Embalming

In the United States, embalming is a widely practiced procedure. An important exception involves the burial practices of Orthodox Judaism (32) which forbids embalming and application of cosmetics. For the transportation of bodies, embalming sometimes is required by state law. For example, in Minnesota, embalming is required unless the person dead of a noncommu-nicable disease is buried within 72 h after death. In Florida, embalming is not required at all.

Embalming consists of arterial infusion of embalming fluid and trocar perforation of the viscera. In bodies without extensive postmortem clotting, the arterial infusion is typically through a right subclavian skin incision, with access to the right common carotid artery after division of the sternocleidomas-toid muscle. If bodies do not perfuse well, the brachial arteries may be accessed through axillary incisions, or the femoral arteries may be accessed through incisions below the inguinal ligaments. After autopsy, the aortic arch vessels and the external iliac arteries can be accessed directly.

In the second stage of embalming, a trocar is used to perforate the left side of the abdomen, and then to aspirate any liquids from the chest, abdomen, and pelvis, followed by infusion of embalming fluid. Arterial embalming fluid contains methanol, formalin, and orange dye. Trocar work is not necessary after autopsy.

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