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United States Patent  [ii] Patent Number: 4,950,264
Osborn, III  Date of Patent: Aug. 21, 1990
Related U.S. Application Data
 Continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 175,559, Mar. 31, 1988, abandoned.
 Int.C1.5 A61F 13/16
 U.S. Q 604/385.1; 604/378;
 Field of Search 604/377, 378, 358.1
 References Cited
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FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
89302553.6 9/1985 European Pat. Off. .
Primary Examiner—Randall L. Green
Assistant Examiner—Gary Jackson
Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Larry L. Huston; John M.
Pollaro; Frederick H. Braun
In accordance with the present invention, a sanitary napkin having a body surface and a garment surface and being comprised of an absorbent means underlayed by a liquid barrier means, wherein the sanitary napkin is relatively highly flexible and has a capacity great enough to handle medium to high menstrual flows, is provided. In a preferred embodiment, the sanitary napkin comprises, from the body surface down, an apertured formed film topsheet, an apertured nonwoven wipe acquisition sheet, a wet-laid tissue, a superabsorbent core, and a barrier sheet. Preferably, the central width of the absorbents is at least about 6.5 centimeters and the caliper of the napkin as a whole is less than about 2.6 millimeters. In a preferred embodiment, the napkin has laterally extending flaps which drape over the edges of the wearer's panties in the crotch and are attachable to the garment side of the wearer's panties.
28 Claims, 2 Drawing Sheets
THIN, FLEXIBLE SANITARY NAPKIN
This is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 07/175,559, filed on March 31, 1988 now abandoned. 5
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to female sanitary napkins. Particularly, the present invention concerns thin, 10 flexible sanitary napkins offering enhanced fit and comfort through a construction which promotes a continuously self-conforming anatomical cooperation of the sanitary napkin to the wearer to yield a highly effective absorbent device. 15
2. Background Art
All manner and variety of absorbent articles configured for the absorption of body fluids such as menses, urine and feces are, of course, well known. With respect to feminine protection devices, the art has offered two 20 basic types; sanitary napkins have been developed for external wear about the pudendal region while tampons have been developed for internal wear within the vaginal cavity for interruption of menstrual flow therefrom. Such tampon devices are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 25 4,412,833, entitled "Tampon Applicator", which patent issued to Weigner at al. on November 1, 1983, and U.S. Pat. No. 4,413,986, entitled "Tampon Assembly With Means For Sterile Insertion", which patent issued to Jacobs on November 8, 1983. 30
Hybrid devices which attempt to merge the structural features of the sanitary napkins and the tampons into a single device have also been proposed. Such hybrid devices are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 2,092,346, entitled "Catamenial Pad", which patent issued to 35 Arone on September 7, 1937, and U.S. Pat. No. 3,905,372, entitled "Feminine Hygiene Protective Shield", which patent issued to Denkinger on September 16, 1975. Other less intrusive hybrid devices are known as labial or interlabial sanitary napkins and are 40 characterized by having a portion which at least partially resides within the wearer's vestibule and a portion which at least partially resides external of the wearer's vestibule. Such devices are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 2,662,527, entitled "Sanitary Pad", which patent issued 45 to Jacks on December 15, 1953, and U.S. Pat. No. 4,631,062, entitled "Labial Sanitary Pad", which patent issued to Lassen et al. on December 23, 1986.
With respect to sanitary napkins, at least two general classes pertinent to the present invention exist. One such 50 class is for the absorption of medium to high menstrual flows. These sanitary napkins offer a fairly high absorptive capacity. Absorptive capacity is commonly achieved by providing the napkins with a fairly thick and bulky absorbent member, commonly fluff pulp. 55 Sanitary napkins of this class are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,294,091, entitled "Sanitary Napkin", which patent issued to Morse on December 27, 1966, U.S. Pat. No. 4,654,040, entitled "Smooth-Edged Contoured Sanitary Napkin", which patent issued to Luceri on March 31, 60 1987, and U.S. Pat. No. 4,687,478, entitled "Sanitary Napkin With Flaps", which patent issued to Van Tilburg on August 18,1987. Such sanitary napkins theoretically have a high absorptive capacity, however, when the sanitary napkin is worn and subjected to the com- 65 pressive forces of the wearer's thighs and pudendal region, the fluff pulp core simply compacts or bunches into an arbitrary, but generally rope-like shape. Such
napkins commonly shift from their original placement so that after only a short wearing time, the napkin might only partially, if at all, be beneath the wearer's vaginal orifice or vestibule. Thus, in use, these sanitary napkins sometimes offer very little absorption. Further, the rolling and twisting of these napkins may create soiling on the wearer's panties and skin surfaces. In addition, the bulkiness of these napkins causes a high degree of wearing awareness and may make them quite obtrusive when worn with tight fitting slacks, body suits or bathing suits.
A second class of sanitary napkins are intended for light or low menstrual flows and are commonly referred to as panty liners or panty shields. Sanitary napkins of this type are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,681,578, entitled "Pantiliner With Ventilation Areas", which patent issued to Anderson and Brandt on July 21, 1987. Sanitary napkins of this class, as a group, are thinner, somewhat more flexible and generally more comfortable than those of the first class, however, they lack the absorptive capacity of the napkins of the first class.
Therefore, there exists a real consumer need for a sanitary napkin which is thin and flexible, thereby offering enhanced fit and comfort, yet having a fluid capacity great enough for use with medium to high menstrual flows thereby allaying consumer fears of leakage and staining.
Therefore, it is an object of the present invention to provide a sanitary napkin which is thin and flexible and which is absorbent enough to absorb and contain medium to high menstrual flows.
It is an additional object of the present invention to provide a sanitary napkin which will closely conform to the various anatomical shapes of the female urogenital and buttocks region.
It is an additional object of the present invention to provide a sanitary napkin which offers enhanced fit and comfort and a low degree of wearing awareness.
It is an additional object of the present invention to provide a thin flexible sanitary napkin having laterally extending flaps configured to drape over the side edges of the wearer's panties in the crotch portion thus being disposed between the side edges of the wearer's panties in the crotch portion and the wearer's thighs.
It is an additional object of the present invention to provide the laterally extending flaps with an attachment means on their garment facing surface so that the flaps can wrap around the side edges of the wearer's panties in the crotch portion and be attached to the garment facing side of the wearer's panties in order to provide protection from soiling and so as to keep the napkin properly positioned in the wearer's panties.
These and other objects of the present invention will be more readily apparent when considered in reference to the following description and when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In accordance with the present invention, a sanitary napkin having a body surface and a garment surface and being comprised of an absorbent means underlayed by a liquid barrier means, wherein the sanitary napkin is relatively highly flexible and has a capacity great enough to handle medium to high menstrual flows, is provided. In a preferred embodiment, the sanitary napkin comprises, from the body surface down, an apertured formed film topsheet, an apertured nonwoven wipe acquisition sheet, a wet-laid tissue, a superabsorb