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Explanation of the Embalming Process

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

dead body

Embalming is the process of preserving a deceased person's body through the use of chemicals and other treatment methods. The primary purpose of embalming is to delay decomposition and make the body presentable for public viewing or funeral ceremonies. The process is usually performed by an embalmer, in Ireland, there is no regulation or specific qualifications necessary to become an embalmer. Embalming is also not required by law and is at the total discretion of the family.

The first step in the embalming process is to clean the body and prepare it for the embalming fluids. This includes washing the body and hair and shaving any areas that may have hair (such as the face, underarms, and legs).

Next, the embalmer will make an incision in the jugular vein and another in the carotid artery, using a cannula the embalming fluid is injected through the carotid artery which in turn pushes the blood around the body and it’s released through the incision in the jugular vein. This is how the embalmer replaces the blood with embalming fluid. The fluid is a mixture of water, formaldehyde, and other chemicals, which work to preserve and disinfect the body.

After the embalming fluid is injected into the body, the embalmer will use various techniques to massage the body and work the fluid into the tissue. This helps to further disinfect the body and distribute the preservative chemicals evenly throughout the tissue.

After injecting the embalming fluid it’s important for the embalmer to aspirate the intestines and thoracic cavity of the deceased with a trocar. This is done to release any gases or fluid buildup that could potentially be pushed out of the nose, mouth or bowel.

Once the embalming process is complete, the embalmer will close the incisions, dress the body, and prepare it for viewing, cremation, resomation or burial.

Remember, embalming is not legally required by law, but in many cases, embalming is done when a public viewing or a funeral service will be held.

Some alternatives to embalming include refrigeration, burial in a natural setting.

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