The Embalming Process

The art of preserving the body of the deceased has roots to Ancient Egypt as early as 6000 B.C. Embalming can take place due to either religious reasons or sanitation concerns. In today’s world, embalming is a personal preference, and often depends on the visitation or service arrangements made by family. As funeral professionals, we are often asked about the preparation aspect of our business. Here is a summary of how it happens.

The Embalming Process, Step by Step

Before the embalming begins, the body is washed in a disinfectant solution. Limbs are massaged to relieve the stiffening of the joints and muscles. Any necessary shaving would also take place at this time.Your loved ones eyes are closed using glue or plastic eye caps that sit on the eye and hold the eyelid in place. The lower jaw is secured by wires or sewing. Once the jaw is secured the mouth can be manipulated into the desired position. During the surgical portion of embalming process, the blood is removed from the body through the veins and replaced with formaldehyde-based chemicals through the arteries. The embalming solution may also contain glutaraldehyde, methanol, ethanol, phenol, water, and dyes. After the arterial embalming, the body’s cavities must be embalmed as well. A small incision is made in the lower part of the deceased’s abdomen and a trocar (a sharp surgical instrument) is inserted into the body cavity. The organs in the chest cavity and the abdomen are then punctured and drained of gas and fluid contents. Formaldehyde-based chemicals are subsequently injected. Once the incision is sutured, the body is fully embalmed. After the surgical components of the embalming are complete, an appropriate amount of cosmetics are applied to the deceased. Hair will be washed and set depending on family’s preferences. Your loved one will be dressed in any clothing that has been provided. Following the cosmetization and dressing, the deceased is placed into a casket and prepared for visitation or service.