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1. (WO2019003019) INSTRUMENTS D'AGRAFAGE CHIRURGICAL COMPRENANT DES BECS RACCOURCIS DE CARTOUCHE D'AGRAFES
Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS COMPRISING SHORTENED STAPLE

CARTRIDGE NOSES

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 an exploded assembly view of portions of the handle assembly and one of the interchangeable surgical tool assemblies depicted in FIG. 1 ;

[0005] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of one of the interchangeable surgical tool assemblies depicted in FIG. 1 ;

[0006] FIG. 4 is an exploded assembly view of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIG. 3;

[0007] FIG. 5 is another exploded assembly view of a distal portion of the

interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 3 and 4;

[0008] FIG. 6 is another exploded assembly view of a distal portion of the

interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 3-5;

[0009] FIG. 7 is an exploded assembly view of a proximal portion of the

interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 3-6;

[0010] FIG. 8 is another exploded assembly view of a portion of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 3-7;

[0011] FIG. 9 is another exploded assembly view of a portion of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 3-8;

[0012] FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a proximal portion of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 3-9;

[0013] FIG. 1 1 is another perspective view of the proximal portion of the

interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 3-10;

[0014] FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional perspective view of the proximal portion of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 3-1 1 ;

[0015] FIG. 13 is another cross-sectional perspective view of the proximal portion of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 3-12;

[0016] FIG. 14 is another cross-sectional perspective view of the proximal portion of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 3-13;

[0017] FIG. 15 is a cross-sectional perspective view of a distal portion of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly of FIGS. 3-14;

[0018] FIG. 16 is a partial plan view of an end effector of a surgical instrument in accordance with at least one embodiment;

[0019] FIG. 16A is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 16 illustrating the end effector articulated in a first direction;

[0020] FIG. 16B is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 16 illustrating the end effector articulated in a second direction;

[0021] FIG. 17 is a partial plan view of an end effector of a surgical instrument in accordance with at least one embodiment;

[0022] FIG. 17A is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 17 illustrating the end effector articulated in a first direction;

[0023] FIG. 17B is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 17 illustrating the end effector articulated in a second direction;

[0024] FIG. 18 is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 16;

[0025] FIG. 19 is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 17;

[0026] FIG. 20 is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 16 in an articulated position;

[0027] FIG. 21 is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 17 in an articulated position;

[0028] FIG. 22 is a schematic illustrating an articulation range of the end effector of FIG. 16;

[0029] FIG. 23 is a schematic illustrating an articulation range of the end effector of FIG. 17;

[0030] FIG. 24 is a partial perspective view of the end effector of FIG. 17 illustrated with some components removed;

[0031] FIG. 25 is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 17 illustrated with some components removed;

[0032] FIG. 26 is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 17 illustrated in an open, unarticulated configuration;

[0033] FIG. 26A is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 17 illustrated in an open, fully-right articulated configuration;

[0034] FIG. 26B is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 17 illustrated in an open, fully-left articulated configuration;

[0035] FIG. 27 is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 17 illustrated in a closed, unarticulated configuration;

[0036] FIG. 27A is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 17 illustrated in a closed, fully-right articulated configuration;

[0037] FIG. 27B is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 17 illustrated in a closed, fully-left articulated configuration;

[0038] FIG. 28 is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 17 illustrated in an unarticulated configuration;

[0039] FIG. 29 is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 17 illustrated in an articulated configuration;

[0040] FIG. 30 is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 17 illustrated in an unarticulated configuration;

[0041] FIG. 30A is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 17 illustrated in a fully-right articulated configuration;

[0042] FIG. 30B is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 17 illustrated in a fully-left articulated configuration;

[0043] FIG. 31 is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 17 illustrated in an unarticulated configuration;

[0044] FIG. 31 A is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 17 illustrated in a fully-right articulated configuration;

[0045] FIG. 31 B is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 17 illustrated in a fully-left articulated configuration;

[0046] FIG. 32 is a partial perspective view of an end effector in accordance with at least one embodiment;

[0047] FIG. 33 is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 32;

[0048] FIG. 34 is a cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 32 illustrated in an unarticulated configuration;

[0049] FIG. 34A is a cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 32 illustrated in an articulated configuration;

[0050] FIG. 34B is a cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 32 illustrated in an articulated configuration;

[0051] FIG. 35 is a partial perspective view of an end effector in accordance with at least one embodiment;

[0052] FIG. 36 is a partial perspective view of the end effector of FIG. 35 illustrated with some components removed;

[0053] FIG. 37 is a partial plan view of the end effector of FIG. 35 illustrated with some components removed;

[0054] FIG. 38 is a partial elevational view of the end effector of FIG. 35 illustrated with some components removed;

[0055] FIG. 39 is a cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 35 illustrated in an unarticulated configuration;

[0056] FIG. 39A is a cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 35 illustrated in an articulated configuration;

[0057] FIG. 39B is a cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 35 illustrated in an articulated configuration;

[0058] FIG. 40 is a partial cross-sectional view of an end effector comprising an articulation system including an articulation lock in accordance with at least one embodiment;

[0059] FIG. 41 is a partial exploded view of the end effector of FIG. 40;

[0060] FIG. 42 is a cross-sectional end view of the end effector of FIG. 40;

[0061] FIG. 43 is a partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 40 illustrating the articulation lock in an engaged condition;

[0062] FIG. 44 is a partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 40 illustrating the articulation lock in an unlocked condition;

[0063] FIG. 45 is a partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 40 illustrating the articulation lock in a locked condition;

[0064] FIG. 46 is a partial cross-sectional view of an end effector including a slidable lock plate in accordance with at least one embodiment;

[0065] FIG. 47 is a partial cross-sectional view of another end effector including a slidable lock plate in accordance with at least one embodiment;

[0066] FIG. 48 is a partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 47 illustrating self-adjustability of the lock plate;

[0067] FIG. 49 is a partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 47 in a locked condition;

[0068] FIG. 50 is a partial cross-sectional view of an end effector including another slidable lock plate in accordance with at least one embodiment;

[0069] FIG. 51 is a partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 50 illustrated in a locked condition;

[0070] FIG. 52 is a partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 50 illustrated in another locked condition;

[0071] FIG. 53 is a partial cross-sectional view of an end effector comprising an articulation system and an articulation lock in accordance with at least one embodiment illustrated with some components removed;

[0072] FIG. 53A is a partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 53 articulated in a first direction;

[0073] FIG. 53B is a partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 53 articulated in a second direction;

[0074] FIG. 54 is a partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 53 in an unlocked condition;

[0075] FIG. 55 is a partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 53 in a partially-locked condition;

[0076] FIG. 56 is a partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 53 in a locked condition;

[0077] FIG. 57 is a chart illustrating the gradual locking of the end effector of FIG. 53;

[0078] FIG. 58 is a partial cross-sectional view of an end effector comprising an articulation system and an articulation lock in accordance with at least one embodiment illustrated with some components removed;

[0079] FIG. 59 is a partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 58 illustrated in a partially-locked condition;

[0080] FIG. 60 is a partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 58 in a locked condition;

[0081] FIG. 61 is a partial cross-sectional view of an end effector comprising an articulation system and an articulation lock in accordance with at least one embodiment illustrated with some components removed;

[0082] FIG. 62 is a partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 61 illustrating the articulation lock being moved toward the articulation system;

[0083] FIG. 63 is a partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 61 illustrating the articulation lock engaged with the articulation system;

[0084] FIG. 64 is a partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 61 illustrating the articulation lock in a locked condition;

[0085] FIG. 65 is another partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 61 illustrating the articulation lock in its locked condition;

[0086] FIG. 66 is a partial cross-sectional view of an end effector comprising an articulation system and an articulation lock in accordance with at least one embodiment illustrated with some components removed;

[0087] FIG. 67 is a partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 66 illustrating the articulation lock engaged with the articulation system;

[0088] FIG. 68 is a partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 66 illustrating the articulation lock in a locked condition;

[0089] FIG. 69 is a partial cross-sectional view of an end effector comprising an articulation system and an articulation lock in accordance with at least one embodiment illustrated with some components removed;

[0090] FIG. 70 is a partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 69 illustrating the articulation lock being moved toward the articulation system;

[0091] FIG. 71 is a partial cross-sectional view of the end effector of FIG. 69 illustrating the articulation lock in a locked condition;

[0092] FIG. 72 is a partial perspective view of an end effector articulation drive system in accordance with at least one embodiment;

[0093] FIG. 73 is a plan view of the end effector articulation drive system of FIG. 72;

[0094] FIG. 74 is an elevational view of the end effector articulation drive system of FIG. 72;

[0095] FIG. 75 is a partial perspective view of an end effector articulation drive system in accordance with at least one embodiment;

[0096] FIG. 76 is a plan view of the end effector articulation drive system of FIG. 75;

[0097] FIG. 77 is an elevational view of the end effector articulation drive system of FIG. 75;

[0098] FIG. 78 is a detail view of the end effector articulation drive system of FIG. 75;

[0099] FIG. 79 is another detail view of the end effector articulation drive system of FIG. 75;

[0100] FIG. 80 is a perspective view of a surgical instrument in accordance with at least one embodiment comprising a shaft and an end effector;

[0101] FIG. 81 is a perspective view of the surgical instrument in FIG. 80 illustrating the end effector articulated relative to the shaft;

[0102] FIG. 82 is a perspective view of the end effector of FIG. 80 in an open configuration;

[0103] FIG. 83 is a partial elevational view of a firing member in accordance with at least one embodiment;

[0104] FIG. 84 is a partial cross-sectional plan view of the firing member of FIG. 83;

[0105] FIG. 85 is a partial cross-sectional view of a distal end of a staple cartridge with a shortened nose in accordance with at least one embodiment;

[0106] FIG. 86 is a partial cross-sectional view of a distal end of a staple cartridge with an elongate nose in accordance with at least one embodiment;

[0107] FIG. 87 is a top view of various internal components of the staple cartridge of

FIG. 85 illustrating a triple staple driver spanning across three longitudinal rows of staple cavities positioned on top of a portion of a wedge sled;

[0108] FIG. 88 is a cross-sectional view of the triple staple driver of FIG. 87 illustrating the centerline of the triple staple driver with respect to the sled;

[0109] FIG. 89 is a partial plan view of the staple cartridge of FIG. 85 illustrating one side of the staple cartridge deck in cross-section and showing the position of the sled of FIG. 88 within recesses defined in the shortened nose of the cartridge after the completion of a firing stroke;

[0110] FIG. 90 is a partial cross-sectional view of the staple cartridge of FIG. 85 taken along line 90-90 in FIG. 89 illustrating the position of the sled after the completion of a firing stroke;

[0111] FIG. 91 is a diagram comparing the accessibility of end effectors comprising the staple cartridges in FIGS. 85 and 86 during a surgical procedure in a pelvic cavity;

[0112] FIG. 92 is a partial perspective view of an end effector comprising the staple cartridge of FIG. 85 and a shortened opposing anvil with a protective tip in accordance with at least one embodiment;

[0113] FIG. 93 is a partial elevational view of the end effector of FIG. 92;

[0114] FIG. 94 is a partial plan view of one embodiment of the anvil depicted in FIG.

92 with a protective tip in an assembled configuration;

[0115] FIG. 95 is a partial cross-sectional view of the anvil depicted in FIG. 94 taken along line 95-95 in FIG. 94 and illustrated in a partially disassembled configuration showing exemplary attachment means for removably affixing the protective tip to the anvil;

[0116] FIG. 96 is a partial cross-sectional view of the anvil depicted in FIG. 95 taken along line 96-96 in FIG. 95 and illustrated in a partially disassembled configuration showing the geometry of an attachment feature on the anvil for connection to

corresponding geometry on the protective tip;

[0117] FIG. 97 is a partial cross-sectional view of an additional embodiment of the anvil depicted in FIG. 92 in a partially disassembled configuration, illustrating a protective tip positioned within a temporary holder;

[0118] FIG. 98 is a cross-sectional view of the anvil depicted in FIG. 97 taken along line 98-98 in FIG. 97 in a partially disassembled configuration, showing the geometry of a tip attachment feature on the anvil;

[0119] FIG. 99 is a cross-sectional view of the anvil depicted in FIG. 97 taken along line 99-99 in FIG. 97 in an assembled configuration with the temporary holder still attached;

[0120] FIG. 100 is a cross-sectional view of a trocar seal system prior to the insertion of an end effector there through;

[0121] FIG. 101 is a cross-sectional view of the trocar seal system of FIG. 100 illustrating the end effector depicted in FIG. 100 being inserted there through;

[0122] FIG. 102 is a cross-sectional view of the trocar seal system of FIG. 100 illustrating the insertion of the end effector depicted in FIG. 100 there through;

[0123] FIG. 103 is a cross-sectional view of the trocar seal system of FIG. 100 illustrating an end effector comprising the shortened staple cartridge of FIG. 85 and a shortened anvil with a protective tip being inserted there through;

[0124] FIG. 104 is a cross-sectional view of a trocar seal system of FIG. 100 prior to an end effector comprising the elongate cartridge of FIG. 86 and a shortened anvil with a sharp tip being inserted there through;

[0125] FIG. 105 is a cross-sectional view of the trocar seal system of FIG. 100 illustrating the end effector depicted in FIG. 104 being inserted there through; and

[0126] FIG. 106 is a cross-sectional view of the trocar seal system of FIG. 100 illustrating the end effector depicted in FIG. 104 being inserted there through.

[0127] 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

[0128] 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

INSTRUMENT COMPRISING AN OFFSET ARTICULATION JOINT; Attorney Docket No. END8207USNP/170098;

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

INSTRUMENT COMPRISING AN ARTICULATION SYSTEM RATIO; Attorney Docket No. END8210USNP/170099;

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

INSTRUMENT COMPRISING AN ARTICULATION SYSTEM RATIO; Attorney Docket No. END8204USNP/170100;

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

INSTRUMENT COMPRISING FIRING MEMBER SUPPORTS; Attorney Docket No. END8218USNP/170101 ;

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

INSTRUMENT COMPRISING AN ARTICULATION SYSTEM LOCKABLE TO A FRAME; Attorney Docket No. END8217USNP/070102;

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

INSTRUMENT COMPRISING AN ARTICULATION SYSTEM LOCKABLE BY A CLOSURE SYSTEM; Attorney Docket No. END821 1 USNP/170103;

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

INSTRUMENT COMPRISING A SHAFT INCLUDING A HOUSING ARRANGEMENT; Attorney Docket No. END8215USNP/170107;

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

INSTRUMENT COMPRISING SELECTIVELY ACTUATABLE ROTATABLE COUPLERS; Attorney Docket No. END8201 USNP/170104;

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

INSTRUMENT COMPRISING A SHAFT INCLUDING A CLOSURE TUBE PROFILE; Attorney Docket No. END8212USNP/170106;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. , entitled METHOD FOR

ARTICULATING A SURGICAL INSTRUMENT; Attorney Docket No.

END8200USNP/170089M;

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

INSTRUMENTS WITH ARTICULATABLE END EFFECTOR WITH AXIALLY SHORTENED ARTICULATION JOINT CONFIGURATIONS; Attorney Docket No. END8214USNP/170090;

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

INSTRUMENTS WITH OPEN AND CLOSABLE JAWS AND AXIALLY MOVABLE FIRING MEMBER THAT IS INITIALLY PARKED IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO THE JAWS PRIOR TO FIRING; Attorney Docket No. END8202USNP/170091 ;

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

INSTRUMENTS WITH JAWS CONSTRAINED TO PIVOT ABOUT AN AXIS UPON CONTACT WITH A CLOSURE MEMBER THAT IS PARKED IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO THE PIVOT AXIS; Attorney Docket No. END8213USNP/170092;

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

EFFECTORS WITH IMPROVED JAW APERTURE ARRANGEMENTS; Attorney Docket No. END8203USNP/170093;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. , entitled SURGICAL CUTTING

AND FASTENING DEVICES WITH PIVOTABLE ANVIL WITH A TISSUE LOCATING ARRANGEMENT IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO AN ANVIL PIVOT; Attorney Docket No. END8205USNP/170094;

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. , entitled JAW RETAINER

ARRANGEMENT FOR RETAINING A PIVOTABLE SURGICAL INSTRUMENT JAW IN PIVOTABLE RETAINING ENGAGEMENT WITH A SECOND SURGICAL INSTRUMENT JAW; Attorney Docket No. END8216USNP/170095;

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

INSTRUMENT WITH POSITIVE JAW OPENING FEATURES; Attorney Docket No. END8208USNP/170096;

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

INSTRUMENT WITH AXIALLY MOVABLE CLOSURE MEMBER; Attorney Docket No. END8209USNP/170097;

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

INSTRUMENT LOCKOUT ARRANGEMENT; Attorney Docket No.

END8233USNP/170084;

U.S. Design Patent Application Serial No. , entitled STAPLE

FORMING ANVIL; Attorney Docket No. END8236USDP/170109D;

U.S. Design Patent Application Serial No. , entitled SURGICAL

INSTRUMENT SHAFT; Attorney Docket No. END8239USDP/170108D; and

U.S. Design Patent Application Serial No. , entitled SURGICAL

FASTENER CARTRIDGE; Attorney Docket No. END8240USDP/1701 10D.

[0129] Applicant of the present application owns the following U.S. Patent

Applications that were filed on June 27, 2017 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;

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

EFFECTORS AND ANVILS; Attorney Docket No. END8166USNP/170087; and

U.S. Patent Application Serial No. , entitled ARTICULATION

SYSTEMS FOR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS; Attorney Docket No.

END8171 USNP/170088.

[0130] 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.

[0131] 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.

[0132] 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.

[0133] 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.

[0134] 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.

[0135] 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.

[0136] 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.

[0137] 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.

[0138] 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.

[0139] 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.

[0140] 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.

[0141] 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.

[0142] 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.

[0143] 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.

[0144] 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.

[0145] 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.

[0146] 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 ROTATABLE OUTPUT, now U.S. Patent No. 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.

[0147] 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.

[0148] 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.

[0149] 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.

[0150] 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.

[0151] 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.

[0152] 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.

[0153] 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.

[0154] 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.

[0155] 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.

[0156] 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 FIG. 1 , one example of the surgical system 10 includes four interchangeable surgical tool assemblies 1000, 3000, 5000, and 7000 that are each adapted for interchangeable use with a handle assembly 500. Each interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000, 3000, 5000, and 7000 may be designed for use in connection with the performance of one or more specific surgical procedures. In another surgical system embodiment, one or more of the

interchangeable surgical tool assemblies 1000, 3000, 5000, and 7000 may also 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.

[0157] FIG. 2 illustrates attachment of an interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 to the handle assembly 500. It will be understood that any of the other

interchangeable tool assemblies 3000, 5000, and 7000 may be coupled to the handle assembly 500 in a similar manner. The attachment arrangement and process depicted in FIG. 2 may also be employed in connection with attachment of any of the

interchangeable surgical tool assemblies 1000, 3000, 5000 and 7000 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 510, 530 that are

configured to generate and apply various control motions to corresponding portions of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000, 3000, 5000, and/or 7000 that is operably attached thereto.

[0158] As can be seen in FIG. 2, the handle assembly 500 may further include a handle frame 506 that operably supports the plurality of drive systems. For example, the handle 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 1000, 3000, 5000, and 7000 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 handle 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 easily 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, in the illustrated example, the closure linkage assembly 514 includes a transverse attachment pin 516 that facilitates attachment to a corresponding drive system on the surgical tool assembly. In use, to actuate the closure drive system 510, 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 510 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 activates a closure release button assembly 518 which enables the closure trigger to return to its unactuated position. The closure release button assembly 518 may also be configured to interact with various sensors that communicate with a microprocessor 560 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.

[0159] In at least one form, the handle assembly 500 and the handle 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 505 that is located in the pistol grip portion 504 of the handle assembly 500. In various forms, the motor 505 may be a DC brushed driving motor having a maximum speed of approximately 25,000 RPM, for example. In other arrangements, the motor 505 may include a brushless motor, a cordless motor, a synchronous motor, a stepper motor, or any other suitable electric motor. The motor

505 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 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.

[0160] The electric motor 505 is configured to axially drive a longitudinally movable drive member in a 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 will be axially driven in a distal direction "DD". When the motor 505 is driven in the opposite rotary direction, the longitudinally movable drive member 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 505 by the power source 522 or otherwise control the motor 505. The handle assembly 500 can also include a sensor or sensors that are configured to detect the position of the drive member and/or the direction in which the drive member is being moved. Actuation of the motor 505 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 the 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 it 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. [0161] In at least one form, the longitudinally movable drive member 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 should the motor 505 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. See FIG. 2. The lever may be configured to be manually pivoted into ratcheting engagement with the teeth in the drive member. Thus, the clinician can manually retract the drive member by using the bailout handle assembly to ratchet the drive member in the proximal direction "PD". U.S. Patent No. 8,608,045, entitled POWERED SURGICAL CUTTING AND STAPLING APPARATUS WITH

MANUALLY RETRACTABLE FIRING SYSTEM, the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein, discloses bailout arrangements and other

components, arrangements and systems that may also be employed with any one of the various interchangeable surgical tool assemblies disclosed herein.

[0162] Turning now to FIGS. 3 and 4, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 includes a surgical end effector 1500 that comprises a first jaw 1600 and a second jaw 1800. In one arrangement, the first jaw 1600 comprises an elongate channel 1602 that is configured to operably support a surgical staple/fastener cartridge 1700 therein. The second jaw 1800 comprises an anvil 1810 that is pivotally supported relative to the elongate channel 1602. The interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 includes an articulation system 1300 that comprises an articulation joint 1302 and an articulation lock 1400 (FIGS. 4-6) which can be configured to releasably hold the surgical end effector 1500 in a desired articulated position relative to a shaft axis SA-i .

[0163] As can be further seen in FIGS. 4 and 7-9, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 includes a tool frame assembly 1200 that comprises a tool chassis 1210 that operably supports a nozzle assembly 1240 thereon. In one form, the nozzle assembly 1240 is comprised of nozzle portions 1242, 1244 as well as an actuator wheel portion 1246 that is configured to be coupled to the assembled nozzle portions 1242, 1244 by snaps, lugs, and/ or screws, for example. The interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 includes a proximal closure assembly 1900 which is operably coupled to a distal closure assembly 2000 that is utilized to close and/or open the anvil 1810 of the surgical end effector 1500 as will be discussed in further detail below. In addition, the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 includes a spine assembly 1250 that operably supports the proximal closure assembly 1900 and is coupled to the surgical end effector 1500. In various circumstances, for ease of assembly, the spine assembly 1250 may be fabricated from an upper spine segment 1251 and a lower spine segment 1252 that are interconnected together by snap features, adhesives, and/or welds, for example. In assembled form, the spine assembly 1250 includes a proximal end 1253 that is rotatably supported in the tool chassis 1210. In one arrangement, for example, the proximal end 1253 of the spine assembly 1250 is attached to a spine bearing that is configured to be supported within the tool chassis 1210. Such an arrangement facilitates the rotatable attachment of the spine assembly 1250 to the tool chassis 1210 such that the spine assembly 1250 may be selectively rotated about the shaft axis SAi relative to the tool chassis 1210. In particular, in at least one arrangement, the proximal end 1253 of the spine assembly 1250 includes an upper lug seat 1254 (FIGS. 4, 5, 7, 8, and 10) and a lower lug seat that are each configured to receive a corresponding nozzle lug 1245 extending inwardly from each of the nozzle portions 1242, 1244, for example. Such an arrangement facilitates the rotation of the spine assembly 1250 about the shaft axis SAi by rotating the actuator wheel portion 1246 of the nozzle assembly 1240.

[0164] As can be seen in FIGS. 4 and 5, the spine assembly 1250 further includes an intermediate spine shaft segment 1256 that has a diameter that is less than the diameter of the proximal end 1253 of the spine assembly 1250. The intermediate spine shaft segment 1256 of the upper spine segment 1251 terminates in an upper lug mount feature 1260 and the intermediate spine shaft segment of the lower spine segment 1252 terminates in a lower lug mount feature 1270. As can be seen in FIG. 6, the upper lug mount feature 1260 is formed with a lug slot 1262 therein that is adapted to mountingly support an upper mounting link 1264 therein. Similarly, the lower lug mount feature 1270 is formed with a lug slot 1272 therein that is adapted to mountingly support a lower mounting link 1274 therein. The upper mounting link 1264 includes a pivot socket 1266 therein that is offset from the shaft axis SA-i . The pivot socket 1266 is adapted to rotatably receive therein a pivot pin 1634 that is formed on a channel cap or anvil retainer 1630 that is attached to a proximal end portion 1610 of the elongate channel 1602. The lower mounting link 1274 includes a lower pivot pin 1276 that is adapted to be received within a pivot hole 161 1 formed in the proximal end portion 1610 of the elongate channel 1602. See FIG. 6. The lower pivot pin 1276 as well as the pivot hole 161 1 is offset from the shaft axis SA-i . The lower pivot pin 1276 is vertically aligned with the pivot socket 1266 to define an articulation axis AAi about which the surgical end effector 1500 may articulate relative to the shaft axis SA-i . Although the articulation axis AAi is transverse to the shaft axis SA-i , the articulation axis AAi is laterally offset therefrom and does not intersect the shaft axis SA-i .

[0165] Referring now to FIGS. 6 and 15, the anvil 1810 includes an anvil body 1812 that terminates in anvil mounting portion 1820. The anvil mounting portion 1820 is movably or pivotably supported on the elongate channel 1602 for selective pivotal travel relative thereto about a fixed anvil pivot axis PAi (FIG. 15) that is transverse to the shaft axis SA-i . A pivot member or anvil trunnion 1822 extends laterally out of each lateral side of the anvil mounting portion 1820 to be received in a corresponding trunnion cradle 1614 formed in the upstanding walls 1612 of the proximal end portion 1610 of the elongate channel 1602. The anvil trunnions 1822 are pivotally retained in their corresponding trunnion cradle 1614 by the channel cap or anvil retainer 1630. The channel cap or anvil retainer 1630 includes a pair of attachment lugs 1636 that are configured to be retainingly received within corresponding lug grooves or notches 1616 formed in the upstanding walls 1612 of the proximal end portion 1610 of the elongate channel 1602.

[0166] The surgical end effector 1500 is selectively articulatable about the articulation axis AAi by the articulation system 1300. In one form, the articulation system 1300 includes a proximal articulation driver 1310 that is pivotally coupled to an articulation link 1320. As can be seen in FIG. 6, an offset attachment lug 1314 is formed on a distal end 1312 of the proximal articulation driver 1310. A pivot hole 1316 is formed in the offset attachment lug 1314 and is configured to pivotally receive therein a proximal link pin 1326 formed on the proximal end 1325 of the articulation link 1320. A distal end 1322

of the articulation link 1320 includes a pivot hole 1324 that is configured to pivotally receive therein a channel pin 1618 formed on the proximal end portion 1610 of the elongate channel 1602. Thus, axial movement of the proximal articulation driver 1310 will apply articulation motions to the elongate channel 1602 to articulate the surgical end effector 1500 about the articulation axis AAi relative to the spine assembly 1250.

[0167] Movement of the anvil 1810 relative to the elongate channel 1602 is effectuated by axial movement of the proximal closure assembly 1900 and the distal closure assembly 2000. Referring now to FIGS. 4 and 7, the proximal closure assembly 1900 comprises a proximal closure tube 1910 that has a proximal closure tube portion 1920 and a distal portion 1930. The distal portion 1930 has a diameter that is less than the diameter of the proximal closure tube portion 1920. The proximal end 1922 of the proximal closure tube portion 1920 is rotatably supported in a closure shuttle 1940 which is slidably supported within the tool chassis 1210 such that the closure shuttle 1940 may be axially moved relative to the tool chassis 1210. In one form, the closure shuttle 1940 includes a pair of proximally-protruding hooks 1942 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. The proximal end 1922 of the proximal closure tube portion 1920 is rotatably coupled to the closure shuttle 1940. For example, a U-shaped connector 1944 is inserted into an annular slot 1924 in the proximal closure tube portion 1920 and is retained within vertical slots 1946 in the closure shuttle 1940. Such an arrangement serves to attach the proximal closure assembly 1900 to the closure shuttle 1940 for axial travel therewith while enabling the proximal closure assembly 1900 to rotate relative to the closure shuttle 1940 about the shaft axis SA-i. A closure spring 1948 (FIGS. 12-14) extends over the proximal closure tube portion 1920 to bias the closure shuttle 1940 in the proximal direction PD which can serve to pivot the closure trigger 512 on the handle assembly 500 (FIG. 2) into the unactuated position when the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 is operably coupled to the handle assembly 500.

[0168] Referring now to FIGS. 5 and 6, a distal portion 1930 of the proximal closure tube 1910 is attached to the distal closure assembly 2000. The distal closure assembly 2000 includes an articulation connector 2010 that is coupled to a distal closure tube segment 2030. The distal closure tube segment 2030 has a diameter that is larger than the diameter of the distal portion 1930 of the proximal closure tube 1910. The articulation connector 2010 has a proximally extending end portion 2012 that is adapted to be received on a connection flange 1934 formed on the distal end of the distal portion 1930. The articulation connector 2010 may be retained on the connection flange 1934 by an appropriate fastener arrangement, adhesive, and/or welds, for example. The articulation connector 2010 includes upper and lower tangs 2014, 2016 that protrude distally from a distal end of the articulation connector 2010 that are movably coupled to an end effector closure sleeve, or distal closure tube segment, 2030. The distal closure tube segment 2030 includes an upper tang 2032 and a lower tang that protrude proximally from a proximal end thereof. An upper double pivot link 2060 includes proximal and distal pins 2061 , 2062 that engage corresponding holes 2015, 2034 in the upper tangs 2014, 2032 of the articulation connector 2010 and distal closure tube segment 2030, respectively. Similarly, a lower double pivot link 2064 includes proximal and distal pins 2065, 2066 that engage corresponding holes 2019 in the lower tangs 2016 of the articulation connector 2010 and distal closure tube segment 2030, respectively. As will be discussed in further detail below, distal and proximal axial translation of the proximal closure assembly 1900 and distal closure assembly 2000 will result in the closing and opening of the anvil 1810 relative to the elongate channel 1602.

[0169] The interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 further includes a firing system generally designated as 2100. The firing system 2100 includes a firing member assembly 21 10 that is supported for axial travel within the spine assembly 1250. The firing member assembly 21 10 includes an intermediate firing shaft portion 2120 that is configured to be attached to a distal cutting portion, or knife bar, 2130. The firing member assembly 21 10 may also be referred to herein as a "second shaft" and/or a "second shaft assembly". As can be seen in FIG. 5, the intermediate firing shaft portion 2120 may include a longitudinal slot 2124 in a distal end 2122 thereof which can be configured to receive a proximal end 2132 of the knife bar 2130. The longitudinal slot 2124 and the proximal end 2132 of the knife bar 2130 are sized and configured to permit relative movement therebetween and can comprise a slip joint 2134. The slip joint 2134 can permit the intermediate firing shaft portion 2120 of the firing member assembly 21 10 to be moved to articulate the end effector 1500 without moving, or at least substantially moving, the knife bar 2130. Once the end effector 1500 has been suitably oriented, the intermediate firing shaft portion 2120 can be advanced distally until a proximal sidewall of the longitudinal slot 2124 comes into contact with a portion of the knife bar 2130 to advance the knife bar 2130 and fire the surgical staple/fastener cartridge 1700 positioned within the elongate channel 1602. A proximal end 2127 of the intermediate firing shaft portion 2120 has a firing shaft attachment lug 2128 formed thereon (FIG. 8) that is configured to be seated into an attachment cradle that is on the distal end of the longitudinally movable drive member of the firing drive system 530 within the handle assembly 500. Such an arrangement facilitates the axial movement of the intermediate firing shaft portion 2120 upon actuation of the firing drive system 530.

[0170] Further to the above, the interchangeable tool assembly 1000 can include a shifter assembly 2200 which can be configured to selectively and releasably couple the proximal articulation driver 1310 to the firing system 2100. In one form, the shifter assembly 2200 includes a lock collar, or lock sleeve 2210, positioned around the intermediate firing shaft portion 2120 of the firing system 2100 wherein the lock sleeve 2210 can be rotated between an engaged position in which the lock sleeve 2210 couples the proximal articulation driver 1310 to the firing member assembly 21 10 and a disengaged position in which the proximal articulation driver 1310 is not operably coupled to the firing member assembly 21 10. When the lock sleeve 2210 is in its engaged position, distal movement of the firing member assembly 21 10 can move the proximal articulation driver 1310 distally and, correspondingly, proximal movement of the firing member assembly 21 10 can move the proximal articulation driver 1310 proximally. When the lock sleeve 2210 is in its disengaged position, movement of the firing member assembly 21 10 is not transmitted to the proximal articulation driver 1310 and, as a result, the firing member assembly 21 10 can move independently of the proximal articulation driver 1310. In various circumstances, the proximal articulation driver 1310 can be held in position by the articulation lock 1400 when the proximal articulation driver 1310 is not being moved in the proximal or distal directions by the firing member assembly 21 10.

[0171] The intermediate firing shaft portion 2120 of the firing member assembly 21 10 is formed with two opposed flat sides 2121 , 2123 with a drive notch 2126 formed therein. See FIG. 8. As can also be seen in FIG. 13, the lock sleeve 2210 comprises a cylindrical, or an at least substantially cylindrical, body that includes a longitudinal aperture 2212 that is configured to receive the intermediate firing shaft portion 2120 there through. The lock sleeve 2210 comprises diametrically-opposed, inwardly-facing lock protrusions 2214, 2216 that, when the lock sleeve 2210 is in one position, are engagingly received within corresponding portions of the drive notch 2126 in the intermediate firing shaft portion 2120 and, when in another position, are not received within the drive notch 2126 to thereby permit relative axial motion between the lock sleeve 2210 and the intermediate firing shaft portion 2120.

[0172] Referring now to FIGS. 8 and 12-14, the lock sleeve 2210 further includes a lock member 2218 that is sized to be movably received within a notch 1319 in a proximal end 1318 of the proximal articulation driver 1310. Such an arrangement permits the lock sleeve 2210 to slightly rotate into and out of engagement with the intermediate firing shaft portion 2120 while remaining in engagement with the notch 1319 in the proximal articulation driver 1310. For example, when the lock sleeve 2210 is in its engaged position, the lock protrusions 2214, 2216 are positioned within the drive notch 2126 in the intermediate firing shaft portion 2120 such that a distal pushing force and/or a proximal pulling force can be transmitted from the firing member assembly 21 10 to the lock sleeve 2210. Such axial pushing or pulling motion is then transmitted from the lock sleeve 2210 to the proximal articulation driver 1310 to thereby articulate the surgical end effector 1500. In effect, the firing member assembly 21 10, the lock sleeve 2210, and the proximal articulation driver 1310 will move together when the lock sleeve 2210 is in its engaged (articulation) position. On the other hand, when the lock sleeve 2210 is in its disengaged position, the lock protrusions 2214, 2216 are not received within the drive notch 2126 in the intermediate firing shaft portion 2120 and, as a result, a distal pushing force and/or a proximal pulling force may not be transmitted from the firing member assembly 21 10 to the lock sleeve 2210 (and the proximal articulation driver 1310).

[0173] Relative movement of the lock sleeve 2210 between its engaged and disengaged positions may be controlled by a shifter assembly 2200 that interfaces with the proximal closure tube 1910 of the proximal closure assembly 1900. More

specifically and with reference to FIGS. 8 and 9, the shifter assembly 2200 further includes a shifter key 2240 that is configured to be slidably received within a key groove 2217 formed in the outer perimeter of the lock sleeve 2210. Such an arrangement enables the shifter key 2240 to move axially with respect to the lock sleeve 2210.

Referring to FIGS. 8-1 1 , the shifter key 2240 includes an actuator lug 2242 that extends through a cam slot or cam opening 1926 in the proximal closure tube portion 1920. See FIG. 9. A cam surface 2243 is also provided adjacent the actuator lug 2242 which is configured to cammingly interact with the cam opening 1926 so as to cause the shifter key 2240 to rotate in response to axial motion of the proximal closure tube portion 1920.

[0174] The shifter assembly 2200 further includes a switch drum 2220 that is rotatably received on a proximal end portion of the proximal closure tube portion 1920. As can be seen in FIGS. 10-14, the actuator lug 2242 extends through an axial slot segment 2222 in the switch drum 2220 and is movably received within an arcuate slot segment 2224 in the switch drum 2220. A switch drum torsion spring 2226 (FIGS. 12-14) is mounted on the switch drum 2220 and engages nozzle portion 1244 to apply a torsional bias or rotation (arrow SR in FIGS. 10 and 1 1 ) which serves to rotate the switch drum 2220 until the actuator lug 2242 reaches the end of the arcuate slot segment 2224. See FIGS. 1 1 and 12. When in this position, the switch drum 2220 may provide a torsional bias to the shifter key 2240 which thereby causes the lock sleeve 2210 to rotate into its engaged position with the intermediate firing shaft portion 2120. This position also corresponds to the unactuated configuration of the proximal closure assembly 1900. In one arrangement, for example, the actuator lug 2242 is located in the upper portion of the cam opening 1926 in the proximal closure tube portion 1920 when the proximal closure assembly 1900 is in an unactuated configuration (anvil 1810 is in an open position spaced away from the surgical staple/fastener cartridge 1700). When in that position, the actuation of the intermediate firing shaft portion 2120 will result in the axial movement of the proximal articulation driver 1310. Once the user has articulated the surgical end effector 1500 to a desired orientation, the user may then actuate the

proximal closure assembly 1900. The actuation of the proximal closure assembly 1900 will result in the distal travel of the proximal closure tube portion 1920 to ultimately apply a closing motion to the anvil 1810. This distal travel of the proximal closure tube portion 1920 will result in the cam opening 1926 cammingly interacting with the cam surface 2243 on the actuator lug 2242 to thereby cause the shifter key 2240 to rotate the lock sleeve 2210 in an actuation direction AD. Such rotation of the lock sleeve 2210 will result in the disengagement of the lock protrusions 2214, 2216 from the drive notch 2126 in the intermediate firing shaft portion 2120. When in such a configuration, the firing drive system 530 may be actuated to actuate the intermediate firing shaft portion 2120 without actuating the proximal articulation driver 1310. Further details concerning the operation of the switch drum 2220 and lock sleeve 2210, as well as alternative articulation and firing drive arrangements that may be employed with the various interchangeable surgical tool assemblies described herein, may be found 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 , and U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/019,196, filed February 9, 2016, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT ARTICULATION MECHANISM WITH SLOTTED SECONDARY CONSTRAINT, the entire disclosures of which are hereby incorporated by reference herein.

[0175] Referring again to FIGS. 8-13, the switch drum 2220 can further comprise at least partially circumferential openings 2228, 2230 defined therein which can receive circumferential lugs/mounts 1245 that extend from the nozzle portions 1242, 1244 and permit relative rotation, but not translation, between the switch drum 2220 and the nozzle assembly 1240. The nozzle lugs 1245 extend through corresponding openings 1923 in the proximal closure tube portion 1920 to be seated in lug seats 1254 in the spine assembly 1250. See FIGS. 8 and 9. Such an arrangement enables the user to rotate the spine assembly 1250 about the shaft axis by rotating the nozzle assembly 1240.

[0176] As also illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 12-14, the interchangeable tool assembly 1000 can comprise a slip ring assembly 1230 which can be configured to conduct electrical power to and/or from the surgical end effector 1500 and/or communicate

signals to and/or from the surgical end effector 1500, back to a microprocessor 560 (FIG. 2) in the handle assembly 500 or a robotic system controller, for example. Further details concerning the slip ring assembly 1230 and associated connectors may be found 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 , and U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/019,196, filed February 9, 2016, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT ARTICULATION MECHANISM WITH SLOTTED SECONDARY CONSTRAINT, 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 2220.

[0177] Referring again to FIG. 2, the tool chassis 1210 includes at least one tapered attachment portion 1212 formed thereon that is adapted to be received within a corresponding dovetail slot 507 formed within the distal end portion of the handle frame 506 of the handle assembly 500. Various interchangeable surgical tool assemblies employ a latch system 1220 for removably coupling the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 to the handle frame 506 of the handle assembly 500. In at least one form, as can be seen in FIG. 7, the latch system 1220 includes a lock member or lock yoke 1222 that is movably coupled to the tool chassis 1210, for example. The lock yoke 1222 has a U-shape with two spaced downwardly extending legs 1223. The legs 1223 each have a pivot lug formed thereon that are adapted to be received in corresponding holes formed in the tool chassis 1210. Such an arrangement facilitates the pivotal attachment of the lock yoke 1222 to the tool chassis 1210. The lock yoke 1222 may include two proximally protruding lock lugs 1224 that are configured for releasable engagement with corresponding lock detents or grooves 509 in the distal end of the handle frame 506 of the handle assembly 500. See FIG. 2. In various forms, the lock yoke 1222 is biased in the proximal direction by a spring or biasing member 1225.

Actuation of the lock yoke 1222 may be accomplished by a latch button 1226 that is slidably mounted on a latch actuator assembly 1221 that is mounted to the tool chassis 1210. The latch button 1226 may be biased in a proximal direction relative to the lock yoke 1222. The lock yoke 1222 may be moved to an unlocked position by biasing the latch button 1226 in the distal direction which also causes the lock yoke 1222 to pivot out of retaining engagement with the distal end of the handle frame 506. When the lock yoke 1222 is in "retaining engagement" with the distal end of the handle frame 506, the lock lugs 1224 are retainingly seated within the corresponding lock detents or grooves 509 in the distal end of the handle frame 506.

[0178] The lock yoke 1222 includes at least one lock hook 1227 that is adapted to contact corresponding a lock lug portion 1943 that is formed on the closure shuttle 1940. When the closure shuttle 1940 is in an unactuated position, the lock yoke 1222 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 1227 do not contact the lock lug portions 1943 on the closure shuttle 1940. However, when the closure shuttle 1940 is moved to an actuated position, the lock yoke 1222 is prevented from being pivoted to an unlocked position. Stated another way, if the clinician were to attempt to pivot the lock yoke 1222 to an unlocked position or, for example, the lock yoke 1222 was inadvertently bumped or contacted in a manner that might otherwise cause it to pivot distally, the lock hooks 1227 on the lock yoke 1222 will contact the lock lug portions 1943 on the closure shuttle 1940 and prevent movement of the lock yoke 1222 to an unlocked position.

[0179] Referring again to FIG. 6, the knife bar 2130 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 welds and/or pins, for example, at the proximal ends and/or at other locations along the length thereof. 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 2130 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, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH CLOSURE STROKE REDUCTION

ARRANGEMENTS which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. As can also be seen in FIG. 6, a firing shaft support assembly 2300 is employed to provide lateral support to the knife bar 2130 as it flexes to accommodate articulation of the surgical end effector 1500. Further details concerning the operation of the firing shaft support assembly 2300 and alternative knife bar support arrangements may be found in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/019,245, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS WITH CLOSURE STROKE REDUCTION ARRANGEMENTS and U.S. Patent

Application Serial No. 15/019,220, entitled SURGICAL INSTRUMENT WITH

ARTICULATING AND AXIALLY TRANSLATABLE END EFFECTOR, which are each hereby incorporated by reference herein in their respective entireties.

[0180] As can also be seen in FIG. 6, a firing member or knife member 2140 is attached to the distal end of the knife bar 2130. In one exemplary form, the firing member 2140 comprises a body portion 2142 that supports a knife or tissue cutting portion 2144. The body portion 2142 protrudes through an elongate slot 1604 in the elongate channel 1602 and terminates in a foot member 2146 that extends laterally on each side of the body portion 2142. As the firing member 2140 is driven distally through the surgical staple/fastener cartridge 1700, the foot member 2146 rides within a passage in the elongate channel 1602 that is located under the surgical staple/fastener cartridge 1700. In one arrangement, the body portion 2142 includes two laterally protruding central tabs 2145 that may ride above the central passage within the surgical staple/fastener cartridge 1700. See FIG. 6. The tissue cutting portion 2144 is disposed between a distally protruding top nose portion 2143 and the foot member 2146. As can be further seen in FIG. 6, the firing member 2140 may further include two laterally extending top tabs, pins or anvil engagement features 2147. As the firing member 2140 is driven distally, a top portion of the body portion 2142 extends through a centrally disposed anvil slot 1814 and the anvil engagement features 2147 ride on corresponding anvil ledges 1816 formed on each side of the anvil slot 1814. To facilitate assembly of the anvil 1810 and firing member 2140 arrangement, in one arrangement, the top of the anvil body 1812 has an opening 1817 therein. Once the anvil 1810 is assembled onto the elongate channel 1602 and the firing member 2140 is installed, the opening 1817 is covered by an anvil cap 1819 that is affixed to the anvil body 1812 by welds and/or other suitable fastening means.

[0181] Returning to FIG. 6, the firing member 2140 is configured to operably interface with a sled assembly 2150 that is operably supported within a body 1702 of the surgical staple/fastener cartridge 1700. The sled assembly 2150 is slidably displaceable within the surgical staple/fastener cartridge body 1702 from a proximal starting position adjacent the proximal end 1704 of the cartridge body 1702 to an ending position adjacent a distal end 1706 of the cartridge body 1702. The cartridge body 1702 operably supports therein a plurality of staple drivers that are aligned in rows on each side of a centrally disposed slot 1708. The centrally disposed slot 1708 enables the firing member 2140 to pass there through and cut the tissue that is clamped between the anvil 1810 and the surgical staple/fastener cartridge 1700. The drivers are associated with corresponding staple/fastener pockets 1712 that open through an upper deck surface 1710 of the cartridge body 1702. Each of the staple drivers supports one or more surgical staples or fasteners thereon. The sled assembly 2150 includes a plurality of sloped or wedge-shaped cams 2152 wherein each cam 2152 corresponds to a particular line of fasteners or drivers located on a side of the slot 1708.

[0182] To attach the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 to the handle assembly 500, referring to FIG. 2, the clinician may position the tool chassis 1210 of the interchangeable surgical tool assembly 1000 above or adjacent to the distal end of the handle frame 506 such that the tapered attachment portions 1212 formed on the tool chassis 1210 are aligned with the dovetail slots 507 in the handle frame 506. The clinician may then move the surgical tool assembly 1000 along an installation axis IA that is perpendicular to the shaft axis SAi to seat the tapered attachment portions 1212 in "operable engagement" with the corresponding dovetail receiving slots 507 in the distal end of the handle frame 506. In doing so, the firing shaft attachment lug 2128 on the intermediate firing shaft portion 2120 will also be seated in the attachment cradle in the longitudinally movable drive member within the handle assembly 500 and the portions of attachment pin 516 on the closure link 514 will be seated in the

corresponding hooks 1942 in the closure shuttle 1940. 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 the application of an actuation motion thereto, the components carry out their intended action, function, and/or procedure.

[0183] During a typical surgical procedure, a clinician may introduce the surgical end effector 1500 into the surgical site through a trocar, or other opening in a patient, to access the target tissue. When doing so, the clinician axially aligns, or at least substantially aligns, the surgical end effector 1500 in an unarticulated state along the shaft axis and inserts the surgical end effector 1500 through the trocar. Once the surgical end effector 1500 has passed through the trocar, the clinician may need to articulate the end effector 1500 to advantageously position the end effector 1500 adjacent the target tissue. Further to the above, the firing drive system 530 is operated through a limited range of motion to move the articulation driver 1310 and articulate the end effector 1500. Such articulation occurs prior to closing the anvil onto the target tissue. Once the end effector has attained the desired articulated position, the clinician may then actuate the closure drive system 510 to close the anvil 1810 onto the target tissue. Such actuation of the closure drive system 510 actuates the shifter assembly 2200 and delinks the articulation driver 1310 from the intermediate firing shaft portion 2120. Thus, once the target tissue has been suitably captured in the surgical end effector 1500, the clinician may once again actuate the firing drive system 530 to axially advance the firing member 2140 through the surgical staple/fastener cartridge 1700 to fire the staples into and cut the target tissue. Other closure and firing drive

arrangements, such as handheld, manual, automated, and/or robotic arrangements, for example, may be employed to control the axial movement of the closure system components, the articulation system components, and/or the firing system components of the surgical tool assembly 1000.

[0184] An end effector 10500 of a surgical instrument 10000 is illustrated in FIGS. 16-16B. The end effector 10500 comprises a cartridge jaw 10600 (FIG. 18) including a staple cartridge 10700 and, in addition, an anvil 10800 configured to deform staples ejected from the staple cartridge 10700. In use, the anvil 10800 is rotatable between an open, undamped position and a closed, clamped position; however, the cartridge jaw 10600 can be rotatable toward the anvil 10800 in other embodiments. The surgical

instrument 10000 further comprises a shaft 10100 wherein the end effector 10500 is rotatably connected to the shaft 10100 about an articulation joint 10200. In use, the end effector 10500 is rotatable about the articulation joint 10200 between a fully-articulated right position (FIG. 16A), indicated by angle eR, and a fully-articulated left position (FIG. 16B), indicated by angle eL - and/or any suitable position there between. As discussed in greater detail below, the angles eR and eL are limited by the design of the articulation drive system of the surgical instrument 10000. In at least one instance the angles eR and eL are limited to approximately 45 degrees with respect to the unarticulated position of the end effector 10500 (FIG. 16).

[0185] Referring to FIG. 18, the shaft 10100 of the surgical instrument 10000 comprises an outer closure tube including an outer housing 101 10 which is movable distally to engage the anvil 10800 and move the anvil 10800 toward the staple cartridge 10700. The shaft 10100 further comprises a distal housing portion 10130 rotatably connected to the outer housing 101 10 by two connector plates 10120 positioned on opposite sides of the articulation joint 10200. Each connector plate 10120 is connected to the outer housing 101 10 at a pivot 101 15 and, similarly, to the distal housing portion 10130 at a pivot 10125. The connector plates 10120 permit the closure tube to slide relative to the articulation joint 10200 when the end effector 10500 is in an articulated position and, as a result, the anvil 10800 can be opened and closed while the end effector 10500 is in an articulated position. Further to the above, the distal housing 10130 comprises an opening defined therein configured to receive a tab extending from the proximal end of the anvil 10800 - a sidewall of which is configured to engage the tab and transfer a proximal, or opening motion, of the closure tube to the anvil 10800.

[0186] An end effector 1 1500 of a surgical instrument 1 1000 is illustrated in FIGS. 17-17B. The end effector 1 1500 comprises a cartridge jaw 1 1600 (FIG. 19) including a staple cartridge 1 1700 and, in addition, an anvil 1 1800 configured to deform staples ejected from the staple cartridge 1 1700. In use, the anvil 1 1800 is rotatable between an open, undamped position and a closed, clamped position; however, embodiments are envisioned in which the cartridge jaw 1 1600 is movable relative to the anvil 1 1800. The surgical instrument 1 1000 further comprises a shaft 1 1 100 wherein the end effector 1 1500 is rotatably connected to the shaft 1 1 100 about an articulation joint 1 1200. In use, the end effector 1 1500 is rotatable about the articulation joint 1 1200 between a fully-articulated right position (FIG. 17A), indicated by angle aR, and a fully-articulated left position (FIG. 17B), indicated by angle aL - and/or any suitable position there between. Although the angles aR and aL are ultimately limited by the design of the articulation drive system of the surgical instrument 1 1000, the angles aR and aL are larger. In at least one instance the angles aR and aL are approximately 60 degrees with respect to the unarticulated position of the end effector 1 1500 (FIG. 17), for example.

[0187] Referring to FIG. 19, the shaft 1 1 100 of the surgical instrument 1 1000 comprises an outer closure tube including an outer housing 1 1 1 10 which is movable distally to engage the anvil 1 1800 and move the anvil 1 1800 toward the staple cartridge 1 1700. The shaft 1 1 100 further comprises a distal housing 1 1 130 rotatably connected to the outer housing 1 1 1 10 by two connector plates 1 1 120 positioned on opposite sides of the articulation joint 1 1200. Each connector plate 1 1 120 is connected to the outer housing 1 1 1 10 at a pivot 1 1 1 15 and, similarly, to the distal housing 1 1 130 at a pivot 1 1 125. Similar to the above, the connector plates 1 1 120 permit the closure tube to slide relative to the articulation joint 1 1200 when the end effector 1 1500 is in an articulated position wherein, as a result, the anvil 1 1800 can be opened and closed while the end effector 1 1500 is in an articulated position. Further to the above, the distal housing 1 1 130 comprises an opening defined therein configured to receive a tab extending from the proximal end of the anvil 1 1800 - a sidewall of which is configured to engage the tab and transfer a proximal, or opening, motion of the closure tube to the anvil 1 1800.

[0188] Referring again to FIG. 18, the surgical instrument 10000 further comprises an articulation drive system 10300 including an articulation drive actuator 10310 extending through an interior aperture 10105 defined within the closure tube 101 10 of the shaft 10100. The articulation drive actuator 10310 comprises a distal end operably engaged with the cartridge jaw 10600 of the end effector 10500. More specifically, the distal end of the articulation drive actuator 10310 comprises an opening, or slot, 10320 defined therein and the cartridge jaw 10600 comprises a pin 10620 extending into the slot 10320. When the articulation drive actuator 10310 is pushed distally, the end effector 10500 is driven to the right (FIG. 16A) about a fixed axis defined by a pivot 10210 which rotatably connects the cartridge jaw 10600 to a frame of the shaft 10100.

Correspondingly, the end effector 10500 is rotated to the left (FIG. 16B) about the pivot 10210 when the articulation drive actuator 10310 is pulled proximally.

[0189] Referring again to FIG. 19, the surgical instrument 1 1000 further comprises an articulation drive system 1 1300 including an articulation drive actuator 1 1310 extending through an interior aperture 1 1 105 defined within the closure tube 1 1 1 10. The articulation drive system 1 1300 further comprises an articulation link 1 1320 rotatably coupled to a distal end of the articulation drive actuator 1 1310 about a pin 1 1315.

Similarly, the articulation link 1 1320 is rotatably coupled to the cartridge jaw 1 1600 about a drive pin 1 1620 which extends through an aperture defined in the articulation link 1 1320. When the articulation drive actuator 1 1310 is pushed distally, the end effector 1 1500 is driven to the right (FIG. 17A) about a fixed axis defined by a pivot 1 1210 which rotatably connects the cartridge jaw 1 1600 to a frame of the shaft 1 1 100. Correspondingly, the end effector 1 1500 is rotated to the left (FIG. 17B) about the pivot 1 1210 when the articulation drive actuator 1 1310 is pulled proximally.

[0190] Further to the above, the articulation link 1 1320 of the articulation system 1 1300 allows the end effector 1 1500 to be articulated through a larger range of articulation angles than the end effector 10500 for a given, or equal, stroke length of the articulation actuators 10310 and 1 1310. A side-by-side comparison of the end effectors 10500 and 1 1500 is provided in FIGS. 20 and 21 illustrating the end effectors 10500 and 1 1500 in their fully right-articulated configurations - and also illustrating that the end effector 1 1500 can be articulated further to the right than the end effector 10500. A similar comparison can be made showing the end effectors 10500 and 1 1500 in their fully left-articulated configurations. Moreover, FIG. 22 depicts the full articulation range of the end effector 10500 while FIG. 23 depicts the full articulation range of the end effector 1 1500.

[0191] Referring again to FIG. 22, the articulation actuator 10310 of the surgical instrument 10000 is advanced a distal stroke length (DSL) with respect to its

unarticulated position to fully articulate the end effector 10500 to the right.

Correspondingly, the articulation actuator 10310 is retracted a proximal stroke length (PSL) with respect to its unarticulated position to fully articulate the end effector 10500 to the left. The distal stroke length (DSL) and the proximal stroke length (PSL) of the

articulation actuator 10310 are equal, or at least substantially equal. Referring now to FIG. 23, the articulation actuator 1 1310 is advanced a distal stroke length (DSL) with respect to its unarticulated position to fully articulate the end effector 1 1500 to the right. Correspondingly, the articulation actuator 1 1310 is retracted a proximal stroke length (PSL) with respect to its unarticulated position to fully articulate the end effector 1 1500 to the left. The distal stroke length (DSL) and the proximal stroke length (PSL) of the articulation actuator 1 1310 are not equal - instead, the distal stroke length (DSL) is shorter than the proximal stroke length (PSL). In other embodiments, the proximal stroke length (DSL) is shorter than the distal stroke length (PSL). In any event, referring now to FIGS. 31 -31 B, the combination of the proximal stroke length (PSL) and the distal stroke length (DSL) equals the entire stroke length (SL).

[0192] Further to the above, the articulation actuator 10310 is configured to apply a torque to the first jaw 10600 of the end effector 10500 via the pin 10620 to rotate the end effector 10500 about the articulation joint 10200. Referring again to FIG. 22, a lateral torque arm defined between the pivot joint 10210 of the articulation joint 10200 and the pin 10620 has a length TACi when the end effector 10500 is in its unarticulated position. The length TACi is measured in an orthogonal direction with respect to a longitudinal axis 10190 extending through the articulation pivot joint 10210. Similarly, the lateral torque arm defined between the pivot joint 10210 and the pin 10620 has a length TARi when the end effector 10500 is fully articulated to the right and, similarly, a length TALi when the end effector 10500 is fully articulated to the left - both lengths of which are measured orthogonally with respect to the longitudinal axis 10190. Notably, the lengths TARi and TALi , and the torque arms which they define, are equal, or at least substantially equal. Moreover, the lengths TARi and TALi are less than the

unarticulated lateral torque arm length TAc-i . Thus, the largest torque arm, or mechanical advantage, of the articulation system 10300 exists when the end effector 10500 is in its unarticulated position.

[0193] In at least one instance, the arm length TACi is approximately 0.180", the arm length TARi is approximately 0.130", and the arm length TAU is approximately 0.130", for example.

[0194] Further to the above, the articulation actuator 1 1310 of the surgical instrument 1 1000 is configured to apply a torque to the first jaw 1 1600 of the end effector 1 1500 via the pin 1 1620 to rotate the end effector 1 1500 about the articulation joint 1 1200.

Referring to FIGS. 23, 28, and 30, a lateral torque arm (LTA) defined between the pivot joint 1 1210 of the articulation joint 1 1200 and the pin 1 1620 is defined by a length TAC2 when the end effector 1 1500 is in its unarticulated position. The length TAC2 is measured in an orthogonal direction with respect to a longitudinal axis 1 1 190 extending through the articulation pivot joint 1 1210. Notably, the longitudinal axis 1 1 190 is offset and parallel with respect to the centerline of the shaft 1 1 100, as discussed in greater detail below in connection with FIG. 25. Similar to the above, the lateral torque arm defined between the pivot joint 1 1210 and the pin 1 1620 is defined by a length TAR2 when the end effector 1 1500 is fully articulated to the right (FIG. 30A) and, similarly, a length TAL2 when the end effector 1 1500 is fully articulated to the left (FIG. 30B) - both lengths of which are measured orthogonally with respect to the longitudinal axis 1 1 190. Notably, the length TAR2 is larger than the unarticulated lateral torque arm length TACi and the length TAL2 is shorter than the unarticulated lateral torque arm length TACi . Moreover, the lengths TAR2 and TAL2, and the torque arms which they define, are not equal. Instead, the right-articulated torque arm length TAR2 is considerably larger than the left-articulated torque arm length TAL2. In fact, the right-articulated torque arm length TAR2 and the left-articulated torque arm length TAL2 extend in different directions. Such an arrangement provides for a larger pushing torque arm as compared to a smaller pulling torque arm. In various instances, as a result, the retraction pulling force applied by the articulation actuator 1 1310 to articulate the end effector 1 1500 to the left (FIG. 30B) may be, or may need to be, larger than the distal pushing force to articulate the end effector 1 1500 to the right (FIGS. 29 and 30A). Advantageously, the articulation actuator 1 1310 can accommodate such a larger pulling force as the articulation actuator 1 1310 is not subject to buckling failure when being pulled.

[0195] In at least one instance, the arm length TAC2 is approximately 0.149", the arm length TAR2 is approximately 0.154", and the arm length TAL2 is approximately 0.015", for example.

[0196] Further to the above, the surgical instrument 1 1000 is configured and arranged to provide a large torque to the end effector 1 1500 while, at the same time, providing a large articulation range, or sweep, in response to a short articulation stroke. To wit, several design ratios for these relationships can be established and used to design the surgical instrument 1 1000. For instance, a first ratio comprises the fully-right articulated torque arm length (TA) divided by the full articulation stroke length (SL) of the

articulation actuator 1 1310. The value of this first ratio is unitless. In at least one instance, the fully-right articulated torque arm length (TA) is 0.154" and the full articulation stroke length (SL) is 0.275", resulting in a ratio value of 0.56, for example. Larger ratio values for the first ratio indicate more efficient articulation systems. In various instances, the value for the first ratio is less than 1.0, but can be more than 1.0. In at least one instance, the fully-right articulated torque arm length (TA) is 2.79 mm and the full articulation stroke length (SL) is 1 1.43 mm, resulting in a ratio value of 0.24, for example.

[0197] The examples provided above for the first ratio were based on the torque arm length (TA) when the end effector 1 1500 is in its fully-right articulated position. This particular position of the end effector 1 1500 is notable because the articulation actuator 1 1310 is in compression and can undergo buckling when the load transmitted there through is excessive. That said, the first ratio could also be used to analyze any suitable position of the end effector 1 1500 such as its unarticulated position and its fully-left articulated position, for example. In at least one instance, the unarticulated torque arm length (TA) is 6.17 mm, resulting in a ratio value of 0.54 for a stroke length (SL) of 1 1.43 mm, for example. Also, in at least one instance, the fully-left articulated torque arm length (TA) is 1.41 mm, resulting in a ratio value of 0.12 for a stroke length (SL) of 1 1.43 mm, for example.

[0198] A second ratio includes the arc length in which the drive pin 1 1620 is swept through when the end effector 1 1500 is articulated between its fully-right articulated position and its fully-left articulated position, i.e., its arc length sweep (ALS). More specifically, the second ratio comprises the arc length sweep (ALS) of the drive pin 1 1620 divided by the full articulation stroke length (SL) of the articulation actuator 1 1310. The value of this second ratio is unitless. In at least one instance, the arc

length sweep (ALS) of the drive pin 1 1620 is 0.387" and the full articulation stroke length (SL) is 0.275", resulting in a ratio value of 1.41 , for example. In at least one instance, the arc length sweep (ALS) is 0.444" and the full articulation stroke length (SL) is 0.306", resulting in a ratio value of 1.45, for example. In at least one instance, the arc length sweep (ALS) is 12.94 mm and the full articulation stroke length (SL) is 1 1.43 mm, resulting in a ratio value of 1.13, for example. Larger ratio values for the second ratio indicate more efficient articulation systems. In various instances, the value for the second ratio is more than 1.0, such as between 1.0 and 3.0, for example. In at least one instance, the second ratio value is approximately 2.0, for example. In certain instances, the value for the second ratio is about 1.1 , but between 0.9 and 1.3, for example.

[0199] A third ratio comprises the sum of the fully-right articulated torque arm length (TA) and the arc length sweep (ALS) of the drive pin 1 1620 divided by the full articulation stroke length (SL). The value of this third ratio is unitless. In at least one instance, the fully-right articulated torque arm length (TA) is 0.154", the arc length sweep (ALS) of the drive pin 1 1620 is 0.387", and the full articulation stroke length (SL) is 0.275", resulting in a ratio value of 1.97, for example. In at least one instance, the fully-right articulated torque arm length (TA) is 2.79 mm, the arc length sweep (ALS) of the drive pin 1 1620 is 12.94 mm, and the full articulation stroke length (SL) is 1 1.43 mm, resulting in a ratio value of 1.38, for example. Larger ratio values for the third ratio indicate more efficient articulation systems. In various instances, the value for the third ratio is more than 1.0, such as between 1.0 and 3.0, for example. In at least one instance, the third ratio value is approximately 2.0 or more than 2.0, for example.

[0200] Similar to the above, the third ratio could be used to evaluate the articulation system when the end effector 1 1500 is in any suitable position, such as its unarticulated and fully-left articulated positions, for example.

[0201] A fourth ratio comprises the product of the fully-right articulated torque arm length (TA) and the arc length sweep (ALS) of the drive pin 1 1620 divided by the full articulation stroke length (SL). The value of this fourth ratio is not unitless and is, instead, measured in distance. In at least one instance, the fully-right articulated torque arm length (TA) is 0.154", the arc length sweep (ALS) of the drive pin 1 1620 is 0.387", and the full articulation stroke length (SL) is 0.275", resulting in a ratio value of 0.217", for example. This value can be made unitless by dividing it by the stroke length (SL) once again resulting in a value of 0.79. In at least one instance, the fully-right articulated torque arm length (TA) is 2.79 mm, the arc length sweep (ALS) of the drive pin 1 1620 is 12.94 mm, and the full articulation stroke length (SL) is 1 1.43 mm, resulting in a ratio value of 3.15 mm, for example. In certain instances, the value for the fourth ratio is about 3.1 mm, but between 0.9 mm and 5.4 mm, for example. Similar to the above, this value can be made unitless by dividing it by the stroke length (SL) once again resulting in a value of 0.28. Larger ratio values for the fourth ratio indicate more efficient articulation systems.

[0202] Similar to the above, the fourth ratio could be used to evaluate the articulation system when the end effector 1 1500 is in any suitable position, such as its unarticulated and fully-left articulated positions, for example.

[0203] As discussed above, the end effector 1 1500 is rotatably mounted to the shaft 1 1 100 about a fixed pivot 1 1210 of the articulation joint 1 1200. Referring now to FIGS. 24 and 25, the shaft 1 1 100 comprises distal mounting tabs 1 1220 which extend from and are fixedly mounted to the frame, or spine, of the shaft 1 1 100. A first distal mounting tab 1 1220 is mounted to the first jaw 1 1600, which comprises a lower frame portion, and a second distal mounting tab 1 1220 is mounted to an upper frame portion 1 1230. The interconnection between the mounting tabs 1 1220 and the first jaw 1 1600 and upper frame portion 1 1230 defines the fixed pivot 1 1210. As also discussed above, the fixed axis pivot 1 1210 is laterally offset with respect to a central longitudinal axis LA of the shaft 1 1 100 by an offset distance OD. In at least one instance, the fixed axis pivot 1 1210 is laterally offset by approximately .036", for example. Moreover, referring to FIGS. 28-30B, the pin 1 1620 is longitudinally offset with respect to the fixed pivot 1 1210 which creates a longitudinal, or axial, torque arm (ATA).

[0204] As discussed above, the closure tube of the shaft 1 1 100 is movable distally to engage the anvil jaw 1 1800 of the end effector 1 1500 and move the anvil jaw 1 1800 toward a staple cartridge 1 1700 positioned in the cartridge jaw 1 1600. Stated another way, the closure tube is configured to move the anvil 1 1800 from an open position (FIGS. 26-26B) to a closed position (FIGS. 27-27B) to clamp the tissue of a patient

against the staple cartridge 1 1700. In such instances, the closure tube, comprising the housing 1 1 1 10, the connector plates 1 1 120, and the distal housing 1 1 130, are slid distally with respect to the articulation joint 1 1200 during a closure stroke. When the end effector 1 1500 is in an open, unarticulated configuration, referring now to FIG. 26, the connector plates 1 1 120 extend in a direction which is slightly transverse to the central longitudinal axis LA of the shaft 1 1 100. More specifically, an axis CA extending between the joints 1 1 1 15 and 1 1 125 is slightly transverse with respect to the central longitudinal axis LA of the shaft 1 1 100 when the end effector 1 1500 is in an open, unarticulated configuration. When the end effector 1 1500 is articulated relative to the right (FIG. 26A) or the right (FIG. 26B), the orientation of the axis CA relative to the central longitudinal axis LA can change.

[0205] In various instances, further to the above, the orientation of the axis CA will change relative to a longitudinal axis extending between the proximal end and the distal end of the end effector 1 1500. In at least one instance, the axis CA is transverse to such a longitudinal end effector axis except in one configuration in which the axis CA will be parallel to the longitudinal end effector axis.

[0206] Further to the above, the orientation of an axis AA defined between the articulation pivot 1 1210 and the distal pivot 1 1 125 of the connector plates 1 1 120 changes as the end effector 1 1500 is articulated. Referring to FIG. 26, the axis AA extends at an angle β with respect to the axis CA when the end effector 1 1500 is in an open, unarticulated configuration. When the end effector 1 1500 is articulated into an open, right configuration (FIG. 26A), the angle β decreases. When the end effector 1 1500 is articulated into an open, left configuration (FIG. 26B), the angle β increases. At no point, however, is the axis AA collinear with or parallel to the axis CA when the open end effector 1 1500 is articulated. Instead, the axis AA is transverse to the axis CA when the end effector 1 1500 is articulated in an open configuration.

[0207] Referring to FIG. 27, the axis AA extends at an angle γ with respect to the axis CA when the end effector 1 1500 is in a closed, unarticulated configuration. When the end effector 1 1500 is articulated into a closed, right configuration (FIG. 27A), the angle Y increases. When the end effector 1 1500 is articulated into a closed, left configuration (FIG. 27B), the angle δ also increases. At no point, however, is the axis AA collinear with the axis CA when the end effector 1 1500 is articulated in a closed configuration, and/or any other configuration between an open configuration and a closed

configuration. Instead, the axis AA is transverse to the axis CA when the end effector 1 1500 is articulated in a closed configuration and/or any other configuration between an open configuration and a closed configuration.

[0208] Referring again to FIGS. 20 and 21 , the design of the surgical instrument 1 1000 can shorten the end effector 1 1500 as compared to the end effector 10500. Also, the distance between the articulation joint 10200 and the proximal end of the staple line that is applied to the tissue of a patient by the end effector 10500 is a distance L1 - while the distance between the articulation joint 1 1200 and the proximal end of the staple line that is applied by the end effector 1 1500 is a distance L2, which is shorter than the distance L1.

[0209] Turning now to FIGS. 40-45, the surgical instrument 1 1000 further comprises an articulation lock 1 1400 configured to selectively lock the articulation drive system 1 1300 and the end effector 1 1500 in position. The articulation lock 1 1400 comprises a distal end 1 1402 mounted to a frame 1 1 180 of the shaft 1 1 100. More particularly, the shaft frame 1 1 180 comprises pins, or projections, 1 1 182 closely received and/or pressed within apertures defined in the distal end 1 1402. The articulation lock 1 1400 further comprises a proximal end 1 1404 configured to move relative to the distal end 1 1402. In at least one respect, the articulation lock 1 1400 comprises a cantilever beam where the distal end 1 1402 comprises a fixed end and the proximal end 1 1404 comprises a free end. The proximal end 1 1404 is positioned in a cavity 1 1 184 defined in the shaft frame 1 1 180 and is configured to move laterally toward and away from the articulation drive actuator 1 1310, as described in greater detail below.

[0210] Further to the above, the proximal end 1 1404 of the articulation lock 1 1400 comprises one or more teeth 1 1406 defined thereon which are configured to engage the articulation drive actuator 1 1310. As illustrated in FIG. 40, the teeth 1 1406 are arranged in a longitudinal array; however, any suitable arrangement may be used. The articulation drive actuator 1 1310 comprises a longitudinal array of teeth 1 1316 defined thereon which are configured to be engaged by the articulation lock teeth 1 1406.

Referring to FIG. 41 , the shaft frame 1 1 180 further comprises a longitudinal array of teeth 1 1 186 defined therein which are also configured to be engaged by the articulation lock teeth 1 1406. When the articulation lock 1 1400 is in a fully-locked state, as described in greater detail below, the articulation lock teeth 1 1406 are engaged with the drive actuator teeth 1 1316 and the shaft frame teeth 1 1 186 such that the articulation lock 1 1400 locks the articulation drive actuator 1 1310 to the shaft frame 1 1 180 and prevents, or at least inhibits, relative movement between the articulation drive actuator 1 1310 and the shaft frame 1 1 180.

[0211] Further to the above, the articulation lock 1 1400 is configurable in three states - a self-locked state, an unlocked state, and a fully-locked state. When the articulation lock 1 1400 is in a self-locked stated, referring to FIG. 43, the teeth 1 1406 of the articulation lock 1 1400 are engaged with the drive actuator teeth 1 1316 and the shaft frame teeth 1 1 186. In such instances, the articulation lock 1 1400 can resist some force transmitted through the articulation drive actuator 1 1310; however, proximal and/or distal movement of the articulation drive actuator 1 1310 can overcome the holding force of the articulation lock 1 1400 and displace the articulation lock 1 1400 into its unlocked configuration, as illustrated in FIG. 44. In such instances, the articulation lock 1 1400 can flex or deflect laterally away from the drive actuator 1 1310. The articulation lock 1 1400 comprises a spring member 1 1403 extending between the distal portion 1 1402 and the proximal portion 1 1404 which is configured to resiliently return, or at least bias, the articulation lock toward its self-locked configuration (FIG. 42). As a result, the articulation drive system 1 1300 can lock and unlock itself as a result of its own motion and articulate the end effector 1 1500 unless the articulation lock 1 1400 is placed in its fully-locked position, as discussed below.

[0212] As discussed further above, the shaft 1 1 100 of the surgical instrument 1 1000 comprises a closure tube 1 1 1 10 that is advanced distally during a closure stroke to close the end effector 1 1500. Prior to the closure stroke, the articulation lock 1 1400 is movable between its self-locked and unlocked configurations to permit the end effector 1 1500 to be articulated by the articulation drive system 1 1300. During the closure stroke, however, the closure tube 1 1 1 10 is configured to engage the articulation lock 1 1400 and place or hold the articulation lock 1 1400 in its fully-locked configuration. More specifically, the closure tube 1 1 1 10 comprises a projection, or tab, 1 1 1 18

configured to engage a cam surface 1 1408 defined on the back side of the articulation lock 1 1400 and prevent the articulation lock teeth 1 1406 from becoming demeshed from the drive actuator teeth 1 1316 and the shaft frame teeth 1 1 186. When the closure tube 1 1 1 10 is retracted proximally to open the end effector 1 1500, the tab 1 1 1 18 disengages from the articulation lock 1 1400 and the articulation lock 1 1400 is free to move between its self-locked and unlocked positions, as discussed above, so that the end effector 1 1500 can be articulated once again.

[0213] The surgical instrument 1 1000 described above is further illustrated in FIGS. 80-82. The surgical instrument 1 1000 comprises a shaft 1 1 100 which is configured for use with a trocar having a passageway defined therein. The surgical instrument shaft 1 1 100 comprises different diameters at different points along the length of the surgical instrument shaft 1 1 100. Among other things, the surgical instrument shaft 1 1 100 comprises a central region 1 1 160 comprising a smaller diameter than any other region of the surgical instrument shaft 1 1000. This geometry of the surgical instrument shaft 1 1 100 provides significant advantages over previous designs and solves a long felt problem associated with the use of a trocar. Typically, when a surgical instrument is used in combination with a trocar during a surgical procedure, the surgical procedure is limited by the range of angles the instrument can take as a result of constrictions created by the trocar passageway. The configuration of the surgical instrument shaft 1 1 100 is an improvement over existing shaft configurations because it increases the range of angles that a surgical instrument can take relative to the longitudinal axis of a trocar. As a result, the user of the surgical instrument 1 1000 can manipulate the surgical instrument 1 1000 in a variety of angles relative to the longitudinal axis of the trocar due to the smaller diameter of the central region 1 1 160 of the surgical instrument shaft 1 1 100.

[0214] Referring to FIGS. 80 and 81 , the surgical instrument shaft further 1 1 100 comprises a proximal region 1 1 150 and a distal region 1 1 170. The proximal region 1 1 150 of the surgical instrument shaft 1 1000 is located adjacent to a nozzle assembly 1 1 140 of the shaft 1 1 100. The distal region 1 1 170 is located closest to the end effector 1 1500. The proximal region 1 1 150 of the surgical instrument shaft comprises a first diameter, and the central region 1 1 160 comprises a second diameter. The distal region

1 1 170 further comprises a third diameter. The first diameter of the proximal region 1 1 150 is different than the second diameter of the central region 1 1 160. Similarly, the second diameter of the central region 1 1 160 is different than the third diameter of the distal region 1 1 170. The first diameter of the proximal region 1 1 150 is different than the third diameter of the distal region 1 1 170; however, embodiments are envisioned in which the first diameter and the third diameter are the same.

[0215] Further to the above, the proximal region 1 1 150 defines a central longitudinal axis. The central region 1 1 160 extends along the central longitudinal axis and is centered with respect to the central longitudinal axis. The proximal region 1 1 150 and the central region 1 1 160 each define a circular profile, although they can comprise any suitable configuration. The distal region 1 1 170 is not centered with respect to the central longitudinal axis. Instead, the distal region 1 1 170 is offset laterally with respect to the central longitudinal axis. Moreover, more of the cross-section and/or perimeter of the distal region 1 1 170 is positioned on a first side of the central longitudinal axis than a second side. In at least one instance, the distal region 1 1 170 comprises an

enlargement extending to one side of the central longitudinal axis. Additionally, the distal region 1 1 170 does not define a circular profile.

[0216] Still referring to FIGS. 80 and 81 , the central region 1 1 160 comprises a second width that is smaller than the first width of the proximal region 1 1 150. The central region further comprises a second width which is smaller than the third width of the distal region 1 1 170. The proximal region 1 1 150 further comprises a different width than the width of the distal region 1 1 170. For example, the width of the proximal region 1 1 150 is smaller than the width of the distal region 1 1 170, but is still larger than the width of the central region 1 1 160. Similarly, the width of the proximal region 1 1 150 is larger than the width of the distal region 1 1 170 and the width of the central region 1 1 160. In other instances, the proximal region 1 1 150 and the distal region 1 1 170 comprise approximately the same width.

[0217] Referring to FIGS. 80-82, the surgical instrument shaft 1 1 100 of the surgical instrument 1 1000 is configured to fit through a 12 mm trocar, for example. In at least one such instance, the central region 1 1 160 of the surgical instrument shaft 1 1 100 comprises a maximum diameter of approximately 9 mm. Such a diameter of the central

region 1 1 160 provides for a wider range of angles that the shaft 1 1 100 can take relative to the centerline of the trocar. Also, such an arrangement can reduce the possibility of causing intercostal nerve damage associated with placing the surgical instrument shaft 1 1 100 between the ribs of a patient during certain surgical procedures. The distal region 1 1 170 of the surgical instrument shaft 1 1 100 is configured to fit through a 12 mm trocar, and comprises one or more flat sides 1 1 172 in order to provide for an increased level of access during procedures which require a high level of articulation. Other embodiments are envisioned in which the shaft 1 1 100 is inserted through a 8 mm trocar and/or a 5 mm trocar, for example.

[0218] The proximal region 1 1 150 comprises a stepped down, or tapered, region near the proximal end of the surgical instrument shaft 1 1 100, where the surgical instrument shaft 1 1 100 transitions from the proximal region 1 1 150 to the central region 1 1 160. The central region 1 1 160 further comprises a stepped up, or tapered, region near the distal end of the surgical instrument shaft 1 1 100, where the surgical instrument shaft 1 1 100 transitions from the central region 1 1 160 to the distal region 1 1 170.

[0219] Still referring to FIGS. 80 and 81 , the proximal region 1 1 150 comprises a first circumference, the central region 1 1 160 comprises a second circumference, and the distal region 1 1 170 comprises a third circumference. The circumference of the proximal region 1 1 150 is different than the circumference of the central region 1 1 160, owing to the difference in diameters of such portions of the surgical instrument shaft 1 1 100.

Similarly, the circumference of the central region 1 1 160 and the circumference of the distal region 1 1 170 are different. The circumference of the proximal region 1 1 150 and the circumference of the distal region 1 1 170 are the same, but can be different in other embodiments.

[0220] Referring again to FIGS. 80 and 81 , the surgical instrument shaft 1 1 100 comprises a single, formed piece of material, although the surgical instrument shaft 1 1 100 can comprise multiple pieces of material that are combined to form a single, cohesive surgical instrument shaft in other instances. The pieces of material can be assembled using any appropriate process. The surgical instrument shaft 1 1 100 is configured to operate with a variety of surgical arrangements not limited to the surgical stapling instruments described above. The surgical instrument shaft 1 1 100 can be used with other surgical instruments having articulable end effectors. The other surgical instruments can include, for example, ultrasonic surgical devices, clip appliers, and fastener appliers. In addition, the surgical instrument shaft 1 1 100 is configured for use with any surgical instrument wherein use of a trocar passageway is appropriate.

[0221] Further to the above, the outer tube 1 1 1 10 of the shaft 1 1 100 comprises a proximal end 1 1 150 and a longitudinal portion 1 1 160 comprising a diameter, or width, which is narrower than the diameter, or width, of the proximal end 1 1 150. That said, the surgical instrument 1 1000 is configured and arranged to provide a large torque to the end effector 1 1500 while, at the same time, the longitudinal portion 1 1 160 comprises a narrow diameter. To wit, at least one design ratio for this relationship can be

established and used to design the surgical instrument 1 1000. For instance, one ratio comprises the diameter of the longitudinal portion 1 1 160 (D) divided by the fully-right articulated torque arm length (TA). The value of this ratio is unitless. In at least one instance, the diameter of the longitudinal portion 1 1 160 (D) is 0.316" and the torque arm length (TA) is 0.154", resulting in a ratio value of 2.06, for example. Smaller values for this ratio indicate more efficient articulation systems. In various instances, the value for this ratio is less than 2.0, such as between 1.0 and 2.0, for example. In at least one instance, the ratio value is between 2.0 and 3.0, for example. In certain instances, the ratio value is smaller than 3.38, for example.

[0222] Further to the above, the outer tube 1 1 1 10 of the shaft 1 1 100 comprises a longitudinal portion 1 1 160 and an enlarged distal end 1 1 170 (FIG. 80). Referring again to FIG. 40, the entirety of the articulation lock 1 1400 is positioned in the longitudinal portion 1 1 160 and not the enlarged distal end 1 1 170. Embodiments are envisioned, however, in which at least a portion of the articulation lock 1 1400 is positioned in the enlarged distal end 1 1 170. In at least one such instance, the articulation lock 1 1400 is mounted to the shaft frame such that the distal end 1 1402 of the articulation lock 1 1400 is in the enlarged distal end 1 1 170 of the outer tube 1 1 1 10. In certain instances, the articulation lock 1 1400 is re-arranged such that the movable end of the articulation lock 1 1400 is positioned in the enlarged distal end 1 1 170 of the outer tube 1 1 1 10. In various instances, the entirety of the articulation lock 1 1400 is positioned in the enlarged distal end 1 1 170.

[0223] Turning now to FIG. 46, a surgical instrument 14000 comprises a shaft 14100, an end effector 1 1500, and, in addition, an articulation drive system including an articulation drive actuator 14310 configured to articulate the end effector 1 1500. The shaft 14100 comprises an articulation lock system configured to selectively lock the articulation drive actuator 14310 and the end effector 14500 in position. The articulation lock system comprises an articulation lock 14400 including proximal end and distal ends mounted to a frame 14180 of the shaft 14100. In at least one respect, the articulation lock 14400 comprises a beam fixedly and/or simply-supported at both ends. The articulation lock 14400 further comprises an intermediate portion 14404 positioned in a cavity 14184 defined in the shaft frame 14180 which is configured to move laterally toward and away from an articulation drive actuator 14310 of the articulation drive system 14300. Similar to the above, the articulation lock 14400 comprises one or more spring portions 14403 configured to permit the articulation lock 14400 to flex toward and away from the articulation drive actuator 14310.

[0224] Further to the above, the intermediate portion 14404 of the articulation lock 14400 comprises one or more teeth 14406 defined thereon which are configured to engage the articulation drive actuator 14310. The teeth 14406 are arranged in a longitudinal array; however, any suitable arrangement may be used. The articulation drive actuator 14310 comprises a longitudinal array of teeth 14316 defined thereon which are configured to be engaged by the articulation lock teeth 14406. The articulation lock system further comprises a lock plate 14420 slidably positioned in the shaft cavity 14184 which includes a longitudinal array of teeth 14226 defined therein which are also configured to be engaged by the articulation lock teeth 14406. When the articulation lock 14400 is in a fully-locked state, as described in greater detail below, the articulation lock teeth 14406 are engaged with the drive actuator teeth 14316 and the lock plate teeth 14226 such that the articulation lock 14400 locks the articulation drive actuator 14310 in position and prevents, or at least inhibits, relative movement between the articulation drive actuator 14310 and the shaft frame 14180.

[0225] The lock plate 14420 comprises a shoulder 14424 which is positioned under the articulation drive actuator 14310. The lock plate teeth 14426 are defined on a lateral edge of the shoulder 14424 and are substantially aligned with the teeth 14316

defined in the articulation drive actuator 14310. In at least one instance, the articulation drive actuator teeth 14316 are aligned along a first teeth axis and the lock plate teeth 14406 are defined along a second teeth axis which is parallel, or at least substantially parallel, to the first teeth axis. In various instances, the drive actuator teeth 14316 are defined in a plane which is parallel to a plane including the lock plate teeth 14406. Such arrangements permit the articulation lock 14400 to simultaneously engage the lock plate 14420 and the articulation drive actuator 14310. Although the first teeth axis and the second teeth axis are parallel to a longitudinal axis of the shaft 14100, embodiments are envisioned in which the first teeth axis and the second teeth axis are skew or transverse with respect to the longitudinal axis of the shaft 14100.

[0226] Referring again to FIG. 46, the lock plate 14420 is slidable longitudinally within the cavity 14184; however, the longitudinal movement of the lock plate 14420 is limited by proximal and distal end walls 14427. As a result, the lock plate 14420 can float within the shaft cavity 14184 between the end walls 14427. In various instances, the lock plate teeth 14426 may not be completely aligned with the drive actuator teeth 14316 when the articulation lock 14400 engages the teeth 14426 and 14316. In such instances, the lock plate 14420 can move longitudinally, to a certain degree, such that the lock plate teeth 14426 are aligned with the drive actuator teeth 14316. In various instances, the lock plate 14420 can move in response to a locking force applied thereto by the articulation lock 14400. In at least one instance, the lock plate 14420 can be permitted to move distally one tooth pitch distance and proximally one tooth pitch distance with respect to its centered position, for example, wherein a tooth pitch distance is the distance between the peaks of adjacent lock teeth 14426 of the lock plate 14420. In other instances, the lock plate 14420 can be permitted to move distally 1/4 of a tooth pitch distance and proximally 1/4 of a tooth pitch distance with respect to its centered position, for example. In various instances, the lock plate 14420 can be permitted to move proximally and distally more than one toot pitch distance.

[0227] Further to the above, the articulation lock 14400 is configurable in three states - a self-locked state, an unlocked state, and a fully-locked state. When the articulation lock 14400 is in a self-locked stated, the teeth 14406 of the articulation lock 14400 are engaged with the drive actuator teeth 14316 and the shaft frame teeth 14186. In such

instances, the articulation lock 14400 can resist some force transmitted through the articulation drive actuator 14310; however, proximal and/or distal movement of the articulation drive actuator 14310 can overcome the holding force of the articulation lock 14400 and displace the articulation lock 14400 into its unlocked configuration. In such instances, the articulation lock 14400 can flex or deflect laterally away from the drive actuator 14310 so that the end effector 1 1500 can be articulated. Similar to the above, the spring members 14403 of the articulation lock 14400 can resiliently return, or at least bias, the articulation lock 14400 toward its self-locked configuration. As a result, the articulation drive system can lock and unlock itself as a result of its own motion unless it is placed in its fully-locked position, as discussed below.

[0228] Similar to the above, the shaft 14100 of the surgical instrument 14000 comprises a closure tube that is advanced distally during a closure stroke to close the end effector 1 1500. Prior to the closure stroke, the articulation lock 14400 is movable between its self-locked and unlocked configurations to permit the end effector 1 1500 to be articulated by the articulation drive system. During the closure stroke, the closure tube is configured to engage the articulation lock 14400 and place, block, and/or hold the articulation lock 14400 in its fully-locked configuration. More specifically, the closure tube comprises a cam 141 18 configured to engage a cam surface 14405 defined on the back side of the articulation lock 14400 and prevent the articulation lock teeth 14406 from becoming de-meshed from the drive actuator teeth 14316 and the shaft frame teeth 14186. The cam 141 18 comprises an angled surface 141 15 which engages a corresponding angled surface defined on the cam surface 14405, although any suitable arrangement could be used. When the closure tube is retracted proximally to permit the end effector 1 1500 to be opened, the tab 141 18 disengages from the articulation lock 14400 and the articulation lock 14400 is free to move between its self-locked and unlocked positions, as discussed above, so that the end effector 1 1500 can be articulated once again.

[0229] When the articulation lock 14400 is moved into its fully-locked configuration by the closure tube, referring again to FIG. 46, the articulation lock 14400 pushes the lock plate 14420 against a lateral sidewall 14183 of the shaft cavity 14184. In fact, the articulation lock 14400 engages the lock plate 14420 with sufficient force to pin the lock plate 14420 against the sidewall 14183 such that the lock plate 14420 cannot move, or at least substantially move, longitudinally with respect to the shaft frame 14180. The lock plate 14420 comprises one or more projections 14422 extending therefrom which are configured to dig into, bite, and/or deflect the sidewall 14183 of the shaft cavity 14184 when the lock plate 14420 is pushed against the sidewall 14183 to prevent, or at least reduce the possibility of, the lock plate 14420 from moving longitudinally relative to the shaft frame 14180.

[0230] Further to the above, the shaft frame 14180 comprises one or more cavities, or openings, defined therein which are configured to permit and/or facilitate the deflection of the sidewall 14183. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 46, the shaft frame 14180 comprises cavities 14182 defined therein which are aligned, or at least substantially aligned, with the projections 14422. When the lock plate 14420 is displaced laterally by the closure tube, as discussed above, the sidewall 14183 elastically displaces into the cavities 14182 and the lock plate 14420 is locked in position. In such instances, the engagement between the shaft frame 14180 and the lock plate 14420 prevents the articulation drive actuator 14310 from being moved longitudinally and locks the end effector 1 1500 in position. When the closure tube is retracted and disengaged from the articulation lock 14400, the sidewall 14183 can return to its unflexed state and displace the lock plate 14420 laterally. At such point, the lock plate 14420 is unlocked and the end effector 1 1500 can be articulated, as outlined above.

[0231] A surgical instrument 15000 is illustrated in FIGS. 47-49 and is similar to the surgical instrument 14000 in many respects, most of which will not be repeated herein for the sake of brevity. Among other things, the surgical instrument 15000 comprises a shaft, an end effector 1 1500, and an articulation drive system including an articulation drive actuator 14310. The surgical instrument 15000 further comprises an articulation locking system including an articulation lock 15400 which is, similar to the above, movable between a self-locking position, an unlocked position, and a fully-locked position. The articulation locking system further comprises a lock plate 15420 which is similar to the lock plate 14420 in many respects. For instance, the lock plate 15420 is movable laterally into engagement with the wall 14183. Also, for instance, the lock plate 15420 is movable longitudinally to float into a suitable locked position in which an array of teeth 15426 defined on the lock plate 15420 are meshed with the teeth 14406 of the articulation lock 15400, as depicted in FIG. 48. That said, the shaft of the surgical instrument 15000 further comprises a distal spring 15429 positioned intermediate the lock plate 15420 and a distal end wall 15427 defined in the shaft frame and, in addition, a proximal spring 15429 positioned intermediate the lock plate 15420 and a proximal end wall 15427 defined in the shaft frame. The springs 15429 are configured to position the lock plate 15420 in a centered, or balanced, position between the end walls 15427, which is illustrated in FIG. 47. Such a centered position creates a proximal gap (PG) and a distal gap (DG) between the end walls 15427 and the lock plate 15420 which are equal, or at least substantially equal, to one another. That said, the springs 15429 may experience different deflections or loading when the lock plate 15420 seats itself into meshing engagement with the articulation lock 15400, as illustrated in FIG. 49, which may create unequal gaps PG and DG.

[0232] A surgical instrument 16000 is illustrated in FIGS. 50-52 and is similar to the surgical instruments 14000 and 15000 in many respects, most of which will not be repeated herein for the sake of brevity. Among other things, the surgical instrument 16000 comprises a shaft, an end effector 1 1500, and an articulation drive system including an articulation driver 16310. Referring primarily to FIG. 50, the surgical instrument 16000 further comprises an articulation locking system including an articulation lock 16400 which is, similar to the above, configurable in a self-locking configuration, an unlocked configuration, and a fully-locked configuration. The articulation locking system further comprises a lock plate 16420 which is similar to the lock plate 14420 in many respects. For instance, the lock plate 16420 is movable laterally into engagement with the wall 14183, as illustrated in FIG. 51. Also, for instance, the lock plate 16420 is movable longitudinally to float into a suitable locked position in which teeth 16426 of the lock plate 16420 are meshed with the teeth 16406 of the articulation lock 16400, as depicted in FIG. 52. Moreover, the teeth 16406 of the articulation lock 16400, the teeth 16426 of the lock plate 16420, and the lock teeth 16316 of the articulation driver 16310 are configured and arranged to provide a plurality of positions, or permutations of positions, in which the articulation lock 16400 can lock the articulation driver 16310 to the lock plate 16420. For instance, the articulation lock system has reached a fully-locked configuration in a set of positions illustrated in FIG. 51 and a fully-locked configuration in a different set of positions illustrated in FIG. 52.

[0233] The above-discussed adaptability of the articulation locking system can be achieved via the tooth pitches of the articulation lock teeth 16406, the articulation driver teeth 16316, and the lock plate teeth 16426. For instance, referring primarily to FIG. 50, the articulation lock teeth 16406 are set at a first pitch 16407, the articulation driver teeth 16316 are set at a second pitch 16317, and the lock plate teeth 16426 are set at a third pitch 16427. The first pitch is different than the second pitch and the third pitch -the second pitch is different than the first pitch and the third pitch - and the third pitch is different than the first pitch and the second pitch, although embodiments are envisioned in which two of the first pitch, the second pitch, and the third pitch are the same.

Referring again to FIG. 50, the third pitch 16427 of the lock plate teeth 16426 is larger than the second pitch 16317 of the articulation driver teeth 16316, and the second pitch 16317 is larger than the first pitch 16407 of the articulation lock teeth 16406, although any suitable arrangement can be used.

[0234] A surgical instrument 17000 is illustrated in FIGS. 53-56 and is similar to the surgical instrument 1 1000 in many respects, most of which will not be repeated herein for the sake of brevity. The surgical instrument 17000 comprises a shaft, an end effector 1 1500 rotatably connected to the shaft about an articulation joint 1 1200, and an articulation drive system configured to articulate the end effector 1 1500 about the articulation joint 1 1200. Similar to the above, the articulation drive system comprises an articulation link 17320 rotatably mounted to the jaw 1 1600 about a pin 1 1620 and an articulation driver 17310 rotatably mounted to the articulation link 17320 about a pin 17315. The surgical instrument 17000 further comprises an articulation lock 17400 movably mounted to a shaft frame of the surgical instrument 17000 which is movable between an unlocked position and a locked position. The articulation lock 17400 comprises a distal end 17402 fixedly mounted to the shaft frame and a proximal end 17404 slidably mounted to the shaft frame. More specifically, the shaft frame comprises a pin extending into an aperture defined in the distal end 17402 of the articulation lock 17400 and a guide projection 171 14 extending into an elongate aperture defined in the proximal end 17404. In certain instances, the shaft frame can comprise two or more

pins extending into apertures defined in the distal end 17402 of the articulation lock 17400 to fix the distal end 17402 to the shaft frame and prevent the distal end 17402 from rotating relative to the shaft frame. As a result of the above, at least the proximal end 17404 of the articulation lock 17400 is movable relative to the shaft frame to engage the articulation driver 17310 and lock the articulation system and end effector 1 1500 in position.

[0235] Further to the above, the articulation driver 17310 comprises a longitudinal rack of teeth 17316 defined thereon and the articulation lock 17400 comprises a longitudinal rack of teeth 17406 defined thereon. When the articulation lock 17400 is in its unlocked position, as illustrated in FIGS. 53 and 54, the teeth 17406 of the articulation lock 17400 are not engaged with the teeth 17316 of the articulation driver 17310. In such instances, the articulation driver 17310 can move freely relative to the articulation lock 17400 to articulate the end effector 1 1500. When the articulation lock 17400 is in a partially-locked position, as illustrated in FIG. 55, the articulation lock teeth 17406 are partially engaged with the articulation driver teeth 17316. In such instances, the proximal and distal movement of the articulation driver 17310 is impeded by the articulation lock 17400; however, the articulation driver 17310 can still move relative to the articulation lock 17400 to articulate the end effector 1 1500. When the articulation lock 17400 is in a fully-locked position, as illustrated in FIG. 56, the articulation lock teeth 17406 are fully engaged with the articulation driver teeth 17316. In such instances, the proximal and distal movement of the articulation driver 17310, and the articulation of the end effector 1 1500, is prevented by the articulation lock 17400.

[0236] Further to the above, the surgical instrument 17000 does not include a biasing member configured to move the articulation lock 17400 toward the articulation driver 17310 other than a closure member, or tube, 171 10. The closure tube 171 10 is configured to engage the articulation lock 17400 and move the articulation lock 17400 from its unlocked position (FIG. 54) to its partially-locked (FIG. 55) and fully-locked positions (FIG. 56). Similar to the above, the closure tube 171 10 comprises a cam 171 18 configured to engage a cam surface defined on the articulation lock 17400, although other arrangements can be used. The closure tube 171 10 is configured to move the articulation lock 17400 between its unlocked position and its partially-locked

position when the closure tube 171 10 is moved distally through a partial closing stroke (PCS) which at least partially closes the end effector 1 1500. In such instances, the end effector 1 1500 of the surgical instrument 17000 can be used to grasp the tissue of a patient, for example. The closure tube 171 10 is configured to move the articulation lock 17400 into its fully-locked position when the closure tube 171 10 is moved distally through a full closing stroke (FCS) which completely closes the end effector 1 1500. In such instances, the end effector 1 1500 of the surgical instrument 17000 can be used to fully clamp the tissue of a patient, for example.

[0237] As discussed above, the locking force applied to the articulation driver 17310 by the articulation lock 17400 increases as the closure tube 171 10 is advanced distally. Stated another way, the articulation locking force is a function of the closure tube 171 10 stroke. Further to the above, turning now to FIG. 57, the locking force between the articulation driver 17310 and the articulation lock 17400 is represented by line 17101. As illustrated in FIG. 57, the articulation lock teeth 17406 become initially engaged with the articulation driver teeth 17316 during the partial closure stroke. In at least one instance, such initial engagement of the teeth 17406 and 17316 occurs after

approximately 0.050" of closure stroke of the closure tube 171 10, although any suitable distance can be used. Notably, such initial engagement of the teeth 17406 and 17316 does not necessarily coincide with the end of the partial closing stroke; rather, it can occur at some point during the partial closure stroke (PCS). It also occurs at some point during the full closure stroke (FCS). Such an initial engagement, however, does not comprise a locking force couple. Instead, a locking force couple between the teeth 17406 and 17316 is only established at some during the full closing stroke (FCS). In at least one instance, the full closing stroke (FCS) has a length of approximately 0.260", for example.

[0238] A surgical instrument 18000 is illustrated in FIGS. 58-60 and is similar to the surgical instruments 1 1000 and 17000 in many respects, most of which will not be repeated herein for the sake of brevity. The surgical instrument 18000 comprises a shaft, an end effector 1 1500 rotatably connected to the shaft about an articulation joint, and an articulation system configured to articulate the end effector 1 1500. The shaft comprises a frame 18180 including first and second longitudinal racks of teeth 18186

which are parallel, or at least substantially parallel, to one another, although the racks of teeth 18186 can extend transversely to one another. The surgical instrument 18000 further comprises an articulation lock 18400 and a closure member including a cam 181 18. The articulation lock 18400 includes a first lock arm 18410 configured to engage the first longitudinal rack of teeth 18186 and a second lock arm 18420 configured to engage the second longitudinal rack of teeth 18186. Referring primarily to FIGS. 59 and 60, the first lock arm 18410 comprises a first cam surface 18415 defined thereon and the second lock arm 18420 comprises a second cam surface 18425 defined thereon which are configured to be contacted by the cam 181 18 during a closure stroke of the closure member and displaced or flexed outwardly into a fully-locked engagement with the longitudinal racks of teeth 18186. Moreover, one or both of the lock arms 18410 and 18420 also engage the articulation system to lock the end effector 1 1500 in place when the lock arms 18410 and 18420 are displaced outwardly into engagement with the shaft frame 18180.

[0239] Once displaced or flexed into their fully-locked states, the lock arms 18410 and 18420 define a longitudinal slot 18430 there between which is configured to permit the cam 181 18 to pass thereby during the remainder of the closure stroke, for example. Moreover, in such instances, the cam 181 18 wedges the articulation lock 18400 into engagement with the frame 18180 and securely holds the lock arms 18410 and 18420 in their fully-locked positions.

[0240] In at least one alternative embodiment, further to the above, the first lock arm 18410 of the articulation lock 18400 can be configured to engage the shaft frame 18180 of the surgical instrument 18000 while the second lock arm 18420 of the articulation lock 18400 can be configured to engage the articulation system of the surgical instrument 18000.

[0241] A surgical instrument 19000 is illustrated in FIGS. 61 -65 and is similar to the surgical instrument 1 1000 in many respects, most of which will not be repeated herein for the sake of brevity. The surgical instrument 19000 comprises a shaft 19100 including a closure member 191 10, an end effector 1 1500 rotatably connected to the shaft 19100 about an articulation joint 1 1200, and an articulation drive system 19300 including an articulation driver 19310 configured to articulate the end effector 1 1500

about the articulation joint 1 1200. Referring primarily to FIG. 61 , the surgical instrument 19000 further comprises an articulation lock 19400 configured to selectively engage the articulation drive system 19300 and lock the end effector 1 1500 in position. The shaft 19100 further comprises a frame 19180 and the articulation lock 19400 is movably mounted to the frame 19180 between an unlocked position (FIG. 61 ), a partially-locked position (FIG. 63), and a locked position (FIG. 64). As described in greater detail below, the articulation lock 19400 is movable laterally toward the articulation driver 19310 to bring the articulation lock 19400 into close approximation with the articulation driver 19310 (FIG. 63) and, also, transversely into interference with the articulation driver 19310 (FIG. 64).

[0242] Further to the above, the shaft frame 19180 comprises a proximal guide post 19182 and a distal guide post 19184. The proximal guide post 19182 extends into a lateral elongate slot defined in a proximal end 19402 of the articulation lock 19400 and, similarly, the distal guide post 19184 extends into a lateral elongate slot defined in a distal end 19404 of the articulation lock 19400. The lateral elongate slots permit the articulation lock 19400 to move laterally toward and away from the articulation driver 19310, as outlined above. The lateral elongate slots also define the lateral path of the articulation lock 19400 and prevent, or at least substantially prevent, longitudinal movement of the articulation lock 19400 relative to the shaft frame 19180. As a result, the elongate slots of the articulation lock 19400 can guide the articulation lock 19400 between an unlocked position (FIG. 61 ) in which the lock teeth 19406 of the articulation lock 19400 are not engaged with a longitudinal rack of teeth 19316 defined on the articulation driver 19310, a partially-locked position (FIG. 63) in which the lock teeth 19406 are partially engaged with the teeth 19316, and a fully-locked position (FIG. 64) in which the lock teeth 19406 are fully engaged with the teeth 19316.

[0243] Further to the above, the articulation lock 19400 further comprises a

longitudinal cam slot 19408 defined therein and the closure member 191 10 comprises a cam pin 19188 positioned in the cam slot 19408. When the closure member 191 10 is in an unactuated, or open, position (FIG. 61 ), the cam pin 19188 is positioned in a proximal portion 19408a of the cam slot 19408. When the closure member 191 10 is moved distally into a partially-actuated, or partially-closed, position, as illustrated in FIG. 62, the cam pin 19188 is moved into a central portion 19408b of the cam slot 19408. In such instances, the cam pin 19188 displaces the articulation lock 19400 toward the articulation driver 19310. In such instances, however, the teeth 19406 of the articulation lock 19400 may not be engaged with the teeth 19316 of the articulation driver 19310 and, as a result, the articulation driver 19310 can still be moved to articulate the end effector 1 1500 relative to the shaft 19100. As a result, the end effector 1 1500 can be articulated when the closure stroke of the closure member 191 10 has only been partially completed.

[0244] When the closure member 191 10 is moved further distally, as illustrated in FIG. 63, the cam pin 19188 is moved into a distal portion 19408c of the cam slot 19408. In such instances, the cam pin 19188 displaces the articulation lock 19400 into close approximation with the articulation driver 19310 and into partial intermeshment with the teeth 19316 of the articulation driver 19310. That said, such partial intermeshment between the teeth 19406 and 19316 can only resist a certain amount of force

transmitted through the articulation driver 19310 and such resistance can be overcome to move the articulation driver 19310 relative to the articulation lock 19400 and articulate the end effector 1 1500.

[0245] Further to the above, the articulation lock 19400 is not transversely lifted or lowered relative to the shaft frame 19180 during the partial closure stroke of the closure member 191 10 (FIGS. 61 -63). Rather, the articulation lock 19400 is lifted upwardly such that teeth 19406 of the articulation lock 19400 fully engage the teeth 19316 of the articulation driver 19310 and lock the articulation driver 19310 in position during the final or last portion of the closure stroke of the closure member 191 10, as illustrated in FIG. 64. The articulation lock 19400 is moved upwardly by a different cam pin extending from the closure member 191 10, i.e., cam pin 19189 which engages the articulation lock 19400 at the end of the closure stroke of the closure member 191 10. Notably, the cam pin 19189 is not engaged with the articulation lock 19400 at the beginning of the closure stroke or during the partial closure stroke of the closure member 191 10. At most, the cam pin 19189 may slidingly touch the bottom of the articulation lock 19400 during the partial closure stroke. That said, referring primarily to FIG. 65, the articulation lock 19400 comprises a cut-out, or recess, 19409 defined therein which provides clearance

between the cam pin 19189 and the articulation lock 19400 during the partial closure stroke. That said, the cam pin 19189 comes into contact with the articulation lock 19400 when the cam pin 19189 reaches the end of the recess 19409 and, in such instances, drives the articulation lock 19400 transversely upwardly such that the lock teeth 19406 interferingly engage with the teeth 19316 of the articulation driver 19310 and the articulation lock 19400 is placed in its fully-locked position, as illustrated in FIG. 64. At such point, the articulation driver 19310 is locked in position and cannot be moved longitudinally to articulate the end effector 1 1500.

[0246] Referring again to FIG. 65, the teeth 19316 of the articulation driver 19310 are angled, or tilted, relative to the longitudinal axis of the shaft 19100. The lock teeth 19406 of the articulation lock 19400 are not angled, or are angled at a different orientation than the teeth 19316. As a result, the lock teeth 19406 of the articulation lock 19400 can be partially engaged with the teeth 19316 of the articulation driver 19310 when the articulation lock 19400 is in its lowered position (FIG. 63) and fully engaged with the teeth 19316 when the articulation lock 19400 is in its raised position (FIG. 64).

[0247] In order to unlock the articulation system 19300 of the surgical instrument 19000, the closure member 191 10 must be retracted to disengage the cam pin 19189 from the articulation lock 19400 so that the articulation lock 19400 can return to its lowered position. Once the cam pin 19189 has been disengaged from the articulation lock 19400, the proximal retraction of the cam pin 19188 can drive the articulation lock 19400 downwardly as the cam pin 19188 is pulled proximally through cam slot 19408. Moreover, the cam pin 19188 can displace the articulation lock 19400 away from the articulation driver 19310 when it is pulled proximally. In various embodiments, the shaft 191 10 can comprise one or more biasing members, such as springs, for example, configured to bias or push the articulation lock 19400 downwardly to quickly reset the articulation lock to an unlocked position.

[0248] A surgical instrument 20000 is illustrated in FIGS. 66-68 and is similar to the surgical instruments 1 1000, 17000, 18000, and 19000 in many respects, most of which will not be repeated herein for the sake of brevity. The surgical instrument 20000 comprises a shaft including a closure tube 201 10, an end effector 1 1500 rotatably

mounted to the shaft about an articulation joint 1 1200, and an articulation system configured to articulation the end effector 1 1500 relative to the shaft. Similar to the above, the articulation system comprises an articulation link 20320 rotatably pinned to the end effector 1 1500 and, in addition, an articulation actuator 20310 rotatably pinned to the articulation link 20320. In use, the articulation actuator 20310 is moved proximally and/or distally to drive the articulation link 20320 and articulate the end effector 1 1500. The surgical instrument 20000 further comprises an articulation lock system comprising an articulation lock gear 20400 rotatably mounted to a frame of the shaft about a fixed axis. The articulation lock gear 20400 comprises an annular array of teeth 20406 which is meshingly engaged with a longitudinal array of teeth 20316 defined on the articulation actuator 20310. As a result, referring generally to FIG. 66, the articulation lock gear 20400 will rotate in response to the proximal and/or distal movement of the articulation actuator 20310 until the articulation lock gear 20400 is locked in position by the closure tube 201 10, as illustrated in FIG. 68.

[0249] Further to the above, the articulation lock system further comprises lock arms 20405 extending from the shaft frame into a central aperture defined in the articulation lock gear 20400 and, when the closure tube 201 10 is moved distally during a closure stroke to close the end effector 1 1500, a cam, or wedge, 201 18 of the closure tube 201 10 is configured to engage the lock arms 20405 and splay the lock arms 20405 outwardly into engagement with the articulation lock gear 20400. Once the lock arms 20405 are engaged with the articulation lock gear 20400, the lock arms 20405 can prevent the rotation of the articulation lock gear 20400 and, also, the longitudinal movement of the articulation actuator 20310. In such instances, the lock arms 20405 can prevent, or at least substantially prevent, the articulation of the end effector 1 1500 until the wedge 201 18 of the closure tube 201 10 is retracted proximally during an opening stroke and the lock arms 20405 resiliently return to their unflexed, or unlocked, configurations.

[0250] Further to the above, the articulation system of the surgical instrument 20000 can be placed in an unlocked configuration (FIG. 66), a partially-locked configuration (FIG. 67), and a fully-locked configuration (FIG. 68). The articulation system can be placed in its partially-locked configuration (FIG. 67) when the closure tube 201 10 is advanced distally through a partial closing stroke (PCS). In such instances, the end effector 1 1500 is at least partially closed but can still be articulated even though the lock arms 20405 may be partially engaged with the articulation lock gear 20400. More particularly, the articulation lock gear 20400 can still rotate despite drag created by the partial engagement of the lock arms 20405 against the articulation lock gear 20400. In at least one instance, the PCS is approximately .050", for example. The articulation system can be placed in its fully-locked configuration (FIG. 68) when the closure tube 201 10 is advanced distally through a full closure stroke (FCS). In such instances, the end effector 1 1500 is completely closed and cannot be articulated until the articulation system is returned to its partially-locked and/or unlocked configurations.

[0251] A surgical instrument 21000 is illustrated in FIGS. 69-71 and is similar to the surgical instruments 1 1000, 17000, 18000, 19000, and 20000 in many respects, most of which will not be repeated herein for the sake of brevity. The surgical instrument 21000 comprises a shaft including a closure member 21 1 10, an end effector 1 1500 rotatably mounted to the shaft about an articulation joint 1 1200, and an articulation system including an articulation actuator 21 130 configured to articulate the end effector 1 1500 relative to the shaft. The surgical instrument 21000 further comprises an articulation lock system comprising an articulation lock gear 21400 rotatably mounted to a frame of the shaft about a fixed axis. The articulation lock gear 21400 comprises an annular array of teeth 21406 which is meshingly engaged with a longitudinal array of teeth 21316 defined on the articulation actuator 21310. As a result, referring generally to FIG. 69, the articulation lock gear 21400 rotates in response to the proximal and/or distal longitudinal movement of the articulation actuator 21310 until, as described in greater detail below, the articulation lock gear 21400 is locked in position by the closure member 21 1 10 (FIG. 71 ).

[0252] Further to the above, the articulation lock system of the surgical instrument 21000 further comprises a movable lock element 21405 which is slidably mounted to the shaft frame. More specifically, referring primarily to FIG. 69, the lock element 21405 comprises a guide projection 21402 extending therefrom which extends into a lateral elongate slot 21403 defined in the shaft frame which is configured to permit the lock element 21405 to slide laterally toward and/or away from the articulation driver 21310.

Moreover, referring primarily to FIG. 70, the lock element 21405 slides laterally within an aperture defined in the articulation lock gear 21400 between an unlocked position (FIG. 69) and a locked position (FIG. 71 ). The lock element 21405 comprises an annular array of lock teeth 21407 and the articulation lock gear 21400 comprises an annular array of lock teeth 21408 defined around the inner aperture thereof and, when the lock element 21405 is in its unlocked position (FIG. 69), the lock teeth 21407 of the lock element 21405 are not engaged with the lock teeth 21408 of the articulation lock gear 21400. When the lock element 21405 is in its locked position (FIG. 71 ), the lock teeth 21407 of the lock element 21405 are engaged with the lock teeth 21408 of the articulation lock gear 21400 such that the articulation lock gear 21400 cannot rotate and, as a result, the articulation actuator 21300 is prevented from being moved longitudinally to articulate the end effector 1 1500.

[0253] FIGS. 69-71 illustrate the distal progression of the closure member 21 1 10 during a closure stroke. FIG. 69 illustrates the closure member 21 1 10 in an unactuated, or open, position. In such a position, the closure member 21 1 10 is not engaged with the lock element 21405. FIG. 70 illustrates the closure member 21 1 10 in a partially closed position in which the closure member 21 1 10 has at least partially closed the end effector 1 1500. In such a position, a cam surface 21 1 15 of the closure member 21 1 10 has engaged the lock element 21405. In at least one instance, the closure member 21 1 10 moves distally approximately 0.050" from its open position (FIG. 69) to its partially closed position (FIG. 70). FIG. 71 illustrates the closure member 21 1 10 in a fully closed position in which the closure member 21 1 10 has completely closed the end effector 1 1500. In such a position, the cam surface 21 1 15 has moved by the lock element 21405 and the lock element 21405 has been displaced by the full thickness of the closure member 21 1 10.

[0254] In view of the above, a surgical instrument can include an articulation lock system configured to prevent the end effector of the surgical instrument from being articulated and/or unintentionally back-driven by a load, or torque, applied to the end effector. At least a portion of the articulation lock system can be moved into

engagement with an articulation drive system of the surgical instrument to prevent the articulation of the end effector. In at least one instance, an articulation lock can be integral to the articulation drive system, as described in greater detail below.

[0255] Referring to FIGS. 72-74, a surgical instrument 22000 comprises a shaft and an articulation drive system 22300 which is configured to articulate an end effector, such as an end effector 1 1500, for example, of the surgical instrument 22000 relative to the shaft. The articulation drive system 22300 comprises an articulation driver 22310 and a pinion gear 22320. The articulation driver 22310 comprises a longitudinal rack of teeth 22316 defined thereon which is operably meshed with teeth 22326 of the pinion gear 22320. When the articulation driver 22310 is translated distally, the pinion gear 22320 is rotated in a first direction. Correspondingly, the pinion gear 22320 is rotated in a second direction when the articulation driver 22310 is translated proximally. The pinion gear 22320 comprises a bevel gear 22330 fixedly mounted thereto such that the bevel gear 22330 rotates with the pinion gear 22320 about a common axis of rotation. The combined assembly of the pinion gear 22320 and the bevel gear 22330 is rotatably mounted in the shaft of the surgical instrument 22000.

[0256] Further to the above, teeth 22336 of the bevel gear 22330 are meshingly engaged with the teeth 22346 of a bevel gear 22340 which is rotatably mounted about a rotatable threaded articulation lead screw 22350. More specifically, the bevel gear 22340 comprises a nut portion which includes an at least partially threaded aperture which is threadably engaged with the articulation lead screw 22350. When the bevel gear 22340 is rotated in a first direction by the articulation driver 22310 via the bevel gear 22330, the bevel gear 22340 rotates the articulation lad screw 22350 in a first direction. Correspondingly, the bevel gear 22340 rotates the articulation lead screw 22350 in a second direction when the bevel gear 22340 is rotated in a second direction. Moreover, the end effector 1 1500 is rotated in a first direction when the articulation lead screw 22350 is rotated in its first direction and, correspondingly, in a second direction when the threaded articulation driver shaft 22350 is rotated in its second direction.

[0257] Further to the above, the pitch of the threads on the threaded articulation lead screw 22350 can be selected to prevent back-driving within the articulation drive system 22300. Stated another way, a steep pitch of the threads defined on the articulation lead screw 22350 would be able to resist a force and/or torque transmitted proximally from

the end effector 1 1500 through the articulation drive system 22300 and, as a result, can prevent the end effector 1 1500 from being unintentionally articulated. As such, the thread pitch can serve as an articulation lock integral to the articulation drive system 22300. In at least one instance, the articulation lead screw comprises an ACME lead screw, for example.

[0258] Referring to FIGS. 75-79, a surgical instrument 23000 comprises a shaft and an articulation drive system 23300 which is configured to articulate an end effector, such as an end effector 1 1500, for example, of the surgical instrument 23000 relative to the shaft. The articulation drive system 23300 comprises an articulation driver 23310 and a pinion gear 23320. The articulation driver 23310 comprises a longitudinal rack of teeth 23316 defined thereon which is operably meshed with the teeth 23326 of the pinion gear 23320. When the articulation driver 23310 is translated distally, the pinion gear 23320 is rotated in a first direction. Correspondingly, the pinion gear 23320 is rotated in a second direction when the articulation driver 23310 is translated proximally. The pinion gear 23320 comprises a worm gear 23330 fixedly mounted thereto such that the worm gear 23330 rotates with the pinion gear 23320 about a common axis of rotation. The combined assembly of the pinion gear 23320 and the worm gear 23330 is rotatably mounted in the shaft of the surgical instrument 23000.

[0259] Further to the above, teeth 23336 of the worm gear 23330 are meshingly engaged with the teeth 23346 of a worm 23340 which is rotatably mounted to the shaft frame. The worm 23340 comprises a pinion gear 23350 fixedly mounted thereto such that the pinion gear 23350 rotates with the worm 23340 about a common axis of rotation. The pinion gear 23350 is operably engaged with a translatable articulation output driver 23360. More specifically, the pinion gear 23350 comprises teeth 23356 which are meshingly engaged with a rack of teeth 23366 defined on the output driver 23360. When the worm 23340 is rotated in a first direction by the articulation driver 23310 via the worm gear 23330, the pinion gear 23350 drives the output driver 23360 distally. Correspondingly, the worm 23340 and the pinion gear 23350 drive the output driver 23360 proximally when the worm 23340 is rotated in a second direction by the worm gear 23330. Moreover, the end effector 1 1500 is rotated in a first direction when the output driver 23350 is driven distally by the articulation drive system 23330 and in a second direction when the output driver 23350 is driven proximally by the articulation drive system 23330.

[0260] Further to the above, the pitch of the threads on the worm 23340 can be selected to prevent back-driving within the articulation drive system 23300. Stated another way, a steep pitch of the threads defined on the worm 23340, for instance, would be able to resist a force and/or torque transmitted proximally from the end effector 1 1500 through the articulation drive system 23300 and can prevent the end effector 1 1500 from being unintentionally articulated. As such, the thread pitch can serve as an articulation lock integral to the articulation drive system 23300.

[0261] A surgical instrument 12000, illustrated in FIGS. 32-34B, is similar to the surgical instrument 1 1000 in several respects, many of which will not be repeated herein in the interest of brevity. In addition to a shaft 1 1 100, an end effector 1 1500, and an articulation joint 1 1200, the surgical instrument 12000 further comprises a staple firing system 12900, for example, including a firing bar 12910 extending through the articulation joint 1 1200. In use, the firing bar 12910 is translatable distally to perform a staple firing stroke and retractable proximally after at least a portion of the staple firing stroke has been completed. The firing bar 12910 extends through a channel, or slot, 1 1 190 defined in the frame 1 1 180 of the shaft 1 1 100 which is configured to closely receive and/or guide the firing bar 12910 as the firing bar 12910 moves relative to the shaft 1 1 100. Similarly, the end effector 1 1500 comprises a channel, or slot, 1 1590 defined in the frame 1 1580 of the end effector 1 1500 which is also configured to closely receive and/or guide the firing bar 12910 as the firing bar 12910 moves relative to the end effector 1 1500

[0262] Further to the above, the channels 1 1 190 and 1 1590 do not extend into the articulation joint 1 1200 and, without more, the firing bar 12910 may be unsupported within the articulation joint 1 1200. When the end effector 1 1500 is in an unarticulated configuration (FIG. 34), the firing bar 12910 is unlikely to buckle within the articulation joint 1 1 120 during the staple firing stroke - however, the likelihood of the firing bar 12910 buckling laterally during the staple firing stroke increases when the end effector 1 1500 is in an articulated configuration (FIGS. 34A and 34B). To reduce the possibility of such buckling, the surgical instrument 12000 further comprises a firing bar support

12400 configured to support the firing bar 12910. The firing bar support 12400 comprises a proximal portion 12410 connected to the shaft frame 1 1 180, a distal portion 12430 connected to the end effector frame 1 1580, and an intermediate portion 12420 extending between the proximal portion 12410 and the distal portion 12430. The portions 12410, 12420, and 12430 of the firing bar support 12400 are integrally formed; however, other embodiments are envisioned in which the portions 12410, 12420, and 12430 are assembled to one another and/or comprise separate components.

[0263] Further to the above, the distal portion 12430 of the firing bar support 12400 is fixedly mounted to the end effector frame 1 1580 and does not move, or at least substantially move, relative to the end effector frame 1 1580. The intermediate portion 12420 of the firing bar support 12400 comprises one or more portions having a reduced cross-section which, among other things, allows the firing bar support 12400 to flex within the articulation joint 1 1200 when the end effector 1 1500 is articulated. The proximal portion 12410 of the firing bar support 12400 is slideably mounted to the shaft frame 1 1 180 such that the firing bar support 12400 can translate relative to the shaft frame 1 1 180 when the end effector 1 1500 is articulated. That said, the proximal portion 12410 of the firing bar support 12400 comprises a proximal head 12415 that is slideable within a chamber, or cavity, 1 1 185 defined within the shaft frame 1 1 180 which can limit the travel of the firing bar support 12400. Embodiments are envisioned, however, without such a travel constraint. In any event, the proximal portion 12410, intermediate portion 12420, and distal portion 12430 of the firing bar support 12400 co-operatively define a channel, or slot, 12490 which is configured to support the firing bar 12910 -especially within the articulation joint 1 1200 - and reduce the possibility of the firing bar 12910 buckling during the staple firing stroke, for instance.

[0264] In various instances, the firing bar 12910 is comprised of a plurality of parallel, or at least substantially parallel, layers. The layers are affixed to a distal cutting member and can partially translate or slide longitudinally relative to one another -especially within the articulation joint 1 1200. Each such layer is configured to transmit a load in the same direction, i.e., proximally or distally, even though such layers can move, or slide, relative to one another. Further to the above, such layers may splay laterally relative to one another - especially within the articulation joint 1 1200 - when the end effector 1 1500 has been articulated. The intermediate portion 12420 of the firing bar support 12400 comprises a plurality of connected control elements which can at least reduce, if not prevent, the relative lateral splay of the firing bar layers.

Alternatively, as mentioned above, one or more of the control elements can be unconnected to one another.

[0265] In addition to or in lieu of the firing bar support 12400, the surgical instrument 12000 comprises one or more dividers which separate and control the layers of the firing bar 12910. Referring to FIGS. 34-34B, the shaft 1 1 1 10 comprises a divider 12920 positioned within the layers of the firing bar 12910. Two layers of the firing bar 12910 are positioned on one side of the divider 12920 while two layers are positioned on the other side of the divider 12920, although any suitable arrangement can be used. The divider 12920 prevents half of the layers of the firing bar 12910 from splaying outwardly when the end effector 1 1500 is articulated. Stated another way, the divider 12920 prevents the two right-most firing bar layers from splaying to the left when the end effector 1 1500 is articulated to the right (FIG. 34A) and, similarly, the divider 12920 prevents the two left-most firing bar layers from splaying to the right when the end effector 1 1500 is articulated to the left (FIG. 34B). The divider 12920 extends through the articulation joint 1 1200 and the firing bar support 12400 and into the end effector 1 1500 and can bend when the end effector 1 1500 is articulated. Accordingly, in such instances, the divider 12920 is flexible. The divider 12920 is mounted to the frame 1 1 180 of the shaft 1 1 1 10 and does not move relative to the frame 1 1 180; however, embodiments are envisioned in which the divider 12920 is not mounted to the frame 1 1 180 and can float within the firing bar layers.

[0266] A surgical instrument 13000, illustrated in FIGS. 35-39B, is similar to the surgical instruments 1 1000 and 12000 in several respects, many of which will not be repeated herein in the interest of brevity. In addition to a shaft 13100, an end effector 13500, and an articulation joint 1 1200, the surgical instrument 13000 further comprises a staple firing system 12900, for example, including a firing bar 12910 extending through the articulation joint 1 1200. In use, the firing bar 12910 is translatable distally to perform a staple firing stroke and retractable proximally after at least a portion of the staple firing stroke has been completed. Referring primarily to FIGS. 39-39B, the firing

bar 12910 extends through a channel, or slot, 13190 defined in the frame 13180 of the shaft 13100 which is configured to closely receive and/or guide the firing bar 12190 as the firing bar 12910 moves relative to the shaft 1 1 100. Similarly, the end effector 13500 comprises a channel, or slot, defined in the frame 13580 of the end effector 13500 which is also configured to closely receive and/or guide the firing bar 12190 as the firing bar 12910 moves relative to the end effector 13500

[0267] When the end effector 13500 is in an unarticulated configuration (FIG. 39), further to the above, the firing bar 12910 is unlikely to buckle within the articulation joint 1 1 120 during the staple firing stroke - however, the likelihood of the firing bar 12910 buckling laterally during the staple firing stroke increases when the end effector 13500 is in an articulated configuration (FIGS. 39A and 39B). To reduce the possibility of such buckling, the surgical instrument 13000 further comprises a firing bar support 13400 configured to support the firing bar 12190. The firing bar support 13400 comprises a first lateral plate 13410 and a second lateral plate 13420. The lateral plates 13410 and 13420 are positioned on opposite sides of the firing bar 12910. Each lateral plate 13410, 13420 comprises a proximal portion connected to the shaft frame 13180, a distal portion connected to the end effector frame 13580, and an intermediate portion extending between the proximal portion and the distal portion. The portions of each plate 13410, 13420 are integrally formed; however, other embodiments are envisioned in which the portions are assembled to one another and/or comprise separate

components.

[0268] Further to the above, the first lateral plate 13410 comprises a distal portion 13416 which is fixedly mounted to the end effector frame 13580 and does not move, or at least substantially move, relative to the end effector frame 13580. Similarly, the second lateral plate 13420 comprises a distal portion 13426 which is fixedly mounted to the end effector frame 13580 and does not move, or at least substantially move, relative to the end effector frame 13580. The first lateral plate 13410 comprises a proximal portion 13412 which is slideably mounted to the shaft frame 13180 such that the first lateral plate 13410 can translate relative to the shaft frame 13180 when the end effector 13500 is articulated. The proximal portion 13412 comprises a head that is slideable within a chamber, or cavity, 13185 defined within the shaft frame 13180 which can limit

the travel of the firing bar support 13400. Similarly, the second lateral plate 13420 comprises a proximal portion 13422 which is slideably mounted to the shaft frame 13180 such that the firing bar support 13400 can translate relative to the shaft frame 13180 when the end effector 13500 is articulated. The proximal portion 13422 comprises a head that is slideable within the chamber 13185 defined within the shaft frame 13180 which can also limit the travel of the firing bar support 13400.

[0269] The first lateral plate 13410 comprises a flexible portion 13414 positioned in the articulation joint 1 1200 which permits the distal portion 13416 of the first lateral plate 13410 to flex relative to the proximal portion 13412 and accommodate the articulation of the end effector 13500. The flexible portion 13414 extends laterally from the first lateral plate 13410 and comprises a hinge including gaps 13413 defined therein which permit rotation within the first lateral plate 13410. In addition to or in lieu of the above, the first lateral plate 13410 comprises longitudinal openings 13415 defined therein which permit the first lateral plate 13410 to flex within the end effector 13500 and accommodate the articulation of the end effector 13500. The first lateral plate 13410 can comprise any suitable number and configuration of openings and/or recesses defined therein at any suitable location which are configured to permit the first lateral plate 13410 to flex during the articulation of the end effector 13500. Similarly, the second lateral plate 13412 comprises a flexible portion 13424 positioned in the articulation joint 1 1200 which permits the distal portion 13426 of the second lateral plate 13420 to flex relative to the proximal portion 13422 and accommodate the articulation of the end effector 13500. The flexible portion 13424 extends laterally from the first lateral plate 13420 and comprises a hinge including gaps defined therein which permit rotation within the second lateral plate 13420. In addition to or in lieu of the above, the second lateral plate 13420 comprises longitudinal openings defined therein which permit the second lateral plate 13420 to flex within the end effector 13500 and accommodate the articulation of the end effector 13500. The second lateral plate 13420 can comprise any suitable number and configuration of openings and/or recesses defined therein at any suitable location which are configured to permit the second lateral plate 13420 to flex during the articulation of the end effector 13500.

[0270] Further to the above, the lateral plates 13410 and 13420 are flexible and can resiliently return to their unflexed configurations when the end effector 13500 is returned to its unarticulated configuration. In various instances, the lateral plates 13410 and 13420 comprise springs which resiliently bias the end effector 13500 into its

unarticulated configuration.

[0271] A firing member 24900 is illustrated in FIGS. 83 and 84 and can be used with any of the surgical stapling instruments disclosed herein. The firing member 24900 comprises a firing bar 24910 which, similar to the above, comprises a plurality of layers. More specifically, the firing bar 24910 comprises two exterior layers 2491 1 and two interior layers 24912. The firing member 24900 further comprises a distal cutting member 24920 which includes a tissue cutting edge 24926. The distal cutting member 24920 further comprises a first cam 24922 configured to engage a first jaw of an end effector and a second cam 24924 configured to engage a second jaw of the end effector. That said, embodiments are envisioned in which the distal cutting member 24920 is configured to only engage one jaw of an end effector or, alternatively, neither jaw of an end effector.

[0272] The layers 2491 1 and 24912 of the firing bar 24910 are welded to the distal cutting member 24920 at welds 24930. As illustrated in FIG. 84, a first weld 24930 is present on a first side of the firing member 24900 and a second weld 24930 is present on a second side of the firing member 24900. The first weld 24930 penetrates a first exterior layer 2491 1 and the adjacent interior layer 24912. In various instances, the first weld 24930 penetrates entirely through the adjacent interior layer 24912 and/or also penetrates into the other interior layer 24912. The second weld 24930 penetrates a second exterior layer 2491 1 and the adjacent interior layer 24912. In various instances, the second weld 24930 penetrates entirely through the adjacent interior layer 24912 and/or also penetrates into the other interior layer 24912.

[0273] Referring primarily to FIG. 83, each weld 24930 of the firing member 24900 comprises a weld line which is configured to securely hold the firing bar 24910 to the cutting member 24920 and, at the same time, provide a flexible connection there between. Each weld 24930 comprises a butt weld 24931 connecting the cutting member 24920 to the distal ends of the plates 2491 1 and 24912 and is placed in

tension and/or compression when a longitudinal firing force is transmitted through the firing member 24900. The butt weld is orthogonal to, or at least substantially orthogonal to, a longitudinal firing axis (FA) of the firing member 24900. The butt weld 24931 can comprise any suitable configuration, such as a square, closed square, single-bevel, double-bevel, single-J, double-J, single-V, double-V, single-U, double-U, flange, flare, and/or tee configuration, for example.

[0274] Further to the above, each weld 24930 further comprises a distal hook weld portion 24932 and a proximal hook weld portion 24933. Each hook weld portion 24932 and 24933 comprises a longitudinal portion which is aligned with, or is parallel to, the longitudinal firing axis (FA) of the firing member 24900 and is placed in shear when a longitudinal firing force is transmitted through the firing member 24900. In addition, each hook weld portion 24932 and 24933 comprises a butt portion which is orthogonal, or at least substantially orthogonal, to the longitudinal firing axis (FA) and is placed in tension and/or compression when a longitudinal firing force is transmitted through the firing member 24900. Notably, each set of hook weld portions 24932 and 24933 comprises an interlocking connection between the firing bar 24910 and the cutting member 24920 which can transmit a flow of stress there between without failing and/or yielding unsuitably.

[0275] Each weld 24930 is generally L-shaped, for example; however, the welds 24930 can comprise any suitable configuration.

[0276] Although the surgical instruments 10000, 1 1000, 12000, 13000, 14000, 15000, 16000, 17000, 18000, 19000, 20000, 21000, 22000, and 23000 are surgical staplers, their designs can be readily adapted to other surgical instruments having articulatable end effectors, among others. Such other surgical instruments can include, for example, clip appliers, fastener appliers, and/or surgical instruments capable of delivering electrical and/or vibrational energy to tissue.

[0277] FIG. 86 depicts a surgical staple cartridge 25100 comprising an elongate nose 25150 located at a distal end thereof, generally denoted as 25102. The elongate nose 25150 has a base 25152 that is defined by a first length 25154 extending a distance between the end of the staple line 25056 and a distal tip 25142 of the staple cartridge 25100. The distal tip 25142 is formed at an angle σ from the base 25152 of the staple cartridge 25100. The distal tip 25142 on the staple cartridge 25100 is pointed and configured to serve as a parking area for a wedge sled, not shown, of the firing system upon the completion of a staple firing stroke.

[0278] In an effort to shorten the overall length of the staple cartridge without sacrificing length of stapled tissue, the surgical staple cartridge 25200 depicted in FIG. 85 comprises a cartridge body 25210 including a shortened nose 25250 located at a distal end thereof, generally denoted as 25202. The shortened nose 25250 has a base 25252 that is defined by a second length 25254 extending a distance between the end of the staple line 25056 and a blunted distal tip 25242 of the staple cartridge 25200. The second length 25254 of the shortened nose 25250 is minimized by blunting the parking area for the wedge sled 25270 (See FIG. 89). While the blunt, shortened nose 25250 of the staple cartridge 25200 in FIG. 85 still provides a parking area for the wedge sled, additional accommodations for storage may have to be made, as will be discussed below. The blunted distal tip 25242 is formed at an angle γ from the base 25252 of the staple cartridge 25200.

[0279] Upon comparing the staple cartridges 25200 and 25100 depicted in FIGS. 85 and 86, respectively, the reader should recognize that the second length 25254 is shorter than the first length 25154. As a result, the length of the staple cartridge 25200 beyond the end of the staple line 25056 is minimized to allow for improved spatial access within a surgical site, among other things. The shortened nose 25250 also prevents the blunted distal tip 25242 from puncturing a seal on a trocar system, as discussed further below. Furthermore, one will recognize the angle γ of the blunted distal tip 25242 of the staple cartridge 25200 with respect to the base 25252 is greater than the angle σ of the pointed distal tip 25142 of the staple cartridge 25100 with respect to the base 25152. For example, the blunted distal tip 25242 can extend at an angle of approximately 45-50 degrees with respect to the base 25252 of the staple cartridge 25200, while the pointed distal tip 25142 can extend at an angle of

approximately 30 degrees with respect to the base 25152 of the staple cartridge 25100. The steeper angle of the blunted distal tip 25242 provides increased stability throughout distal regions of the structure of the staple cartridge 25200.

[0280] FIG. 89 is a plan view of the staple cartridge 25200. The cartridge body 25210 of the staple cartridge 25200 comprises an elongate slot 25230 that extends from a proximal end 25204 of the staple cartridge 25200 toward the distal, shortened nose 25250. A plurality of staple cavities 25220 are formed within the cartridge body 25210. Staple cavities 25220 extend between the proximal end 25204 and the distal end 25202 of the staple cartridge 25200. The staple cavities 25220 are arranged in six laterally-spaced longitudinal rows 25221 , 25222, 25223, 25224, 25225, 25226, with three rows on each side of the elongate slot 25230. Removably positioned within the staple cavities 25220 are staples 25260.

[0281] FIG. 87 illustrates one embodiment of a triple staple driver 25240 within the staple cartridge 25200 for supporting and driving three staples 25260. The staple driver 25240 comprises a first driver portion 25342, a second driver portion 25344, and a third driver portion 25346. A central base member 25348 connects the first driver portion 25342 and the third driver portion 25346 to the second driver portion 25344. The first driver portion 25342 is positioned at least partially distal to the second driver portion 25344. Additionally, the third driver portion 25346 is positioned at least partially distal to the second driver portion 25344. A plurality of first staple drivers 25240 are slidably mounted within corresponding staple cavities 25220 from the three longitudinal rows 25221 , 25222, 25223 on one side of the elongate slot 25230. In other words, each first staple driver 25240 is configured to support three staples 25260: a staple 25260 stored within a staple cavity 25220 in the first longitudinal row 25221 ; a staple 25260 stored within a staple cavity 25220 in the second longitudinal row 25222; and a staple 25260 stored within a staple cavity 25220 in the third longitudinal row 25223. Due to the distal position of the first driver portion 25342 and the third driver portion 25346 relative to the second driver portion 25344, the staples 25260 are fired in a reverse arrow

configuration. As shown in FIG. 89, the last staples 25260 in the first longitudinal row 25221 and the third longitudinal row 25223 are closer to the shortened nose 25250 of the staple cartridge 25200 than the last staple 25260 in the second longitudinal row 25222.

[0282] On the other side of the elongate slot 25230, a plurality of second staple drivers are mounted within corresponding staple cavities 25220 in the three longitudinal rows 25224, 25225, 25226. Similar to the staple driver 25240, the second staple drivers each comprise a first driver portion 25342, a second driver portion 25344, and a third driver portion 25346. A central base member 25348 connects the first driver portion 25342 and the third driver portion 25346 to the second driver portion 25344. The first driver portion 25342 is positioned at least partially distal to the second driver portion 25344. Additionally, the third driver portion 25346 is positioned at least partially distal to the second driver portion 25344. As the staple driver 25240 above, each second staple driver is configured to support three staples 25260: a staple 25260 stored within a staple cavity 25220 in the fourth longitudinal row 25224, a staple 25260 stored within a staple cavity 25220 in the fifth longitudinal row 25225, and a staple 25260 stored within a staple cavity 25220 in the sixth longitudinal row 25226. Due to the distal position of the first driver portion 25342 and the third driver portion 25346 relative to the second driver portion 25344, the staples 25260 are fired in a reverse arrow configuration. As shown in FIG. 89, the last staples 25260 in the fourth longitudinal row 25224 and the sixth longitudinal row 25226 are closer to the shortened nose 25250 of the staple cartridge 25200 than the last staple 25260 in the fifth longitudinal row 25225.

[0283] The first driver portion 25342 of the staple driver 25240 has a first forward support column 25352 and a first rearward support column 25354 protruding upward from a first driver portion base. The first forward support column 25352 and the first rearward support column 25354 are spaced from each other and collectively form a first staple cradle for supporting a staple 25260 in an upright position (i.e., the prongs of the staple facing the anvil). Similarly, the second driver portion 25344 has a second forward support column 25362 and a second rearward support column 25364 protruding upward from a second driver portion base. The second forward support column 25362 and the second rearward support column 25364 are spaced from each other and collectively form a second staple cradle for supporting a staple 25260 in an upright position (i.e., the prongs of the staple facing the anvil). The third driver portion 25346 has a third forward support column 25372 and a third rearward support column 25374 protruding upward from a third driver portion base. The third forward support column 25372 and the third rearward support column 25374 are spaced from each other and

collectively form a third staple cradle for supporting a staple 25260 in an upright position (i.e., the prongs of the staple facing the anvil).

[0284] The center of mass of the first and third driver portions 25342, 25346 is represented by the dashed line D-D. Similarly, the dashed line P-P represents the center of mass of the second driver portion 25344. The combined center of mass of the triple staple driver 25240 is represented in FIGS. 87 and 88 as dashed line C-C. As such, staple driver 25240 is less likely to roll forward. Notably, C-C is closer to D-D than P-P which makes the staple driver 25240 very stable.

[0285] As discussed above, the central base member 25348 of the staple driver 25240, depicted in FIG. 88, attaches the first driver portion 25342 and the third driver portion 25346 to the second driver portion 25344. The central base member 25348 extends laterally between the proximal ends of the first and third rearward support columns 25354, 25374 on the first and third driver portions 25342, 25346, respectively, and the proximal end of the second forward support column 25362 on the second driver portion 25344. As can be seen in FIG. 90, the central base member 25348 has an angled rearwardly facing edge 25349 adapted to be engaged by a wedge sled 25270, as will be discussed in further detail below. Due to the extension of the central base member 25348 between all three driver portions 25342, 25344, 25346, the midpoint of the rearwardly facing edge 25349 may be bifurcated into a portion which is closer to the first portion 25342 and a portion which is closer to the third portion 25346. Such an arrangement can balance moments created during the firing and formation of the staples 25260 stored within the staple cavities 25220.

[0286] Referring primarily to FIG. 89, each staple cavity 25220 defined in the cartridge body 25210 of the staple cartridge 25200 comprises a proximal wall 25264 and a distal wall 25262. The reverse arrow orientation formed by the arrangement of the first, second, and third driver portions 25342, 25344, 25346 of the triple staple driver 25240 discussed above, reduces forward and/or lateral roll of the staple driver 25240 during a staple firing stroke. In various instances, the distal end of the first forward support column 25352 and the distal end of the third forward support column 25372 are pushed into the distal walls 25262 of their respective staple cavities 25220, which stabilize the driver 25240. Thus, when the sled 25270 (FIG. 89) lifts the staple driver 25240

upwardly during the staple firing stroke, two distal walls 25262 of the staple cavities 25220 provide an opposing force against the forward support columns 25352, 25372, preventing any unwanted movement or rolling of the staple driver 25240.

[0287] As illustrated in FIGS. 87-90, the elongate slot 25230 of the staple cartridge 25200 is configured to receive a portion of a firing assembly 25280. The firing assembly 25280 is configured to push the sled 25270 distally to eject the staples 25260 stored within the staple cavities 25220 and deform the staples 25260 against an anvil positioned opposite the staple cartridge 25200. More specifically, a coupling member 25282 pushes the wedge sled 25270 of the staple cartridge 25200 distally. The wedge sled 25270 has four rails, two inner rails 25272 and two outer rails 25274 which are connected to each other by a central member 25276. One inner rail 25272 and one outer rail 25274 are positioned on one side of the elongate slot 25230, while the other inner rail 25272 and the other outer rail 26274 are positioned on the opposite side of the elongate slot 25230. When driven distally, the inner rails 25272 pass through inner channels 25212 defined within the cartridge body 25210 and engage the rearwardly facing edge 25349 of the drivers 25240 supporting the staples 25260 to cause the firing of the staples toward the anvil. Likewise, the outer rails 25274 pass through outer channels 25214 defined within the cartridge body 25210 and engage portions of the drivers 25240 supporting the staples 25260 to push the staples toward the anvil. Distal movement of the wedge sled 25270 causes the rails 25272, 25274 to make contact with the rearwardly facing edges 25349 of the staple drivers 25240, pushing drivers 25240 upwards to eject the staples 25260 from the staple cartridge 25200 into tissue captured between the staple cartridge 25200 and an opposing anvil. The coupling member 25282 also comprises a cutting edge 25284 which incises the tissue as the coupling member 25282 is advanced distally to eject the staples 25260 from the cartridge body 25210.

[0288] Referring again to FIG. 87, the positioning of the first, second, and third driver portions 25342, 25344, 25346 of the staple driver 25240 between or adjacent an inner rail 25272 and an outer rail 25274 of the wedge sled 25270 provides increased lateral stability. Two rails, one inner rail 25272 and one outer rail 25274, straddle the staple driver 25240, providing increased support and stability of throughout a firing stroke. In addition to providing enhanced stability to the staple driver 25240, another benefit of having a staple driver 25240 spanning across two rails 25272, 25274 of a wedge sled 25270 is a reduced force required to perform a firing stroke. The required force is decreased as there is less deflection and loss within the system. Additionally, the additional drive surface provided by the rearwardly facing edge 25349 allows for the rails 25272, 25274 of the wedge sled 25270 to extend at a steeper angle from the base 25278 of the wedge sled 25270. The steeper angle of the wedge sled 25270 allows for an overall decrease in the length of the base 25278 of the wedge sled 25270, further contributing to the reduction in length of the shortened nose 25250 of the staple cartridge 25200. Upon the completion of the staple firing stroke, referring again to FIG. 89, the wedge sled 25270 of the firing assembly 25280 is parked within the shortened nose 25250 of the staple cartridge 25200.

[0289] FIG. 89 depicts the wedge sled 25270 of the firing assembly 25280 parked in the shortened nose 25250 upon the completion of the staple firing stroke. The shortened nose 25250 comprises a plurality of openings 25292, 25294 at the distal end of the shortened nose 25250 to receive the four rails 25272, 25274. The shortened nose 25250 further comprises an opening 25296 configured to receive the central sled member 25276 of the wedge sled 25270. Thus, portions of the rails 25272, 25274 and central sled member 25276 of the wedge sled 25270 are exposed at the distal end 25202 of the staple cartridge 25200. The openings 25292, 25294 are continuations of the channels 25212, 25214 within which the rails 25272, 25274 of the wedge sled 25270 slidably travel. Two inner openings 25292 are configured to receive the two inner rails 25272 of the wedge sled 25270, while two outer openings 25294 are configured to receive the two outer rails 25274 of the wedge sled 25270. A central opening 25296 in the center of the distal portion 25202 of the shortened nose 25250 is configured to receive the central member 25276 of the wedge sled 25270. The openings 25292, 25294, 25296 at the distal end 25202 of the shortened nose 25250 allow for the staple firing stroke to be completed and for the wedge sled 25270 to be parked in a shortened distal end.

[0290] Referring again to FIG. 89, the staple cartridge 25200 further includes projections 25262 extending around the proximal and distal ends of the staple cavities 25220. The projections 25262 in the first longitudinal row 25221 are shown to be singular, while the projections in the second and third longitudinal rows 25222, 25223 are shown to be connected. The projections 25262 are configured to provide additional support to the staples 25260 as they are fired upwardly out of their staple cavities 25220. Furthermore, the projections 25264 formed on the distalmost staple cavity 25220 are ramped to control the flow of tissue into the end effector. A more detailed discussion of the projections can be found in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2015/0297228, entitled FASTENER CARTRIDGES INCLUDING EXTENSIONS

HAVING DIFFERENT CONFIGURATIONS, filed on June 30, 2014, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated by reference.

[0291] FIG. 91 illustrates some of the advantages gained by using the shortened staple cartridge 25200 from FIG. 85 instead of the elongate staple cartridge 25100 from FIG. 86. Both staple cartridges are suitable for various surgical procedures, including, for example, Low Anterior Resection Surgery (LAR). LAR is a common treatment for colorectal cancer, for example. Such procedures require precise dissection and sealing of tissue deep within the pelvic cavity of a patient. As will be discussed in more detail below, the shortened length of the staple cartridge 25200, owing to the shortened nose 25250 in FIG. 85, among other things, allows the end effector of the surgical instrument to gain greater access to tissue within the pelvic cavity. The reader should understand that the staple cartridges described herein can be used in various surgical treatments and are not to be limited by the specific procedures discussed herein.

[0292] Further to the above, the short staple cartridge 25200 is part of a first end effector 25202 on a first surgical instrument 25201 which also includes an anvil 25203. The first surgical instrument 25201 further comprises a first shaft 25206 that is rotatably connected to the first end effector 25202. The first end effector 25202 is articulatable about an articulation joint 25208 positioned intermediate the first end effector 25202 and the first shaft 25206. The first end effector 25202 is capable of being articulated to an angle a with respect to the first shaft 25206. Similarly, the elongate staple cartridge 25100 is part of a second end effector 25102 on a second surgical instrument 25101 which also includes an anvil 25103. Also, the second surgical instrument 25101 further comprises a second shaft 25106 that is rotatably connected to the second end effector 25102. The second end effector 25102 is articulatable about an articulation joint 25108 positioned intermediate the second end effector 25102 and the second shaft 25106. The second end effector 25102 is capable of being articulated to an angle β with respect to the second shaft 25106.

[0293] Further to the above, in use, a clinician inserts the end effector 25202 through a cannula, or trocar, and into a patient when the end effector 25202 is in its

unarticulated condition. Once through the trocar, the end effector 25202 can be articulated as illustrated in FIG. 91. At such point, the shaft 25206 can be moved to position the end effector 25202 in the pelvic cavity. Similar steps would be used to position the end effector 25102.

[0294] The first end effector 25202 is able to reach a distance Xi from the pelvic floor within the pelvic cavity during a LAR procedure. The second end effector 25102 is able to reach a distance X2 from the pelvic floor within the pelvic cavity during a LAR procedure. Distance Xi is shorter than distance X2, allowing the first surgical instrument 25201 to be placed deeper into the pelvic cavity than the second surgical instrument

25101 , giving the surgeon the capability to, among other things, target, access, and remove a greater array of diseased tissue from the colon. Additionally, the articulation capabilities of the first surgical instrument 25201 allow deeper access to tissue within the surgical site while inflicting minimal trauma to surrounding tissue. The first end effector 25202 is able to be articulated to a greater degree than the second end effector

25102, as β is larger than a. For example, the first end effector 25202 may be articulated to an angle 1 15 degrees from the first shaft 25206, while the second end effector 25102 may only be articulated to an angle 135 degrees from the second shaft 25106.

[0295] As illustrated in FIG. 91 , the staple cartridge 25100 and the anvil 25103 of the end effector 25102 have approximately the same length, but the staple cartridge 25100 is noticeably longer than the anvil 25103. Comparatively, the staple cartridge 25200 and the anvil 25203 of the end effector 25202 are substantially the same length, if not the same length. In any event, the difference in length between the staple cartridge 25200 and the anvil 25203 of the end effector 25202, if any, is much smaller than the end effector 25102.

[0296] An extreme difference between the distal end of a staple cartridge and a distal end of an anvil can cause damage to a trocar when the end effector is inserted there through. Referring to FIG. 92, an end effector 25810 comprises a distal end 25802, an anvil 25820, and a staple cartridge 25830. The staple cartridge 25830 has a blunt, shortened nose 25840 similar to the shortened nose 25250 on the staple cartridge 25200 in FIG. 85. As can be seen in FIGS. 92 and 93, the anvil 25820 has a protective tip 25822 thereon. The protective tip 25822 is sized and positioned on the anvil 25820 in a way that causes the anvil 25820 to be shorter in length than the staple cartridge 25830. Thus, the shortened nose 25840 of the staple cartridge 25830 extends distally relative to the anvil 25820. The protective tip 25822 may be integrally formed (molded, machined, etc.) on the distal end 25802 of the anvil 25820 or it may comprise a separate piece configured to receive a complementary portion of the anvil. A more extensive discussion of protective tips can be found U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2008/0169328, entitled IMPROVED BUTTRESS MATERIAL FOR USE WITH A SURGICAL STAPLER, the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0297] As can be seen in FIGS. 92 and 93, the protective tip 25822 of the anvil 25820 has a first curved, or angled, outer surface 25824 and a second curved, or angled, outer surface 25826 configured to form a stubby distal end on the anvil 25820. The first angled outer surface 25824 extends downwardly from a top surface 25828 of the anvil 25820 at a first angle Φ. The second angled outer surface 25826 extends downwardly from the first angled outer surface 25824 toward the staple cartridge 25830 at a second angle Θ. The second angle Θ is greater than the first angle Φ. Various embodiments are envisions in which angle Θ is approximately 90 degrees, for example. Other

embodiments of the protective tip 25822 are envisioned having only one of either a first angled outer surface 25824 or a second angled outer surface 25826. The first angled outer surface 25824 serves to deflect a centering ring of a trocar seal assembly during the insertion of the end effector 25810 through the trocar. When the second angle Θ gets farther from 90 degrees, and/or when the first and second curved outer surfaces 25824, 25826 are not continuous, the anvil 25820 might pierce through a trocar seal or can displace the centering ring of a trocar seal system, as will be discussed in greater detail below.

[0298] A protective tip can be attached to an anvil in any suitable manner. FIGS. 94-99 illustrate exemplary embodiments of separately formed protective tips 25922, 26022, and various methods for their attachment to an anvil. As depicted in FIGS. 94-96, a distal portion of an anvil 25920 comprises an attachment feature including attachment members 25927, 25929 which are configured to retainingly mate with complementary retention channels 25926, 25928 formed in the protective tip 25922. More specifically, a central retention channel 25928 is formed within the protective tip 25922 to receive a central attachment member 25929 of the anvil 25920. A pair of side retention channels 25296 is formed within the protective tip 25922 to receive a pair of corresponding side attachment members 25927 on the anvil 25920. FIG. 96 is a cross-sectional view of the anvil 25920 of FIG. 94 taken along the line 96-96 in FIG. 95 in a disassembled configuration showing the alignment of the retention channels 25926, 25928 with their respective attachment members 25927, 25929. An elongate slot 25994 extends longitudinally from the proximal end 25904 of the anvil 25920 toward the distal end 25902 of the anvil 25920. The elongate slot 25994 is configured to receive a portion of the firing assembly discussed herein.

[0299] In addition, or in the alternative, to the above, the protective tip 25922 may be secured to the anvil 25920 using rivets 25924. As shown in FIG. 96, a through-hole 25925 extends through the central retention channel 25928 of the protective tip 25922. A through-hole 25925 also extends through the central attachment member 25929 of the anvil 25920 so that when the protective tip 25922 is attached to the anvil 25920, the through-holes 25925 line up to facilitate the insertion of a rivet 25924 therein. FIG. 95 is a cross-sectional view of the anvil 25920 of FIG. 94 taken along line 95-95 in FIG. 94 in a disassembled configuration illustrating a rivet assembly for removably affixing the protective tip 25922 to the anvil 25920. In addition, or in the alternative, to the above, the protective tip 25922 may be affixed to the anvil 25920 by adhesives such as, for example, cyanoacrylates, light-curable acrylics, polyurethanes, silicones, epoxies, and/or ultra-violet curable adhesives such as HENKEL LOCTITE®. In any event, a combination of attachment members and retention channels may be provided on the

anvil 25920 and the protective tip 25922. Still other forms of attachments and attachment arrangements may be used to affix the protective tip 25922 to the anvil 25920.

[0300] FIGS. 97-99 illustrate another embodiment of a tip attachment arrangement. A distal portion of an anvil 26020 comprises attachment members 26027 configured to retainingly mate with complementary retention channels 26026 defined in the protective tip 26022. In addition, a central retention channel 26028 defined within the protective tip 26022 is configured to receive a central attachment member 26029 of the anvil 26020. FIG. 98 is a cross-sectional view of the anvil 26020 of FIG. 97 taken along the line 98- 98 in FIG. 97 in a disassembled configuration showing the alignment of the retention channels 26026, 26028 with their respective attachment members 26027, 26029. FIG.

99 is a cross-sectional view of the anvil 26020 of FIG. 97 taken along the line 99-99 in FIG. 97 in an assembled configuration. The protective tip 26022 is secured to the anvil 26020 using a compression fit. The central attachment member 26029 is press-fit into the central retention channel 26028, remaining in place due to the geometry of the central retention channel 26028. The central attachment member 26029 of the anvil 26020 in FIG. 98 has a trapezoidal shape that is mimicked by the central retention channel 26028. An elongate slot 26094 extends longitudinally from a proximal end 26004 of the anvil 26020 toward the distal end 26002 of the anvil 26020. The elongate slot 26094 is configured to receive a portion of the firing assembly discussed herein.

[0301] In addition, or in the alternative, to the above, the protective tip 26022 may be affixed to the anvil 26020 by adhesives such as, for example, cyanoacrylates, light-curable acrylics, polyurethanes, silicones, epoxies, and/or ultra-violet curable adhesives such as HENKEL LOCTITE®, for example. In various embodiments, a combination of attachment members and retention channels may be provided on the anvil 26020 and the protective tip 26022. Still other forms of attachments and attachment arrangements may be used to affix the protective tip 26022 to the anvil 26020. FIGS. 97-99 further illustrate means for assisting a user in attaching the protective tip 26022 to the anvil 26020. FIG. 97 illustrates the protective tip 26022 removably positioned within a temporary holder 26030. In order to releasably affix the protective tip 26022 to the anvil 26020, the user presses the temporary holder 26030 and the anvil 26020 together. The

temporary holder 26030 may provide an additional sterilization barrier to the protective tip 26022 while the protective tip 26022 is affixed to the anvil 26020. Furthermore, the temporary holder 26030 provides the user with an object that is more substantial to hold onto while attaching the protective tip 26022 to the anvil 26020, as the protective tip 26022 may be small in size. It is envisioned that the temporary holder 26030 can be used across various embodiments of protective tips, including the other embodiments disclosed herein.

[0302] Various protective anvil tips have been described and depicted herein as being used in connection with a linear end effector. Those of ordinary skill in the art will readily appreciate, however, that the protective anvil tips described herein may be used in connection with a variety of different end effector configurations such as curved end effectors and other types of end effectors without departing from the spirit and scope of the present disclosure. Thus, the protective tip described above should not be limited solely to use in connection with linear end effectors and/or staplers.

[0303] FIGS. 100-106 illustrate an exemplary practical application of the various end effectors described herein when they are inserted through a trocar seal system prior to being introduced into a surgical site. The trocar seal system 27040 of FIGS. 100-106 comprises a housing 27042 configured to support a floating seal assembly 27050 and a central opening 27044 configured to receive a surgical instrument. The floating seal assembly 27050 comprises a first seal door 27052 and a second seal door 27054 that work together to prohibit gas from escaping from an insufflated cavity in a patient during a surgical procedure. The floating seal assembly 27050 further comprises a centering ring 27058 which is configured to guide a surgical instrument through the central opening 27044 of the trocar seal system 27040. The floating seal assembly 27050 is attached to the housing 27042 of the trocar seal system 27040 through an annular resilient member 27056.

[0304] FIG. 100 depicts an end effector 27000 comprising an anvil 27010 and a staple cartridge 27020. The staple cartridge 27020 comprises a blunt, shortened nose 27022, similar to the shortened nose 25250 depicted on the staple cartridge 25200 in FIG. 85. The distal end 27202 of the anvil 27010 is pointed and does not have a protective tip, such as that shown in FIG. 92. As can be seen in FIG. 100, the anvil 27010 is shorter in length than the staple cartridge 27020. In other words, the shortened nose 27022 of the staple cartridge 27020 extends longitudinally beyond the distal end 27002 of the anvil 27010. Prior to inserting the end effector 27000 through the trocar seal system 27040, the first seal door 27052 and the second seal door 27054 extend inwardly to prevent gas from escaping from the surgical site. FIG. 101 depicts the end effector 27000 of FIG. 100 partially inserted into the trocar seal system 27040. The shortened nose 27022 of the staple cartridge 27020 is the first component of the end effector 27000 to come into contact with the first and second seal doors 27052, 27054 of the trocar seal system 27040, tilting the floating seal assembly 27050 to one side. Due to its blunt shape, the shortened nose 27022 does not damage the second seal door 27054 despite exerting a force on it.

[0305] FIG. 102 depicts the end effector 27000 of FIGS. 100 and 101 when the end effector 27000 has been further introduced into the central opening 27044 of the trocar seal system 27040. After the initial contact of the shortened staple cartridge nose 27022 with the trocar seal system 27040, the pointed distal end 27002 of the anvil 27010 contacts the first seal door 27052 of the trocar seal system 27040. In various instances, the pointed distal end 27002 of the anvil 27010 can rupture the first seal door 27052 of the trocar seal system 27040, as the contact between the shortened nose 27022 and the second seal door 27054 has already shifted the position of the floating seal assembly 27050 laterally. As illustrated in FIG. 103, had the distal end 27002 of the anvil 27010 comprised a protective tip 27012 similar to the protective tip 25822 shown in FIG. 92, the risk of rupturing the first seal door 27052 would have been reduced. The risk of rupture decreases with the use of a protective tip 27012 on the anvil 27010, as the first seal door 27052 will smoothly stretch around the protective tip 27012. Moreover, the same length of the cartridge and the anvil reduces, or prevents, the pre-shifting of the floating seal assembly.

[0306] FIG. 104 depicts an end effector 27100 comprising an anvil 271 10 and a staple cartridge 27120. The staple cartridge 27120 comprises a pointy, elongate nose 27122, similar to the elongate nose 25150 depicted on the staple cartridge 25100 in FIG. 86. The distal end 27102 of the anvil 271 10 is pointed and does not have a protective tip, such as that shown in FIG. 92. The anvil 271 10 is shorter in length than the staple cartridge 27120. In other words, the elongate nose 27122 of the staple cartridge 27120 extends longitudinally beyond the distal end 27102 of the anvil 271 10. Prior to the insertion the end effector 27100 through the trocar seal system 27040, the first seal door 27052 and the second seal door 27054 of the trocar seal system 27040 extend inwardly to prevent gas from escaping the surgical site. FIG. 105 depicts the end effector 27100 of FIG. 104 when the end effector 27100 is initially inserted into the trocar seal system 27040. The elongate nose 27122 of the staple cartridge 27120 is the first component of the end effector 27100 to come into contact with the first and second seal doors 27052, 27054 of the trocar seal system 27040, tilting, or pre-shifting, the floating seal assembly 27050 to one side as discussed above.

[0307] FIG. 106 depicts the end effector 27100 of FIGS. 104 and 105 when the end effector 27100 has been further introduced into the central opening 27044 of the trocar seal system 27040. After the initial contact of the elongate nose 27122 of the staple cartridge 27120, the pointed distal end 27102 of the anvil 271 10 contacts the first seal door 27052 of the trocar seal system 27040. In various instances, the pointed distal end 27102 of the anvil 271 10 may rupture the first seal door 27052 of the trocar seal system 27040, as the contact between the elongate nose 27122 and the second seal door 27054 displaced the position of the floating seal assembly 27050.

[0308] As discussed herein, a first staple cartridge can comprise a first cartridge length and a second staple cartridge can comprise a second cartridge length which is different than the first cartridge length. In various instances, an end effector of a surgical stapling instrument can comprise a cartridge jaw configured to receive the first staple cartridge and, in the alternative, the second staple cartridge. Stated another way, the cartridge jaw is configured to receive the first staple cartridge and the second staple cartridge, but not at the same time. The first staple cartridge and the second staple cartridge each comprise a proximal end which is aligned with a proximal cartridge jaw datum when it is positioned in the cartridge jaw. When the first cartridge length is longer than the second cartridge length, for instance, the distal end of the first staple cartridge would be positioned further away from the proximal cartridge jaw datum than the distal end of the second staple cartridge. The reader should understand that the second cartridge length can be longer than the first cartridge length in other instances.

[0309] Further to the above, the end effector comprises an anvil jaw movable relative to the cartridge jaw between an open, or undamped, position, and a closed, or clamped, position. In alternative embodiments, the cartridge jaw is movable relative to the anvil jaw. In either event, the anvil jaw comprises a distal anvil end which is supported by the first staple cartridge and the second staple cartridge, depending on which staple cartridge is positioned in the cartridge jaw. The distal anvil end is supported at a first location on the first cartridge jaw and at a second location on the second cartridge jaw. In various instances, the first location and the second location may not be the same distance from the proximal cartridge jaw datum. In some instances, however, they can be the same distance from the proximal cartridge jaw datum. Moreover, in various instances, the first location is located a first distance away from the distal end of the first staple cartridge while the second location is located a second, or different, distance away from the distal end of the second staple cartridge. In use, the tissue of a patient will be positioned between the anvil jaw and the cartridge jaw but, nonetheless, the support locations of the staple cartridges will still support the anvil jaw, or the clamping load applied by the anvil jaw.

[0310] In various instances, further to the above, the distal anvil end can extend distally beyond the distal end of the first staple cartridge when the end effector is in a clamped configuration and the first staple cartridge is positioned in the cartridge jaw and, similarly, the distal anvil end can extend distally beyond the distal end of the second staple cartridge when the end effector is in a clamped configuration and the second staple cartridge is positioned in the cartridge jaw. However, when the first cartridge length is longer than the second cartridge length, in various instances, the distal anvil tip can extend distally beyond the distal end of the second staple cartridge but not extend distally beyond the distal end of the first staple cartridge. In such instances, the anvil jaw can be longer than the second staple cartridge when the second staple cartridge is positioned in the cartridge jaw but shorter than the first staple cartridge when the first staple cartridge is positioned in the cartridge jaw. In some instances, the anvil jaw is the same length as the first staple cartridge or the second staple cartridge.

[0311] Further to the above, the anvil jaw will deflect when it is moved into its clamped position. Owing to the different cartridge lengths of the staple cartridges, the deflection of the anvil jaw may be different depending on which staple cartridge is positioned in the cartridge jaw. As a result, the staple forming gap between the anvil jaw and the staple drivers of the first cartridge jaw can be different than the staple forming gap between the anvil jaw and the staple drivers of the second cartridge jaw. In some instances, the difference in staple forming gap is negligible, and the staples ejected from the first staple cartridge and the second staple cartridge will be formed to the same, or at least suitable, heights and sufficiently staple the tissue captured between the anvil jaw and the cartridge jaw. In such instances, the unformed height of the staples in the first staple cartridge can be the same as the unformed height of the staples in the second staple cartridge. In other instances, the unformed height of the staples in the first staple cartridge is different than the unformed height of the staples in the second staple cartridge. In such instances, taller staples can be used in the first staple cartridge and shorter staples can be used in the second staple cartridge, for example, depending on the anticipated deflection and/or orientation of the anvil jaw when clamped against the first and second staple cartridges. In at least one such instance, each of the staples in the first staple cartridge has an unformed height in a first unformed height range and each of the staples in the second staple cartridge has an unformed height in a second unformed height range. In some instances, the first unformed height range is completely different than the second unformed height range while, in other instances, the first unformed height range partially overlaps the second unformed height range.

[0312] As discussed above, the first staple cartridge and the second staple cartridge are selectively positioned in the cartridge jaw of the end effector and, further to the above, the cartridge jaw further comprises a bottom support or surface configured to support the staple cartridges when they are seated in the cartridge jaw. Such a support can comprise a vertical datum. In various instances, the first support location on the first staple cartridge and the second support location on the second staple cartridge, discussed above, are the same vertical distance from the vertical datum of the cartridge jaw. The vertical distance is measured orthogonally from the vertical datum, but can be measured in any suitable manner. In other instances, the first support location on the first staple cartridge has a different vertical height than the second support location on the second staple cartridge. In such instances, the orientation and/or deflection of the anvil jaw when the anvil jaw is in its clamped position can be different as a result of the first support location and the second support location having different vertical heights. Such different vertical heights can occur when the distal end, or nose, of the first staple cartridge is different than the distal end of the second staple cartridge, among other reasons.

[0313] 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 Application Publication No. 2012/0298719, for example, discloses several examples of a robotic surgical instrument system in greater detail.

[0314] 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.

[0315] Examples

[0316] Example 1 - A surgical instrument that comprises an end effector. The end effector comprises a cartridge jaw and an anvil jaw, wherein one of the cartridge jaw and the anvil jaw is rotatable relative to the other about a closure axis. The surgical instrument further comprises a shaft that comprises a frame defining a longitudinal shaft axis and a closure actuator, wherein the closure actuator is translatable relative to the frame. The closure actuator comprises a proximal portion, a distal portion, and a link. The link is rotatably connected to the proximal portion about a proximal link axis and to the distal portion about a distal link axis. The proximal link axis and the distal link axis define a longitudinal link axis therebetween. The surgical instrument further comprises an articulation joint, wherein the end effector is rotatably connected to the shaft about an articulation axis defined by the articulation joint. The end effector is articulatable within an articulation plane between an unarticulated position and an articulated position, wherein the articulation axis is offset from the longitudinal shaft axis. The longitudinal link axis is not collinear with the longitudinal shaft axis when the end effector is in either the unarticulated position or the articulated position.

[0317] Example 2 - The surgical instrument of Example 1 , wherein the proximal link axis is positioned along the longitudinal shaft axis.

[0318] Example 3 - The surgical instrument of Example 1 or 2, wherein the cartridge jaw comprises a staple cartridge including staples removably stored therein.

[0319] Example 4 - The surgical instrument of Example 3, wherein the staple cartridge is replaceable.

[0320] Example 5 - The surgical instrument of Example 3 or 4, further comprising a firing actuator which is separate and distinct from the closure actuator, wherein the firing actuator is actuatable to eject the staples from the staple cartridge.

[0321] Example 6 - The surgical instrument of Example 3, 4 or 5, wherein the

longitudinal link axis is not parallel to the longitudinal shaft axis when the end effector is in either the unarticulated position or the articulated position.

[0322] Example 7 - The surgical instrument of Example 3, 4 or 5, wherein the end effector further comprises a longitudinal end effector axis. The longitudinal end effector axis is collinear with the longitudinal shaft axis when the end effector is in the

unarticulated position. The end effector further comprises a distal end positioned along the longitudinal end effector axis, wherein the distal link axis is offset with respect to an axis extending between the distal end and the proximal link axis when the end effector is in either of the unarticulated position and the articulated position.

[0323] Example 8 - A surgical instrument that comprises an end effector. The end effector comprises a longitudinal end effector axis, a distal end positioned along the end effector axis, a cartridge jaw, and an anvil jaw, wherein one of the cartridge jaw and the anvil jaw is rotatable relative to the other about a closure axis. The surgical instrument further comprises a shaft that comprises a frame defining a longitudinal shaft axis and a closure actuator translatable relative to the frame. The closure actuator comprises a proximal portion, a distal portion, and a link. The link is rotatably connected to the proximal portion about a proximal link axis and to the distal portion about a distal link axis. The surgical instrument further comprises an articulation joint, wherein the end effector is rotatably connected to the shaft about an articulation axis defined by the articulation joint. The end effector is articulatable within an articulation plane between an unarticulated position and an articulated position, wherein the articulation axis is offset from the longitudinal shaft axis. The longitudinal end effector axis is aligned with the longitudinal shaft axis when the end effector is in the unarticulated position. The distal link axis is offset with respect to an axis extending between the distal end of the end effector and the proximal link axis when the end effector is in either of the unarticulated position and the articulated position.

[0324] Example 9 - The surgical instrument of Example 8, wherein the proximal link axis and the distal link axis define a longitudinal link axis. The longitudinal link axis is not collinear with the longitudinal shaft axis when the end effector is in either of the unarticulated position and the articulated position.

[0325] Example 10 - The surgical instrument of Example 9, wherein the longitudinal link axis is not parallel to the longitudinal shaft axis when the end effector is in either of the unarticulated position and the articulated position.

[0326] Example 1 1 - The surgical instrument of Example 8, 9 or 10, wherein the proximal link axis is positioned along the longitudinal shaft axis.

[0327] Example 12 - The surgical instrument of Example 8, 9, 10 or 1 1 , wherein the cartridge jaw comprises a staple cartridge including staples removably stored therein.

[0328] Example 13 - The surgical instrument of Example 12, wherein the staple cartridge is replaceable.

[0329] Example 14 - The surgical instrument of Example 12 or 13, further comprising a firing actuator which is separate and distinct from the closure actuator, wherein the firing actuator is actuatable to eject the staples from the staple cartridge.

[0330] Example 15 - A surgical instrument that comprises an end effector. The end effector comprises a longitudinal end effector axis, a distal end positioned along the end effector axis, a first jaw, and a second jaw, wherein one of the first jaw and the second jaw is rotatable relative to the other between an open position and a closed position. The surgical instrument further comprises a shaft that comprises a frame defining a longitudinal shaft axis and a closure actuator translatable relative to the frame. The closure actuator comprises a proximal portion, a distal portion, and a link. The link is rotatably connected to the proximal portion about a proximal link axis and to the distal portion about a distal link axis. The surgical instrument further comprises an articulation joint, wherein the end effector is rotatably connected to the shaft about an articulation axis defined by the articulation joint. The end effector is articulatable between an unarticulated position and an articulated position, wherein the articulation axis is positioned laterally with respect to the longitudinal shaft axis. The longitudinal end effector axis is aligned with the longitudinal shaft axis when the end effector is in the unarticulated position. The distal link axis is positioned laterally with respect to an axis extending between the distal end of the end effector and the proximal link axis when the first jaw is in the open position, the closed position, and any position between the open position and the closed position.

[0331] Example 16 - The surgical instrument of Example 15, wherein the proximal link axis and the distal link axis define a longitudinal link axis. The longitudinal link axis is not aligned with the longitudinal shaft axis when the first jaw is in the closed position regardless of whether the end effector is in the unarticulated position or the articulated position.

[0332] Example 17 - The surgical instrument of Example 15 or 16, wherein the longitudinal link axis is not parallel to the longitudinal shaft axis when the first jaw is in the closed position regardless of whether the end effector is in the unarticulated position or the articulated position.

[0333] Example 18 - The surgical instrument of Example 15, 16 or 17, wherein the proximal link axis is positioned along the longitudinal shaft axis.

[0334] Example 19 - The surgical instrument of Example 15, 16, 17 or 18, wherein the first jaw comprises a staple cartridge including staples removably stored therein.

[0335] Example 20 - The surgical instrument of Example 19, wherein the staple cartridge is replaceable.

[0336] Example 21 - The surgical instrument of Example 19 or 20, further comprising a firing actuator which is separate and distinct from the closure actuator, wherein the firing actuator is actuatable to eject the staples from the staple cartridge.

[0337] Example 22 - A surgical instrument comprising a shaft that comprises a proximal end, a distal end, and a longitudinal axis extending between the proximal end and the distal end. The surgical instrument further comprises an end effector that comprises an end effector frame rotatably coupled to the shaft about an articulation pivot, wherein the articulation pivot defines a fixed articulation axis, and wherein the fixed articulation axis is positioned laterally offset with respect to the longitudinal axis. The surgical instrument further comprises an articulation driver coupled to the end effector frame at an attachment location, wherein the articulation driver is movable into a proximal position to rotate the end effector into a first fully-articulated position and a distal position to rotate the end effector into a second fully-articulated position. The proximal position and the distal position define an articulation stroke of the articulation driver, wherein the articulation stroke has an articulation stroke length. A lateral moment arm is defined between the attachment location and the fixed articulation axis, wherein the lateral moment arm is orthogonal to the longitudinal axis. The surgical instrument is configured such that a ratio of the lateral moment arm to the articulation stroke length is maximized.

[0338] Example 23 - The surgical instrument of Example 22, wherein the end effector is positionable in an unarticulated position which is aligned with the longitudinal axis. The end effector is swept through a first arc length when the end effector is moved from the unarticulated position to the first fully-articulated position. The end effector is swept through a second arc length when the end effector is moved from the unarticulated position to the second fully-articulated position.

[0339] Example 24 - The surgical instrument of Example 23, wherein the first arc length is equal to the second arc length.

[0340] Example 25 - The surgical instrument of Example 23, wherein the first arc length and the second arc length are different.

[0341] Example 26 - The surgical instrument of Example 22, 23, 24 or 25, wherein the ratio is between 1.1 and 1.4.

[0342] Example 27 - The surgical instrument of Example 22, 23, 24, 25 or 26, wherein the attachment location is swept through an articulation arc length when the end effector is moved between the first fully-articulated position and the second fully-articulated position.

[0343] Example 28 - The surgical instrument of Example 27, wherein the surgical instrument is configured such that an articulation ratio comprising the articulation arc length to the articulation stroke length is maximized.

[0344] Example 29 - The surgical instrument of Example 28, wherein the articulation ratio is between 1.2 and 1.7.

[0345] Example 30 - The surgical instrument of Example 27, 28 or 29, wherein the surgical instrument is configured such that a ratio comprising the product of the articulation arc length and the lateral moment arm to the articulation stroke length is maximized.

[0346]Example 31 - The surgical instrument of Example 30, wherein the ratio is between 1 and 3.

[0347] Example 32 - The surgical instrument of Example 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, or 31 , wherein the end effector further comprises a staple cartridge comprising staples removably stored therein.

[0348] Example 33 - The surgical instrument of Example 32, wherein the staple cartridge is replaceable.

[0349] Example 34 - A surgical instrument comprising a shaft that comprises a proximal end, a distal end, and a longitudinal axis extending between the proximal end and the distal end. The surgical instrument further comprises an end effector that comprises an end effector frame rotatably coupled to the shaft about an articulation pivot, wherein the articulation pivot defines a fixed articulation axis, and wherein the fixed articulation axis is positioned laterally offset with respect to the longitudinal axis. The surgical instrument further comprises an articulation driver coupled to the end effector frame at an attachment location. The articulation driver is movable into a proximal position to rotate the end effector into a first fully-articulated position and a distal position to rotate the end effector into a second fully-articulated position. The proximal position and the distal position define an articulation stroke of the articulation driver. The articulation stroke has an articulation stroke length, wherein a lateral moment arm is defined between the attachment location and the fixed articulation axis. The lateral moment arm is orthogonal to the longitudinal axis. The surgical instrument is configured such that a ratio of the lateral moment arm to the articulation stroke length is larger than 1.

[0350] Example 35 - The surgical instrument of Example 34, wherein the ratio is between 1.1 and 1.4.

[0351] Example 36 - The surgical instrument of Example 34 or 35, wherein the attachment location is swept through an articulation arc length when the end effector is moved between the first fully-articulated position and the second fully-articulated position.

[0352] Example 37 - The surgical instrument of Example 36, wherein the surgical instrument is configured such that an articulation ratio comprising the articulation arc length to the articulation stroke length is maximized.

[0353] Example 38 - The surgical instrument of Example 37, wherein the articulation ratio is between 1.2 and 1.7.

[0354] Example 39 - The surgical instrument of Example 36, wherein the surgical instrument is configured such that a ratio comprising the product of the articulation arc length and the lateral moment arm to the articulation stroke length is maximized.

[0355] Example 40 - The surgical instrument of Example 39, wherein the articulation ratio is between 1 and 3.

[0356] Example 41 - The surgical instrument of Example 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39 or 40, wherein the end effector further comprises a staple cartridge comprising staples removably stored therein.

[0357] Example 42 - The surgical instrument of Example 41 , wherein the staple cartridge is replaceable.

[0358] Example 43 - A surgical instrument comprising a shaft that comprises a proximal end, a distal end, and a longitudinal axis extending between the proximal end and the distal end. The surgical instrument further comprises an end effector that comprises an end effector frame rotatably coupled to the shaft about an articulation pivot, wherein the articulation pivot defines a fixed articulation axis, and wherein the fixed articulation axis is positioned laterally offset with respect to the longitudinal axis. The surgical instrument further comprises an articulation driver coupled to the end effector frame at an attachment location, wherein the articulation driver is movable into a proximal position to rotate the end effector into a first fully-articulated position and a distal position to rotate the end effector into a second fully-articulated position. The proximal position and the distal position define an articulation stroke of the articulation driver, wherein the articulation stroke has an articulation stroke length. The attachment location is swept through an articulation arc length when the end effector is moved between the first fully-articulated position and the second fully-articulated position. A lateral moment arm is defined between the attachment location and the fixed articulation axis, wherein the lateral moment arm is orthogonal to the longitudinal axis. The surgical instrument is configured such that a ratio of the product of the lateral moment arm and the articulation arc length to the articulation stroke length is larger than 1.

[0359] Example 44 - A surgical instrument comprising a shaft that comprises a proximal end, a distal end, and a longitudinal axis extending between the proximal end and the distal end. The surgical instrument further comprises an end effector comprising an end effector frame rotatably coupled to the shaft about an articulation pivot, wherein the articulation pivot defines a fixed articulation axis, and wherein the fixed articulation axis is positioned laterally offset with respect to the longitudinal axis. The surgical instrument further comprises an articulation driver coupled to the end effector frame at an attachment location, wherein the articulation driver is movable into a proximal position to rotate the end effector into a first fully-articulated position and a distal position to rotate the end effector into a second fully-articulated position. The proximal position and the distal position define an articulation stroke of the articulation driver, wherein the articulation stroke has an articulation stroke length. A lateral moment arm is defined between the attachment location and the fixed articulation axis. The surgical instrument further comprises means for increasing the lateral moment arm while limiting the articulation stroke.

[0360] Example 45 - A surgical instrument comprising a shaft that comprises a proximal end, a distal end, a longitudinal axis extending between the proximal end and the distal end, and an outer housing that comprises a shaft radius defined with respect to the longitudinal axis. The surgical instrument further comprises an end effector that comprises an end effector frame rotatably coupled to the shaft about an articulation pivot, wherein the articulation pivot defines a fixed articulation axis, and wherein the fixed articulation axis is positioned laterally offset with respect to the longitudinal axis. The surgical instrument further comprises an articulation driver coupled to the end effector frame at an attachment location, wherein the articulation driver is movable proximally to rotate the end effector in a first direction, wherein the articulation driver is movable distally to rotate the end effector in a second direction which is opposite the first direction. A lateral moment arm is defined between the attachment location and the fixed articulation axis. The lateral moment arm is orthogonal to the longitudinal axis, wherein a ratio of the shaft radius to the lateral moment arm is less than 1.4.

[0361] Example 46 - The surgical instrument of Example 45, wherein the ratio is less than 1.3.

[0362] Example 47 - The surgical instrument of Example 45, wherein the ratio is less than 1.2.

[0363] Example 48 - The surgical instrument of Example 45, wherein the ratio is less than 1.1.

[0364] Example 49 - The surgical instrument of Example 45, 46, 47 or 48, wherein the end effector is rotatable a first distance in the first direction and a second distance in the second direction, and wherein the first distance and the second distance are equal.

[0365] Example 50 - The surgical instrument of Example 45, 46, 47 or 48, wherein the end effector is rotatable through a first range in the first direction and a second range in the second direction, and wherein the first range and the second range are not equal.

[0366] Example 51 - The surgical instrument of Example 45, 46, 47, 48, 49 or 50, further comprising a staple cartridge including staples removably stored therein.

[0367] Example 52 - The surgical instrument of Example 51 , wherein the staple cartridge is replaceable.

[0368] Example 53 - The surgical instrument of Example 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51 or 52, wherein the outer housing defines an inner aperture, and wherein the shaft radius is defined by the inner aperture.

[0369] Example 54 - The surgical instrument of Example 53, wherein the shaft comprises a shaft frame extending through the inner aperture, and wherein the end effector frame is rotatably coupled to the shaft frame.

[0370] Example 55 - The surgical instrument of Example 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51 , 52, 53 or 54, wherein the shaft comprises a first longitudinal portion and a second longitudinal portion, wherein the shaft radius of the outer housing comprises a first shaft radius in the first longitudinal portion and a second shaft radius in the second

longitudinal portion, and wherein the first shaft radius is different than the second shaft radius.

[0371] Example 56 - A shaft assembly comprising a shaft that comprises a proximal end, a distal end, a longitudinal axis extending between the proximal end and the distal end, and an outer housing comprising a shaft radius defined with respect to the longitudinal axis. The shaft assembly further comprises an end effector that comprises an end effector frame rotatably coupled to the shaft about an articulation pivot, wherein the articulation pivot defines a fixed articulation axis, and wherein the fixed articulation axis is positioned laterally offset with respect to the longitudinal axis. The shaft assembly further comprises an articulation driver coupled to the end effector frame at an attachment location. The articulation driver is movable proximally to rotate the end effector in a first direction, wherein the articulation driver is movable distally to rotate the end effector in a second direction which is opposite the first direction. A lateral moment arm is defined between the attachment location and the fixed articulation axis. The lateral moment arm is orthogonal to the longitudinal axis, wherein the shaft assembly is configured such that a ratio of the shaft radius to the lateral moment arm is minimized.

[0372] Example 57 - The shaft assembly of Example 56, wherein the ratio is less than 1.4.

[0373] Example 58 - The shaft assembly of Example 56, wherein the ratio is less than 1.1.

[0374] Example 59 - The shaft assembly of Example 56, 57 or 58, further comprising a staple cartridge including staples removably stored therein.

[0375] Example 60 - The shaft assembly of Example 59, wherein the staple cartridge is replaceable.

[0376] Example 61 - The shaft assembly of Example 56, 57, 58, 59 or 60, wherein the outer housing defines an inner aperture, and wherein the shaft radius is defined by the inner aperture.

[0377] Example 62 - The shaft assembly of Example 56, 57, 58, 59, 60 or 61 , wherein the shaft comprises a first longitudinal portion and a second longitudinal portion. The shaft radius of the outer housing comprises a first shaft radius in the first longitudinal portion and a second shaft radius in the second longitudinal portion. The first shaft radius is different than the second shaft radius.

[0378] Example 63 - A surgical instrument that comprises a shaft that comprises an outer housing that comprises a shaft radius. The surgical instrument further comprises an end effector that comprises an end effector frame rotatably coupled to the shaft about an articulation pivot, wherein the articulation pivot defines an articulation axis, and wherein the articulation axis is positioned laterally offset with respect to a centerline of the shaft. The surgical instrument further comprises an articulation driver coupled to the end effector frame at an attachment location. The articulation driver is movable proximally to rotate the end effector in a first direction into a first fully-articulated position, wherein the articulation driver is movable distally to rotate the end effector in a second direction into a second fully-articulated position. A lateral moment arm is defined between the attachment location and the articulation axis. The lateral moment arm is orthogonal to the centerline of the shaft, and wherein a ratio of the shaft radius to the lateral moment arm is between 1 and 1.4.

[0379] Example 64 - A surgical instrument that comprises a shaft and an end effector. The end effector comprises a proximal end, a distal end, a first jaw, and a second jaw. The first jaw is movable relative to the second jaw between an open position and a closed position, wherein one of the first jaw and the second jaw comprises a staple

cartridge including staples removably stored therein. The surgical instrument further comprises an articulation joint, wherein the end effector is rotatably connected to the shaft about the articulation joint. The surgical instrument further comprises an articulation rod operably connected to the end effector. The articulation rod is movable distally to rotate the end effector in a first direction, wherein the articulation rod is movably proximally to rotate the end effector in a second direction. The surgical instrument further comprises a closure tube configured to engage the first jaw and move the first jaw toward the closed position during a closure stroke, wherein the closure tube is slidable over the articulation joint during the closure stroke. The surgical instrument further comprises a staple firing assembly. The staple firing assembly comprises a cutting member movable through the end effector during a staple firing stroke, a firing bar attached to the cutting member, wherein the firing bar comprises a plurality of flexible layers, and wherein the firing bar extends through the articulation joint. The staple firing assembly further comprises a support positioned within the flexible layers, wherein the support is positioned proximally to the articulation joint. The staple firing system further comprises a plurality of control elements, wherein each the control element comprises an aperture defined therein. The firing bar extends through the apertures. The control elements are configured to hold the flexible layers together.

[0380] Example 65 - The surgical instrument of Example 64, wherein the control elements are positioned within the articulation joint.

[0381] Example 66 - The surgical instrument of Example 64 or 65, wherein the first jaw comprises the staple cartridge.

[0382] Example 67 - The surgical instrument of Example 64 or 65, wherein the second jaw comprises the staple cartridge.

[0383] Example 68 - The surgical instrument of Example 64, 65, 66 or 67, wherein the cutting member is welded to the firing bar.

[0384] Example 69 - The surgical instrument of Example 64, 65, 66, 67 or 68, wherein the control elements are connected to one another.

[0385] Example 70 - The surgical instrument of Example 64, 65, 66, 67 or 68, wherein the control elements are unconnected to one another.

[0386] Example 71 - The surgical instrument of Example 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69 or 70, wherein the control elements are unconnected to one another.

[0387] Example 72 - The surgical instrument of Example 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70 or 71 , wherein the articulation joint defines a fixed axis of rotation about which the end effector is rotated.

[0388] Example 73 - A surgical instrument that comprises a shaft defining a longitudinal axis and an end effector. The end effector comprises a proximal end, a distal end, a first jaw, and a second jaw. The first jaw is movable relative to the second jaw between an undamped position and a clamped position. The surgical instrument further comprises an articulation joint, wherein the end effector is rotatably connected to the shaft about the articulation joint. The surgical instrument further comprises an articulation linkage operably connected to the end effector, wherein the articulation linkage is movable distally to rotate the end effector in a first direction, and wherein the articulation linkage is movably proximally to rotate the end effector in a second direction. The surgical instrument further comprises a clamping member configured to engage the first jaw and move the first jaw toward the clamped position during a clamping stroke, wherein the clamping member is slidable relative to the articulation joint during the clamping stroke. The surgical instrument further comprises a staple firing assembly. The staple firing assembly comprises a cutting member movable through the end effector during a staple firing stroke and a firing member. The firing member comprises a plurality of flexible layers attached to the cutting member, wherein the flexible layers are configured to slide longitudinally relative to one another. The firing member extends through the articulation joint. The surgical instrument further comprises control elements, wherein each the control element comprises an aperture defined therein. The firing bar extends through the apertures, wherein the control elements are configured to hold the flexible layers together.

[0389] Example 74 - The surgical instrument of Example 73, wherein the control elements are positioned within the articulation joint.

[0390] Example 75 - The surgical instrument of Example 73 or 74, wherein the first jaw comprises a staple cartridge.

[0391] Example 76 - The surgical instrument of Example 73 or 74, wherein the second jaw comprises a staple cartridge.

[0392] Example 77 - The surgical instrument of Example 73, 74, 75, or 76, wherein the cutting member is welded to the firing bar.

[0393] Example 78 - The surgical instrument of Example 73, 74, 75, 76 or 77, wherein the control elements are connected to one another.

[0394] Example 79 - The surgical instrument of Example 73, 74, 75, 76 or 77, wherein the control elements are connected to one another.

[0395] Example 80 - The surgical instrument of Example 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78 or 79, wherein the shaft comprises a shaft frame, and wherein the support is mounted to the shaft frame.

[0396] Example 81 - A surgical instrument that comprises a shaft defining a longitudinal axis and an end effector. The end effector comprises a proximal end, a distal end, a first jaw, and a second jaw. The first jaw is movable relative to the second jaw between an undamped position and a clamped position. The surgical instrument further comprises an articulation joint, wherein the end effector is rotatably connected to the shaft about the articulation joint. The surgical instrument further comprises an articulation linkage operably connected to the end effector. The articulation linkage is movable distally to rotate the end effector in a first direction, wherein the articulation linkage is movably proximally to rotate the end effector in a second direction. The surgical instrument further comprises a clamping member configured to engage the first jaw and move the first jaw toward the clamped position during a clamping stroke. The clamping member is slidable relative to the articulation joint during the clamping stroke. The surgical instrument further comprises a staple firing assembly. The staple firing assembly comprises a cutting member and a firing member. The cutting member is movable through the end effector during a staple firing stroke. The firing member comprises a plurality of flexible layers attached to the cutting member, wherein the flexible layers are configured to slide longitudinally relative to one another. The firing member extends through the articulation joint. The staple firing assembly further comprises a support positioned between two of the flexible layers. The staple firing assembly further comprises means for limiting lateral displacement between the flexible layers.

[0397] Example 82 - The surgical instrument of Example 81 , wherein the first jaw comprises a staple cartridge.

[0398] Example 83 - The surgical instrument of Example 81 , wherein the second jaw comprises a staple cartridge.

[0399] Example 84 - A surgical instrument that comprises a shaft and an end effector. The end effector comprises a proximal end, a distal end, a longitudinal axis extending between the proximal end and the distal end, a first jaw, and a second jaw. The first jaw is movable relative to the second jaw between an undamped position and a clamped position. The surgical instrument further comprises an articulation joint, wherein the end effector is rotatably connected to the shaft about the articulation joint. The surgical instrument further comprises a staple firing assembly. The staple firing assembly comprises a cutting member movable through the end effector during a staple firing stroke, wherein the cutting member comprises a first portion configured to engage the first jaw and a second portion configured to engage the second jaw. The staple firing assembly further comprises a firing member comprising a plurality of flexible layers welded to the cutting member along a weld line. The weld line comprises a longitudinal portion and a transverse portion which extends orthogonally to the longitudinal portion.

[0400] Example 85 - The surgical instrument of Example 84, wherein the first jaw comprises a staple cartridge.

[0401] Example 86 - The surgical instrument of Example 84, wherein the second jaw comprises a staple cartridge.

[0402] Example 87 - The surgical instrument of Example 84, 85 or 86, wherein the second jaw comprises a staple cartridge.

[0403] Example 88 - The surgical instrument of Example 84, 85, 86 or 87, wherein the firing member comprises a first lateral side and a second lateral side, and wherein the weld line is present on the first lateral side and the second lateral side.

[0404] Example 89 - A surgical instrument that comprises a shaft comprising a shaft frame and an end effector. The end effector comprises a proximal frame, a distal end, a first jaw, and a second jaw. The first jaw is movable relative to the second jaw between an undamped position and a clamped position. The surgical instrument further comprises an articulation joint, wherein the end effector is rotatably connected to the shaft about the articulation joint. The surgical instrument further comprises a staple firing assembly that comprises a cutting member movable through the end effector during a staple firing stroke. The staple firing assembly further comprises a firing member, wherein the firing member comprises a plurality of flexible layers attached to the cutting member, and wherein the firing member extends through the articulation joint. The surgical instrument further comprises a lateral spring support positioned adjacent the firing member. The lateral spring support comprises a distal end mounted to the proximal frame of the end effector. The lateral spring support further comprises a proximal end configured to slide relative to the shaft frame

[0405] Example 90 - The surgical instrument of Example 89, wherein the first jaw comprises a staple cartridge.

[0406] Example 91 - The surgical instrument of Example 89, wherein the second jaw comprises a staple cartridge.

[0407] Example 92 - The surgical instrument of Example 89, 90 or 91 , wherein the lateral spring support comprises a first lateral spring support positioned alongside a first lateral side of the firing member. The surgical instrument further comprises a second lateral spring support positioned alongside a second lateral side of the firing member.

[0408] Example 93 - A surgical instrument that comprises a shaft and an end effector. The end effector comprises a proximal end, a distal end, a first jaw, and a second jaw. The first jaw is movable relative to the second jaw between an open position and a closed position, wherein one of the first jaw and the second jaw comprises a staple cartridge including staples removably stored therein. The surgical instrument further comprises an articulation joint, wherein the end effector is rotatably connected to the shaft about the articulation joint. The surgical instrument further comprises an articulation rod operably connected to the end effector, wherein the articulation rod is movable distally to rotate the end effector in a first direction, and wherein the articulation rod is movably proximally to rotate the end effector in a second direction. The surgical instrument further comprises a firing bar comprising a plurality of flexible layers, wherein the firing bar is movable through the articulation joint during a staple firing stroke. The surgical instrument further comprises a first flexible support positioned on a first side of the firing bar, a second flexible support positioned on a second side of the firing bar, and a plurality of control elements, wherein each the control element comprises an aperture defined therein. The firing bar extends through the apertures, wherein the first flexible support, the second flexible support, and the control elements are configured to hold the flexible layers together.

[0409] Example 94 - The surgical instrument of Example 93, wherein the first flexible support and the second flexible support extend through at least some of the control element apertures.

[0410] Example 95 - A surgical instrument that comprises an end effector that comprises a proximal end and a distal end. The surgical instrument further comprises a shaft. The shaft comprises a frame, a lock plate moveable relative to the frame wherein the lock plate comprises a first longitudinal rack of lock teeth. The shaft further comprises an articulation joint, wherein the end effector is rotatably connected to the shaft by the articulation joint. The shaft further comprises an articulation actuator operably connected to the end effector, wherein the articulation actuator is movable distally to rotate the end effector in a first direction and proximally to rotate the end effector in a second direction. The articulation actuator comprises a second longitudinal rack of lock teeth. The shaft further comprises an articulation lock comprising a third longitudinal rack of lock teeth. The articulation lock is positionable in an unlocked position in which the articulation actuator can move relative to the frame and a locked position in which the third longitudinal rack of lock teeth is engaged with the first longitudinal rack of lock teeth and the second longitudinal rack of lock teeth to prevent the proximal and distal movement of the articulation actuator.

[0411] Example 96 - The surgical instrument of Example 95, wherein the first longitudinal rack of lock teeth is defined in a first plane and the second longitudinal rack of lock teeth is defined in a second plane. The first plane and the second plane are different.

[0412] Example 97 - The surgical instrument of Example 95 or 96, wherein the lock plate is slidable relative to the frame.

[0413] Example 98 - The surgical instrument of Example 95, 96, or 97, wherein the frame comprises a recess and the lock plate is positioned within the recess. The recess comprises a proximal end wall configured to limit the proximal movement of the lock plate within the recess. The recess further comprises a distal end wall configured to limit the distal movement of the lock plate within the recess.

[0414] Example 99 - The surgical instrument of Example 98, further comprising a biasing member positioned between the proximal end wall and the lock plate.

[0415] Example 100 - The surgical instrument of Example 98, further comprising a biasing member positioned between the distal end wall and the lock plate.

[0416] Example 101 - The surgical instrument of Example 95, 96, 97, 98, 99 or 100, wherein the end effector comprises a first jaw and a second jaw, wherein the first jaw is movable relative to the second jaw between an open position and a closed position. The surgical instrument further comprises a closure member configured to move the first jaw toward the closed position during a closure stroke. The closure member is configured to engage the articulation lock during the closure stroke and hold the articulation lock in the locked position.

[0417] Example 102 - The surgical instrument of Example 101 , wherein the shaft defines a longitudinal axis. The frame comprises a flexible portion, wherein the closure member is configured to push the lock plate against the flexible portion and deflect the flexible portion laterally with respect to the longitudinal axis.

[0418] Example 103 - The surgical instrument of Example 102, wherein the flexible portion comprises a lateral sidewall and a cavity defined behind the lateral sidewalk The lateral sidewall is configured to flex into the cavity.

[0419] Example 104 - The surgical instrument of Example 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101 , 102 or 103, wherein the articulation lock is biased into engagement with the lock plate and the articulation actuator.

[0420] Example 105 - The surgical instrument of Example 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101 , 102, 103 or 104, wherein the end effector further comprises a staple cartridge comprising staples removably stored therein.

[0421] Example 106 - The surgical instrument of Example 105, wherein the staple cartridge is replaceable.

[0422] Example 107 - The surgical instrument of Example 105 or 106, wherein the end effector comprises a first jaw and a second jaw. The first jaw is movable relative to the second jaw between an open position and a closed position. The first jaw comprises the staple cartridge.

[0423] Example 108 - The surgical instrument of Example 105 or 106, wherein the end effector comprises a first jaw and a second jaw. The first jaw is movable relative to the second jaw between an open position and a closed position. The second jaw

comprises the staple cartridge.

[0424] Example 109 - The surgical instrument of Example 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101 , 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107 or 108, wherein the first longitudinal rack of lock teeth comprises teeth spaced at a first pitch. The second longitudinal rack of lock teeth comprises teeth spaced at a second pitch, wherein the second pitch is different than the first pitch. The third longitudinal rack of lock teeth comprises teeth spaced at a third pitch, wherein the third pitch is different than the first pitch and the second pitch.

[0425] Example 1 10 - A surgical instrument that comprises an end effector and a shaft. The end effector comprises a proximal end and a distal end. The shaft comprises a frame that comprises a first longitudinal rack of lock teeth. The shaft further comprises an articulation joint, wherein the end effector is rotatably connected to the shaft by the articulation joint. The shaft further comprises an articulation actuator operably connected to the end effector. The articulation actuator is movable distally to rotate the end effector in a first direction and the articulation actuator is movable proximally to rotate the end effector in a second direction. The articulation actuator comprises a second longitudinal rack of lock teeth. The shaft further comprises an articulation lock that comprises a third longitudinal rack of lock teeth. The articulation lock is

positionable in an unlocked position in which the articulation actuator can move relative to the frame and a locked position in which the third longitudinal rack of lock teeth are engaged with the first longitudinal rack of lock teeth of the frame and the second longitudinal rack of lock teeth of the articulation actuator to inhibit the proximal and distal movement of the articulation actuator.

[0426] Example 1 1 1 - The surgical instrument of Example 1 10, wherein the frame comprises a slidable lock plate, and wherein the first longitudinal rack of lock teeth are defined on the lock plate.

[0427] Example 1 12 - The surgical instrument of Example 1 10 or 1 1 1 , wherein the end effector comprises a staple cartridge including staples removably stored therein.

[0428] Example 1 13 - A surgical instrument that comprises an end effector and a shaft. The shaft comprises a frame and an articulation joint, wherein the end effector is rotatably connected to the shaft by the articulation joint. The shaft further comprises an articulation actuator operably connected to the end effector. The articulation actuator is movable in a first direction to rotate the end effector in one direction and the articulation actuator is movable in a second direction to rotate the end effector in another direction. The shaft further comprises an articulation lock positionable in a first position in which the articulation actuator can move relative to the frame and a second position in which the articulation lock is engaged with the frame and the articulation actuator to limit the movement of the articulation actuator in the first direction and the second direction.

[0429] Example 1 14 - The surgical instrument of Example 1 13, wherein the end effector comprises a staple cartridge including staples removably stored therein.

[0430] Example 1 15 - A surgical instrument that comprises an end effector head configurable in an undamped configuration and a clamped configuration. The surgical instrument further comprises a shaft. The shaft comprises a frame comprising a longitudinal axis and an articulation joint, wherein the end effector head is rotatably connected to the shaft by the articulation joint. The shaft further comprises an articulation actuator operably connected to the end effector head. The articulation actuator is movable in a first direction to rotate the end effector head in one direction and the articulation actuator is movable in a second direction to rotate the end effector head in another direction. The articulation actuator comprises at least one lock projection extending laterally relative to the longitudinal axis. The shaft further comprises an articulation lock that comprises at least two projections extending laterally relative to the longitudinal axis. The articulation lock is configured to flex laterally relative to the longitudinal axis to allow for articulation motion of the end effector head. The shaft further comprises a closure member configured to move the end effector head

from the undamped configuration into the clamped configuration during a closure stroke, wherein the closure member prevents the articulation lock from flexing laterally after the closure stroke thereby restraining the end effector head from articulating.

[0431] Example 1 16 - A surgical instrument that comprises an end effector that comprises a proximal end, a distal end, a first jaw, and a second jaw. The first jaw is movable relative to the second jaw between an open position and a closed position. The surgical instrument further comprises a shaft that comprises a frame, wherein the frame comprises a first longitudinal rack of lock teeth. The shaft further comprises an articulation joint, wherein the end effector is rotatably connected to the shaft by the articulation joint. The shaft further comprises an articulation actuator operably connected to the end effector, wherein the articulation actuator is movable distally to rotate the end effector in a first direction and proximally to rotate the end effector in a second direction. The articulation actuator comprises a second longitudinal rack of lock teeth. The shaft further comprises an articulation lock comprising a third group of lock teeth. The articulation lock is positionable in a disengaged position in which the third group of lock teeth is not engaged with the frame and the articulation actuator and an engaged position in which the third group of lock teeth is engaged with the first longitudinal rack of lock teeth and the second longitudinal rack of lock teeth to prevent the proximal and distal movement of the articulation actuator. The shaft further comprises a closure member configured to move the first jaw toward the closed position during a closure stroke. The closure member is configured to engage the articulation lock during the closure stroke and move the articulation lock from the disengaged position into the engaged position.

[0432] Example 1 17 - The surgical instrument of Example 1 16, wherein the first longitudinal rack of lock teeth is defined in a first plane. The second longitudinal rack of lock teeth is defined in a second plane. The first plane and the second plane are different.

[0433] Example 1 18 - The surgical instrument of Example 1 16 or 1 17, wherein the end effector further comprises a staple cartridge comprising staples removably stored therein.

[0434] Example 1 19 - The surgical instrument of Example 1 18, wherein the staple cartridge is replaceable.

[0435] Example 120 - The surgical instrument of Example 1 18 or 1 19, wherein the end effector comprises a first jaw and a second jaw. The first jaw is movable relative to the second jaw between an open position and a closed position. The first jaw comprises the staple cartridge.

[0436] Example 121 - The surgical instrument of Example 1 18 or 1 19, wherein the end effector comprises a first jaw and a second jaw. The first jaw is movable relative to the second jaw between an open position and a closed position. The second jaw

comprises the staple cartridge.

[0437] Example 122 - The surgical instrument of Example 1 16, 1 17, 1 18, 1 19, 120 or 121 , wherein the first longitudinal rack of lock teeth comprises teeth spaced at a first pitch. The second longitudinal rack of lock teeth comprises teeth spaced at a second pitch, wherein the second pitch is different than the first pitch. The third group of lock teeth comprises teeth spaced at a third pitch, wherein the third pitch is different than the first pitch and the second pitch.

[0438] Example 123 - The surgical instrument of Example 1 16, 1 17, 1 18, 1 19, 120, 121 or 122, wherein the shaft defines a longitudinal axis. The articulation lock comprises a lock plate slidable laterally relative to the longitudinal axis between the disengaged position and the engaged position. The frame comprises a proximal guide post and a distal guide post. The lock plate comprises a proximal lateral slot and a distal lateral slot, wherein the proximal guide post extends into the proximal lateral slot and the distal guide post extends into the distal lateral slot. The proximal guide post and the distal guide post co-operate to define the lateral path of the lock plate.

[0439] Example 124 - The surgical instrument of Example 123, wherein the lock plate comprises a lock slot including sidewalls defined therein. The closure member comprises a lock driver extending into the lock slot. The lock driver is configured to engage a sidewall to shift the lock plate from the disengaged position to the engaged position during the closure stroke.

[0440] Example 125 - The surgical instrument of Example 124, wherein the closure member is movable through a retraction stroke to allow the first jaw to be moved into the open position. The lock driver is configured to engage one of the sidewalls of the lock slot to shift the lock plate from the engaged position to the disengaged position during the retraction stroke.

[0441] Example 126 - The surgical instrument of Example 124, wherein the closure member is movable through an opening stroke to move the first jaw into the open position. The lock driver is configured to engage one of the sidewalls of the lock slot to shift the lock plate from the engaged position to the disengaged position during the opening stroke.

[0442] Example 127 - The surgical instrument of Example 1 16, 1 17, 1 18, 1 19, 120, 121 , 122, 123, 124, 125 or 126, wherein the articulation lock comprises a lock arm

deflectable into the engaged position by the closure member.

[0443] Example 128 - The surgical instrument of Example 1 16, 1 17, 1 18, 1 19, 120, 121 , 122, 123, 124, 125 or 126, wherein the articulation lock comprises a first lock arm and a the second lock arm. The closure member comprises a wedge positionable between the first lock arm and the second lock arm during the closure stroke to deflect the articulation lock into the engaged position.

[0444] Example 129 - The surgical instrument of Example 128, wherein the third group of lock teeth are present on the first lock arm and the second lock arm.

[0445] Example 130 - The surgical instrument of Example 128 or 129, wherein the first lock arm is configured to engage the first longitudinal rack of lock teeth and the second lock arm is configured to engage the second longitudinal rack of lock teeth.

[0446] Example 131 - A surgical instrument that comprises an end effector that comprises a first jaw and a second jaw. The first jaw is movable relative to the second jaw between an open position and a closed position. The surgical instrument further comprises a shaft. The shaft comprises a frame and a lock plate movable relative to the frame, wherein the lock plate comprises a first group of lock teeth. The shaft further comprises an articulation joint, wherein the end effector is rotatably connected to the shaft by the articulation joint. The shaft further comprises an articulation actuator operably connected to the end effector, wherein the articulation actuator is configured to rotate the end effector in a first direction and a second direction. The articulation actuator comprises a second group of lock teeth. The shaft further comprises an

articulation lock that comprises a third group of lock teeth. The articulation lock is positionable in a disengaged position in which the third group of lock teeth is not engaged with the lock plate, the frame, and the articulation actuator and an engaged position in which the third group of lock teeth is engaged with the first group of lock teeth and the second group of lock teeth to inhibit the articulation of the end effector. The shaft further comprises a closure member configured to move the first jaw toward the closed position during a closure stroke. The closure member is configured to engage the articulation lock during the closure stroke and move the articulation lock from the disengaged position into the engaged position.

[0447] Example 132 - The surgical instrument of Example 131 , wherein the end effector further comprises a staple cartridge including staples removably stored therein.

[0448] Example 133 - A surgical instrument that comprises an end effector that comprises a first jaw and a second jaw. The first jaw is movable relative to the second jaw between an open position and a closed position. The surgical instrument further comprises a shaft. The shaft comprises a frame, wherein the frame comprises a first group of lock teeth. The shaft further comprises an articulation joint, wherein the end effector is rotatably connected to the shaft by the articulation joint. The shaft further comprises an articulation actuator operably connected to the end effector, wherein the articulation actuator is configured to rotate the end effector in a first direction and a second direction. The shaft further comprises an articulation lock comprising a gear including a second group of teeth meshingly engaged with the first group of teeth, wherein the gear is rotatably mounted to the frame. The shaft further comprises a closure member configured to move the first jaw toward the closed position during a closure stroke. The closure member is configured to engage the gear during the closure stroke to inhibit the end effector from being articulated.

[0449] Example 134 - The surgical instrument of Example 133, wherein the end effector further comprises a staple cartridge including staples removably stored therein.

[0450] Example 135 - A surgical instrument that comprises an end effector that comprises a first jaw and a second jaw. The first jaw is movable relative to the second jaw between an open position and a closed position. The surgical instrument further comprises a shaft. The shaft comprises a frame and a lock plate movable relative to the frame, wherein the lock plate comprises a first group of coupling features. The shaft further comprises an articulation joint, wherein the end effector is rotatably connected to the shaft by the articulation joint. The shaft further comprises an articulation actuator operably connected to the end effector, wherein the articulation actuator is configured to rotate the end effector in a first direction and a second direction. The articulation actuator comprises a second group of coupling features. The shaft further comprises an articulation lock comprising a third group of coupling features, wherein the

articulation lock is positionable in a disengaged position in which the third group of coupling features is not engaged with the lock plate and the articulation actuator and an engaged position in which the third group of coupling features is engaged with the first group of coupling features and the second group of coupling features to inhibit the articulation of the end effector. The shaft further comprises a closure member configured to move the first jaw toward the closed position during a closure stroke. The closure member is configured to engage the articulation lock during the closure stroke and move the articulation lock from the disengaged position into the engaged position.

[0451] Example 136 - A surgical instrument that comprises an end effector that comprises a first jaw and a second jaw. The first jaw is movable relative to the second jaw between an open position and a closed position. The surgical instrument further comprises a shaft. The shaft comprises a frame, a grounding member movable relative to the frame, and an articulation joint, wherein the end effector is rotatably connected to the shaft by the articulation joint. The shaft further comprises an articulation actuator operably connected to the end effector, wherein the articulation actuator is configured to rotate the end effector in a first direction and a second direction. The shaft further comprises an articulation lock positionable in a disengaged position in which the articulation lock is not engaged with the grounding member and the articulation actuator and an engaged position in which the articulation lock is engaged with the grounding member and the articulation actuator to inhibit the articulation of the end effector. The shaft further comprises a closure member configured to move the first jaw toward the closed position during a closure stroke. The closure member is configured to engage the articulation lock during the closure stroke and move the articulation lock from the disengaged position into the engaged position.

[0452] Example 137 - A surgical instrument insertable through a trocar. The surgical instrument comprises a handle and a shaft extending from the handle. The shaft comprises a frame, a proximal portion connected to the handle, a distal portion that comprises an end effector, and an articulation joint, wherein the end effector is rotatable about the articulation joint. The shaft further comprises an articulation actuator operably coupled to the end effector, wherein the articulation actuator is selectively movable to rotate the end effector in a first direction and a second direction. The shaft further comprises an outer housing slidable relative to the frame. The outer housing comprises a distal non-round housing portion adjacent the articulation joint and a longitudinal round housing portion extending between the proximal portion and the distal non-round housing portion. The longitudinal round housing portion comprises a first diameter. The distal non-round housing portion comprises a second diameter. The first diameter is less than the second diameter. The distal non-round housing portion and the longitudinal round housing portion are sized and configured to be inserted through the trocar into a surgical site. The shaft further comprises an articulation lock configured to engage the articulation actuator and prevent the rotation of the end effector, wherein the articulation lock is positioned within the distal non-round housing portion.

[0453] Example 138 - The surgical instrument of Example 137, wherein the end effector comprises a staple cartridge including staples removably stored therein.

[0454] Example 139 - The surgical instrument of Example 138, wherein the end effector further comprises an anvil configured to deform the staples. The anvil is rotatable relative to the staple cartridge.

[0455] Example 140 - The surgical instrument of Example 138, wherein the end effector further comprises an anvil configured to deform the staples, and wherein the staple cartridge is rotatable relative to the anvil.

[0456] Example 141 - The surgical instrument of Example 137, 138, 139 or 140, wherein the staple cartridge is replaceable.

[0457] Example 142 - The surgical instrument of Example 137, 138, 139, 140 or 141 , wherein the end effector is replaceable.

[0458] Example 143 - The surgical instrument of Example 137, 138, 139, 140, 141 or 142, wherein the longitudinal round housing portion defines a longitudinal axis. The

distal non-round housing portion is eccentrically offset with respect to the longitudinal axis.

[0459] Example 144 - The surgical instrument of Example 137, 138, 139, 140, 141 , 142 or 143, wherein the proximal portion of the shaft comprises a connector including a latch configured to releasably hold the shaft to the handle.

[0460] Example 145 - The surgical instrument of Example 137, 138, 139, 140, 141 , 142, 143 or 144, wherein the articulation lock is entirely positioned in the distal non-round housing portion.

[0461] Example 146 - The surgical instrument of Example 137, 138, 139, 140, 141 , 142, 143 or 144, wherein the articulation lock comprises a fixed portion mounted to the frame and a lock portion movable within the distal non-round housing portion.

[0462] Example 147 - The surgical instrument of Example 146, wherein the articulation lock comprises a fixed portion mounted to the frame and a lock portion movable within the distal non-round housing portion.

[0463] Example 148 - A surgical instrument insertable through a trocar. The surgical instrument comprises a handle and a shaft extending from the handle. The shaft comprises a frame, a proximal portion attachable to the handle, a distal portion comprising an end effector, and an articulation joint, wherein the end effector is rotatable about the articulation joint. The shaft further comprises an articulation actuator operably coupled to the end effector, wherein the articulation actuator is movable to rotate the end effector in a first direction and a second direction. The shaft further comprises an outer housing slidable relative to the frame. The outer housing comprises a distal housing portion adjacent the articulation joint, wherein the distal housing portion comprises a non-round perimeter comprising a width. The outer housing further comprises a longitudinal housing portion extending between the proximal portion and the distal housing portion. The longitudinal housing portion comprises a substantially round perimeter comprising a diameter, wherein the diameter is smaller than the width. The distal housing portion and the longitudinal housing portion are sized and configured to be inserted through the trocar into a surgical site. The shaft further comprises an articulation lock configured to engage the articulation actuator and prevent the rotation of the end effector, wherein the articulation lock is positioned within the distal housing portion.

[0464] Example 149 - The surgical instrument of Example 148, wherein the end effector comprises a staple cartridge including staples removably stored therein.

[0465] Example 150 - The surgical instrument of Example 148 or 149, wherein the staple cartridge is replaceable.

[0466] Example 151 - The surgical instrument of Example 148, 149 or 150, wherein the end effector is replaceable.

[0467] Example 152 - The surgical instrument of Example 148, 149, 150 or 151 , wherein the articulation lock is entirely positioned in the distal housing portion.

[0468] Example 153 - The surgical instrument of Example 148, 149, 150 or 151 , wherein the articulation lock comprises a fixed portion mounted to the frame and a lock portion movable within the distal housing portion.

[0469] Example 154 - The surgical instrument of Example 153, wherein the fixed portion is in the longitudinal housing portion.

[0470] Example 155 - A surgical instrument that comprises a handle, a detachable shaft extending from the handle. The detachable shaft comprises a frame, a proximal latch attachable to the handle, a distal portion comprising an end effector, and an articulation joint, wherein the end effector is rotatable about the articulation joint. The detachable shaft further comprises an articulation actuator configured to articulate the end effector in a first direction and a second direction. The detachable shaft further comprises an outer tube translatable relative to the frame. The outer tube comprises a distal tube portion adjacent the articulation joint, wherein the distal tube portion comprises a non-round perimeter comprising a width. The outer tube further comprises a longitudinal tube portion. The longitudinal tube portion comprises a substantially round perimeter comprising a diameter, wherein the diameter is smaller than the width. The distal tube portion and the longitudinal tube portion are sized and configured to be inserted through the trocar into a surgical site. The detachable shaft further comprises an articulation lock configured to engage the articulation actuator and prevent the rotation of the end effector, wherein the articulation lock is positioned within the distal tube portion. [0471] Example 156 - A surgical stapling instrument system that comprises a handle, a nozzle, and an elongate shaft. The an elongate shaft comprises a proximal end, a distal end, a proximal region that comprises a first diameter, a central region that comprises a second diameter, wherein the central region defines a longitudinal axis, and a distal region that comprises a third diameter. The first diameter is different than the second diameter and the distal region is offset laterally with respect to the longitudinal axis. The surgical stapling instrument system further comprises an end effector that comprises a first jaw. The first jaw comprises an elongate channel and a staple cartridge that comprises a plurality of staples, wherein the staple cartridge is operably supported in the elongate channel. The end effector further comprises a second jaw, wherein the second jaw is movable relative to the first jaw. The surgical stapling instrument system further comprises an articulation joint rotatably connecting the end effector to the elongate shaft, a firing member configured to move within the end effector, and a firing system configured to apply a firing motion to the firing member.

[0472] Example 157 - The surgical stapling instrument system of Example 156, wherein the first diameter is larger than the second diameter.

[0473] Example 158 - The surgical stapling instrument system of Example 156 or 157, wherein the second diameter is smaller than the third diameter.

[0474] Example 159 - The surgical stapling instrument system of Example 156, 157 or 158, wherein the third diameter is smaller than the first diameter and larger than the second diameter.

[0475] Example 160 - The surgical stapling instrument system of Example 156, 157, 158 or 159, wherein the second jaw comprises an anvil configured to deform the staples.

[0476] Example 161 - The surgical stapling instrument system of Example 156, 157, 158, 159 or 160, wherein the distal region of the elongate shaft comprises at least one flat side.

[0477] Example 162 - The surgical stapling instrument system of Example 156, 157, 158, 159, 160 or 161 , wherein the distal region is not entirely cylindrical.

[0478] Example 163 - A surgical stapling instrument that comprises an elongate shaft. The elongate shaft comprises a proximal end, a distal end, and a first width at the proximal end, wherein the first width of the elongate shaft transitions to a second width in the center of the elongate shaft, and wherein the second width of the elongate shaft transitions to a third width at the distal end of the elongate shaft. The distal end of the elongate shaft is not cylindrical, wherein the distal end comprises an enlargement extending laterally with respect to the second width, and wherein the first, second, and third widths are different. The surgical stapling instrument further comprises an end effector configured to be attached to the distal end of the elongate shaft. The end effector comprises a first jaw and a second jaw, wherein the first jaw is movable relative to the second jaw. The surgical stapling instrument further comprises an articulation assembly configured to apply articulation motions to the end effector, a firing member, and a firing system configured to apply a firing motion to the firing member.

[0479] Example 164 - The surgical stapling instrument of Example 163, wherein the first width is larger than the second width.

[0480] Example 165 - The surgical stapling instrument of Example 163 or 164, wherein the second width is smaller than the third width.

[0481] Example 166 - The surgical stapling instrument of Example 163, 164 or 165, wherein the third width is smaller than the first width and larger than the second width.

[0482] Example 167 - The surgical stapling instrument of Example 163, 164, 165 or 166, wherein the distal end of the elongate shaft is configured to fit through a 12 mm cannula passageway.

[0483] Example 168 - The surgical stapling instrument of Example 163, 164, 165, 166 or 167, wherein the center of the elongate shaft comprises a width which is less than 10 mm.

[0484] Example 169 - A surgical fastening instrument that comprises an elongate shaft. The elongate shaft comprises a proximal end, a distal end, a proximal region that comprises a first circumference, a central region that comprises a second

circumference, wherein the central region defines a central longitudinal axis, and a distal region comprising a third circumference. The first circumference is different than the second circumference, wherein the third circumference is offset with respect to the second circumference. The surgical fastening instrument further comprises an end effector configured to be attached to the distal end of the elongate shaft. The end effector comprises a fastener cartridge jaw and an anvil. The surgical fastening

instrument further comprises an articulation system configured to apply articulation motions to the end effector, a firing member, wherein the firing member is configured to travel through the end effector, and a firing system configured to apply firing and retraction motions to the firing member.

[0485] Example 170 - The surgical fastening instrument of Example 169, wherein the first circumference is larger than the second circumference.

[0486] Example 171 - The surgical fastening instrument of Example 169 or 170, wherein the second circumference is smaller than the third circumference.

[0487] Example 172 - The surgical fastening instrument of Example 169, 170 or 171 , wherein the third circumference is smaller than the first circumference and larger than the second circumference.

[0488] Example 173 - The surgical fastening instrument of Example 169, 170, 171 or 172, wherein the proximal region comprises a stepped down configuration.

[0489] Example 174 - The surgical fastening instrument of Example 169, 170, 171 , 172 or 173, wherein the distal region of the elongate shaft comprises at least one flat side.

[0490] Example 175 - The surgical fastening instrument of Example 169, 170, 171 , 172, 173 or 174, wherein the central region comprises a stepped up region at the distal end.

[0491] Example 176 - A surgical instrument that comprises a housing and a shaft extending from the housing that comprises an outer tube portion. The outer tube portion includes a proximal tube portion, wherein the proximal tube portion defines a longitudinal axis, and an elongate intermediate tube portion extending distally from the proximal tube portion, wherein the intermediate tube portion is centered along the longitudinal axis. The outer tube portion further includes a distal tube portion extending distally from the intermediate tube portion, wherein the distal tube portion is laterally offset with respect to the longitudinal axis, and wherein the distal tube portion comprises an enlargement extending to a side of the longitudinal axis. The outer tube portion further includes a tapered neckdown defined between the intermediate tube portion and the distal tube portion.

[0492] Example 177 - The surgical instrument of Example 176, further comprising an end effector and an articulation joint rotatably connecting the end effector to the distal tube portion.

[0493] Example 178 - The surgical instrument of Example 177, wherein the end effector comprises a staple cartridge including staples removably stored therein.

[0494] Example 179 - A surgical instrument that comprises a housing comprising an electric motor. The surgical instrument further comprises a shaft extending from the housing, wherein the shaft comprises a frame, and an end effector. The end effector comprises a first jaw, a second jaw, wherein the first jaw is rotatable relative to the second jaw, a staple cartridge comprising staples removably stored therein, and an anvil configured to deform the staples. The surgical instrument further comprises a closure system configured to move the first jaw toward the second jaw during a closure stroke, an articulation joint rotatably connecting the end effector to the shaft, an articulation system configured to articulate the end effector relative to the shaft, and a firing system operably engaged with the electric motor. The firing system is configured to eject the staples from the staple cartridge during a staple firing stroke. The surgical instrument further comprises a first rotatable member configured to selectively transmit motion from the firing system to the articulation system and a second rotatable member rotatably mounted to the frame, wherein the second rotatable member is operably engaged with the articulation system. The closure system is configured to engage the second rotatable member during the closure stroke to lock the articulation system in place and prevent the articulation of the end effector.

[0495] Example 180 - The surgical instrument of Example 179, wherein the closure system comprises a closure tube surrounding the frame. The closure system further comprises a wedge configured to engage the second rotatable member and lock the second rotatable in position during the closure stroke.

[0496] Example 181 - The surgical instrument of Example 179 or 180, wherein the first rotatable member is rotatably mounted within the frame.

[0497] Example 182 - The surgical instrument of Example 179, 180 or 181 , wherein the second rotatable member comprises a gear intermeshed with a rack of teeth defined on the articulation system.

[0498] Example 183 - The surgical instrument of Example 179, 180, 181 or 182, wherein the first jaw comprises the staple cartridge and the second jaw comprises the anvil. [0499] Example 184 - The surgical instrument of Example 179, 180, 181 or 182, wherein the first jaw comprises the anvil and the second jaw comprises the staple cartridge.

[0500] Example 185 - The surgical instrument of Example 179, 180, 181 , 182, 183 or 184, wherein the housing comprises a handle.

[0501] Example 186 - The surgical instrument of Example 179, 180, 181 , 182, 183, 184 or 185, wherein the housing is attachable to a robotic surgical system.

[0502] Example 187 - The surgical instrument of Example 179, 180, 181 , 182, 183, 184,

185 or 186, wherein the first rotatable member is configured to operably decouple the articulation system from the firing system during the closure stroke.

[0503] Example 188 - The surgical instrument of Example 179, 180, 181 , 182, 183,

184, 185, 186 or 187, wherein the articulation system is operably decoupled from the firing system during the staple firing stroke.

[0504] Example 189 - The surgical instrument of Example 179, 180, 181 , 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187 or 188, wherein the closure system is retractable after the closure stroke to open the first jaw and to unlock the articulation system.

[0505] Example 190 - The surgical instrument of Example 179, 180, 181 , 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188 or 189, wherein the second rotatable member is rotatable about a post extending from the frame. The post comprises a first brake arm and a second brake arm, wherein the closure system is configured to engage the first and second brake arms during the closure stroke and prevent the rotation of the second rotatable member.

[0506] Example 191 - The surgical instrument of Example 179, 180, 181 , 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189 or 190, wherein the second rotatable member comprises an annular array of teeth, and wherein the closure system is configured to engage the annular array of teeth during the closure stroke and prevent the rotation of the second rotatable member.

[0507] Example 192 - A surgical instrument that comprises a housing comprising a rotatable input, a shaft extending from the housing, wherein the shaft comprises a frame, and an end effector. The end effector comprises a first jaw and a second jaw, wherein the first jaw is rotatable relative to the second jaw. The surgical instrument further comprises a closure system configured to close the first jaw during a closure stroke, an articulation joint rotatably connecting the end effector to the shaft, an articulation system configured to articulate the end effector relative to the shaft, and a firing system operably engaged with the rotatable input. The firing system is configured to move through the end effector during a firing stroke. The surgical instrument further comprises a first rotatable member configured to selectively synchronize the firing system and the articulation system and a second rotatable member rotatably mounted to the frame. The second rotatable member is operably engaged with the articulation system, wherein the closure system is configured to engage the second rotatable member during the closure stroke to lock the articulation system in place and prevent the articulation of the end effector.

[0508] Example 193 - The surgical instrument of Example 192, further comprising a staple cartridge including staples removably stored therein.

[0509] Example 194 - A surgical instrument that comprises a housing comprising a rotatable input, a shaft extending from the housing, wherein the shaft comprises a frame, and an end effector. The end effector comprises a first jaw and a second jaw, wherein the first jaw is rotatable relative to the second jaw. The surgical instrument further comprises a closure system configured to close the first jaw during a closure stroke, an articulation joint rotatably connecting the end effector to the shaft, an articulation system configured to articulate the end effector relative to the shaft, and a firing system operably engaged with the rotatable input. The firing system is configured to move through the end effector during a firing stroke. The surgical instrument further comprises a first rotatable member configured to selectively synchronize the motion of the firing system with the motion of the articulation system and a second rotatable member operably engageable with the articulation system. The closure system is configured to stop the rotation of the second rotatable member during the closure stroke to lock the articulation system in place and prevent the articulation of the end effector.

[0510] Example 195 - The surgical instrument of Example 194, further comprising a staple cartridge including staples removably stored therein.

[0511] Example 196 - A staple cartridge assembly that comprises a proximal end, a distal end, a cartridge body comprising a blunt nose at the distal end, a plurality of staple cavities defined within the cartridge body, wherein the plurality of staple cavities extends longitudinally from the proximal end to the distal end, a plurality of staples removably stored within the plurality of staple cavities, a driver configured to support at least one of the plurality of staples, and a sled movable toward the distal end during a firing stroke. The sled comprises a first ramp and a second ramp, wherein the first ramp is laterally offset from the second ramp. The first ramp and the second ramp are configured to lift the driver, wherein the blunt nose of the cartridge body comprises a first recess formed within the distal end configured to receive the first ramp of the sled after the completion of the firing stroke and a second recess formed within the distal end configured to receive the second ramp of the sled after the firing stroke has been completed.

[0512] Example 197 - The staple cartridge assembly of Example 196, wherein the first ramp and the second ramp are exposed at the distal end upon the completion of the firing stroke.

[0513] Example 198 - The staple cartridge assembly of Example 196 or 197, wherein the driver comprises a first driver portion configured to support a first staple, a second driver portion configured to support a second staple, and a third driver portion configured to support a third staple.

[0514] Example 199 - The staple cartridge assembly of Example 198, wherein the driver further comprises a central base member which connects the first driver portion, the second driver portion, and the third driver portion.

[0515] Example 200 - The staple cartridge assembly of Example 199, wherein the first driver portion comprises a first forward support column comprising a proximal end and the second driver portion comprises a second forward support column comprising a distal end. The central base member extends longitudinally between the proximal end of the first forward support column and the distal end of the second forward support column.

[0516] Example 201 - The staple cartridge assembly of Example 196, 197, 198, 199 or 200, wherein the central base member comprises a rearwardly-angled wall configured to be engaged by the sled.

[0517] Example 202 - The staple cartridge assembly of Example 196, 197, 198, 199, 200 or 201 , wherein the sled is configured to drive the driver toward an anvil positioned opposite the staple cartridge assembly.

[0518] Example 203 - A staple cartridge assembly that comprises a proximal end, a distal end, a cartridge body comprising a shortened nose at the distal end, and a row of staples removably stored in the cartridge body. The row of staples extends

longitudinally from the proximal end to the distal end. The row of staples comprises a distal-most staple and a proximal-most staple. The staple cartridge assembly further comprises drivers, wherein each the driver is configured to support at least one of the staples, and a sled movable toward the distal end. The sled comprises a ramp configured to lift the drivers and the staples toward an anvil positioned opposite the staple cartridge assembly during a firing stroke. The sled further comprises a base, wherein a length of the shortened nose extends from the distal-most staple to the distal end, and wherein the length of the shortened nose is shorter than the base of the sled.

[0519] Example 204 - The staple cartridge assembly of Example 203, further comprising the anvil, wherein the anvil comprises a protective tip on the distal end.

[0520] Example 205 - The staple cartridge assembly of Example 203 or 304, further comprising the anvil, wherein the distal end of the shortened nose extends beyond the distal end of the anvil.

[0521] Example 206 - The staple cartridge assembly of Example 203, 204 or 205, wherein the ramp of the sled is exposed at the distal end upon the completion of the firing stroke.

[0522] Example 207 - An end effector for a surgical stapling instrument. The end effector comprises a staple cartridge assembly. The staple cartridge assembly comprises a proximal end, a distal end, a cartridge body comprising a shortened nose at the distal end, staples removably stored in the cartridge body, a driver configured to support at least one of the staples, and a sled movable toward the distal end. The sled comprises a ramp configured to lift the driver and at least one staple. The sled further comprises a base, wherein the shortened nose of the cartridge body is shorter than the base of the sled. The end effector further comprises an anvil. The anvil comprises a staple forming surface comprising a plurality of staple forming pockets. The anvil further comprises a blunt distal nose extending downward toward the staple cartridge assembly.

[0523] Example 208 - The end effector of Example 207, wherein the blunt distal nose is removably attached to the anvil.

[0524] Example 209 - The end effector of Example 207 or 208, wherein the anvil further comprises a frame comprising an attachment feature configured to facilitate the attachment of the blunt distal nose to the frame.

[0525] Example 210 - The end effector of Example 207, 208 or 209, wherein the anvil comprises a distal end, and wherein the distal end of the staple cartridge assembly extends beyond the distal end of the anvil.

[0526] Example 21 1 - A staple cartridge assembly that comprises a cartridge body, a proximal end, a distal end, a slot configured to receive a cutting member, and a first row of staples removably stored in the cartridge body, wherein the first row of staples extends between the proximal end and the distal end alongside a first side of the slot. The staple cartridge assembly further comprises a second row of staples removably stored in the cartridge body, wherein the second row of staples extends between the proximal end and the distal end alongside the first row of staples on the first side of the slot. The staple cartridge assembly further comprises a third row of staples removably stored in the cartridge body, wherein the third row of staples extends between the proximal end and the distal end alongside the second row of staples on the first side of the slot. The staple cartridge assembly further comprises a driver configured to support a first staple from the first row of staples, a second staple from the second row of staples, and a third staple from the third row of staples, wherein the second staple is closer to the proximal end than the first staple and the third staple.

[0527] Example 212 - The staple cartridge assembly of Example 21 1 , wherein the first staple, the second staple, and the third staple form a reverse arrow configuration.

[0528] Example 213 - The staple cartridge assembly of Example 21 1 or 212, further comprising a sled configured to lift the driver toward an anvil positioned opposite the staple cartridge assembly.

[0529] Example 214 - The staple cartridge assembly of Example 21 1 , 212 or 213, further comprising an anvil, wherein the anvil comprises a distal end.

[0530] Example 215 - The staple cartridge assembly of Example 214, wherein the distal end of the staple cartridge extends distally with respect to the distal end of the anvil.

[0531] Example 216 - A staple cartridge system that comprises an end effector configurable in an undamped configuration and a clamped configuration. The end effector comprises an anvil jaw and a cartridge jaw. The cartridge jaw is configured to receive a staple cartridge. The cartridge jaw comprises a cartridge support datum. The staple cartridge system further comprises a first staple cartridge. The first staple cartridge comprises a first deck configured to support the tissue of a patient, first staple cavities defined in the first deck, first staples removably stored in the first staple cavities, and a first proximal end. The first proximal end is aligned with a datum of the cartridge jaw when the first staple cartridge is positioned in the cartridge jaw. The first staple cartridge further comprises a first distal end, wherein a first cartridge length is defined between the first proximal end and the first distal end. The staple cartridge system further comprises a second staple cartridge. The second staple cartridge comprises a second deck configured to support the tissue of a patient, second staple cavities defined in the second deck, second staples removably stored in the second staple cavities, and a second proximal end. The second proximal end is aligned with the datum of the cartridge jaw when the second staple cartridge is positioned in the cartridge jaw. The second staple cartridge further comprises a second distal end, wherein a second cartridge length is defined between the second proximal end and the second distal end, wherein the anvil is supported by a first location on the first staple cartridge when the end effector is in the clamped configuration and the first staple cartridge is positioned in the cartridge jaw. The anvil is supported by a second location on the second staple cartridge when the end effector is in the clamped configuration and the second staple cartridge is positioned in the cartridge jaw. The first location is a first orthogonal distance away from the cartridge support datum when the first staple cartridge is positioned in the cartridge jaw and the second location is a second orthogonal distance away from the cartridge support datum when the second staple cartridge is positioned in the cartridge jaw. The first orthogonal distance is different than the second orthogonal distance. The anvil jaw deflects differently in response to whether the first staple cartridge or the second staple cartridge is positioned in the cartridge jaw.

[0532] Example 217 - The staple cartridge system of Example 216, wherein the second cartridge length is different than the first cartridge length.

[0533] Example 218 - The staple cartridge system of Example 216 or 217, wherein the second cartridge length is shorter than the first cartridge length.

[0534] Example 219 - The staple cartridge system of Example 216, 217 or 218, wherein the second orthogonal distance is shorter than the first orthogonal distance.

[0535] Example 220 - The staple cartridge system of Example 216, 217 or 218, wherein the second orthogonal distance is taller than the first orthogonal distance.

[0536] Example 221 - The staple cartridge system of Example 216, 217, 219 or 220, wherein the second cartridge length is longer than the first cartridge length.

[0537] Example 222 - The staple cartridge system of Example 216, 217, 218 or 221 , wherein the second orthogonal distance is shorter than the first orthogonal distance.

[0538] Example 223 - The staple cartridge system of Example 216, 217, 218 or 221 , wherein the second orthogonal distance is taller than the first orthogonal distance.

[0539] Example 224 - The staple cartridge system of Example 216, 217, 218, 219, 220,

221 , 222 or 223, wherein the second location is closer to the second distal end than the first location to the first distal end.

[0540] Example 225 - The staple cartridge system of Example 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221 , 222 or 223, wherein the second location is positioned further from the second distal end than the first location from the first distal end.

[0541] Example 226 - The staple cartridge system of Example 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221 , 222, 223, 224 or 225, wherein the anvil jaw comprises a distal anvil tip. The first cartridge length is set such that the distal anvil tip extends beyond the first distal end, wherein the second cartridge length is set such that the distal anvil tip does not extend beyond the second distal end.

[0542] Example 227 - The staple cartridge system of Example 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221 , 222, 223, 224, 225 or 226, wherein the anvil jaw experiences a first deflection when the end effector is in the clamped configuration and the first staple cartridge is positioned in the cartridge jaw. The anvil jaw experiences a second deflection when the end effector is in the clamped configuration and the second staple cartridge is positioned in the cartridge jaw. The second deflection is larger than the first deflection. [0543] Example 228 - The staple cartridge system of Example 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221 , 222, 223, 224, 225, 226 or 227, wherein each first staple comprises an unformed height within a first unformed height range, wherein each second staple comprises an unformed height within a second unformed height range, and wherein the second unformed height range comprises heights which are taller than the heights in the first unformed height range.

[0544] Example 229 - The staple cartridge system of Example 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221 , 222, 223, 224, 225, 226 or 227, wherein each first staple comprises an unformed height within a first unformed height range, wherein each second staple comprises an unformed height within a second unformed height range, and wherein the second unformed height range comprises heights which are shorter than the heights in the first unformed height range.

[0545] Example 230 - The staple cartridge system of Example 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221 , 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 227, 228 or 229, wherein each first staple comprises an unformed height within a first unformed height range, wherein each second staple comprises an unformed height within a second unformed height range, and wherein the second unformed height range is different than the first unformed height range but partially overlaps with the first unformed height range.

[0546] Example 231 - The staple cartridge system of Example 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221 , 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 227, 228, 229 or 230, wherein the anvil jaw comprises a distal anvil tip, wherein the first cartridge length is set such that the distal anvil tip extends beyond the first distal end, and wherein the second cartridge length is set such that the distal anvil tip is shorter than the second distal end.

[0547] Example 232 - The staple cartridge system of Example 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221 , 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 227, 228, 229, 230 or 231 , wherein the anvil jaw is rotatable relative to the cartridge jaw.

[0548] Example 233 - The staple cartridge system of Example 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221 , 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 227, 228, 229, 230 or 231 , wherein the cartridge jaw is rotatable relative to the anvil jaw.

[0549] Example 234 - The staple cartridge system of Example 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221 , 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 227, 228, 229, 230, 231 , 232 or 233, wherein the first distal end comprises a first cartridge nose and the second distal end comprises a second cartridge nose. The second cartridge nose is blunter than the first cartridge nose.

[0550] Example 235 - The staple cartridge system of Example 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221 , 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 227, 228, 229, 230, 231 , 232, 233 or 234, wherein the first distal end comprises a first cartridge nose and the second distal end comprises a second cartridge nose. The second cartridge nose is shorter than the first cartridge nose.

[0551] 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.

[0552] 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.

[0553] 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.

[0554] 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.

[0555] 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.

[0556] 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.