MELSHEIMER, Jeffry, S. (2151 S. Owensburg Road, Springville, IN, 47462, US)
1 . A deflectable biopsy device for collecting a tissue biopsy,
a cannula comprising a wall between a proximal end and a distal end defining a cannula lumen therebetween, the cannula when in an unconstrained configuration including a preformed bend having a first shape positioned between the proximal and distal ends, wherein said preformed bend is constrainable by a constraining force to alter the first shape of said preformed bend to a second shape and wherein, upon release of the constraining force, said preformed bend substantially returns to the first shape; and
a sampling member slidably disposed within said cannula lumen, said sampling member comprising a sampling cavity and being cooperable with said cannula to collect a tissue biopsy in said sampling cavity.
2. The deflectable biopsy device of claim 1 , further comprising an introducer comprising an introducer lumen sized to receive said cannula through said introducer lumen, wherein said introducer lumen is
constructed and arranged to constrain said preformed bend to alter the shape of said preformed bend to substantially conform to the shape of said introducer lumen when said preformed bend is inserted into said introducer lumen.
3. The deflectable biopsy device of claim 2, wherein said cannula is freely rotatable in said introducer.
4. The deflectable biopsy device of any of claims 2-3, wherein said cannula is slidably deployable from the distal end of said introducer whereby, at exiting from the distal end of said introducer, said cannula substantially returns to said unconstrained configuration.
5. The deflectable biopsy device of any of claims 1 -4, further comprising a firing mechanism engaged to a cannula hub at the proximal end of said cannula and a sampling member hub at a proximal end of said sampling member, said firing mechanism constructed and arranged to rapidly move said cannula relative to said sampling member from a second position in which the sampling cavity is not covered by said cannula to a first position in which the sampling cavity is covered by said cannula.
5 6. The deflectable biopsy device of any of claims 1 -5, wherein said cannula further comprises a tip on the distal end constructed and arranged to cut tissue.
7. The deflectable biopsy device of any of claims 1 -6, wherein said sampling member further comprises a tip on the distal end constructed and i o arranged to penetrate tissue.
8. The deflectable biopsy device of any of claims 1 -7, wherein said cannula comprises a superelastic material.
9. The deflectable biopsy device of any of claims 1 -8, wherein said wall is continuous whereby said cannula lumen is uninterrupted between the
15 distal and proximal ends.
10. The deflectable biopsy device of any of claims 1 -9, wherein said cannula further comprises a substantially straight walled portion between the distal end and said preformed bend.
1 1 . The deflectable biopsy device of any of claims 1 -1 0, wherein said 20 preformed bend is angled between 40 and 90 degrees.
12. The deflectable biopsy device of any of claims 1 -1 1 , wherein said preformed bend is angled approximately 90 degrees.
13. The deflectable biopsy device of any of claims 1 -1 2, wherein the constrained configuration is substantially straight.
25 14. The deflectable biopsy device of any of claims 1 -1 3, wherein said cannula comprises a Ni-Ti alloy.
15. The deflectable biopsy device of any of claims 1 -14, wherein said sampling member comprises a superelastic material.
16. The deflectable biopsy device of any of claims 1 -1 5, wherein said 30 sampling member is freely rotatable in said cannula.
17. A method of acquiring a biopsy sample from a site in a body, the method comprising: inserting an introducer into the body in a location laterally offset from the site;
inserting a cannula through the introducer thereby altering the shape of a preformed bend in the cannula to substantially conform to the shape of the introducer while the preformed bend is in the introducer;
extending the preformed bend outside of the introducer thereby substantially returning the shape of the preformed bend to its preformed bent shape whereby the distal portion of the cannula is laterally displaced from the distal portion of the introducer so that the distal portion of the cannula enters the site;
retracting the cannula over a sampling member slidably disposed within the lumen of the cannula thereby exposing a sampling cavity of the sampling member;
extending the cannula over the sampling cavity thereby severing the biopsy sample from the site and retaining the biopsy sample in the sampling cavity covered by the cannula; and
retracting the cannula, the sampling member and the biopsy sample back through the introducer.
18. The method of claim 17, further comprising orienting the angle of the cannula with respect to the introducer so that, when extending the preformed bend outside of the introducer, the distal portion of the cannula is oriented to extend into the site.
19. The method of any of claims 17-18, wherein the cannula, the wire and the introducer are the deflectable biopsy device of claim 2.
20. A deflectable biopsy device for collecting a tissue biopsy, comprising:
a cannula defining a cannula lumen, the cannula when in an unconstrained configuration including a preformed bend;
a sampling member disposed within the cannula lumen, said sampling member comprising a sampling cavity; and
the cannula and sampling member movable relative to one another so as to sever and collect a tissue biopsy in the sampling cavity.
21 . The deflectable biopsy device of any of claims 1 -3, wherein said wall is continuous whereby said cannula lumen is uninterrupted between the distal and proximal ends.
22. The deflectable biopsy device of any of claims 1 -3, wherein said cannula further comprises a substantially straight walled portion between the distal end and said preformed bend.
23. The deflectable biopsy device of any of claims 1 -3, wherein said sampling member is freely rotatable in said cannula.
24. The deflectable biopsy device of any of claims 1 -3, wherein the constrained configuration is substantially straight.
25. The deflectable biopsy device of any of claims 1 -3, wherein said sampling member further comprises a preformed bend that is constrained into a different shape when said sampling member is disposed within said cannula lumen
 It is often desirable to perform a biopsy to sample selected tissue from a patient for medical evaluation. For example, biopsies can be useful in diagnosing various forms of cancer and other diseases affecting a localized area of tissue. However, access to some anatomical regions using present apparatus and methods can be difficult and/or dangerous due to obscure location(s) of the localized area. For example, a localized area could be obscured by obstacles such as bone, an artery or vein, ducts, nerves or organs. Such obstacles pose the possibility for unnecessary iatrogenic trauma during biopsy procedures.
 Accordingly, there is a need for a biopsy apparatus and method that provide alternative modes of access to anatomical sites.
 Disclosed in one aspect is a deflectable biopsy device that includes a cannula having a preformed bend, wherein the shape of the cannula can be temporarily altered with the cannula returning to its original shape afterward. The deflectable biopsy device also includes a sampling member movably disposed within the cannula. The sampling member can include a wire slidably disposed within the cannula, the wire including a sampling cavity and a flexible portion, wherein the cannula and sampling member are slidable relative to one another between respective positions in which the sampling cavity is covered by or uncovered from the cannula.
 This cannula can be inserted through an introducer laterally offset from the biopsy area with the preformed bend providing lateral displacement of the sampling cavity from the insertion site. This provides an alternate, indirect route to obtain the biopsy.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is an elevational view of a deflectable biopsy device including a cannula, a wire and a firing mechanism.
 FIG. 2 is an elevational view of the cannula of FIG. 1 .
 FIG. 3 is an elevational view of the wire of FIG. 1 .
 FIG. 4 is an exploded assembly view of the deflectable biopsy device of FIG. 1 .
 FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the deflectable biopsy device of FIG. 1 .
 FIG. 6a is a top plan view of distal end of the cannula and wire of FIG. 1 in a cocked position.
 FIG. 6b is a side elevational view of FIG. 6a.
 FIG. 7 is an elevational view of an introducer.
 FIG. 8 is an elevational view of an introducer inserted into a body with a deflectable biopsy device partially inserted into the introducer.
 FIG. 9 is an elevational view of the FIG. 8 arrangement with the deflectable biopsy device completely inserted into the introducer with the distal end of the deflectable biopsy device positioned in a sample site.
 FIG. 10 is an elevational view of the FIG. 9 arrangement in a cocked configuration.
 FIG. 1 1 is an elevational view of the FIG. 9 arrangement in an initial triggered configuration.
 FIG. 12 is an elevational view of an alternative embodiment of the FIG. 1 1 configuration.
 FIG. 13 is an elevational view of the FIG. 9, 10 and 1 1
arrangement in a final fired configuration.
 FIG. 14a is a partial elevational view of an alternative embodiment of a wire.
 FIG. 14b is a partial elevational view of an alternative embodiment of a wire.  FIG. 14c is a partial elevational view of an alternative embodiment a wire.
 Reference will now be made to certain embodiments and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of this disclosure and the claims is thereby intended, such alterations, further modifications and further applications of the principles described herein being contemplated as would normally occur to one skilled in the art to which this disclosure relates. In several figures, where there are the same or similar elements, those elements are designated with the same or similar reference numerals.
 Referring to FIG. 1 , one embodiment of a deflectable biopsy device 1 10 is illustrated including coring cannula 40, sampling member 60 and firing mechanism 80.
 Cannula 40, as illustrated in FIGs. 1 and 2, includes wall 42 defining a lumen between proximal end 50 and distal end 52 and including a preformed bend 46, straight walled portion 48 and tip 44. Cannula 40 may also optionally include visualization markers 45 as discussed below. In some embodiments, tip 44 is constructed and arranged to penetrate tissue, for example with a cutting edge. In the illustrated embodiment, tip 44 is pointed and bevel sharpened entirely around cannula 40 for cutting tissue. Needle cannula 40 can be soldered or otherwise affixed to hub 54 using one of selected well-known techniques, including that of Hall described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,354,623. Cannula 40 can be comprised of any suitable material, such as a plastic and/or metal material. In certain embodiments, cannula 40 comprises a superelastic alloy, for example, nitinol (Ni— Ti alloy), that permits elastic manipulation of cannula 40 beyond the point at which other metals would experience plastic deformation.
 In embodiments where cannula 40 is formed of nitinol, preformed bend 46 can be imparted in the nitinol cannula 40 by deforming the cannula under heat for a prescribed period of time, which can produce a cannula entirely in the austenitic state, or by cold working the cannula. Cold working can convert a portion of crystalline structure of the bending zone of the cannula 40 into at least a partial martensitic condition while the unworked portions of the cannula, for example substantially straight portions proximal and/or distal of the bending zone, remain in the austenitic state. Cold worked Ni-Ti alloys are discussed in "Linear Superelasticity in Cold-Worked Ni~Ti", (Zadno and Duerig) pp. 414 to 419, in Engineering Aspects of Shape Memory Alloys, Butterworth-Heineman, Boston, Mass. (Duerig et al, editors). In addition to nitinol, superelastic or pseudoelastic copper alloys, such as Cu~AI-Ni, Cu-AI-Zi, and Cu-Zi are available as alternative cannula materials. Flexible polymeric materials with sufficient rigidity for both deployment and shape memory to assume a preformed bend may also be used in certain applications, either alone or in combination with reinforcing metal components, such as a metal braid or tip.
 In the illustrated embodiment, preformed bend 46 curves cannula 40 approximately 90° relative to the longitudinal axis of cannula 40 proximate to proximal end 50. In alternative embodiments, preformed bend 46 can be configured to bend cannula 40 at least about 40°, typically about 40° to about 270°, and in certain embodiments between approximately 40° and approximately 90° relative to the longitudinal axis of cannula 40 proximate to proximal end 50. While the illustrative embodiment has a constant bend radius, other non-linear paths such as a variable bend radius can be used in other embodiments, for example, an increasing or decreasing bend radius. Furthermore, it is possible to introduce more than one preformed bend into cannula 40 for applications requiring a special configuration. The distal portion of cannula 40 can include straight walled portion 48 between distal end 52 and preformed bend 46. Straight walled portion 48 can be substantially straight or linear when in an unstressed condition.
 Sampling member 60, as illustrated in FIG. 3, includes sample cavity 62, tip 64 at distal end 72, flexible portion 66 and hub 68 at proximal end 70. Sampling member 60 may also optionally include visualization markers 65 as discussed below. In one embodiment, sampling member 60 is constructed and arranged to transmit compressive, tensile and torsional forces between tip 64 and hub 68 with flexible portion 66 providing little resistance to bending so as to slidably navigate preformed bend 46 of cannula 40 without kinking or binding. Sampling member 60 can be comprised of any suitable material, such as a plastic and/or metal material. In certain embodiments, sampling member 60 comprises a superelastic alloy, for example, a superelastic Ni— Ti alloy. In other embodiments, sampling member 60 comprises a stainless steel alloy. As shown in FIG. 1 , sampling member 60 is disposed in the lumen of cannula 40.
 As noted above, cannula 40 and/or sampling member 60 may optionally include visualization markers 45 and/or 65 near tips 44 and/or 64 and/or sampling cavity 62 to provide enhanced visualization during insertion and use. For example, when utilizing ultrasonic visualization techniques, visualization markers 45 and/or 65 could comprise an echogenic marker such as a series of small dimple-like indentations on the outer surface of cannula 40 and/or sampling member 60, for example those used on
ECHOTIP® Echogenic Needles available from Cook Medical, Bloomington, IN, USA, to provide enhanced ultrasonic return. In other embodiments, a radiopaque marker, such as a band of bismuth or titanium, could be used to provide enhanced x-ray response during fluoroscopy or other x-ray visualization techniques. Visualization marker 45 and/or 65 may improve the ability of an interventionalist to monitor the position of tips 44 and/or 64 and/or sampling cavity 62 within a patient's body during use.
 Firing mechanism 80, as illustrated in FIGs. 4 and 5, includes housing 82, actuator 84, drive carriage 86, spring 88, indicator 89 and cover 94. Housing 82 includes finger grips 90 and actuator 84 includes grip 82. Firing mechanism 80 is coupled to cannula hub 54 and wire hub 68 as part of deflectable biopsy device 1 10. Cannula hub 54 is coupled to drive carriage 86 and wire hub 68 is coupled to actuator 84. When assembled, firing mechanism 80 is "cocked" by pulling grip 92 (and actuator 84) away from housing 82. Actuator 84 interfaces with drive carriage 86 so that when actuator 84 is pulled away from housing 82, drive carriage 86 compresses spring 88 between housing 82 and drive carriage 86. The housing includes a resilient latch that engages the underside of drive carriage 86 in the cocked position. Spring 88 can be subsequently released by pushing grip 92 toward housing 82 generating forward movement of actuator 84 which causes spring 88 to push drive carriage 86 which in turn thrusts cannula 40 over sample cavity 62 of wire 60. Cover 94 fits onto housing 82, covering and protecting spring 88 and sliding engagement between drive carriage 86 and housing 82 from debris and interference. Indicator 89 optionally points in the direction of preformed bend 46. A suitable firing mechanism is disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 6,056,760 to Koike. (The mention of this firing mechanism is not intended to be limiting or restrictive, it is simply provided as an example of a suitable firing mechanism.)
 As described in greater detail below, actuation of firing mechanism 80 propels coring cannula 40 over sampling member 60 to sever and trap tissue within sample cavity 62 of the sampling member 60. The disclosed embodiment of firing mechanism 80 is a single action biopsy device which is effective when used to obtain tissue samples. Alternative embodiments can, for example, utilize double action firing device such as the device disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 5,538,010 to Darr which may be used in other
embodiments in place of the single action device disclosed herein.
 As assembled, deflectable biopsy device 1 10 includes sampling member 60 disposed in the lumen of cannula 40 with hubs 54 and 68 engaged with firing mechanism 80 as described above. Firing mechanism 80 has two positions (cocked and uncocked) which provide two relative positions between cannula 40 and sampling member 60. In the uncocked position, tip 64 protrudes slightly outside of cannula 40 and tip 44 but with sample cavity 62 substantially covered by cannula 40 with sample cavity 62 substantially lined up with straight wall portion 48. In the cocked position, as illustrated in FIGs. 6a and 6b, cannula 40 and tip 44 are retracted back over sampling member 60, exposing sample cavity 62 outside of cannula 40 and tip 44.  FIG. 7 illustrates introducer 20 that is operable to insert and direct deflectable biopsy device into a body. Introducer 20 includes wall 22 defining lumen 24, tip 26 at distal end 34, handle 28 at proximal end 32 and fitting 30. In one mode of construction and operation, during insertion of introducer 20 into the body, deflectable biopsy device 1 10, in the uncocked position, can be received in introducer 20 with tip 64 of sampling member 60 protruding slightly from tip 26, desirably a needle tip, of introducer 20. This can prevent undesired coring by or occlusion of the introducer 20.
Alternatively, while not illustrated, introducer 20 may include a removable trocar received within lumen 24 and connected to fitting 30 during insertion of introducer 20. Such a trocar can block distal end 34 of lumen 24 and prevent undesired coring or occlusion and may further assist in creating access for introducer 20. In some embodiments, the outside of introducer 20 may include depth markers 21 that are directly viewable by a user to determine the depth of insertion through the skin to indicate the approximate depth of insertion. In addition, depth markers 21 can be spaced at regular intervals (such as centimeters) for use as a scale to measure the relative size of internal structures (such as tumors, etc.).
 As noted, lumen 24 is arranged and configured to pass cannula 40 therethrough. In this regard, preformed bend 46 of cannula 40 is elastically deformable sufficiently for preformed bend 46 to pass through lumen 24 without substantial plastic deformation. When preformed bend 46 passes into and through lumen 24 it is constrained to conform to the shape of lumen 24. As preformed bend 46 exits lumen 24 through tip 26, preformed bend 46 substantially returns to its unconstrained shape. In the illustrated
embodiment, introducer 20 is substantially straight and preformed bend 46 of cannula 40 is constrainable to the substantially straight shape of introducer 20. In alternative embodiments, introducer 20 can be curved. In certain embodiments, introducer 20 or a component attached thereto (e.g. housing 28) can include indicator 29 that remains external to the patient when using introducer 20 and that indicates to the user the open direction of the bevel of tip 26. In some embodiments, it is desired that preformed bend 46 exits through the open portion of tip 26 such that cannula 40 does not impinge against tip 26. (Note: other embodiments of introducer 20 may use other configurations of tip 26 that may or may not have a beveled profile. In yet other embodiments, it may be desirable to alter the relative positioning of the bevel of tip 26 to slightly modify the profile of preformed bend 46 as it exits tip 26.)
 FIGs. 8-13 illustrate one embodiment of deflectable biopsy device 1 10 taking a tissue sample from a sample site within a body. Introducer 20 has been inserted into body 100 through insertion site 108 in skin 1 02 at a position laterally offset from sample site 104 and obstacle 106. Obstacle 106 broadly encompasses objects or features of body 1 00 that would be difficult or undesirable to insert introducer 20 through. Obstacle 106 may be between the most direct route between skin 102 and sample site 1 04. For example, obstacle 106 could include bone, an artery or vein, a duct, a nerve, an organ or obstacle 106 could represent a portion of skin 102 that it would be undesirable to pass introducer 20 into or through.
 In FIG. 8, deflectable biopsy device 1 10 is partially inserted into introducer 20 with cannula 40 beginning to emerge from introducer 20. The arrow indicates the direction of travel of deflectable biopsy device 1 10.
While not shown, note that, at the point illustrated, the direction that cannula 40 will curve when preformed bend 46 emerges from introducer 20 is controllable by rotating housing 82 (and cannula 40) with respect to handle 28 (and introducer 20). Deflectable biopsy device 1 10 can be rotated through a full 360° (around the axis of introducer 20). In certain
embodiments, cannula 40 or a component attached thereto (e.g. housing 82) can include indicator 89 that remains external of the patient when using device 1 10 and that indicates to the user the direction in which tip 44 (and preformed bend 46) of the cannula will advance as cannula 40 emerges from distal end 34 of introducer 20. Illustratively, as shown in FIGs. 8-1 1 , this can be accomplished by aligning a recognizable portion of housing 82 with the plane of curvature of bend 46 and, to the extent needed (e.g. as with a symmetrical grip 82 as shown), providing a further marking on the housing 82 (e.g. indicator 89 as the illustrated arrow ) to indicate the direction in which the cannula tip 44 will proceed due to the emergence of bend 46 from distal end 34 of introducer 20. When desired, indicator 29 may also be aligned with indicator 89 so that preformed bend 46 exits through the bevel of tip 26.
 In FIG. 9, deflectable biopsy device 1 10 is inserted into introducer 20 with preformed bend 46 fully emerged from introducer 20. Tips 64 and 44 are positioned within sample site 1 04 and cannula 40 covers sample cavity 62. As preformed bend 46 emerged from introducer 20 it returned to its unconstrained bent shape so that tip 64 substantially passed through the space filled by cannula 40. Therefore, in the FIG. 9 configuration, cannula 40 (and preformed bend 46) are in a substantially unstressed state.
 In FIG. 10, firing mechanism 80 is in the cocked position with grip 92 pulled away from housing 82 simultaneously compressing spring 88. Cannula 40 and wire 60 substantially remain substantially fixed in relationship to each other when firing mechanism 80 is cocked
 In FIG. 1 1 , grip 92 has been partially depressed toward housing 82 thereby pushing wire 60 out of cannula 40 thereby exposing sample cavity 62 inside sample site 1 04. As sample cavity 62 is exposed inside sample site 104, a portion of the tissue from sample site 1 04 moves into sample cavity 62 due to interstitial pressure.
 Referring to FIG. 12, an alternative configuration of wire 60 and cannula 40 is illustrated with sampling cavity 62 rotated approximately 180° as compared to the configuration illustrated in FIG. 1 1 . In other
embodiments, sampling cavity 62 can be oriented in any desired direction.
 In FIG. 13, grip 92 has been completely depressed toward housing 82 thereby releasing the spring in firing mechanism 80 causing cannula 40 to cover sample cavity 62. This generates a cutting action in which tip 44 cuts through and severs a portion of tissue from sample site 104 that moved into sample cavity 62 prior to the firing of firing mechanism 80. In certain embodiments, during the cutting action that occurs between sampling member 60 and cannula 40, sampling member 60 remains constrained by cannula 40 to a condition bent from its relaxed (unconstrained) configuration while preformed bend 46 of cannula 40 remains in its relaxed
(unconstrained) configuration. That portion of sample site 104 is then retained inside sample cavity 62 and cannula 40 and can be recovered for further investigation and testing by removing deflectable biopsy device 1 10 from introducer 20 and cocking firing mechanism 80 to once again retract cannula 40 over sampling member 60 to expose sample cavity 62.
 FIGs. 14a-14c illustrate alternative embodiments of sampling member 60. In FIG. 14a, wire 60A is formed by centerless grinding to create a more flexible portion 66A from one continuous wire (that also includes a tip and sample cavity formed from or attached to the wire). In FIG. 14b, wire 60B is formed by grinding flexible portion 66B on one side of one continuous wire, cannula or other suitable elongate member (that also includes a tip and sample cavity formed therein or attached thereto). In FIG. 14c, wire 60C is assembled from separate large gauge wire 61 , small gauge wire 63 and sample cavity 62c. Assembly can be by soldering, welding or otherwise permanently attaching the components together with flexible portion 66C generally corresponding with small gauge wire 63. Illustrative elongate materials that can be used to create sampling member 60 include wire and/or cannula as noted above as well as cable-tube, multi-filar cable, or any combination of these or potentially other materials.
 In various embodiments of sampling member 60, flexible portion 66 provides substantially no resistance to bending and member 60 can be rotated with respect to cannula 40 to vary the angle at which sampling cavity 62 is presented when cannula 40 is retracted. However, in alternative embodiments of sampling member 60, including where member 60 comprises a superelastic alloy, flexible portion 66 can provide substantial resistance to bending. In such embodiments, the bending characteristics of member 60 can be used to alter the bending characteristics of cannula 40 (and thereby deflectable biopsy device 1 10). For example, if member 60 includes a preformed bend in flexible portion 66 that is oriented
corresponding to preformed bend 46, then sampling member 60 can assist cannula 40 in returning to its unstressed curved state after exiting lumen 20. Alternatively, bending characteristics of cannula 40 could be varied by rotating sampling member 60, having a preformed bend, with respect to cannula 40. This could vary the effective angle of preformed bend 46. In yet 5 another embodiment, sampling member 60 can comprise a superelastic alloy without a preformed bend (providing a generally straight member 60 when unconstrained) such that member 60 is in a stressed condition when located within preformed bend 46 of cannula 40 outside of introducer 20.
 While the disclosure has been illustrated and described in detail in i o the drawings and foregoing description, the same is to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive in character, it being understood that only certain specific embodiments have been shown and that all changes and modifications that come within the spirit of the disclosure are desired to be protected.
Next Patent: BITUMEN EXTRACTION AND ASPHALTENE REMOVAL FROM HEAVY CRUDE USING HIGH SHEAR