Embalming Tools

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Embalming is a centuries-old art.
Embalming is a centuries-old art. (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Embalming is performed on human remains to slow decomposition and ready the body for public viewing at a funeral. Many cultures practice embalming, using their own techniques and tools. The process usually involves four parts, from arterial embalming, which is the injection of embalming fluid into the veins, to surface embalming, which restores skin surfaces that might have been damaged. Tools used in embalming are varied and numerous.

Scissors

Scissors are an important tool in the embalming process. Artery and vein scissors are small and are used for cutting arteries and veins. Angular bandage scissors are needed for cutting bandages and clothing the deceased may be wearing. Utility scissors are used to cut tissues and ligatures; they can be sharp or dull pointed. Embalming scissors are used to cut arteries so that embalming fluid can be put into the body.

Embalming Machine

An embalming machine regulates the pressure and the flow of embalming fluid as it enters the body. The machine has two knobs that can be adjusted to get the perfect flow during the embalming process. Some embalming machines even pump the fluid in a similar way as the human heart, which helps to keep bodily tissues from swelling during the process. The less swelling, the better the body will look when the embalmer is finished.

The Trocar

The trocar is a tool used in cavity embalming; it suctions fluids out of internal organs and cavities. The trocar is a long metal tube that has sharp blades at one end and a hose connector at the opposite end; this end is connected to a suction device such as an aspirator. The trocar blades enter the abdomen and suction out all fluids.

Embalming Fluids

The arterial fluid, which is made up of preservatives, germicides, anticoagulants, dyes and perfume, is the most important fluid the embalmer uses. There are a wide variety of other fluids used as well. Pre-injection chemicals are used because they break up clots and condition the vessels. Another type of chemical is a co-injection chemical; it's used to restore dehydrated tissues and combat edema (excess fluid in the tissues). A cauterant fluid dries, seals and preserves open wounds.

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