The Friendly Funeralista

Funky funeral term: embalming

Posted on: June 17, 2011

Porti-boy embalming machine

Believe it or not, most funeral directors only spend about 10% of their day working with the dead.  What is interesting is the fact that it is the 10%  that most people are most curious about.  So here goes …

Embalming

Definition:  The disinfection, preservation and restoration of a dead human body. 

The specifics: 

The disinfection process involves bathing the deceased and cleansing the ears, nose, mouth and eyes using disinfectant soaps and sprays. 

The preservation aspect occurs when the bodily fluids of the remains are removed and replaced with a preservative fluid.  This involves injecting fluid into an artery and allowing the displaced blood to be removed from a vein.  This process is not unlike a blood transfusion.  Fluids, gases, and solids are removed from the abdominal and thoracic cavities and replaced by preservative fluid.  This process is not unlike a liposuction operation. 

 Restorative procedures include closing of the eyes and mouth, washing and styling the hair, cleaning the fingernails, applying cosmetics, placing and positioning the deceased in the casket.  Other restorative procedures may involve rebuilding the features of the deceased in situations where the deceased underwent a great deal of trauma, or filling out the features in the case where the deceased lost a great deal of weight. 

All of these procedures are performed in order to slow down the decomposition process and to present the deceased for viewing in a dignified fashion until the time of burial, cremation or entombment.  Most mental health professionals believe that viewing the remains of the deceased is helpful for the mourners as seeing the body will lead to acceptance of the death.

Preparation Room

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