Surgical instruments with articulatable end effectors and improved firing beam support arrangements

  • US 9,968,355 B2
  • Filed: 12/18/2014
  • Issued: 05/15/2018
  • Est. Priority Date: 12/18/2014
  • Status: Active Grant
First Claim
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1. A surgical instrument, comprising:

  • a surgical end effector comprising;

    first and second jaw members wherein application of a closure motion to at least one of said first and second jaw members results in the movement of the at least one of said first and second jaw members to a closed position relative to the other of said first and second jaw members; and

    a firing member supported in one of said first and second jaw members for axial travel therein in respond to an application of a firing motion thereto and wherein said surgical instrument further comprises;

    a shaft assembly defining a shaft axis;

    an articulation joint coupling said surgical end effector to said shaft assembly for selective articulation relative thereto about an articulation axis that is transverse to said shaft axis upon application of articulation motions to said surgical end effector;

    a flexible firing beam comprising first and second lateral sides and extending through said articulation joint to interface with said firing member in said surgical end effector to apply said firing motion thereto; and

    a pair of firing beam support members flanking said flexible firing beam across said articulation joint, said pair of firing beam support members of said pair cacti comprising;

    a first compression plate positioned against a portion of said first lateral side of said flexible firing beam; and

    a second compression plate positioned against another portion of said second lateral side of said flexible firing beam and being coupled to said first compression plate by;

    a proximal coupler extending around corresponding upper and lower proximal notches in each of said first and second compression plates; and

    a distal coupler extending around corresponding upper and lower distal notches in each of said first and second compression plates such that said first and second compression plates are movably coupled together to prevent lateral movement away from each other in directions transverse to said shaft axis while permitting said firing beam support members to move axially relative to each other.

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