06978921 is referenced by 759 patents and cites 24 patents.

A surgical severing and stapling instrument clamps, suitable for laparoscopic and endoscopic clinical procedures, clamps tissue within an end effector of an elongate channel pivotally opposed by an anvil. An E-beam firing bar moves distally through the clamped end effector to sever tissue and to drive staples on each side of the cut. The E-beam firing bar affirmatively spaces the spaces the anvil from the elongate channel to assure properly formed closed staples, especially when an amount of tissue is clamped that is inadequate to space the end effector. In particular, an upper pin of the firing bar longitudinally moves through an anvil slot and a channel clot is captured between a lower cap and a middle pin of the firing bar to assure a minimum spacing.

Title
Surgical stapling instrument incorporating an E-beam firing mechanism
Application Number
10/443617
Publication Number
6978921 (B2)
Application Date
May 20, 2003
Publication Date
December 27, 2005
Inventor
William Bruce Weisenburgh II
Maineville
OH, US
Michael Earl Setser
Burlington
KY, US
Frederick E Shelton IV
Hillsboro
OH, US
Agent
Dean Garner
Assignee
Ethicon Endo Surgery
OH, US
IPC
A61B 017/072
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