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Spacer for In Line Connector

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000007483D
Publication Date: 2002-Mar-29
Document File: 10 page(s) / 40K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A spacer facilitates the construction of in-line connectors having various numbers of ring contacts. The spacer both established the spacing between contacts, and serves as a structural member of the connector. The spacer is constructed from a dielectric material to insulate consecutive ring contacts, is substantially cylindrical, and includes reduced diameter (stepped down) portions at either end and a larger diameter (stepped up) center portion. The reduced diameter portions are insertable into ring contacts and the center section established the spacing between the ring contacts. The spacers further include a passageway through the center of the spacer, which passageway is substantially parallel with the cylindrical spacer exterior and accommodates a stylet or guide wire. In a preferred embodiment, the spacers define slots along the exterior of the spacer wherein conductors may reside, which slots run the length of the spacer.

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Spacer For In-Line Connector

A spacer facilitates the construction of in-line connectors having various numbers of ring contacts. The spacer both established the spacing between contacts, and serves as a structural member of the connector. The spacer is constructed from a dielectric material to insulate consecutive ring contacts, is substantially cylindrical, and includes reduced diameter (stepped down) portions at either end and a larger diameter (stepped up) center portion. The reduced diameter portions are insertable into ring contacts and the center section established the spacing between the ring contacts.  The spacers further include a passageway through the center of the spacer, which passageway is substantially parallel with the cylindrical spacer exterior and accommodates a stylet or guide wire. In a preferred embodiment, the spacers define slots along the exterior of the spacer wherein conductors may reside, which slots run the length of the spacer.

Spacer For In-Line Connector

Background

Known implantable electronic and electrochemical medical devices and systems commonly utilize an in-line connector to make electrical connections between system components.  Such in-line connectors are commonly used in implantable medical devices to allow lead insertion through large gauge needles. The spacer described herein provides an efficient means to construct in-line connectors with various numbers of contacts.

Implantable electronic medical devices and systems have been in use for the past 20 years or more.  One of the earliest implantable medical devices to be implanted in a patient was the cardiac pacemaker.   Other implantable electronic devices have included neurostimulators (i.e., electrical stimulators designed to stimulate nerves or other tissue,) sensors for sensing various physiological parameters or physical status of a patient, and therapeutic delivery devices (e.g., pumps for delivering controlled amounts of medication).  In more recent years, a tiny implantable cochlear stimulator has been developed that allows patients who are profoundly deaf to experience the sensation of hearing.  Other tiny implantable sensors and neuro-stimulators are under development  that will enhance the ability of a patient who is a recipient of such sensors or stimulators to walk, or to see, or to experience the use of other lost or impaired body functions.

Most of the implantable medical devices and systems described above require that at least one electrical lead be connected thereto in order for the device or system to perform its intended function.  Such lead typically includes a plurality of insulated conductors, or wires, through which electrical signals may be delivered or sensed.  A Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) system, for example, includes an electrode lead with an electrode array at a distal end of the electrode lead.  The electrode array is adapted for insertion into the spinal column of the patient.  Such electrode array typically employs a multipli...