Methods and devices are provided for actuating and/or articulating a surgical stapler. In one embodiment, a surgical stapler is provided having a stapling mechanism or end effector that is movably coupled to a distal end of an elongate shaft. An electrically expandable and contractible actuator, such as an electroactive polymer actuator, can be used to pivotally or angularly adjust a position of the stapling mechanism relative to the elongate shaft by delivering energy to the electroactive polymer actuator. In another embodiment, an electroactive polymer actuator can be used to actuate the staple applying assembly, thereby driving one or more staples, and preferably at least two linear rows of staples, into tissue. The actuator can alternatively or additionally drive a blade distally to cut tissue being stapled.

Title
Electroactive polymer-based actuation mechanism for linear surgical stapler
Application Number
11/162988
Publication Number
20060041273
Application Date
September 30, 2005
Publication Date
February 23, 2006
Inventor
Jeffrey S Swayze
(45011), Hamilton
OH, US
Joseph Charles Hueil
(45140), Loveland
OH, US
Frederick E Shelton
(45133), Hillsboro
OH, US
Mark S Ortiz
(45150), Milford
OH, US
Agent
Nutter Mcclennen & Fish
MA, US
Assignee
Ethicon Endo Surgery
OH, US
IPC
A61B 17/28
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