What Does an Undertaker Do to a Body?

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An undertaker’s roll is to prepare a body for the embalming process as well a prepare the body for a funeral service if necessary. When an embalming takes place, an undertaker cleans the body, injects embalming fluid into the arteries, treats body cavities and other processes to prepare the body for burial, according to ListVerse. An undertaker is also known as an embalmer.

When an embalmer receives a body, the first thing done is a cleaning of the outside of the body with fluids. Then the undertaker starts to set the body by shaving, closing the eyes, sewing shut the mouth and flexing the arms, legs and fingers to keep rigor mortis from setting in.

After these steps, embalming the inside of the body begins. A scalpel is used to cut underneath the skin to find the carotid artery and jugular vein to begin processing fluids. A drain tube is placed to drain blood from the vascular system. An embalming machine regulates pressure of the fluids to ensure the body does not bloat. The amount of fluid needed depends upon the height and weight of the body. A successful embalming is usually indicated when the skin gets a rosy appearance, according to The Guardian.

The body is washed again, dressed and then placed in a casket for the funeral and burial. Although these steps are typical, in exceptional cases, such as murder, suicide or car accident, different methods are used to process bodies.