Disposable front opening brief with pre-selected pad shape and location
This invention describes a disposable front opening garment made with two centrally overlapped segments and pads of different shape and size located therebetween while maintaining the openable feature. Pre-selected pad size and placement between segments and selected pads inside the garment have impervious leakproof elements along edges and provide leak resistant pads for bi-level protection. The garment substrate includes stretchable rear panel portions and/or extensible tapes for overlapping connection of front and rear panels and a stretchable front closure tape for overllspped girth adjustment. Stretched elastic strands on each segment. spaced from edges of both pads provide cuffs for leg sealing in another embodiment, a third pad is added to a contractable support panel with cuffs to provide tri-levrl protection. Another embodiment for selective absorbency of single, double or triple pads permits use of a medical catheter while maintaining the front opening, The inventive products are used by stepping through the leg apertures and applying the expandable front tape, or applying folding the front panel over a prone user's crotch and fastening side panel and front closure tapes.
 This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. Nos. 08/889461 09/286,355 filed Apr. 5, 1999.FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention relates to disposable garments having a front panel opening that are put on by stepping through the leg openings, pulling up, and attaching an expandable closure tape across the front opening/closure.
 Applying these garments differs from prior art and current ‘pull-on’ disposable garments which are expandable around the waist without a front opening and are applied by stepping through the leg openings and pulling the garment upward into position about the lower torso, as described in typical U.S. Pat. No. 6,258,077 B 1
 The present invention describes the expandable side tapes along with the expandable front tape, and in combination with absorbent pads of pre-selected shape and absorbency, how the front opening is instrumental in placement and shape of the pad or pads used for absobent products such as disposable diapers, training pants, adult care products and for feminine hygiene use.BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 Disposable diapers currently available include larger sizes with extra absorbency for children generally over 2 yrs old.
 These ‘heavy duty’ diapers usually include elements such as expandable waist portions with some degree of control over tighness around the waist depending on where side tapes are secured on the front panel, and their use is a prelude to the end of diaper use.
 Other products in the marketplace represnt the next phase in toilet training and include complete garments with waist features that allow expansion of the garment as it is pulled up around the torso.
 One popular product uses a plurality of elastic strands on front and rear panels to provide elasticity, albeit, once manufactured, the amount of waist expansion is fixed. What is confortable for one user may not represent the same comfort level for another user in the same wieght range.
 The fixed amount of expansion in current ‘training pants’ can lead to pressure marks around the waist because of high tension forces from the strands, and can also cause the inner absorbent core to be gathered at the waist opening allowing exudates to leak out at the waist.
 Use of transversely aligned elastic strands thus has functional limitations but is also a major problem in the manufacturing process.
 Another current approach for a “disposable pull-on pant” is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,258,077 which uses an expandable laminate for front and rear elastic waist components bonded to an intermediate “chassis” section that provides supporto pf the absorbent pad for collection and absorption of exudates in the intermediate crotch region.
 Since the front and rear expandable end panels extend downward from the waist margins a substantial amount, the greater expandable area decreases the unit force applied to the torso, lessening the possibility of skin marking and leaks, however the referenced '077 B 1 product has a fixed amount of maximum expansion and may limit use over a larger range of waist and torso sizes.
 Like the training pants with transverse strands, the '077 B 1 product relies on the pre-selected amount of expansion to fit a limited range of sizes. Further, current products do not have a front opening for inspection or possible replacement of saturated pads.
 Once used, the entire garment id discarded, exacerbating landfill problems, particlarly as applied to larger adult sizes for incontinent care, feminine care and underwear with integral absorbent pads.
 As a different approach, the inventive products essentially start with briefs/garments as a carrier for internal absorbent pads with a wide choice of shapes, location and degrees of absorbency without the stresses induced by transverse elastic strands or elastic waist components with finite stretch.
 The inventive products can be overlapped at the sides and with the overlapping front closure provides a comfortable level of tension depending on where the user chooses to attach the tapes (including tapes with stretchable portions in the center).
 Side overlap can be assured with wider panels and tapes, or by extensions of the base material along side margins (having an assembled rear panel wider than the front) without affecting function of the front opening/closure.
 Since high tension forces can be controlled in the brief/garment structure, paper or paper/cotton composites can be used and made ‘separable’ from absorbent components with a higher bio-degradeability quotient than materials currently used. Further advances in air-laid paper composites could include bio-degradeable inner components.
 The inventive approach is applicable to diaper, adult and feminine care, as disposable underwear with or without pads, allowing for the addition of an extra overnight pad, and includes pre-selected levels of absorbency with single, double or three pad arrangements.
 The flexibility of design to serve these multiple uses are described in the objectives hereinbelow.SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 Generally, the invention describes briefs constructed from two similarly shaped overlapped segments with selective bonding to form a unitary rear panel and an openable front panel.
 With side and front tapes, the briefs thus formed are used as a garment to hold absorbent pads on pre-selected surfaces which permits the user to choose products for single, double and even triple pad protection.
 Rather than the single absorbent core used in current products, use of 2 or more thin pads permits the bottom pad to be enclosed within a ‘pouch’ for maximum protection against leakage.
 Thus,a primary object of this inveniton is to provide briefs as a ‘container’ for absorbent pads of different shapes for central absorbency or with wings for extended absorbency beyond the central overlapped area.
 Another object of this invention is to provide a range of product widths and waist sizes by varying the amount of overlap.
 An object is to provide a garment with an absorbent central pad of pre-selected size while maintaining the front opening feature.
 A further object is to provide a plurality of pads having extended wings while maintaining the front opening feature for urinary use or inspection through the front opening without foldover of the wings.
 An object is to provide segment support surfaces for attachment of absorbent pads having a length at least equal to the length of the unfolded garment.
 Another object is to furnish pads having a length less than the unfolded garment length for registered placement spaced from the end, and superposed on each half segment with an inner liner sheet added for contact with the users torso.
 An object of this invention is to combine the garment defined above and an absorbent half pad in the overlapped area of the front panel and attached to a front panel surface of one segment only.
 A further object is to provide a full length pad in the central overlaped area for attachment to both inner and outer segments in the rear panel and attachment to only the inside surface of the outer segment in order to maintain the front opening.
 A further object is to provide for a pad between segment overlap and secure pad position and garment integrity by bonding the two segments through pad apertures in the central overpapped area of the rear panel.
 An object of this invention is to provide full length pads having one or more extended wings for between segment attachment.
 In addition to the between segment pad, it is a further object of this invention to provide a full length pad attached to the inside innermost surfaces of the garment to provide double pad protection in selected portions of the garment.
 For selected adult or feminine use, in addition to the ‘double’ protection above, it is a further object to provide a third pad attached to and held by a support panel having contracted margins to form a concave shaped ‘pouch’ for a third pad and/or body parts.
 Another object is to provide a plurality of apertures in the support panel and each of the superposed segments to define a path for a catheter tube from the pouch to a remote reservoir.
 Another object of the invention is to provide pads with air laid absorbent cores having superabsorbent compounds therein.
 An object of this invention is to provide a soft porous liner sheet on each of the cooperating segments that from the garment body.
 Another object is to provide reclosable and stretchable side margin and front closure tapes for tensioned attachment of rear and front panels at the preferred comfort level to prevent marking of the torso without gathering the inside members or segments.
 It is an object of the invention to provide segments, support panels and absorbent pads using surfaces that are selectively coated or laminated with an impermeable coating or film on any selected surface.
 Another object is to provide space between front panel segments for insertion and attachment of (separately supplied) supplemental pads between segments of the front panel by the user for overnight and other heavy duty requirements.
 These and other objects and advantages of the invention will become more fully understood from the following detailed description of the invention when read in conjunction with the drawingsBRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a plan view of the inventive garment viewed from the inside illustrating a pad in the front panel region enclosed within a segment and liner sheet as an overlapping first assembly bonded to a second assembly in the rear panel area.
 FIG. 2 is an enlarged schematic side elevation viewed along 2-2 of FIG. 1 illustrating front and rear seals for a pad enclosed within a selectively perforated top film and a non-porous bottom film as components of a first assembly.
 FIG. 3A is a schematic end view of FIG. 1 viewed along line 3A-3A′ of FIG. 2 illustrating a pad wrapped inside a sealed enclosure for side seals and bonding of the sealed pad between the first segment and liner.
 FIG. 3B is a schematic end view of FIG. 1 viewed along line 3B-3B′ of FIG. 2 illustrating bonding of liner sheets to segments and superposed segments to each other in the overlapped area of the rear panel.
 FIG. 4A is an enlarged side elevation perspective from the top illustrating the pad enclosure of FIG. 2.
 FIG. 4B is an enlarged end perspective view illustrating a pad enclosure with permeable top and bottom substrates having selective areas of non-porous coating.
 FIG. 5 is a plan view illustrating a linear pad portion between segments extending from the front panel area to the rear panel area,
 FIG. 6 is a perspective front view of the garment in FIG. 5 with a pad in the front and rear panel overlapped areas between segments and the openable front.
 FIG. 7 is a simplified side elevation of FIG. 5 viewed along line 7-7.
 FIG. 8A is a simplified cross section along 8A-8A′ of FIG. 7 illustrating the unbonded surfaces between segment assemblies to define a front opening.
 FIG. 8B is a simplified cross section along line 8B-8B′ of FIG. 7 illustrating bonding between segment assemblies to define a unitary rear panel.
 FIGS. 9A-9C are schematic perspective views looking at the inside of the garment.
 FIG. 9A is a perspective view of the left hand second inner segment illustrating the segment outline with a superposed sealed absorbent pad with wing extensions to form a segment sub-assembly.
 FIG. 9B is a perspective view of the right hand first outer segment illustrating the segment outline with a superposed sealed pad having wing extensions and prepared for bonding to the inner segment sub-assembly.
 FIG. 9C is a perspective view of the segment assemblies of FIGS. 9A and 9B bonded together in the rear panel area to from a garment with a pad between segments coacting with a second pad, with the asssembled segments being openable in front.
 FIG. 10 is an end view along line 10-10′ of FIG. 11 combined with a fragmentary top view schematic of the garment in FIG. 9C illustrating the overlapped segment assemblies with pads having end and side seals including along contoured margins.
 FIG. 11 is a plan view of the assembled garment of FIG. 9C illustrating a pad between segments and the overlying cooperating pad to provide an assembly with double pad absorbency in the central area and single pad thickness in end and side sealed pad wings.
 FIG. 12 is a top view perspective of the segment assembly of FIGS. 9c, 10, 11 in combination with another pad on a support panel having cuffs in addition to cuffs on segments.
 FIG. 13 is a schematic cross section along line 13-13′ in FIG. 12.
 FIG. 14 is a perspective view from the front of the folded garment illustrating the front opening and an extended tab of a supplemental pad for manual insertion between segments of the front panel by user.
 FIG. 15 is a perspective front view of the supplemental pad shown in FIG. 14,
 FIG. 16A is a perspective view of the inner support panel in FIG. 17 illustrating an aperture for a catheter path.
 FIG. 16B is a perspective top view of the inner segment illustrating a bonding area for attachment of the pad support panel shown in FIG. 16A.
 FIG. 16C is a perspective top view of the outer segment with pad attached to the front panel between segments and a rear panel bonding area before attachment of the outer segment.
 FIG. 16D is a top perspective view of the garment from the inside with components and apertures of 16A-16D as assembled.
 FIG. 17 is a cross section along line 17-17′ of FIG. 16D illustrating the arrangement of elements and apertures that define the catheter path when the garment is worn.DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 As described herein, garment refers to a disposable article of wear having leg openings and a front opening panel with closure means. The garment is applied to the user by opening the front panel before the wearer ‘steps into’ the garment and after pulling it around the torso, fastening the tape.
 Intended as a containing garment for one or more absorbent pads depending on use, and given the selection of stretchable materials available, the garment ‘container’, together with pads of pre-selected shape and placement, provides absorbent protection used for infants and children, adults for incontinent use and feminine hydiene applications.
 In FIG. 1, a disposable garment 1 is assembled from two mirror image segments; outer segment 5 and inner segment 6 which faces the user's body.
 For use, the garment is folded transversely about line F-F′ before tapes 19-19′ are attached to define a waist and leg openings.
 The unfolded garment 1 has a rear panel 2, front panel 3 and by virtue of cutouts 10,10′ a crotch region 4. The garment segments extend from rear panel end margin 7 to front panel end margin 8.
 In FIG. 1, segments 5, 6 are overlapped in a central region 9 and each has a width substantially equal to half the width W of the garment plus about half the width of the overlap. Segment width is increased slightly to add elastic strands adjacent cutouts 10, 10′ to form ‘cuff’
 It is understood that segments of non-woven or paper comoposite materials have a wide range of functional characteristics including porosity and extensibility, and that longitudinal or registered patterns of impervious coating can be applied to contain liquids.
 Also, depending on pre-selected pad width, the amount of overlap between segments can be varied with the same segment widths to change size of garment width and waist openings without functional effect on these products.
 In FIG. 1, before outer segment 5 and inner segment 6 are superposed and overlapped an amount 9, a linear series of dots 12, 12′ between side margins 11, 11′ bond the segments to form a unitary rear panel 2. Bonding does not occur between facing surfaces of the segments in the front panel area 3 thus defining a front panel opening 14.
 For closure and use, tape 20 connects segments 5 and 6 in the front panel region 3.
 In FIG. 1, liner sheets 21, 22 are removed by cutaway to expose underlying components including absorbrent pad 15 enclosed by and bonded to top overwrapping substrate 23 and bottom substrate 24 which are sealed together in adjacent pad end margins 16,16′ and side margins 17,17′.
 In FIG. 1, a narrow area of bonding 25,25′ secures the liner sheets 21, 22 along segment margins. Longitudinal edge reinforcing strip 26 encloses one margin of the liner, pad and substrates, and segment 5. (also shown in FIGS. 5, 6).
 Front release tape 20 and side margin tapes 19, 19′ have extensible portions for stretch of the waist enclosure during use.
 In FIG. 1 and similar embodiments of FIGS. 7,8 absorbent pad 15, comprised of air laid fibers with bonding agents to impart monolithic density and strength, is between segments 5 and 6 and attached to the inside surface of outer segment 5. Pad 15 extends from the front end of segment 5 to adjacent the fold line F-F′.
 In FIG. 2, segment assembly 5′ and 6′ are bonded together in rear panel area 2 with bonding patterrn 12, it being understood that a series of dots, lines or areas can be used and bonding can include adhesives, heat sealing or sonic bonding.
 For FIG. 2, the bonding legend describes attachment of superposed elements to join them into an outer segment assembly 5′ and inner segment assembly 6′.
 The bonding legend for FIG. 2 also applies to FIGS. 3, 7.
 In FIG. 2, bonding means include: 29—outer segment 5 to lower substrate 24: bonding 30—lower substrate 24 to pad 15: bonding 31—top of pad 15 to upper substrate 23; bonding 32—substrates 23 to 24; bonding 33—liner 21 to upper substrate 23; bonding 34—liner 21 to outer segment 5 to form assembly 5′.
 In FIG. 2 bonding means also include: bonding 35—liner 22 to inner segment assembly 6′; and bonding 12—between overlapping assemblies 5′ and 6′.
 In FIG. 2, absorbent pad 15 is sealed between upper non-pervious substrate 23 having perforations in a selected central area and lower non-pervious substrate 24. Pad 15 and substrates 23, 24 are enclosed between segment 5 an liner sheet 21 which faces toward the user's body.
 In FIG. 2,an absorbent pad 15 enclosed within non-pervious film or coated substrates 23, 24 forms a pad assembly described in detail in FIGS. 4A and 4B.
 In FIG. 2, outer segment assembly 5′ is bonded to overlapping assembly 6′ to form the unitary rear panel and left unbonded in the front panel area.
 In FIG. 2, the top pad encloseing substrate 23 is shown dashed to indicate a perforated or apertured pervious surface 23 which allows fluids to pass into the absorbent pad. The bottom substrate 24 is non-pervioud to retain fluids inside the pad enclosure. In FIGS. 2, pad end seal areas are designated 27,27′.
 In FIG. 3A, the pad side seals 28, 28′ are completed to leakproof the pad enclosure as detailed in FIG. 4A below.
 In FIG. 3A, the same bonding attachments as in FIG. 2 enclose pad 15 which is bonded to the inside surface of segment 5 in the overlap area of front panel 3.
 The pad assembly of FIGS. 2 and 3 is confined to the front panel area for urinary or menstral leakage.
 In FIG. 3B, attachments involve segment 5, pad enclosures 23, 24 (without the pad) and liner sheet 21 bonded together as an outer assembly 5′. Inner segment 6 and liner sheet 22 form inner assembly 6′. Assemblies 5′ and 6′ are bonded together as at 12 to form a unitary rear panel, and remain unbonded in the front panel area to define the panel opening 14.
 In FIG. 4A pad 15 has a length of less than the distance between end margins of the underlying segment to provide space for end seals.
 In FIG. 4A, items 16, 16′ and 17, 17′ are the pad end and side margins respectively.
 In FIG. 4A, pad 15 is enclosed between upper substrate 23 and lower substrate 24, both impervious materials such as film or coated substrates.
 In FIG. 4A, seals 27,27′ and side seals 28,28′ are bonded by means described above. With film,a perforated area 23′ allows fluid passage to the pad.
 Perforations are preferably registered (FIG. 4A) and stop short of the ends thus providing positive seals on four sides and a central area of pervious material for fluid transmission to the enclosed pad.
 Other substrates properly coated for top and bottom seals can be registered for positive end and side seals, or can be continuous and non-registered to provide positive sealing along the sides but with some limited fluid leakage in the end seal central area described in FIG. 4B.
 In FIG. 4B, pad portions are spaced from both ends. Upper substrate 23 is a film or pervious material 36 strip coated or laminated along side margins with a non-pervious agent.
 Lower substrate 24 is coated full width to provide a leakproof bottom surface to retain fluid for absorption by the enclosed [ad 15. In this instance, the side seals 28,28′ enclose pad 15 sides, but pad ends can transmit fluid through upper end material 23.
 It is understood that the enclosure of 4A is preferred because of positive sealing all sides despite some manufacturring advantages with the embodiment of FIG. 4B.
 In FIG. 5, pad 15 with the enclosure of FIG. 4A extends from end margin 7 of the rear panel to end margin 8 of front panel 3.
 In FIG. 5, end seal 16 of the longer pad is adjacent rear panel end margin 7 rather than terminating near the fold line F-F′ as in FIGS. 1-3.
 Details of bonding for FIG. 5 are accurately shown in the bonding legend of FIG. 2. The garment with extended pad is shown in FIG. 6.
 In FIG. 6, pad 15′ is positioned in central area 9 between segment assemblies 5′, 6′. and bondably attached to the inside surface of outer segment 5. Segment assemblies 5′ and 6′ are only bonded together in the rear panel region 3.
 The detailed bonding legend described in FIG. 2 applies to FIG. 7.
 In FIG. 7, bonding between assemblies 5′, 6′ creates the unitary rear panel and the absence of bonds in the front defines the opening 14.
 In the simplified end elevation of FIG. 8A, pad 15 is bonded at 24 to the inside of segment 5 and left unbonded between segments 5, 6 for a front panel opening 14.
 In FIG. 8B, pad 15 is bonded at 24 to segment 5 and bonded on the top surface at 12 to join segment assemblies 5′, 6′ in the rear panel area 2.
 FIGS. 9A to 9C show a two-tier combination garment that includes a pad between segment assemblies.
 In FIG. 9A, a sealed absorbent pad 115′ with two wings is attached to the inside surface of inner segment assembly 6′ comprised of segment 6, sealed pad assembly 115′ with enclosing elements, and a liner sheet (not referenced for clarity).
 In FIG. 9B, a sealed pad 115 with two wings is bonded for attachment to the outer segment assembly 5′ comprised of segment 5, sealed pad 115 with substrates and a liner (not referenced).
 In FIG. 9C, the inner segment sub-assembly 6′ is superposed over outer sub-assembly 5′ in central overlapped region 9 and bonded to the rear panel region 12. to create a unitary rear panel having unbonded front panel overlap for a front opening.
 In FIG. 10, pad 115 with two extending wings is bonded to outer segment 5 in overlapping cooperation with a pad 115′ bonded to inner segment 6.
 Pads 115,115′ are spaced from ends 7, 8 to provide room for end seals 27, 27′, and spaced from side margins for side seals 28,28′.
 Each pad is enclosed with a top substrate 23 having a pervious area 23′.
 In FIG. 10, bottom substrate 37 enclosing pad 115 is coated full width to prevent leakage to underlying segment 5. Top substrate 23 for pad 115 as well as both top 23 and bottom 24 substrates for pad 115′ have pervious central regions to allow fluid transmission to underlying elements.
 While providing double pads in the central area of overlap (see FIG. 5) the four single thickness wings are sealed adjacent cutout margins 28, 28′ and side margins (see 28″ for pad 115′). Pad 115 linear and side seals are not visible and not shown in phantom for clarity,
 In FIG. 10, the outside edge of film or coated substrate extends across the cutout crotch portions and the outline edge 40 of segment 5 and 41 of segmnt 6
 Liner sheets 21, 22 are on the inside of each segment subassembly and in combination, provide a soft hourglass shaped two piece surface on the inside of the garment.
 In FIG. 11, selected elements previously described are not shown for clarity, including side margin 19 and front closure 20 tapes,reinforcing strip 26, elastic strands 18 on both segments and side areas 28.
 In FIG. 11, the outlines for segments 5,6 are referenced near the bottom as 40, 41 respectively and include segment extensions 42, 42′ so that foldover insures closing the side gap between front and rear panels.
 In FIG. 11 with the liner sheet cutaway, outside edges for film or coasted substrates 38, 39 indicate that film portions 43, 43′ extend beyond outer pad margins and are capable of being bonded to seal side margins and portions 27, 27′ of the end seals not in the pervious central area of overlap 9.
 In FIG. 11, each segment assembly 5′, 6′ includes a segment, sealed pad as described above and a liner sheet.
 In FIG. 11, a cutaway of the top pervious film shows pad 115′.
 In FIG. 11, pads are sealed in end areas 27 and side areas 28 (see FIGS. 4A, 4B), and enclosed between liner sheet 21 and segments 5, and between liner 22 and segment 6.
 In FIG. 12, the overlapped mirror image segments 5, 6, and similar cooperating pads 115,115′ (each with two extended wings) are shown with another pad 215 to provide triple pad thickness in the central area and single thichkness in each of the wing areas
 Outer segment assembly 5′ consists of segment 5, pad 115 with wings enclosed by film or substrates for margin seals which are positioned between segment 5 and liner sheet 22 (not shown).
 Segment assembly 6′ includes the same members in mirror image cooperation with pad 115′.
 In FIGS. 9A-11, the overlapping segments and pads as well as types of sealing are described in detail and used on the garment of FIG. 12.
 FIG. 12 is viewed from the inside. Pad 115 is bonded to and supported by panel 44 of pre-seleced width.
 Panel 44 is attached at both ends to inner segment 6 (see dashed spots at ends of the overlapped area).
 In FIG. 12, stretched elastic strands 45 are attached at spaced intervals to panel 44 and when the garment is folded about line F-F′ form shirred ‘cuff’ edges 46 of panel 44 see FIG. 13 also).
 In FIG. 13, panel 44 is attached at both ends to segment 6. Pad 115 is bonded to segment 5 along its full length. Outer assembly 5′ (segment 5 and pad 115 shown) is bonded to inner assembly 6′ (segment 6 and pad 115′) as at 12 in the rear panel only.
 The absence of bonding 12 in the front panel creates front panel opening 14..
 In FIG. 13, front and rear panels are attached with side margin tapes 19,19′. The front opening 14 between segment assemblies 5′,6′ is closed by attaching front closure tape 20 to a front panel portion of segment 6.
 In FIG. 14, a completed garment in use is opened by detaching closure tape 20 to expose pad 115 bonded to the front panel of outer segment 5.
 In FIG. 14, a supplemental pad 47 is placed between pad 115 and the inside surface of segment 6 for additional absorbency.
 Tab 48 extends beyond the margin of opening 14 and is grasped to remove the supplemental pad 47 for inspection or replacement.
 In FIG. 15, supplemental pad 47 is shown in place for use. Adhesive areas 48 are secured to the inside of segment 6.
 In FIG. 15 the pad is sealed along edges as at 50. Removalbe cover strips for adhesive 49 and a liner sheet are not shown.
 In FIG. 16A support panel 44 is attached at both ends to inside segment 6 and has stretched elastic strands that contract to form a shirred ‘pocket’ 46 (see FIG. 17) when the garment if folded for use.
 Aperture 51 allows a catheter tube to pass through panel 44.
 In FIG. 16B, aperture 52 in inside segment 6 allows the tube to pass through segment 6 and be directed rearward obove pad 15 affixed to the inside surface of segment 5.
 In FIG. 16C, segments 5, 6 are bonded together in area 12 of the rear panel. (see also FIG. 17). Pad 15 is bonded to a front portion of segment 5. The catheter tube is passed over pad 15 and through aperture 53 to an external reservoir.
 In FIG. 17, a garment is folded near in crotch area 4. Stretched elastic strands 45 contract the panel along both side margins to form shirred side edges 46 of a ‘pocket for body parts and a catheter or an absorbent pad.
 In FIG. 17, the catheter path is shown dashed and passes through three apertures, 51 in support panel 44, 52 in segment 6, and 53 in outer segment 5.
 It is further to be understood that the present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or special attributes; and it is therefore, not restrictive, reference being made to the appended claims rather than to the foregoing description to indicate the scope of the invention.
1. A disposable garment having a top rear panel portion on one side of a transverse fold line and a bottom front panel portion on the other side of a transverse fold line forming an intermediate crotch region comprising:
- first and second shaped segments each having a length between the rear panel and front panel end margins of the garment and a width substantially equal to one half width of the garment plus an amount for overlap,
- said first and second shaped segments superposed in partially overlapped mirror-image orientation forming overlapped first and second segments and innermost and outermost segments,
- said mirror image orientation defining a longitudinally extending overlapping central region of said garment,
- said shaped segments including curvilinear cutouts defining a crotch region intermediate front and rear panels and linear side margins on each segment,
- said first and second segments bonded together in the rear panel portion of the overlapped central area to define a unitary rear panel,
- said front panel opening defined by non-bonded surfaces of two facing areas in the front panel,
- an absorbent pad superposed with and selectively bonded between first and second segments,
- said pad having margins spaced from end and side margins of the overlapped segments, stretched elastic members bondably attached at intervals along a segment side margin and contractable within a pre-selected portion between end margins of a segment,
- at least one stretchable side fastening means protruding from the rear panel side margin of each segment,
- at least one central stretchable closure fastening means attached to said first segment of the front panel for securement of the first and second segments near the top of the front panel opening.
2. The garment of claim 1 wherein the absorbent pad is enclosed by impervious subtrates, bonded together around the pad periphery and having a pervious top surface to form a pad assemnly bonded to and between a segment and an inner liner sheet to form a segment assembly, said segment assembly joined to another to form a garment.
3. The garment of claim 1 wherein the pad between segments extends from near the front end margin to the crotch region and is bonded to the inside of the outer segment.
4 The garment of claim 1 wherein the pad between segments extends from adjacent the front and rear end margins and is bonded to the inside of the outer first segment.
5 The garment of claim 1 wherein a pad on a segment of the garment is located on both sides of a transverse fold line in the crotch region
6. The garment of claim 1 wherein a first pad between segments is attached to the first segment and operatively coacts with a mirror-image second pad attached to the inside of the second inner segment.
7 The garment of claim 6 wherein the first and coacting second pads include portions extending from the overlapped area toward the side margin of the front and rear panels.
8. The garment of claim 1 wherein an inside liner sheet of subtantially similar size and shape as a segment is bonded to end and side margins to enclose first an absorbent pad between a liner and segment before overlapping and bonding to other elements in the rear panel area.
9 The garment of claim 1 wherein a v-folded strip encloses a linear margin of at least one segment and an edge of at least one absorbent pad superposed thereon, and a liner sheet.
10. The garment of claim 1 wherein each of the segments is transversly extended along both linear side margins of the rear panel from the top end margin of the rear panel to the curvilinear crotch cutout for overlap of the front panel after being transversely folded..
11 The garment of claim 1 wherein the side fastening means has a length substantially equal to the length of the front panel side margin and operatively connects to the front panel to form waist and leg openings.
12 The garment of claim 1 wherein said side margin and front closure fastening means includes intermediate stretchable portions and each fastening means includes at least one resealable portion at an end.
13 The garment of claim 1 wherein the pad between segments cooperates with a second pad having pervious top and bottom surfaces said second pad superposed on and attached to the inner segment.
14 The garment of claim 1 wherein the absorbent pad between segments and a second pad attached to the inside of the assembled garment coact with a third pad attached to a support panel secured at the ends to the inside segment.
15 The garment of claim 14 wherein the width of the support panel is at least equal to the width of the overlap in the crotch region.
16 The garment of claim 1 wherein the end margins of a pad between segments terminates at a spaced distance from the front end of a garment assembly that includes a support panel with elastic strands to form cuffs in the support panel, with apertures in the overlapped segments and support panel defining a catheter path.
17 The garment of claim 1 wherein coextensive linear and curvilinear side margins of the first and second segments extend transversely beyond side margins of a pad between segments and have contractable stretched elastic strands attached to said segments at spaced intervals adjacent the crotch area, said strands being parallel to spaced from, and are contractable along the pre-selected longitudinal side margins of a segment.
18 The garment of claim 4 wherein a selected separate pad for the front panel overlapped area is inserted between unbonded segments of the front opening by the user and is held in place by selective attachment to one of the facing segmant surfaces that form the front opening.
Filed: Nov 25, 2002
Publication Date: Apr 10, 2003
Inventor: William P. Niedermeyer (Green Bay, WI)
Application Number: 10303215
International Classification: A41B009/02;