Embalming A to Z: Infant embalming procedures, Part 2

Date Published: 
October, 2006
Original Author: 
Todd Van Beck
A S Turner and Sons, Decatur, Georgia
Original Publication: 
ICFM Magazine, October 2006

One effective method of infant embalming utilizes a thoracic incision and hence a direct injection into the heart or the arch of the aorta. This method can only be implemented if the infant has not undergone a post mortem examination.

The arterial injection takes place directly into the left ventricle of the heart; drainage is received from the right atrium. Make a standard post mortem "Y" type of angular incision just below the clavicle toward the median line so that the two incisions meet on the median line at the level of the fourth rib.

Continue the "Y" incision down the median line to the lower border of the sternum. Here the tissue from the sternum and the ribs needs to be dissected.

Cut the ribs on both sides of the sternum with a sharp pair of scissors and be sure not to cut the upper end of the sternum loose from its articulation with the clavicle bones.  Then, grasping the lower ends of the sternum, lift it up and bend it backwards toward the infant's face.  Lift the exposed heart and carefully open up the pericardial sac so that you can free the heart from the confines of the sac.

While holding the heart, insert a curved medium sized arterial tube through the wall of the left ventricle in the direction of the aorta so that the end of the arterial injection tube lies within the chamber of the left ventricle.

No incision is necessary in the heart muscle to insert the arterial tube, because the muscular tissue will naturally fit tight around the arterial injection tube. It will not be necessary to ligate the arterial injection tube into the heart.

Drainage is obtained from the right atrium. You will not need to insert a drain tube, merely to make a small incision in the right atrium with a scalpel or sharp scissors and insert a pair of small spring forceps to hold the incision open.

To avoid swelling, you must be extremely careful to make sure that the amount of arterial fluid does not greatly exceed the amount of drainage. Inject 1 quart to 3 pints of mild arterial solution strength.

When using 2 concentrated ounces of a 5-index cosmetic-based arterial fluid, you should dilute this solution with a quality pre- or co-injection fluid to make 1 quart of fluid. Basically this is a waterless embalming technique.

Injection pressure should not exceed 1 to 1.5 pounds, and the rate of flow should be at a minimum. The procedure is simply a trickle effect injection.

It is not necessary to close the incision in the right atrium or the puncture incision in the left ventricle after arterial injection in completed.

Following completion of the arterial treatment, carefully place the heart back into its correct anatomical position in the thoracic cavity, return the sternum to its normal position and close the incision.

Your next step should be aspiration using an infant trocar and cavity treatment via injection of 8 to 12 ounces of concentrated low-odor cavity fluid.

I have used this method throughout my entire career. In the early years, we used these procedures and techniques without any consideration given to obtaining special permission from the family.

Times have changed. Since this technique creates an incision which closely resembles the "Y" type of incision used in performing thoracic autopsies, the liability risk to the funeral home is greatly increased.

Therefore, I strongly suggest that when you seek permission to embalm from the person executing the rights and duties of disposition, you include full procedural disclosures.




cavity injection is a simple method of embalming where the flow of fluid is controlled by what?

cavity injection is normaly used after aspiration has taken place. A cavity fluid is placed in a bottle and attatched to a trocar, a clear tube runs fron the cavity bottle to the trocar. the cavity fluid is injected via a gravity feed. The embalmer places the trocar into the umbilicle incision then holds the bottle up and then inverts it, thus creating a lfow of fluid from the bottle down the tube into the trocar. When you want to stem the flow of fluid you can place your finger over the vacume hole where the bottle is attached or simple turn the bottle over and bring it down.

Only in recent years have other countries began this process and it is the exception in many countries. Embalming is entirely American made and is not only a cash cow for funeral homes but a barbaric procedure which desecrates the body no matter how careful the mortician in handling body.
Ask any medical examiner if it truly protects public health and listen to their answers. It does not. Some diseases lie dormant in a body AFTER embalming.

There is nothing dignified about having one's mouth sewn or wired shut, plastic cups with spikes on them to hold the eyes closed, and having a trocar rammed into your Mother, Father, sister, brother, or son/daughter's abdomen to puncture organs so that they can be suctioned out. Then there is the issue of having one's anus and vagina stuffed with cotton. The process uses toxic chemicals which are flushed into our sewers along with those pureed livers, hearts, spleens, pancreas' which then also flow into our sewers. The average person does not realize that the current embalming process only buys enough time to view the body and impede the spoilage of a body. To truly 'embalm', the amount of formalin necessary would cause the body to look like leather and would not likely please the family at the viewing. It is barbaric, costly, and does not keep the body from deteriating. An enormous environmental problem is created in the process.

Factor in that, that as humans, we continue to populate the world and it is not rocket science that our land mass is finite as opposed to infinite. Where then do we bury all these people?

Logic: Cremation and dispursal of cremains or sitting them on the fireplace mantel makes far more sense, both environmentally and financially. After all, once we die, we are but flesh sans a soul.

Of course, funeral directors are in a stir because they are losing revenue in the process since creamation costs far less than a traditional funeral.

Do your homework and investigate on your own.

Cotton is stuffed into the anus and a woman's vagina.

Not material, fluids are put into the body to assist in disinfection, preservation, and restoration.

Im greatful for the embalming process and as far as barbaric I
Think cremating is barbaric. And not that it matters but people have
been exhumed for various reasons after being buried for years
And they were still preserved. I will be buried in special clothing
that has to do with my religion and I am thankful that embalming
makes that possible. Also you should do some research because
cremation pollutes the air and is also bad for the environment.
and the only cost difference is the casket.

Anonymous sounds like a real "expert" on the subject. If you want to be cremated, by all means, be cremated. To call the embalming procedure "barbaric" tells me you have a hidden agenda of some sort. Embalming began in the U.S. during the civil war period mainly as a means of sanitation and for public health.

i will like to know if there any other diferent method of embalming a pregnant woman

I would like to point out a couple of points of misinformation: 1) Embalming is not actually American made, it was refined to what it is today by Dr. Thomas Holmes, because of what happened during the civil war. Mothers wanted to be able to see the sons after being killed on the battle field and embalming made that possible. Dr. Thomas Holmes simply took was implemented during the days of ancient Egypt and refined it into more a simple surgical operation rather then separating the body from its bowls and preserving it in that fashion. Embalming (or preservation of remains) has been around since the dawn of time, one of the oldest professions right next to prostration. 2) As far as cremation being less barbaric and better on the environment that is also incorrect. As a funeral director, embalmer, and crematory operator there is nothing worse to see then a corpse half burnt while you have to reposition them half way through the cremation process. And better on the environment I think not, we are pumping hundreds of gallons of natural gas into the crematory inorder to cremate the remains. Nothing environmentally sound about that, then yes while we try to contain the amount of pollution that goes out of the chamber it is impossible to stop it. While on the other hand when embalming fluid breaks down chemically, it breaks down to nothing more then water and oxygen.

After seeing what I have in funeral service I say I'll take my chances with the embalmer and hope I can remain preserved for as long as possible. Much better in my book then being incinerated, stirred up and then have my bones pulled out and then pulverized. And I'm sure that if most people actually seen what happens in cremation and get it out of there heads that its not like easy bake oven (put a person in and ding 2hrs later, you open it up and there sits and urn) they would choose embalming.