length of the cups in each arrangement 7002, 7004 or at least along the majority of the length of the cups in each arrangement 7002, 7004. As described herein, a steep constant angle sidewall is configured to facilitate planar formation of the staples 7080, including staples that are misaligned with the central axis of the arrangement 7002, 7004.

[0259] In the fired position depicted in FIG. 70, the staples 7080 have been overdriven with respect to the staple cartridge body 7064. More specifically, the staple-supporting surface of each driver 7070 has been driven past the staple cartridge body 7064 such that the staples 7080 are completely removed from the cartridge body 7064 during firing. When overdriven, the cradle, or bottommost surface, of each staple 7080 is positioned above the deck 7062 and/or above the cavity extenders 7061 protruding from the deck 7062. The overdrive feature of the drivers 7070 can be configured to fully eject the fired staples 7080 from the staple cartridge 7060 and to facilitate the release of stapled tissue from the end effector 7000, for example. Stated another way, the overdrive feature of the drivers 7070 can push the tissue away from the deck 7067

[0260] In various instances, different staples can be overdriven by different amounts. For example, the staples 7080 fired from the outer rows 7068a of staple cavities 7066 are overdriven a first distance relative to the deck surface 7062 and the staples 7080 fired from the intermediate and inner rows 7068b, 7068c of staple cavities 7066 are overdriven a second distance D2 relative to the deck surface 7062. The distances D-\ and D2 in FIG. 70 are the distances between the cradle of the staples 7080 and the planar deck surface 7062. In other instances, the overdrive distance can be measured between the support surfaces of the staple cradles and the uppermost surface of the adjacent cavity extenders 7061 .

[0261 ] To achieve the different overdrive distances D-\ and D2 in FIG. 70, the stroke length of the drivers 7070 can be different. For example, the firing element can be configured to lift the drivers 7070 supporting staples 7080 in the outer rows 7068a a first distance and the drivers 7070 supporting the staples 7080 in the inner rows 7068b, 7068c a second distance. In certain instances, the geometry of the sled can be selected to control the different stroke lengths of the drivers 7070. Additionally or alternatively, the geometry of the drivers 7070, such as the driver's height, for example, can be selected to control the different overdrive distances.

[0262] For each formed staple 7080 in FIG. 70, the sum of the tissue gap and the cup depth is equal to the sum of the overdrive distance and the staple height. For example:

TG + CD1 = D1+H;

and

TG + CD2 = D2+H.

Stated differently, for each formed staple, the height of the staple H equals the tissue gap TG plus the cup depth CD minus the overdrive distance D.

H = TG + CD1-D1;

and

H = TG + CD2- D2.

In instances in which the height of the staple H and the tissue gap TG are constant laterally across the end effector 7000, as depicted in FIG. 70, the different cup depths correspond to different overdrive distances. For example, to ensure the anvil 7001 is compatible with the staple cartridge 7060, the staple forming pocket arrangements 7002, 7004 and cup depths CD^ CD2 thereof can be selected to accommodate the different overdrive distances D2. For example, the difference between the cup depth CD-\ and the cup depth CD2 can be configured to accommodate the difference in overdrive distances D-\ and D2:

CD1-CD2 = Ό -Ό2.

More specifically, if the difference between the overdrive distances and D2 is 0.38

millimeters, for example, the difference between the cup depths CDT and CD2 can also be 0.38 millimeters. In certain instances, the difference in overdrive distances and cup depths can be between 0.2 millimeters and 1 millimeter, for example. The corresponding difference between the overdrive distances and D2 and the cup depths CDT and CD2 is configured to form the staples 7080 to the same formed height H laterally across the end effector 7000. Regardless of the cup depth, the sidewalls of the cups can be designed to intersect the tissue compression surface 7007 of the anvil 7001 at a constant angle to encourage the planar formation of the staples 7080, including misaligned staples, as further described herein.

[0263] In certain instances, surgical instruments and/or subassemblies thereof can be modular. Different types of staple cartridges can be compatible with more than one anvil and/or different types of anvils can be compatible with more than one staple cartridge. For example, the staple cartridge 7060, which is compatible with the anvil 7001 having a flat tissue compression surface 7007 (see, e.g. FIG. 70) can also be compatible with a stepped anvil. An end effector that includes the staple cartridge 7060 and a compatible stepped anvil can define a laterally variable tissue gap TG; however, such an end effector can still be configured to form staples to a constant formed height. In such instances, the different overdrive distances D-\ and D2 can correspond to different heights of an anvil's stepped tissue compression surface.

[0264] Referring now to FIG. 71 , an end effector 7100 is depicted with the staple cartridge 7060 and an anvil 7101 . The end effector 7100 is in a closed or clamped position. In use, the anvil 7101 can be pivoted relative to the staple cartridge 7060 to move the end effector 7100 to the closed position and clamp tissue between the anvil 7101 and the staple cartridge 7060. In other instances, the anvil 7101 can be fixed and the staple cartridge 7060 can pivot relative to the anvil 7101 to move the end effector 7100 to the closed position and, in still other instances, both the anvil 7101 and the staple cartridge 7060 can be configured to pivot the end effector 7100 toward the closed position.

[0265] The anvil 7101 includes a stepped tissue compression surface 7107 having longitudinal steps between adjacent longitudinal portions. More specifically, the anvil 7101 includes a plurality of longitudinal portions 71 10 including a first portion, or outer portion, 71 10a and a second portion, or inner portion, 71 10b on each lateral side of the anvil 7101 . A step 71 12 is positioned between the outer portion 7100a and the inner portion 7100b. The step 71 12 extends parallel to rows of staple forming pocket arrangements 7102 defined in the surface 7107 and extends along an axis positioned intermediate adjacent rows of staple forming pocket arrangements 7102.

[0266] The step 71 12 comprises a height Hstep, which corresponds to the height difference between the first longitudinal portion 71 10a and the second longitudinal portion 71 10b of the tissue compression surface 7107. Because the staple cartridge 7060 includes a non-stepped deck 7062, the height Hstep corresponds to the variation in tissue gap between the staple cartridge 7060 and the anvil 7101 when the end effector 7100 is in the closed position. A first tissue gap TG-\ is defined between the first portion 71 10a and the staple cartridge 7060 and a second tissue gap TG2 is defined between the second portion 71 10b and the staple cartridge 7060. The tissue gap TG-\ is greater than the tissue gap TG2. It can be desirable to provide greater tissue compression adjacent to the slot 7065 and/or along the inner portion 71 10b of the anvil 7101 than along the lateral sides of the end effector 7100. In other instances, the anvil 7101 can include additional longitudinal portions having steps therebetween and, in such

instances, may define additional, different tissue gaps when the end effector 7100 is in the closed position.

[0267] The staples 7080 in FIG. 71 are depicted in the formed configuration in which the staples 7080 fired from the rows 7068a, 7068b, 7068c of staple cavities 7066 on both sides of the slot 7065 have been formed to the same height H. During a staple firing stroke, a firing member is configured to lift the drivers 7070 toward the anvil 7101 , which drives the staples 7080 supported on the drivers 7070 into forming engagement with the anvil 7101 . More specifically, each staple 7080 is driven into forming contact with one of the staple forming pocket arrangements 7102 defined in the tissue compression surface 7107 of the anvil 7101 . The staple forming pocket arrangements 7102 are arranged in a plurality of longitudinally extending rows 7103 including a first row, or outer row, 7103a, a second row, or intermediate row, 7103b, and a third row, or inner row, 7103c on both sides of the anvil 7101 . The first longitudinal portion 71 10a includes the first row 7103a, and the second longitudinal portion 71 10b includes the second and third rows 7103b, 7103c. Each row 7068 of staple cavities 7066 is aligned with a row 7103 of staple forming pocket arrangements 7102. As described with respect to the various staple forming pockets arrangements disclosed herein, each staple forming pocket arrangement 7102 includes a pair of forming pockets or cups, e.g., a proximal cup and a distal cup, and each cup is positioned to receive a staple leg when the staple 7080 is driven into forming contact with the anvil 7101 .

[0268] The staple forming pocket arrangements 7102 define a cup depth CD relative to the tissue compression surface 7107. In various instances, the staple forming pocket arrangements 7102 are the same as or similar to the staple forming pocket arrangement 6600 (FIGS. 55-60). In such instances, the sidewalls of the cups can intersect the tissue compression surface 7107 at a constant angle, i.e., a tangent to the sidewalls can be maintained at constant entry angle, along the length of the cups or at least along the majority of the length of the cups. A steep constant angle sidewall along the length of the cups is configured to facilitate planar formation of the staples 7080, including staples that are misaligned with the central axis of the staple forming arrangement 7102.

[0269] For each formed staple 7080 in FIG. 71 , the sum of the tissue gap and the cup depth is equal to the sum of the overdrive distance and the staple height. For example:

TG1 + CD = D1 + H;

and

TG2 + CD = D2 + H.

Stated differently, for each formed staple, the height of the staple H equals the tissue gap TG plus the cup depth CD minus the overdrive distance D.

H = TG1 + CD - Di ,

and

H = TG2 + CD - D2.

In instances in which the height H of the staple and the cup depth CD are constant laterally across the end effector 7100, as depicted in FIG. 71 , the height of the tissue compression surface 7107 can vary, i.e., define a stepped profile, which corresponds to the different overdrive distances. For example, the difference between the tissue gap TG-\ and the tissue gap TG2 can be configured to accommodate the difference in overdrive distances D-\ and D2:

TG1- TG2 = D1 - D2.

Stated differently, the height Hstep of the step 71 12 between the longitudinal portions 71 10a, 71 10b can be equal to the difference in overdrive distances D-\ and D2:

Hstep = D-L — D2 - For example, if the difference between the overdrive distances D-\ and D2 is 0.38 millimeters, the height Hstep of the step 71 12 can also be 0.38 millimeters, for example. In certain instances, the difference in overdrive distances and the tissue gap can be between 0.2 millimeters and 1 millimeter. Corresponding difference between the overdrive distances D-\ and D2 and the height of the longitudinal portions 71 10a, 71 10b can be configured to form the staples 7080 to the same formed height H laterally across the end effector 7100.

[0270] Above certain threshold loads, the anvil 7101 may be prone to bending along the step 71 12 such that the tissue gap along the lateral sides of the anvil 7101 is greater than the tissue gap TGi depicted in FIG. 71 . As a result, the anvil 7001 (FIG. 70) may be stiffer than the anvil 7101 because the anvil 7001 comprises a planar, or non-stepped, tissue compression surface 7007. The anvil 7001 can be more rigid and, thus, less prone to bending and/or deflecting when subjected to high compression loads during clamping and/or firing.

[0271 ] In various instances, it can be desirable to utilize an anvil having a planar, or non-stepped, tissue compression surface, such as the anvil 7001 , to minimize deflection of the anvil along the lateral sides thereof. In certain instances, a variable tissue gap can also be desirable to control tissue flow and/or the quantity of tissue compressed and ultimately captured by the end effector. For example, a smaller outer tissue gap and larger inner tissue gap can allow the end effector to capture a greater quantity of tissue adjacent to the outline, which may improve hemostasis. The smaller outside tissue gap may improve control over tissue flow and ensure that the lateral sides of the end effector effectively grip and engage the target tissue. Moreover, the larger inside tissue gap may allow the end effector to capture a larger, e.g., thicker, piece of tissue.

[0272] An exemplary variable tissue gap end effector 7200 is depicted in FIG. 72. The end effector 7200 includes the anvil 7001 having a planar, or non-stepped, tissue compression surface 7007 (see also FIG. 70) and a staple cartridge 7260 having a stepped deck 7262. Though the tissue gap varies laterally across the end effector 7200, the end effector 7200 can be configured to form staples 7280 to a constant formed height. For example, different staple overdrive distances can correspond to the different tissue gaps and/or different staple forming arrangements having different cup depths, as further described herein.

[0273] Referring still to FIG. 72, the end effector 7200 is in a closed or clamped position. In use, the anvil 7001 can be pivoted relative to the staple cartridge 7260 to move the end effector 7200 to the closed position and clamp tissue between the anvil 7001 and the staple cartridge 7260. In other instances, the anvil 7001 can be fixed and the staple cartridge 7260 can pivot relative to the anvil 7001 to move the end effector 7200 to the closed position and, in still other instances, both the anvil 7001 and the staple cartridge 7260 can be configured to pivot to move the end effector 7200 toward the closed position.

[0274] The staple cartridge 7260 includes a staple cartridge body 7264 having a longitudinal slot 7265 and a plurality of staple cavities 7266 defined therein. Staples 7280 are moveably positioned in the staple cavities 7266. The slot 7265 can extend along a central, longitudinal axis of the staple cartridge 7260. Each staple cavity 7266 comprises an opening in the deck 7262. The staple cavities 7266 are arranged in a plurality of longitudinally extending rows 7268 including a first row, or outer row, 7268a, a second row, or intermediate row, 7268b, and a third row, or inner row, 7268c on each side of the slot 7265. In other instances, the staple cartridge 7260 can have fewer than or more than six rows of staple cavities 7266. For example, a staple cartridge can have two staple cavity rows on each side of a longitudinal slot.

[0275] Each staple 7280 is supported by a staple driver 7270. In various instances, a staple driver 7270 can support and fire more than one staple 7280. For example, a driver may be configured to fire staples from adjacent rows of staple cavities in a staple cartridge. The deck 7262 includes cavity extenders 7261 that protrude from the deck 7262 toward the tissue compression surface 7007 of the anvil 7001 . The cavity extenders 7261 are positioned around at least a portion of the staple cavities 7266 and can guide the staples as they are ejected from the staple cavities 7266. The cavities extenders 7261 may also be configured to engage or grip tissue and/or support the staples 7280 and/or the drivers 7270 during firing, for example. In

other instances, the deck 7262 can be devoid of cavity extenders and can comprise a smooth tissue-contacting surface, for example.

[0276] The staples 7280 in FIG. 72 are depicted in a formed configuration in which the staples 7280 fired from the cavities 7266 across the rows 7268a, 7268b, 7268c on both sides of the slot 7265 have been formed to the same height H. In certain instances, it can be advantageous to form staples across multiple rows to tightly cinch the tissue and reduce bleeding therefrom.

[0277] The drivers 7270 are movably positioned in the cavities 7266. During a firing stroke, a firing member is configured to lift the drivers 7270 toward the anvil 7001 , which drives the staples 7280 supported on the drivers 7070 into forming engagement with the anvil 7001 . Each staple 7280 is driven into forming contact with a staple forming pocket arrangement 7002, 7004. Each row 7268 of staple cavities 7266 is aligned with a row 7003 of staple forming pocket arrangements 7002, 7004. The first staple forming pocket arrangements 7002 are aligned with the outermost row 7268a of staple cavities 7266 on each side of the slot 7265, and the second staple forming pocket arrangements 7004 are aligned with the innermost rows 7268b, 7268c of staple cavities 7266 on each side of the slot 7265.

[0278] The staple cartridge 7260 includes a stepped deck 7262 having longitudinal steps between adjacent longitudinal portions. More specifically, the staple cartridge 7260 includes a plurality of longitudinal portions 7263 including a first portion, or outer portion, 7263a and a second portion, or inner portion, 7263b on each side of a slot 7260. A step 7267 is positioned between the outer portion 7263a and the inner portion 7263b. The step 7267 extends parallel to rows 7268 of staple cavities 7266 defined in the deck 7262 and extends along an axis positioned intermediate adjacent rows 7268 of staple cavities 7266.

[0279] The step 7267 comprises a height Hstep, which corresponds to the height difference between the first longitudinal portion 7263a and the second longitudinal portion 7263b of the deck 7262. Moreover, because the anvil 7001 includes a non-stepped tissue compression surface 7007, the height Hstep corresponds to the variation in tissue gap between the staple cartridge 7260 and the anvil 7001 when the end effector 7200 is in the closed position. A first tissue gap TG-\ is defined between the first portion 7263a and the anvil 7001 and a second tissue gap TG2 is defined between the second portion 7263b and the anvil 7001. The tissue gap TG2 is greater than the tissue gap TG-\ . It is desirable in certain instances to provide greater tissue compression adjacent to the lateral sides of the end effector 7200 than along a central inner portion of the end effector 7200, as further described herein. In other instances, the staple cartridge 7260 can include additional longitudinal portions having steps therebetween and, in such instances, may define additional, different tissue gaps when the end effector 7200 is in the closed position.

[0280] In the fired positions depicted in FIG. 72, the staples 7280 have been overdriven with respect to the staple cartridge body 7264. More specifically, the staple-supporting surface of each driver 7270 has been driven past the staple cartridge body 7264 such that the staples 7280 are completely removed from the cartridge body 7264 during firing. The cradle, or bottommost surface, of each staple 7280 is positioned above the deck 7262. The cradles of certain staples 7280 are also positioned above the cavity extenders 7261 protruding from the deck 7262 and the cradles of other staples 7280 are positioned below and/or flush with the cavity extenders 7261. The overdrive feature of the drivers 7270 can be configured to fully detach the fired staples 7280 from the staple cartridge 7260 and to facilitate the release of stapled tissue from the end effector 7200.

[0281] In various instances, different staples can be overdriven by different amounts. For example, the staples 7280 fired from the outer rows 7268a of staple cavities 7266 are overdriven a first distance the staples 7280 fired from the intermediate rows 7268b of staple cavities 7266 are overdriven a second distance D2 relative to the cartridge body 7264, and the staples 7280 fired from the inner rows 7268c of staple cavities 7266 are overdriven a third distance D3 relative to the cartridge body 7264. The distances D2, and D3 in FIG. 72 are the distances between the cradle of the staples 7280 and the adjacent portion of the deck surface 7262.

[0282] To achieve the different overdrive distances D2, and D3 in FIG. 72, the stroke length of the drivers 7270 can be different. For example, the firing element can be configured to lift the drivers 7270 supporting staples 7280 in the outer rows 7268a a first distance, to lift the drivers 7070 supporting the staples 7280 in the intermediate row 7268b a second distance, and to lift the drivers 7270 supporting the staples 7280 in the inner rows 7268c a third distance. In certain instances, the geometry of the firing element can be selected to control the different stroke lengths of the drivers 7270. Additionally or alternatively, the geometry of the drivers 7270, such as the driver's height, for example, can be selected to control the different overdrive distances. The different overdrive distances D2, and D3 in FIG. 72 can also be controlled by the different heights of the stepped deck 7262.

[0283] As described herein with respect to the end effector 7000 (FIG. 70), when the tissue gap is constant between rows of staples, different cup depths can be configured to accommodate for variations in overdrive distance such that the staples are formed to the same formed height. For example, referring again to FIG. 72, the tissue gap TG-\ is constant between the first and second rows 6268a, 6268b of staple cavities 6266 and, in such instances, the different cup depths CD^ and CD2 are configured to accommodate for the variations in overdrive distances D-\ and D2. Moreover, as described with respect to the end effector 7100 (FIG. 71 ) when the tissue gap varies between rows of staples, the tissue gap differential can correspond to variations in overdrive distance such that staples are formed to the same formed height. For example, referring again to FIG. 72, the height Hstep of the step 7267 corresponds to the difference between the overdrive distances D2 and D3.

[0284] In various instances, the staple cartridge 7260 can also be compatible with an anvil having a stepped tissue compression surface, such as the anvil 7101 (FIG. 71 ). In such instances, the different overdrive distances D2, and D3 can correspond to different tissue gaps between the anvil's stepped tissue compression surface 7107 and the staple cartridge's stepped deck 7262. An end effector 7300 that includes the staple cartridge 7260 and the anvil 7101 is depicted in FIG. 73. As further described herein, the end effector 7300 is configured to form staples to a constant formed height across multiple rows.

[0285] Owing to the two stepped surfaces 7107 and 7262 in FIG. 73, the end effector 7300 defines a plurality of tissue gaps between the anvil 7101 and the staple cartridge 7260. A first tissue gap TG-\ is defined between the first portion 7263a of the deck 7262 and the first portion 71 10a of the tissue compression surface 7107, a second tissue gap TG2 is defined between the first portion 7263a of the deck 7262 and the second portion 71 10b of the tissue compression surface 7107, and a third tissue gap TG3 is defined between the second portion 7263b of the deck 7262 and the second portion 71 10b of the tissue compression surface 7107. The outer rows 7268a of staple cavities 7266 and the outer rows 7103a of staple forming pockets 7102 are aligned with the first tissue gap TG^ the intermediate rows 7268b of staple cavities 7266 and the intermediate rows 7103b of staple forming pockets 7102 are aligned with the second tissue gap TG2, and the inner rows 7268c of staple cavities 7266 and the inner rows 7103c of staple forming pockets 7102 are aligned with the third tissue gap TG3 As described with respect to the end effector 7100 (FIG. 71 ), when the tissue gap varies between rows of staples, the tissue gap differential can correspond to variations in overdrive distance such that staples are formed to the same formed height. For example, referring again to FIG. 73, the height HsteP of the anvil step 71 12 corresponds to the difference between the overdrive distances D-\ and D2 and the height HsteP of the cartridge step 7267 corresponds to the difference between the overdrive distances D2 and D3.

[0286] As described herein, a surgical tool assembly can include a shaft portion and an articulatable end effector portion. For example, an articulation assembly can be positioned intermediate the shaft portion and the end effector portion, and the articulation assembly can enable the end effector portion to articulate at an articulation joint relative to the shaft portion. Various articulation assemblies are further described herein and in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/019,245, filed February 9, 2016, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH CLOSURE STROKE REDUCTION ARRANGEMENTS, the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein.

[0287] An exemplary surgical tool assembly 8000 having an articulation joint 8200 is depicted in FIGS. 74-77. The surgical tool assembly 8000 includes a shaft 8010 and an end effector 8100. The shaft 8010 includes a closure tube assembly 8040. The closure tube assembly 8040 is similar in many respects to the closure tube assembly 140 (see, e.g. FIG. 2), for example, which is further described herein. The shaft 8010 also includes an articulation drive system

8201 configured to articulate the end effector 8100 relative to the shaft 8010. The articulation joint 8200 is positioned intermediate the shaft 8010 and the end effector 8100 such that articulation motions generated by the articulation drive system 8201 articulate the end effector 8100 about an articulation axis B-B (FIGS. 75-77) relative to the shaft 8010.

[0288] The articulation drive system 8201 includes an articulation rod 8202 including a distal end 8204. The articulation drive system 8201 also includes an articulation link 8206 comprising a proximal end 8208 coupled to the distal end 8204 of the articulation rod 8202. The articulation rod 8202 extends longitudinally through the shaft portion 8010. In at least one instance, the articulation rod 8202 can be collinear with a central, longitudinal axis L (FIGS. 75-77) of the shaft portion 8010 that extends through the articulation axis B-B, although the articulation rod

8202 can be offset from the longitudinal axis L in other embodimetns. The distal end 8204 of the articulation rod 8202 includes an extension 8205 extending laterally relative to the central, longitudinal axis L. For example, the extension 8205 extends away from the central, longitudinal axis L. As further described herein, the lateral offset of the extension 8205 relative to the axis L is configured to obtain the desired angular orientation of the articulation link 8206. The articulation rod 8202 is configured to move axially along the central, longitudinal axis L to affect the articulation motions of the end effector 8100. More specifically, displacement of the articulation rod 8202 in the distal direction (DD) is configured to articulate the end effector 8100 clockwise, and displacement of the articulation rod 8202 in the proximal direction (PD) is configured to articulate the end effector 8100 counterclockwise, for example.

[0289] The end effector 8100 is articulatable between a first fully articulated configuration and a second fully articulated configuration. The first fully articulated configuration can correspond to the full extent of clockwise rotation, for example, and the second fully articulated configuration can correspond to the full extent of counterclockwise rotation, for example. An unarticulated, or linear, configuration of the end effector 8100 can be positioned intermediate the first fully articulated configuration and the second fully articulated position. In various instances, the unarticulated configuration can be equidistant between the first and second fully articulated configurations. In other instances, based on the geometry of the end effector 8100 and the shaft 8010, a greater degree of articulation can be permitted in one rotational direction. The end effector 8100 can be articulatable through a range of motion comprising at least 120 degrees, for example. In other instances, the end effector 8100 can be configured to articulate through less than 120 degrees. For instance, the end effector 8100 can be configured to articulate about 90 degrees.

[0290] The articulation link 8206 is a crosslink, which is similar in certain respects to the crosslink 1237 (FIG. 10), for example. The articulation link 8206 is angularly oriented relative to the central, longitudinal axis L. More specifically, the articulation link 8206 traverses the central, longitudinal axis L such that the proximal end 8208 of the articulation link 8206 is positioned on a first side of the central, longitudinal axis L, and a distal end 8210 of the articulation link 8206 is positioned on a second, opposite side of the central, longitudinal axis L. In various instances, the angular orientation of the articulation link 8206 can be configured to improve the mechanical advantage of the articulation drive system 8201. As the articulation rod 8202 moves axially relative to the central, longitudinal axis L, the articulation link 8206 is also displaced relative to the central, longitudinal axis L. For example, referring to FIGS. 75-77, as the articulation joint 8200 is moved from an unarticulated configuration (FIG. 75) to a first articulated configuration (FIG. 76) and to a second articulated configuration (FIG. 77), the articulation rod 8202 and the articulation link 8206 are displaced distally. As further described herein, the first articulated configuration corresponds to a partially articulated configuration and the second articulated configuration corresponds to a fully articulated configuration of the surgical tool assembly 8000.

[0291] In certain instances, the articulation drive system 8201 may not include the articulation link 8206. For example, the articulation rod 8202 can be pivotably coupled to the end effector 8100. In certain instances, the distal end portion of the articulation rod 8202 can define a contour and/or offset such that the distal end of the articulation rod 8202 is laterally offset from the proximal end and/or from the central, longitudinal axis L.

[0292] Referring still to FIGS. 74-77, the distal end 8210 of the articulation link 8206 is pivotably coupled to the end effector portion 8100 of the surgical tool assembly 8000 at a pivot joint 821 1 . For example, the distal end 8210 is coupled to a proximal portion, or extension, 8103 of the end effector's elongate channel or retainer portion 8102 at a pivot axis A-A (FIGS.

75-77) through the pivot joint 821 1 . Owing to the orientation of the articulation link 8206, the pivot axis A-A is laterally offset from the central, longitudinal axis L and from the articulation axis B-B. The distal end 8210 of the articulation link 8206 is coupled to the proximal extension 8103 such that the pivot axis A-A extends through the proximal extension 8103.

[0293] As the articulation rod 8202 and the articulation link 8206 are moved, e.g. pushed, in the distal direction (DD), the elongate channel 8102 is pivoted in the clockwise direction at the pivot axis A-A. In various instances, the end effector 8100 can encounter resistance to the articulation thereof and the articulation link 8206 can be subjected to a compressive load as the articulation drive system 8201 seeks to overcome the resistance. In certain instances, when exposed to a load above a threshold load, the articulation bar 8202 and/or the articulation link 8206 may be prone to bending, buckling, and/or backing up from the desired articulated position. Stated another way, the articulation link 8206 can be susceptible to lateral bowing under increased compressive loads. To counter or resist bowing and/or de-articulation of the compressed articulation bar 8202 and/or articulation link 8206 under high compressive loads, the articulation system 8201 can include a reinforcement or anti-backup feature.

[0294] A reinforcement feature 8220 is depicted in FIGS. 74-77. The reinforcement feature 8220 includes a brace 8106 on the end effector 8100, which is operably configured to engage a recess or notch 8226 in the articulation link 8206 in certain instances. The brace 8106 is disengaged from the recess 8226 during the majority of the articulation motion (see FIGS. 74-76); however, in the fully articulated configuration of FIG. 77, the brace 8106 is received within the recess or pocket 8226, and portions of the brace 8106 are in abutting contact with the sidewalls of the recess 8226. The brace 8106 comprises a post that protrudes from the proximal end of the elongate channel 8102 and the recess 8226 defines a pocket that is aligned with the brace 8106 such that the brace 8226 moves into the pocket when the end effector 8100 is articulated into its fully articulated configuration (FIG. 77). In such instances, the brace 8106 provides a stopping surface that prevents further clockwise articulation of the end effector 8100 beyond the fully articulated configuration.

[0295] Moreover, in the fully articulated configuration of FIG. 77, the brace 8106 is configured to exert a counter-bowing and anti-backup force on the articulation link 8206. More specifically, when a force is applied to the end effector 8100, such as an externally-applied force opposing the articulation motion of the articulation drive system 8201 , the more engagement between the recess 8226 and the brace 8106 is configured to resist de-articulation and/or bowing of the articulation link 8206. For example, the recess 8226 can apply a resistive, anti-backup force to

the brace 8016 in response to a de-articulation force being applied to the fully articulated end effector 8100.

[0296] In various instances, the reinforcement feature 8220 can include at least one pair of opposing planar surfaces or "flats" to transfer forces between the brace 8106 and the recess 8226. For example, the recess 8226 can define an inner surface having at least one flat or planar surface and the brace 8106 can define an outer surface having at least one flat or planar surface. The planar surface(s) can be complementary such that they are positioned in abutting contact when the end effector 8100 is in the fully articulated configuration. For example, the recess 8226 can fit around portions of the brace 8106 like a wrench fits on the head of a bolt. Abutting planar surfaces are configured to provide force-transfer surfaces for the reinforcement feature 8220 and counter rotation of the brace 8106 within the recess 8226. The brace 8106 and the recess 8226 have asymmetric profiles. However, the brace 8106 and the recess 8226 can have symmetric outer profiles in other instances.

[0297] Referring primarily to FIG. 77A, a detail view of the reinforcement feature 8220 of FIG. 77 is depicted. The recess 8226 includes an inner surface 8228 having a plurality of planar surface 8230a, 8230b, 8230c. Moreover, the brace 8106 includes an outer surface 8108 having a plurality of complementary planar surfaces 81 10a, 81 10b, 8210b. The planar surface(s) 8230a, 8230b of the recess 8226 can abut the corresponding planar surface(s) 8210a, 8210b of the brace 8226 to hold the brace 8106 within the recess 8226. Moreover, when the brace 8106 is received within the recess 8226, the planar surfaces can be oriented to resist de-articulation and/or and exert counter-bowing forces on the articulation link 8206. In various instances, the inner surface 8228 of the recess 8226 and the outer surface 8108 of the brace 8106 can also include contoured and/or rounded surfaces adjacent to and/or intermediate the planar surfaces.

[0298] In various instances, the articulation system 8201 can include a plurality of

reinforcement features 8220. For example, the articulation system 8201 can include a recess similar to the recess 8226 toward the proximal end 8208 of the articulation link 8206. Such a recess can be configured to engage a grounding feature on the end effector 8100 and/or provide a positive stopping surface when the end effector 8100 is fully articulated in a counterclockwise direction, for example.

[0299] Examples

Example 1 - An end effector that comprises a staple cartridge that comprises a staple that comprises a leg. The end effector further comprises an anvil that comprises a tissue compression surface, wherein a plurality of pockets are defined in the tissue compression surface. The plurality of pockets comprises a pocket that comprises a cup configured to form the leg. The cup comprises a boundary surface. The boundary surface comprises a perimeter, a depth profile defining the depth of the cup along the length of the cup, a first curved sidewall extending from the perimeter toward the depth profile, and a second curved sidewall extending from the perimeter toward the depth profile. The first curved sidewall and the second curved sidewall intersect the perimeter at a constant angle along a majority of the length of the cup. Example 2 - The end effector of Example 1 , wherein the boundary surface is devoid of flat surfaces.

Example 3 - The end effector of Examples 1 or 2, wherein the constant angle is between 55 degrees and 80 degrees.

Example 4 - The end effector of Examples 1 , 2, or 3, wherein the boundary surface further comprises a bottom surface intermediate the first curved sidewall and the second curved sidewall. The first curved sidewall comprises a first radius of curvature at a first cross-sectional location. The bottom surface comprises a second radius of curvature at the first cross-sectional location. The second radius of curvature is different than the first radius of curvature.

Example 5 - The end effector of Example 4, wherein the bottom surface comprises a variable radius of curvature along the length thereof.

Example 6 - An end effector that comprises a staple cartridge that comprises a staple that comprises a leg. The end effector further comprises an anvil that comprises a planar surface, wherein a plurality of pockets are defined in the planar surface. The plurality of pockets comprises a pocket that comprises a cup configured to form the leg. The cup comprises a boundary surface. The boundary surface comprises a perimeter, a depth profile defining the depth of the cup along the length of the cup, and a plurality of curvatures traversing the perimeter and the depth profile. Each curvature comprises a first arc intersecting the perimeter and comprising a first radius of curvature, wherein a tangent to each first arc at the perimeter is oriented at an angle.

Example 7 - The end effector of Example 6, wherein each curvature comprises a second arc that comprises a second radius of curvature. The second radius of curvature is different than the first radius of curvature.

Example 8 - The end effector of Examples 6 or 7, wherein the angle is between 55 degrees and 80 degrees.

Example 9 - The end effector of Examples 6, 7, or 8, wherein the boundary surface further comprises a first sidewall extending from the perimeter toward the depth profile, a second sidewall extending from the perimeter toward the depth profile, and an inflection surface

extending intermediate the first sidewall and the second sidewall. The inflection surface is devoid of flat surfaces.

Example 10 - The end effector of Examples 6, 7, 8 or 9, wherein the depth of the cup varies along the length thereof.

Example 1 1 - An end effector that comprises a staple cartridge that comprises a staple that comprises a leg. The end effector further comprises an anvil that comprises a planar surface, wherein a plurality of pockets are defined in the planar surface. The plurality of pockets comprises a pocket that comprises a cup configured to form the leg of the staple. The cup comprises a boundary surface. The boundary surface comprises a perimeter, a depth profile defining the depth of the cup along the length of the cup, and a plurality of longitudinally-offset profile curvatures intersecting the perimeter and the depth profile. The profile curvatures intersect the perimeter at a first angle.

Example 12 - The end effector of Example 1 1 , wherein the end effector is movable between an open position and a clamped position. The leg is aligned with the cup when the end effector is in the clamped position.

Example 13 - The end effector of Examples 1 1 or 12, wherein the plurality of profile curvatures comprises a first curvature and a second curvature. The perimeter of the cup extends around a staple entry zone, a staple exit zone, and a transition zone intermediate the staple entry zone and the staple exit zone. The first curvature and the second curvature intersect the perimeter in the transition zone.

Example 14 - The end effector of Example 13, wherein the plurality of profile curvatures further comprises a third curvature intersecting the perimeter at a second angle in the staple entry zone. The second angle is different than the first angle.

Example 15 - The end effector of Example 13, wherein the plurality of profile curvatures further comprises a third curvature intersecting the perimeter at a second angle in the staple exit zone. The second angle is different than the first angle.

Example 16 - The end effector of Example 13, wherein the boundary surface further comprises a first sidewall extending from a first lateral side of the cup, a second sidewall extending from a second lateral side of the cup, and a bottom surface. The first sidewall and the second sidewall meet at the bottom surface. The first sidewall meets the planar surface at the first angle along the length of the transition zone.

Example 17 - The end effector of Example 16, wherein the second sidewall meets the planar surface at the first angle along the length of the transition zone.

Example 18 - The end effector of Examples 1 1 , 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, or 17, wherein the first angle is between 55 degrees and 80 degrees.

Example 19 - The end effector of Examples 1 1 , 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, or 18, wherein the profile curvatures are devoid of linear portions.

Example 20 - The end effector of Examples 1 1 , 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, or 19, wherein each profile curvature comprises a parabolic curvature.

Example 21 - An end effector that comprises a staple cartridge that comprises a staple that comprises a first leg. The end effector further comprises an anvil that comprises a tissue compression surface, wherein a plurality of pockets are defined in the tissue compression surface. The plurality of pockets comprises a pocket that comprises a first cup configured to form the first leg. The first cup comprises a first lateral side, a second lateral side, and a bottom intermediate the first lateral side and the second lateral side. The bottom defines a depth relative to the tissue compression surface, wherein the depth varies longitudinally along the length of the bottom. The first cup further comprises a first sidewall extending from the first lateral side to the bottom, wherein the first sidewall defines a first entirely-curved surface, and a second sidewall extending from the second lateral side to the bottom. The second sidewall defines a second entirely-curved surface.

Example 22 - The end effector of Example 21 , wherein the first cup is devoid of flat surfaces. Example 23 - The end effector of Examples 21 or 22, wherein the pocket further comprises a first beveled edge intermediate the tissue compression surface and the first lateral side and a second beveled edge intermediate the tissue compression surface and the second lateral side. Example 24 - The end effector of Examples 21 , 22, or 23, wherein the pocket further comprises a second cup. The staple further comprises a second leg configured to form a second leg of the staple. The pocket is bilaterally symmetric with respect to a longitudinal axis extending through the first cup and the second cup, wherein the pocket is bilaterally symmetric with respect to a transverse axis oriented perpendicular to the longitudinal axis and spaced equidistance from the first cup and the second cup.

Example 25 - The end effector of Examples 21 , 22, 23, or 24, wherein the first cup further comprises a plurality of boundary curves extending from the first lateral side to the second lateral side. Each boundary curve comprises an inflection positioned along the bottom. The boundary curves transect the tissue compression surface at a constant angle along the first lateral side and the second lateral side.

Example 26 - The end effector of Example 25, wherein the boundary curves define parabolic curves.

Example 27 - An end effector that comprises a staple cartridge that comprises a staple that comprises a first leg. The end effector further comprises an anvil comprising a tissue compression surface, wherein a plurality of pockets are defined in the tissue compression surface. The plurality of pockets comprises a pocket that comprises a first cup configured to form the first leg. The first cup comprises a first lateral side, a second lateral side, and a bottom intermediate the first lateral side and the second lateral side. The bottom defines a depth relative to the tissue compression surface, wherein the depth varies longitudinally along the length of the bottom. The first cup further comprises a plurality of parabolic boundary curves extending intermediate the first lateral side and the second lateral side.

Example 28 - The end effector of Example 27, wherein the first cup further comprises an entry zone, an exit zone, a transition zone intermediate the entry zone and the exit zone, and a sidewall extending from the first lateral side toward the bottom. A tangent to the sidewall at the first lateral side is oriented at a constant angle in the entry zone, the exit zone, and the transition zone.

Example 29 - The end effector of Examples 27 or 28, wherein the first cup defines an entirely-curved boundary surface.

Example 30 - The end effector of Examples 27, 28, or 29, wherein the first cup further comprises a first sidewall extending from the first lateral side toward the bottom and a second sidewall extending from the second lateral side toward the bottom, wherein each parabolic boundary curve comprises a vertex positioned along the bottom.

Example 31 - The end effector of Example 30, wherein the first sidewall defines a first entirely-curved boundary surface. The second sidewall defines a second entirely-curved boundary surface.

Example 32 - The end effector of Examples 27, 28, 29, 30, or 31 , wherein the pocket further comprises a first beveled edge intermediate the tissue compression surface and the first lateral side and a second beveled edge intermediate the tissue compression surface and the second lateral side.

Example 33 - The end effector of Examples 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 , or 32, wherein the staple further comprises a second leg. The pocket further comprises a second cup configured to form the second leg. The pocket is bilaterally symmetric with respect to a longitudinal axis extending through the first cup and the second cup, wherein the pocket is bilaterally symmetric with respect to a transverse axis oriented perpendicular to the longitudinal axis and spaced equidistance from the first cup and the second cup.

Example 34 - An end effector that comprises a staple cartridge that comprises a staple that comprises a first leg. The end effector further comprises an anvil that comprises a planar surface, wherein a plurality of pockets are defined in the planar surface. The plurality of pockets comprises a pocket that comprises a first cup configured to form the first leg. The first cup defines an entirely-curved boundary surface comprising a bottom, wherein the bottom defines a depth relative to the planar surface. The depth varies longitudinally along the length of the bottom.

Example 35 - The end effector of Example 34, wherein the staple further comprises a second leg. The pocket further comprises a second cup configured to form the second leg. The pocket is bilaterally symmetric with respect to a longitudinal axis extending through the first cup and the second cup, and wherein the pocket is bilaterally symmetric with respect to a transverse axis oriented perpendicular to the longitudinal axis and spaced equidistance from the first cup and the second cup.

Example 36 - The end effector of Examples 34 or 35, wherein the first staple further comprises a second leg. The pocket further comprises a second cup configured to form the second leg. The second cup defines a second entirely-curved boundary surface comprising a second bottom. The second bottom defines a second depth relative to the planar surface. The second depth varies longitudinally along the length of the second bottom.

Example 37 - The end effector of Examples 34, 35, or 36, wherein the first cup further comprises a first lateral side, a second lateral side, and a plurality of parabolic boundary curves extending intermediate the first lateral side and the second lateral side.

Example 38 - The end effector of Examples 34, 35, 36, or 37, wherein the first cup further comprises a first lateral side extending along an entry zone, an exit zone, and a transition zone intermediate the entry zone and the exit zone. The first cup further comprises a sidewall extending from the first lateral side toward the bottom, wherein a tangent to the sidewall at the first lateral side is oriented at a constant angle in the entry zone, the exit zone, and the transition zone.

Example 39 - The end effector of Example 38, wherein a tangent to the sidewall at the first lateral side is oriented at an angle between 55 degrees and 80 degrees.

Example 40 - The end effector of Examples 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, or 39, wherein the pocket further comprises a first beveled edge extending along a first lateral side of the pocket and a second beveled edge extending along a second lateral side of the pocket.

Example 41 - A surgical end effector that comprises an anvil movable between an open position and a closed position. The anvil comprises a planar surface, wherein a plurality of forming

pockets are defined in the planar surface. The plurality of forming pockets comprises a first forming pocket that comprises a first depth and a second forming pocket that comprises a second depth, wherein the second depth is different than the first depth. The surgical end effector further comprises a staple cartridge that comprises a deck. The deck comprises a first portion aligned with the first pocket, a second portion aligned with the second pocket, and a step intermediate the first portion and the second portion. The staple cartridge further comprises a plurality of drivers. The plurality of drives comprises a first driver aligned with the first pocket and movable a first distance between an unfired position and a fired position and a second driver aligned with the second pocket and movable a second distance between an unfired position and a fired position. The second distance is different than the first distance. The staple cartridge further comprises a plurality of staples. The plurality of staples comprises a first staple supported by the first driver, wherein the first staple is formed to a first formed height intermediate the first driver and the first pocket. The plurality of staples further comprises a second staple supported by the second driver, wherein the second staple is formed to a second formed height intermediate the second driver and the second pocket. The first formed height is equal to the second formed height.

Example 42 - The surgical end effector of Example 41 , wherein the difference between the first distance and the second distance corresponds to the difference between the first depth and the second depth.

Example 43 - The surgical end effector of Examples 41 or 42, wherein the first staple comprises a first unformed height, wherein the second staple comprises a second unformed height, and wherein the second unformed height is equal to the first unformed height.

Example 44 - The surgical end effector of Examples 41 or 42, wherein the first staple comprises a first unformed height, wherein the second staple comprises a second unformed height, and wherein the second unformed height is different than the first unformed height.

Example 45 - The surgical end effector of Examples 41 , 42, 43, or 44, wherein the staple cartridge is replaceable.

Example 46 - The surgical end effector of Examples 41 , 42, 43, 44, or 45, wherein a first tissue gap is defined between the first portion and the planar surface, wherein a second tissue gap is defined between the second portion and the planar surface, and wherein the first tissue gap is less than the second tissue gap.

Example 47 - The surgical end effector of Examples 41 , 42, 43, 44, 45, or 46, wherein the first portion is laterally outboard of the second portion.

Example 48 - A staple forming apparatus that comprises a plurality of first staples, wherein each first staple is supported by a first drive surface. The staple forming apparatus further comprises a plurality of second staples, wherein each second staple is supported by a second drive surface. The staple forming apparatus further comprises a tissue compression surface, wherein a plurality of forming pockets is defined in the tissue compression surface. The plurality of forming pockets comprises a longitudinal row of first forming pockets each comprising a first depth, wherein each first forming pocket is configured to form one of the first staples to a first formed height within a first range of formed heights. The plurality of forming pockets further comprises a longitudinal row of second forming pockets each comprising a second depth. The second depth is different than the first depth, wherein each second forming pocket is configured to form one of the second staples to a formed height within a second range of formed heights. The second range of formed heights is equal to the first range of formed heights.

Example 49 - The staple forming apparatus of Example 48, wherein the first depth is double the second depth.

Example 50 - The staple forming apparatus of Examples 48 or 49, wherein the longitudinal row of first forming pockets is laterally outboard of the longitudinal row of second forming pockets. Example 51 - The staple forming apparatus of Examples 48, 49, or 50, further comprising a staple cartridge that comprises a deck, wherein each first drive surface is configured to drive one of the first staples a first overdrive distance relative to the deck. The first overdrive distance corresponds to the first depth, wherein each second drive surface is configured to drive one of the second staples a second overdrive distance relative to the deck. The second overdrive distance corresponds to the second depth.

Example 52 - The staple forming apparatus of Example 51 , wherein the deck further comprises a stepped surface.

Example 53 - The staple forming apparatus of Examples 48, 49, 50, 51 , or 52, wherein each first drive surface is movable a first distance between an unfired position and a fired position. Each second drive surface is movable a second distance between an unfired position and a fired position. The second distance is different than the first distance.

Example 54 - The staple forming apparatus of Example 53, wherein the difference between the first distance and the second distance corresponds to the difference between the first depth and the second depth.

Example 55 - A surgical end effector that comprises an anvil that comprises a tissue compression surface, wherein a plurality of forming pockets is defined in the tissue compression surface. The plurality of forming pockets comprises a first forming pocket comprising a first

depth and a second forming pocket comprising a second depth, wherein the second depth is different than the first depth. The surgical end effector further comprises a staple cartridge. The staple cartridge comprises a plurality of drivers comprising a first driver and a second driver. The staple cartridge further comprises a plurality of staples. The plurality of staples comprises a first staple comprising a first unformed height and supported by the first driver, wherein the first staple is driven a first distance into forming contact with the first pocket by the first driver and formed to a first formed height. The plurality of staples further comprises a second staple comprising a second unformed height and supported by the second driver, wherein the second staple is driven a second distance into forming contact with the second pocket by the second driver to a second formed height. The second distance is different than the first distance. The second formed height is substantially the same as the first formed height. The difference between the first distance and the second distance corresponds to the difference between the first depth and the second depth.

Example 56 - The surgical end effector of Example 55, wherein the tissue compression surface comprises a planar surface. The planar surface comprises a first portion, wherein the first forming pocket is defined in the first portion. The planar surface further comprises a second portion laterally outboard of the first portion, wherein the second forming pocket is defined in the second portion.

Example 57 - The surgical end effector of Example 56, wherein the surgical end effector is movable between an open configuration and a closed configuration, and wherein a constant tissue gap is defined between the staple cartridge and the first portion and the second portion of the planar surface when the surgical end effector is in the closed configuration.

Example 58 - The surgical end effector of Examples 56 or 57, wherein the surgical end effector is movable between an open configuration and a closed configuration, wherein a first tissue gap is defined between the staple cartridge and the first portion, wherein a second tissue gap is defined between the staple cartridge and the second portion, and wherein the first tissue gap is different than the tissue gap.

Example 59 - The surgical end effector of Examples 55, 56, 57, or 58, further comprising a sled configured to displace the first driver a first lift length and configured to displace the second driver a second lift length during a staple firing stroke. The first lift length is different than the second lift length.

Example 60 - The surgical end effector of Examples 55, 56, 57, 58, or 59, wherein the staple cartridge further comprises a deck. The first driver is configured to drive the first staple a first overdrive distance relative to the deck, wherein the first overdrive distance corresponds to the first depth. The second driver is configured to drive the second staple a second overdrive distance relative to the deck, wherein the second overdrive distance corresponds to the second depth.

Example 61 - The surgical end effector of Examples 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, or 60, wherein the staples comprise a staple diameter, wherein the first depth is equal to the staple diameter, and wherein the second depth is equal to twice the staple diameter.

Example 62 - A surgical tool assembly that comprises an end effector that comprises an elongate channel configured to receive a fastener cartridge. The elongate channel comprises a brace. The surgical tool assembly further comprises a shaft that comprises an articulation drive assembly. The articulation drive assembly comprises an articulation link pivotably coupled to the elongate channel. The articulation link comprises a pocket configured to receive the brace when the end effector is in a fully articulated configuration.

Example 63 - The surgical tool assembly of Example 62, wherein the brace comprises an outer surface that comprises a plurality of first flat surfaces. The pocket comprises an inner surface that comprises a plurality of second flat surfaces. The second flat surfaces are complementary to the first flat surfaces.

Example 64 - The surgical tool assembly of Examples 62 or 63, wherein the shaft extends along a longitudinal axis. The articulation link is pivotably coupled to the elongate channel at a pivot axis, wherein the pivot axis is laterally offset from the longitudinal axis.

Example 65 - The surgical tool assembly of Examples 62, 63, or 64, wherein the articulation drive assembly further comprises an articulation rod coupled to the articulation link. The distal displacement of the articulation rod is configured to pivot the end effector toward the fully articulated configuration.

Example 66 - The surgical tool assembly of Example 65, wherein the articulation drive assembly further comprises an articulation lock configured to selectively prevent axial displacement of the articulation rod.

Example 67 - The surgical tool assembly of Examples 62, 63, 64, 65, or 66, further comprising the fastener cartridge.

Example 68 - A surgical tool assembly that comprises a shaft and an end effector that comprises a proximal portion, wherein the proximal portion comprises a brace. The surgical tool assembly further comprises an articulation assembly configured to articulate the end effector relative to the shaft between a first articulated configuration and a second articulated

configuration. The articulation assembly comprises an articulation driver that comprises a

recess. The recess is configured to receive the brace when the end effector is in the first articulated configuration.

Example 69 - The surgical tool assembly of Example 68, wherein the end effector comprises an elongate channel configured to receive a staple cartridge. The elongate channel comprises the brace.

Example 70 - The surgical tool assembly of Example 69, further comprising the staple cartridge. Example 71 - The surgical tool assembly of Examples 69 or 70, wherein the brace comprises a post protruding from the elongate channel.

Example 72 - The surgical tool assembly of Example 71 , wherein the post comprises an outer surface that comprises a plurality of flat surfaces.

Example 73 - The surgical tool assembly of Example 72, wherein the recess comprises an inner surface that comprises a plurality of second flat surfaces. The plurality of second flat surfaces are complementary to the flat surfaces of the post.

Example 74 - The surgical tool assembly of Examples 69, 70, 71 , 72, or 73, wherein the articulation driver comprises an articulation link. The articulation link comprises a proximal end and a distal end. The proximal end is coupled to an articulation rod. The distal end is pivotably coupled to the elongate channel.

Example 75 - The surgical tool assembly of Example 74, wherein the shaft extends along a longitudinal axis. The distal end of the articulation link is laterally offset from the longitudinal axis.

Example 76 - The surgical tool assembly of Examples 68, 69, 70, 71 , 72, 73, 74, or 75, further comprising a second brace. The articulation driver comprises a second recess configured to receive the second brace when the end effector is in the second articulated configuration.

Example 77 - The surgical tool assembly of Examples 68, 69, 70, 71 , 72, 73, 74, 75, or 76, wherein the second articulated configuration is at least 120 degrees offset from the first articulated configuration.

Example 78 - A surgical tool assembly that comprises a shaft and an end effector. The end effector comprises an elongate channel configured to receive a fastener cartridge. The surgical tool assembly further comprises an articulation assembly intermediate the shaft and the end effector. The articulation assembly is configured to articulate the end effector relative to the shaft. The articulation assembly comprises an articulation link pivotably coupled to the elongate channel. The surgical tool assembly further comprises means for countering buckling of the articulation link when the articulation link is compressed.

Example 79 - The surgical tool assembly of Example 78, further comprising the fastener cartridge.

Example 80 - A surgical tool assembly that comprises a shaft and an end effector. The end effector comprises an elongate channel configured to receive a fastener cartridge. The surgical tool assembly further comprises an articulation assembly configured to articulate the end effector relative to the shaft. The articulation assembly comprises an articulation driver pivotably coupled to the end effector. The surgical tool assembly further comprises means for bracing the articulation driver when the end effector is in a fully-articulated configuration.

Example 81 - The surgical tool assembly of Example 80, further comprising the fastener cartridge.

Example 82 - A surgical tool assembly that comprises a shaft and an end effector. The end effector comprises a proximal end and a distal end. The surgical tool assembly further comprises an articulation joint rotatably connecting the proximal end of the end effector to the shaft. The surgical tool assembly further comprises an articulation assembly configured to articulate the end effector relative to the shaft between a first articulated configuration and a second articulated configuration. The articulation assembly comprises a longitudinal articulation driver movable proximally and distally. The articulation assembly further comprises a link connecting the longitudinal articulation driver to the end effector. The articulation assembly further comprises a feature that does not interfere with the proximal and distal movement of the articulation driver to articulate the end effector but resists the counter-rotation of the end effector to prevent the back-driving of the articulation driver.

[0300] 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. 13/1 18,241 , 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.

[0301] 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.

[0302] The entire disclosures of:

U.S. Patent No. 5,403,312, entitled ELECTROSURGICAL HEMOSTATIC DEVICE, which issued on April 4, 1995;

U.S. Patent No. 7,000,818, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENT HAVING SEPARATE DISTINCT CLOSING AND FIRING SYSTEMS, which issued on February 21 , 2006;

U.S. Patent No. 7,422,139, entitled MOTOR-DRIVEN SURGICAL CUTTING AND FASTENING INSTRUMENT WITH TACTILE POSITION FEEDBACK, which issued on

September 9, 2008;

U.S. Patent No. 7,464,849, entitled ELECTRO-MECHANICAL SURGICAL

INSTRUMENT WITH CLOSURE SYSTEM AND ANVIL ALIGNMENT COMPONENTS, which issued on December 16, 2008;

U.S. Patent No. 7,670,334, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT HAVING AN

ARTICULATING END EFFECTOR, which issued on March 2, 2010;

U.S. Patent No. 7,753,245, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS, which issued on July 13, 2010;

U.S. Patent No. 8,393,514, entitled SELECTIVELY ORIENTABLE IMPLANTABLE FASTENER CARTRIDGE, which issued on March 12, 2013;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 1 1/343,803, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT HAVING RECORDING CAPABILITIES; now U.S. Patent No. 7,845,537;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 12/031 ,573, entitled SURGICAL CUTTING AND FASTENING INSTRUMENT HAVING RF ELECTRODES, filed February 14, 2008;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 12/031 ,873, entitled END EFFECTORS FOR A SURGICAL CUTTING AND STAPLING INSTRUMENT, filed February 15, 2008, now U.S.

Patent No. 7,980,443;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 12/235,782, entitled MOTOR-DRIVEN SURGICAL CUTTING INSTRUMENT, now U.S. Patent No. 8,210,41 1 ;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 12/249,1 17, entitled POWERED SURGICAL

CUTTING AND STAPLING APPARATUS WITH MANUALLY RETRACTABLE FIRING SYSTEM, now U.S. Patent No. 8,608,045;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 12/647, 100, entitled MOTOR-DRIVEN SURGICAL CUTTING INSTRUMENT WITH ELECTRIC ACTUATOR DIRECTIONAL CONTROL ASSEMBLY, filed December 24, 2009; now U.S. Patent No. 8,220,688;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 12/893,461 , entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE, filed September 29, 2012, now U.S. Patent No. 8,733,613;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/036,647, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING

INSTRUMENT, filed February 28, 201 1 , now U.S. Patent No. 8,561 ,870;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/1 18,241 , entitled SURGICAL STAPLING

INSTRUMENTS WITH ROTATABLE STAPLE DEPLOYMENT ARRANGEMENTS, now U.S. Patent No. 9,072,535;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/524,049, entitled ARTICULATABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENT COMPRISING A FIRING DRIVE, filed on June 15, 2012; now U.S. Patent No. 9, 101 ,358;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/800,025, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE TISSUE THICKNESS SENSOR SYSTEM, filed on March 13, 2013, now U.S. Patent No. 9,345,481 ;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 13/800,067, entitled STAPLE CARTRIDGE TISSUE THICKNESS SENSOR SYSTEM, filed on March 13, 2013, now U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2014/0263552;

U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2007/0175955, entitled SURGICAL CUTTING AND FASTENING INSTRUMENT WITH CLOSURE TRIGGER LOCKING MECHANISM, filed January 31 , 2006; and

U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2010/0264194, entitled SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENT WITH AN ARTICULATABLE END EFFECTOR, filed April 22, 2010, now U.S. Patent No. 8,308,040, are hereby incorporated by reference herein.

[0303] 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. The foregoing description and following claims are intended to cover all such modification and variations.

[0304] 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.

[0305] 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.

[0306] While this invention has been described as having exemplary designs, the present invention may be further modified within the spirit and scope of the disclosure. This application is therefore intended to cover any variations, uses, or adaptations of the invention using its general principles.

[0307] Any patent, publication, or other disclosure material, in whole or in part, that is said to be incorporated by reference herein is incorporated herein only to the extent that the incorporated materials do not conflict with existing definitions, statements, or other disclosure material set forth in this disclosure. As such, and to the extent necessary, the disclosure as explicitly set forth herein supersedes any conflicting material incorporated herein by reference. Any material, or portion thereof, that is said to be incorporated by reference herein, but which conflicts with existing definitions, statements, or other disclosure material set forth herein will only be

incorporated to the extent that no conflict arises between that incorporated material and the existing disclosure material.