- Collection ID:
Some materials are in Korean.
Collection is in English.
- Physical Description:
InBae Yoon was a Korean American inventor. He specialized in OB-GYN surgery, and his inventions aided in the safety of laparoscopic and endoscopic surgery. The papers include personal documents, corporate agreements and licenses, technical drawings, patent applications, correspondence, project proposals, and methods and procedures.
Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The collection documents Dr. Yoon's life and career as a surgeon and his invention and development of numerous tools, instruments and procedures. The collection specifically focuses on three inventions: the "Yoon Ring", a device for tubal ligation for women patented in 1975; a penetrating instrument with safety shield, and method for introducing a portal sleeve into a cavity in the body, patented in 1985; and surgical clips and applicator, patented in 1992. All three were manufactured and widely used. The contents include invention notebooks, sketches, photographs and slides, correspondence, patents, patent applications, legal papers, business papers, articles and clippings, reference files, and some audiovisual materials.
The collection is arranged into 6 series.
Series 1: Personal Documents and Correspondence, 1980-1999
Series 2: Professional Activities, 1974-2009
Series 3: Corporate Agreements and Correspondence, 1970-2005
Subseries 3.1: Ethicon Endo-Surgery (Johnson & Johnson), 1987-2003
Subseries 3.2: Ralph Wolf GmbH,1980-1986
Subseries 3.3: Cabot Medical Instruments Corporation, 1984-1986
Subseries 3.4: KLI, 1973-1980
Subseries 3.5: Reznick,1982-1986
Subseries 3.6: Other Disclosures and Partnerships,1973-1999
Series 4: Drawings and Technical Specifications, 1970-2005
Series 5: Legal Documents, 1970-2003
Subseries 5.1: Patents, 1970-2003
Subseries 5.2: Ethicon Inc./InBae Yoon vs. United States Surigcal Corporation/Choi, 1975-1998
Subseries 5.3: Correspondence, 1975-2001
Series 6: Projects and Proposal Documents, 1975-2001
Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Dr. InBae Yoon (1936-2014) was a prolific Korean American inventor of surgical devices and instrumentation. He was born in Korea during the Japanese Occupation (1910-1945) and attended the Yonsei University School of Medicine, earning his medical degree in 1961. From 1961 to 1964, Yoon served as medical officer in the South Korean Navy, and in 1964 he participated in a program developed to match Korean medical doctors with United States hospitals and medical schools. As a result, Yoon immigrated to Baltimore, Maryland to conduct his rotating internship and general surgical residency at Church Home and Hospital. During his residency, Yoon switched his training from general surgery to obstetrics and gynecology and became fascinated by laparoscopy, a method of surgery performed using a scope placed through the umbilicus, sometimes with other small incisions in the abdomen. During this period he was exposed to tubal ligation, one of the few surgeries done laparoscopically at the time. Observing some of the injuries and complications from these early laparoscopic procedures he became interested in safer laparoscopic methods. After completing his residency in 1969 and finishing a yearlong fellowship, he joined a private practice. In 1973 he then joined the John Hopkins University School of Medicine as an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology where he explored new laparoscopic techniques and procedures.
Yoon became convinced that laparoscopic or "keyhole" surgery was the future. His first invention, the Yoon Ring, was developed between 1972 and 1974, with the patent being issued in 1975 (US Patent 3,870,048). The Yoon Ring system, manufactured with KLI Incorporated, provided a safer method for laparoscopic tubal ligation by applying a silastic ring around the fallopian tube to prevent pregnancy. This simple mechanical method of tubal ligation avoided many of the complications associated with other tubal ligation techniques that utilized electrocautery. Yoon began to see further potential for the use of laparoscopy and from 1975 to 1985, he focused on inventing safety systems for laparoscopic procedures, including safety trocars, safety needles, and safety catheters, which all aided in different aspects of laparoscopic surgery. Yoon spent much of the late 1980s to the early 2000s, working on new innovations such as retractable penetrating instruments, suture tie instruments, cavity stents and expanders, as well as making modifications to previous safety system designs. During this period, Yoon investigated and sought out the assistance of a few large instrument manufacturing companies, such as Richard Wolf GmbH, Olympus, and Cabot Medical in an effort to bring his trocar designs to the market without success. In 1985, Yoon then incorporated his own company, Yoonitech, Inc. to pursue his inventions. In 1988, Yoon established a relationship with Johnson and Johnson, specifically the subsidiary of the company, Ethicon, which later became Ethicon Endo Surgery (EES) and licensed his shielded trocar patent (US Patent 4,535,773) to bring his product to market. From 1995-2005, Yoon continued to collaborate with EES for the production of instruments and techniques for laparoscopy and endoscopy. Dr. Yoon passed away on December 30, 2014. After 5 decades of focusing on this innovative approach to surgery, he amassed over 200 U.S. patents for his work.
Processed by Sara Wheeler, July 2017; supervised by Alison Oswald, archivist.
The Division of Medicine and Science holds artifacts related to this collection. See accession 2017.0024.
Falope-Ring® Band (2017.0024.01)
Demonstration Forceps (2017.0024.02)
Wold Falope Ring Applicator (2017.0024.03)
Wolf-Yoon Double Puncture Ring Applicator (2017.0024.04)
Falope-Ring® Applicator (2017.0024.05)
Mark II Applicator (2017.0024.06)
Yoon and Stoup Faolpian Ring Applicator (2017.0024.07)
Falope-Ring® Applicator (2017.0024.08)
An instrument with forcep like handles(2017.0024.09)
An endoscope which can be used in conjunction with theFalope-Ring® Applicator (2017.0024.10)
Endopath Endoscopic Tissue Manipulator (2017.0024.11)
Safety Trocar (2017.0024.12)
Prototype Safety Trocar and Sleeve (2017.0024.13)
Prototype Safety Trocar (2017.0024.14)
Prototype Safety Trocar (2017.0024.15)
Disposable Safety Trocar (2017.0024.16)
Safety Trocar (2017.0024.17)
Ligaclip Endoscopic Multiple Clip Applier (2017.0024.18)
Endoscopic Simulation Training Device (2017.0024.19)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection donated by Kyung Joo Yoon, widow of InBae Yoon, 2017.
Using the Collection
InBae Yoon Papers, 1970-2009, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research. Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
The Archives Center staff focused on documenting three of Dr. Yoon's invention: the "Yoon Ring," a device for tubal ligation for women, patented in 1975; a penetrating instrument with safety shield, and method for introducing a portal sleeve into a cavity in the body, patented in 1985; and surgical clips and applicator, patented in 1992.
Archivists examined approximately 147 cubic feet of material and selected approximately 19 cubic feet for permanent retention.
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012