Embalming — a tradition that began in ancient Egypt — is a practice people use to prepare the bodies of the deceased as part of funeral arrangements. The procedure helps families preserve their loved ones for the funeral or memorial services before final burial or disposition. While embalming is a standard part of funeral arrangements, many don’t know what the process entails.

Read on to learn about the process of embalming.

What Is Embalming?

The modern embalming process consists of preserving a deceased body by removing blood and fluids and replacing them with chemical solutions that help keep the body from decaying and decomposing too quickly. People often choose to have the deceased embalmed so the body has a lifelike appearance while on public display on mourning days. Embalming is also practiced for long-distance transportation or scientific and medical purposes, like anatomical research.

The process is most common in the United States and Canada. There are no regulations or rules requiring embalming in New York. However, embalming is required for public viewings.

The embalming should begin as soon as possible.

Why Is Embalming Used?

People have various reasons why they may want to embalm the deceased. Some of the main objectives include:

  • Sanitizing and disinfecting the body
  • Making the body more presentable for viewing
  • Preserving the body

By preparing the body to last longer before decaying, those who need to say goodbye will have the chance to. Embalming can help people give their final goodbyes and have a final, positive memory of the deceased. The embalmer can set the decedent’s features to help make them more visually appealing.

Embalmers can remove signs of sickness and trauma so the body looks like it did when alive. If your loved one had hollow cheeks, sunken eyes, cuts, bruises or any other wounds at the time of death, embalmers have special techniques to repair them.

An embalmed body can last indefinitely, depending on the type and amount of chemicals used in the fluids to preserve the body. If the funeral or burial needs to happen later, embalming is often a popular way to keep the body so it still looks presentable by the viewing day.

How Long Does It Take to Embalm a Body?

The entire embalming process can take an hour to three hours to complete, depending on the body’s condition and all the procedures that need to occur. If the deceased needs more cosmetic work, the process can take more time.

How Embalming Works: Step by Step

Whether planning a loved one’s funeral arrangements or your own for the future, learning about the embalming process can help you better understand what goes into it. The embalming process consists of two procedures — surgical and cosmetic. Here’s how embalming works, step by step:

1. Preparation

Before embalming begins, the body must undergo preparation, cleaning and disinfection. Embalmers will wash the body with disinfectant and shave if necessary. They also will relieve any limb stiffness by massaging them so that they can easily pose the body.

The face also receives work to ensure it holds shape during visitation hours. Embalmers can set facial features.

2. Surgery

Embalming is a surgical procedure used to preserve bodies. To begin, embalmers replace the body’s blood with preservative fluids. The liquids are often formaldehyde-based chemical solutions. Once the arterial embalming is complete, embalmers move on to cavity embalming.

The organs and internal cavities also need draining when someone dies and undergoes embalming. The embalmer will inject another chemical mixture into the internal cavities.

All bodily excretions and blood are disposed of in a sanitary manner.

With the surgical steps complete, the embalming is too.

3. Cosmetics

Some people take embalming a step further by adding cosmetics to the deceased, helping prepare the body for a visually pleasing appearance. Embalmers will ensure your loved one looks their best. They will add an appropriate amount of makeup to the decedent to give them a natural skin color and appearance.

They can also wash and style the hair to look clean and fresh. Embalmers will also ensure the nails receive a manicure so the deceased’s hands are presentable. To finish the cosmetics, the embalmer can dress your loved one in the clothes you provide.

When you choose to have an open casket or viewing, embalmers ensure they complete the process promptly to ensure your loved one looks peaceful.

Contact Bronx Funeral Home

When you want to have your loved one embalmed, come to Joseph A. Lucchese Funeral Home. We can help you plan your loved one’s funeral and ensure all their wishes for their memorial comes to life.

Joseph A. Lucchese Funeral Home helps you stay strong during times of loss. We offer several services, from traditional burials and cremations to green burials and veteran funeral benefits, to ensure your loved one and family receive the respect and support necessary. You can count on us to supply you with everything you need to have a beautiful ceremony. Our team works with you to deliver a personalized experience that honors your loved one.

You can rely on us when you need embalming and funeral arrangements in New York. To learn more about our embalming process or begin planning a funeral, complete our online contact form or call us at 718-828-1800.

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