Wednesday, December 26, 2018

→ Embalming Tissue Gas- Training Video

Embalming tissue gas training
Embalming Tissue Gas -Training Video from Your Mortuary Magic Store on Vimeo.

Twas the night after Christmas,
and all through the night,
there was bacteria growing causing great fright,
they call it tissue gas and for good reason,
we share our training for tis' the season,

"Embalm the Nightmare like a Dream"

Monday, December 24, 2018

→ Merry Christmas- Frankie Baby!

Merry Christmas!
embalming machine

Give a gift that keeps on giving to a fellow embalmer or mortuary science student!
Flash Sale, machines marked down 30% !

Visit us on the web at,

Sunday, December 23, 2018

→ Product Advertisement- Chemical Applicators

Chemical Applicator from Your Mortuary Magic Store on Vimeo.

Chemical Applicators-

Micro Friction catalysts create heat increasing the reaction rates because of the disproportionately large increase in the number of high energy collisions. These collisions produce superior results-

Greater efficiency-

Less chemical vapors-

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

→ Embalming Solution - Recipe

Is there really much a difference between a first generation embalmer or a fourth generation embalmer? We're going to consider it, or we have quite a bit before writing this so read on. Remember this post is written by an embalmer not a chef, so pardon the poor culinary analogy.

What are the ingredients to a successful embalming? To start, a warm body will make flowing fluid nice and simple. A nice oil or silicon based arterial solution will aid distribution of preservative. Last, a tried and tested procedure of injection and drainage- Carotid Artery & Jugular Vein. So if this was cooking, our recipe is three parts. The corpulence of the body, the chemicals in the tank and the method of the procedure. Obviously the reality of all we do as embalmers is much more dynamic than this. What about the individual who is performing the operation? So we have the recipe and we are counting on the chef to make our dish. Yet if any of these components goes awry, our dish is spoiled.

There are more than a few great embalmers who honor their ancestors in having chosen the same career path as other family members. Equally, there are just as many great embalmers who do not have family in the profession. There is much to be said for an embalming recipe which is handed down- it worked before and will continue to. Realize we are not just talking about training, this is likely the same for both individuals. We are talking about learning life from an embalmer, starting since we are young. Surely the embalmers way of thinking and reasoning would influence one developmentally. What about those that have been handed a different life recipe, from a parent or another family member with a different career path? Is it not reasonable to comprehend their recipe might contribute to success in the embalming room or the embalming profession? Both individuals may use their life experience as a source of empowerment to do better. If you have not already done so, realize what has been entrusted to you and move forward knowing what you bring to the table. Remember, the resources available today make it incredibly easy for anyone to develop skills and techniques almost overnight- provided they are willing to put in the work.

Now lets have some fun with our previous example. Our ingredients have changed, we have a refrigerated case which fluid will not flow easily into or out of. For the sake of our example, let's say we have learned if our chemicals and procedure remain constant the results will be poor. We might have a generational embalmer suggest an old recipe for this case, a method they mastered, pre-injection against a closed vein. Maybe the first generation embalmer suggests getting the injection off starting from the aorta, using a Director Cannula. Or vice versa. Neither embalmer would be wrong in their approach to solving the identified problem and both embalmers by their reasoning show they care enough to do better.

I share this recipe for our next generation of embalmers, communication and collaboration among one another will better our industry. Don't turn anyone away who is willing to work hard or learn. We are all on the same team and each of us bring a specific flavor to the dish. Too much of the same stuff, no good. Too much stuff and not enough substance, no good. Find a way to establish growth among embalmers in your prep room. This way no matter what groceries you pick up at the store, you can still serve a five star meal.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

→ How the Embalming Machine Broke

Maybe your wondering how your machine broke-
Maybe you just wanted to learn more about your equipment-
Maybe your just curious about what we had to say-

Enjoy the show!

→ Press Release of the Frank - Embalm Machine

The Frank - Embalm Embalming Machine
A sincere thank you to Nomis Publications, Inc.
Website includes
Build & Price tool-
Test Simulator-
And more...

Order now →

Sunday, December 16, 2018

→ Product Advertisement- Postmaster Line

Postmaster Line from Your Mortuary Magic Store on Vimeo.

So you think you're a POSTMASTER?
Have you picked up-

The Postmaster's Squid -
Tapered "Y" splitters and medical clamps all in place and ready for the autopsy case. Control or inject all six vessels at once. Count on a squid to for uniform even distribution!
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The Postmaster's Tee-Bone -
Aspiration "Tee" with a true no clog design. Thumb controlled aspiration. Designed to drop anything large, before an aspiration problem starts.
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Friday, December 14, 2018

→ Product Advertisement- Hulk Aspirator

Aspiration Adapter
Really sucks-
Tough to clog-
Simple design-

The advantage of removing the backflow base from your aspirator is with this vacuum boost tubing all openings from trocar to exit increase in size.  This aids the embalming from ever having to take the time to reverse the flow and fix a clog. If used with reversibke flow all openings are still larger in size, if ever any issues arise maintenenance is simple. Two philips head screws, remove base, remove any buildup and debris.

Vacuum boost tubing is specific to whether you have your backflow base (reversible flow option) attached or not.

Order now →

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

→ Advanced Methodology- Embalming

Old is the song about embalming chemicals- the one about choosing and selecting the right chemicals for the case at hand. Please, don't misunderstand, I'm not suggesting this isn't important or that you shouldn't know chemicals. I am quite simply saying, it might just be time to change the record, at least for a bit ( Yes, record the thing people used to listen to before tapes or CD's ).

The Frederick & Strub embalming book maybe says this best.  Because mine isn't available at the moment, you will just have to take my paraphrasing for what it is. < begin poor paraphrasing > When the embalmer makes an adjustment according to the case, results will improve < end poor paraphrasing >. How many times recently have you made an adjustment based upon your case analysis? Of adjustments, did we re-think methodically or only chemically?

Considerations made of injection and drainage site per case, has often proven to be a great advantage in eliminating post mortem staining or achieving distribution to apparent problem areas. Less experienced embalmers may have a tendency to stick to what they know. I do not support or encourage this approach, especially "under development" as new embalmers often are. Alike, too often experienced embalmers approach similarly, as it's not broke let's not break it. I do not support or encourage this either, in fact learned embalmers should continue learning. Further, they should have worked hard enough to have established the foundation necessary to feel comfortable trying new things ( Remember, don't use a nail if the project calls for a screw- you just might have to go back and do it again! ). My advice to every embalmer, expect the expected. If you don't use your sense, you might pay for it in dollars later- in our case, doing a six pointer or worse, disappointing a family.

What new techniques or instruments have you come accross recently? Have they served you well in you efforts? For example, the bra-strap incision, at first this might be a real challenge for an embalmer.  If you were going to attempt it for the first time, I'd say to think autopsy case or even practice dissection on an autopsy case first. You might start by locating and raising the subclavian vessels and later realize you can also reach your carotid artery and jugular vein. As an evolved embalmer, going forward you may choose to make all your incisions this way. Where others will need more incisions in distribution failures, you won't. After subclavian successes you might begin to feel the emphasis of restricted cervical injection is exaggerated.

New instruments call new skill. Proficiency is achieved in practice. In practice knowledge is formed. Mastery requires all of oneself- it is achieved by developing all of ones skills, techniques, proficiencies and knowledge in practice to their fullest potential.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

→Chemical Diffusion and Embalming

Chemical Diffusion and Embalming from Your Mortuary Magic Store on Vimeo.

This video is called Chemical Diffusion and Embalming
We are covering the basic rules of diffusion- a quick and easy video for understanding chemical diffusion and how it relates to embalming!
3 Minutes 39 Seconds-

Friday, December 7, 2018

→ Chemical Supplier Converter

Chemical converter image

Web App

So maybe your working in a new prep room-
and your usual chemicals aren't around.

Maybe your tired of getting the wrong stuff-
and it's time to try someone new!

Or perhaps your talking with a friend-
and your just not speaking the same language.

* To add a supplier to our app- comp it to the rest and send it our way*

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

→ Index- Chemical Science & Embalming

I'd prefer to start off mentioning one of my favorite books as a kid, Frog & Toad by Arnold Lobel.  Maybe you're already wondering what my mention has to do with embalming? Let's say I am trying to make up for the horrible things we are about to do a frog-in theory.

Imagine a bucket and fill it with 112 ounces of water.  Next, we shall add our favorite 30 Index arterial fluid (suppliers I will name your chemical here, just write me a check-first come first serve!)If we place these figures into our Original EmbalmCalc App the total solution index is 3.750%.

Now sadly for Mr. Frog(representing tissue of the body), when we place him in the bucket-he dies(call a trustworthy firm). Over time, our solution will begin to diffuse and evenly distribute throughout his body. If we express Mr. Frog as 16oz we can calculate that over time the new total solution index will become 3.333%. As for Mr. Frog he has been preserved to the efficacy of a 3.333% chemical with pressure applied by force of surrounding liquid and gravity.

To continue our experiment, lets fill another bucket with 128 ounces of water. Remove Mr. Frog from his dire situation and place him in our new bucket. He will not come back to life. Yet over time, preservative which has made its way into his tissue will leave. The index will again evenly distribute and diffuse from Mr. Frog into the fresh water diluting our index to 0.370%.

Now for our practical application of these concepts.  An Embalmer injects 3 gallons into a deceased person using 2 bottles of arterial at 30 index. He/she has distributed to every vessel in the body. If our embalmer mixes a new solution of 2 gallons using 1 bottle of arterial at 30 index, will the embalmer achieve greater preservation?

*First to post answer can redeem a magic store promo code*

**R.I.P. Mr. Frog**

→ Embalming and Pressure Video

Embalming and Pressure from Your Mortuary Magic Store on Vimeo.

This video is called Pressure and Embalming
We are covering: Pressure measured in the embalming machine- Pressure measured within the vascular system-and more!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

→ Diffusion- Chemical Science & Embalming

To be up front, do NOT consider this to be the greatest source of information about chemistry.  In fact, failing in a chemistry class among students a couple years older than I was the beginning of my chemistry education.  Let this instead be the most practical explanation of "diffusion" and why it matters to embalmers.

Diffusion, at a basic understanding, can be described as a process where molecules are evenly dispersed over time. This transport will happen from an area of high concentration to low concentration. Gravity and edema is a fitting example any embalmer can understand. Consider gravity and its affect on water retained in the body. In this example we can expect fluid to be retained in the legs.  Logically the greatest volume or concentration of fluid would be at the lowest parts of the legs. If we would elevate the legs into the air, fluid would move from a high concentration area to a lower concentration area.  To be more specific, fluid would move from the legs towards the abdomen. In science we describe this process as diffusion.

There are many factors which can influence diffusion.  Understanding these factors assists the embalmer to apply the most effective techniques.  For instance, temperature is a way to influence diffusion.  It is also a reason many experts suggest using warm water within the fluid solution. On the micro level, molecules when cold move the slowest, while molecules hot move the fastest. The movement or lack there of aides and inhibits the transport of molecules which occurs during the diffusion process. This is part of the challenge which many embalmers face during extreme refrigerated cases.

Several other factors contribute to our complete understanding of diffusion. Permeability of cell walls can be drastically affected by polar ions such as calcium, chloride or salts.  Talking permeability, smaller molecules will have an easier time passing as compared to larger molecules. Also, thicker walls are harder to pass while thinner walls are easier to pass. Considering all of this, we wouldn't be able to pass anything without force.  We measure force as pressure. Pressure is a quantitative measurement of force which can be taken at any site or location. As in our example, legs elevated, we are using gravity to generate negative pressure in the low fluid concentration area ( abdomen ) and generate positive pressure in the high fluid concentration area ( legs ). Similarly under injection we are using the pump motor to force fluid and generate postive pressure against the vascular wall. As the pressure increases, the speed at which fluid ( high concentration ) diffuses into the low concentration areas ( the tissues ) increases.

Do you agree having covered temperature, pressure and permeability as it relates to diffusion benefits embalmers? In my opinion, the preservation of not only the deceased but also the art and science of embalming depends on it. Diffusion is what embalmers today count on to saturate and restore tissue for viewing purposes.

Monday, November 26, 2018

→ What to Inject while you're Injecting: Low-High

Embalming Low Pressure High Flow from Your Mortuary Magic Store on Vimeo.

This is the third installment of the 'What to Inject while you're Injecting Series'
Low Pressure / High Flow settings
Do you already know what happens?

The series will cover embalming with the various settings of your 'Centrifugal' style embalming machine!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

→ Embalming Methodology- Old School

For our purposes we are calling this embalming technique, "Old School".  For those embalmers who know it, the name is out of respect for those still using it.  With respect for the the veterans of the profession, some young embalmers have learned why this old trick should never be forgotten.

The method is simple really, this is one of my personal favorites for apparent difficult cases (cases you'd expect to raise more than one vessel). Make a selection of an artery.  Be sure NOT to rupture any vessels in the process. If one should break, take care to use a locking forcep to restrict drainage. Incise the artery and insert a cannula, my preference is to utilize a Director Cannula to obtain access to the aorta.  This is helpful to reduce the possibility of post embalming swelling.

Estimate the deceased total body weight and take note.  Begin to inject without drainage the total body weight in ounces (you most likely will not need to inject the entire solution). For this method to work well, your pressure setting must be high (at least greater than 20) and it is wise to heavily restrict your rate of flow (trickle treat folks).  Take notice of the superficial vessels as an indication of fluid distribution.  Continue injection so long as swelling does not occur and until adequate firmness is achieved.  Massage during and after injection and apply warm water over the deceased (this accelerates the firming effects, heat provides ATP for the RXN).  Adequate and thorough aspiration following injection is very important as this will serve as the only means to remove blood from the body.

For best results consider handling these cases with a higher index solution or even waterless. For waterless cases, consider using the Pressure Pump Injector. This hand pump permits high pressure injection with ease-one bottle at a time-with trigger control.

This high pressure style embalming method we call "Old School" more than makes up for its distribution limitations with exceptional diffusion (high to low-low to high concentration). Embalming text supports heavily drainage being overated, we won't agree entirely.  We acknowledge the importance of drainage to achieve a lifelike appearance.  With that being said "Old School" remains as a tried and tested approach every embalmer can count on. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

→ The Director Cannula

The Director Cannula from Your Mortuary Magic Store on Vimeo.

Direct while you Inject-

Embalm the arch of the aorta via the subclavian artery using one of these 16 inch cannula's-
Promote fluid flow to the legs-
Manipulate your injection site-

Order now →

Sunday, November 18, 2018

→ What to Inject while you're Injecting: High-Low

This is the first installment of the 'What to Inject while you're Injecting Series'
High Pressure / Low Flow settings
Do you already know what happens?

The series will cover embalming with the various settings of your 'Centrifugal' style embalming machine!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

→ Waterless Embalming- Theory & Practical Application


Practical Applications Include: Decomposition / Edema / Trauma or Restoration Cases
Within the bounds of our topic, I must share the words of a great mentor who often said-
“ An embalmers ability is not well demonstrated or established with cases with little difficulty- it can be quantifiably measured by the progress made in times of trial and failure. ”
When or how might an embalmer make the determination to go waterless? The first step would be to judge not simply the case at hand, but also yourself. To be true and honest with the skills you possess is necessary to understand the limitations of your own capabilities. Second, how compromised is the case you are called to serve? A very clear indicator for me, as an embalmer, is the signs of marbling. Marbling is the apparent darkened discoloration of the superficial venous system. With this condition, one can reasonably expect the venous system in its decomposed state to have changed. Expect the expected- weaker vessel strength and decreased ability, or complete loss of the ability, to return blood or fluid (drainage).
Signs of decomposition should not be the only qualifier. For our purposes, we might also add cases of edema or restoration-that require rapid firmness. If we compare our most straightforward embalming cases with our more difficult cases, what can we learn? Would we agree that most straightforward cases required a lower chemical concentration and had significantly greater distribution to vessels as compared to the difficult cases. Having developed a case intuition or case analysis skill, the embalmer is provided the opportunity to adjust their method. Based upon the results presented- is it not reasonable to believe there might be a correlation between distribution and chemical concentration? If we accept these results and are honest with our limitations, we can grow. For as Jake Huard said, “To achieve we must believe”. If we continue to develop this belief, we might suggest that an increased chemical concentration can do well to compensate for poor distribution. When employed properly, results will show that this is true. Mastery of this skill requires a broad knowledge of the various difficult cases.
Edema is known to challenge even skilled embalmers. It is well known by expert embalmers, to adjust their fluid concentration to account for the added water. By estimating the volume of retained fluid- embalmers deduct this value from the water added to their fluid mixture. While the higher concentration of fluid enters the tissue- chemical concentration decreases. Though the concept is fairly straightforward, this is truly an art as much as a science.
In closing, trauma may be one of the greatest challenges an embalmer can face. Repairing tissue without first preservation could fail even the most skilled restorative artists. By experiencing the challenge of restoring poorly preserved tissue, restorative artists can learn to advantage their work with greater preservation.
-The Mortuary Scientist

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

→ What to Inject while you're Injecting: Low-Low

This is the first installment of the 'What to Inject while you're Injecting Series'
Low Pressure / Low Flow settings
Do you already know what happens?

The series will cover embalming with the various settings of your 'Centrifugal' style embalming machine!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

→ Centrifugal Style Embalming Pumps

Centrifugal Style Embalming Pumps from Your Mortuary Magic Store on Vimeo.

Need to fix your embalming machine?
Want to learn more about it?
Maybe you just want to be better at what you do.

This video is just for you- and yeah I know I say 'Centrifugal' wrong! I will correct it in my next video!

Friday, November 2, 2018

→ New Video Ad- Pressure Pump Injector

Originally designed to revolutionize gravity feed cavity treatment-what was discovered was much more.  Undiluted pre-injections, hypodermics, high pressure power that puts machines to shame and even water-less cases-the pressure pump injector changes the game.  Screw on a standard 16 oz fluid bottle and get to work.  Intended for use with Tygon Tubing- 3/8 ID , 5/8 OD, 1/8 Wall.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

→ Product Review & Testimonials

We hope you have been enjoying our products.
Your feedback is always appreciated.
Feel free to post your honest testimonial.

Please include product, some firm information and frequency of use.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

→ Human Pressure Cooker - Physical Science & Embalming

The abdominal evomo has made its way into our reading content. That stinks! For those of you who do not know what this is—the abdominal evomo refers to belly gas. First and foremost, if you haven’t read about what to do with an air pressure system, please refer back to our previous article.
For those that have read, let us get down to where it comes from and why it’s growing. The Clostridium Perfringens bacteria is present in approximately 80% of food poisoning deaths. Oddly enough, keeping food clean is a real challenge in our world, and when we age our body has a difficult time fighting things off. When we die from gas build-up or food poisoning, the death will mimic a heart attack. If there is a history of heart disease in the family (pretty much a guarantee, as “cardiopulmonary arrest” is the most commonly used immediate cause of death among physicians), there might be a doctor in the house willing to sign off that this death was heart related. However, do not be fooled. The presence of Clostridium generally goes hand-in-hand with fecal matter within our intestines. The bacteria is common enough that upon death, its presence will double every five minutes. Coincidentally, upon our death the body enters a state known as algor mortis, which refers to our temperature rising for a short time following death. Heat, as we know in chemical reactions, supplies energy and increases the number of reactions. In simple terms, if we heat fecal matter, we will produce more gas than if we left it alone. If you thought it wasn’t going to get worse, well, get ready. As the gas becomes trapped within the abdomen, forming a abdominal evomo, the air or gas compresses and pressurizes. Within our current understanding of chemistry, pressurized matter can reduce the energy needed for reaction. This can be best understood by the cold boiling process. To be put simply, if you pressurize fluid enough it can be brought to a boil without even becoming hot. As applied to our example, gas can be produced more and more rapidly every second.
As this process continues, the migration of this bacteria into the vascular system becomes more real. Once inside the vascular system, the bacteria will eat the sugar and fats, producing more and more gas and odor. Every step of the way, there will be a barrier of vapor lock left in its wake until it reaches the brain. If the bacteria arrives at the brain, we have a true case of embalmer’s nightmare. Due to the sugary and fatty tissue of the brain, the bacteria will produce large volumes of gas which will distort the facial tissue of the deceased, making it near impossible to restore. So with understanding this process and how it happens, it serves us well to remember to never allow the abdomen to rise higher than the chest. Read on for the rest.
-The Mortuary Scientist

→ Abnormal Pressure Systems - Physical Science & Embalming

Much like a UFO, specific cases yield many questions unanswered for embalmers. Furthermore, what we are able to detect with our eyes often still limits us from gathering all the details we need to do the best job. It was once said that an embalmer’s greatest disappointment or regret is never having the ability to get the same person twice. Hopefully as we grow together, we are able to keep good enough records and data to still advance and improve our capabilities.
While performing case analysis, it is essential that the embalmer is attentive to potential fluid or air obstruction which will prevent fluid traveling throughout the vascular system. Air obstructions might be regarded as the highest priority for the embalmer’s attention. Permitting the complete escape of air is the optimal result, however, we often can fall short of this expectation. Persistent channeling to release air may be necessary as the embalming process progresses. Often, a trocar is used to permit the escape of gas; however, this can often lead to just an intermittent release of gas. Following up the initial escape of gas with forceps or scissors can make an easier path for gas to travel through, despite what other obstructions may be present.
If air remains within the path of travel, fluid by nature has a very difficult time overcoming this obstruction. As fluid travels upstream against gravity without any air present, its ability to travel well is significantly impacted. When air is present in the vessel between fluid, a circumstance known as vapor lock occurs. This is great cause for concern, as truly there is no way to overcome this distribution issue without force, otherwise known as pressure. To even better understand this, know that air has the ability to compress, making it more and more challenging for a fluid to try to overcome it. We have already explained the negatives of a high internal pressure of the arterial system, so now we have the present problem of how we overcome vapor lock without also sacrificing the appearance of the deceased. We will cover the methodology that has been proven to overcome the embalmer’s nightmare, but you will have to keep reading. For now just remember, if its air, it stinks, so do what you can and let it loose!
-The Mortuary Scientist

→ Displacement - Physical Science & Embalming

Flowing fluid may travel fast or slow, it can be in large vessels or small vessels, or it can be in some vessels but not others. Due to the complexity of the vascular system, its beauty, for one, it is easier to disregard all this knowledge and continue as operated. If this information makes your head hurt as much as mine, try and remember the old phrase, “No pain no gain!”
As common hand pumps, syringes, machine pumps, and even gravity feeds are provided to the embalmer, please accept that they do not aid the embalmer very well to calculate displacement. The embalmer is left to calculate this all on his or her own, and it is done usually from memory and frame of reference. Displacement is the measure of volume over time. It is not a complicated concept for us to understand; like miles per hour, so, ounces per minute. All of the above mentioned instruments used to inject or displace fluid have a force that can be calculated. Some of the above have the ability to restrict or regulate flow as well. It should be noted that when we regulate or restrict flow, we conversely influence or affect pressure. Yet when we measure displacement, it remains constant until we adjust one of the previous two variables: pressure or flow, if available. This is why perhaps our most significant frame of reference as we embalm is not the dials, numbers, and switches, but the displacement. We can calculate this visually with our imagination, yet however well this might work for us, we can do better using a flowmeter. As we connect a flowmeter to an embalming machine, we can better understand how adjusting these variables can affect the displacement of fluid from the machine. From our machine, pump settings as “high pressure with very restricted flow” can yield a displacement value the same as “low pressure with moderate rate of flow.” So what is the difference, you might ask? Sorry to disappoint you, that is not covered yet.
To answer the question, there isn’t much of a difference in either of these examples. Both methods rely on pressurizing the arterial system slowly. The pressurized arterial system next begins to dilate the smaller vessels, and so on and so forth. It is important to move slowly at the beginning stages of embalming, for reasons best known to the vascular system itself. Factors such as time of death and refrigeration, to name a few, will lead to pooled blood throughout the arterial system. Pushing the pooled blood deeper into smaller vessels will cause distribution issues for the embalmer. The goal of the embalmer initially would be to distribute the fluid well, and next to pressurize all of the vascular pathways that have been opened. See our former chapter about why fast moving fluid will aid the embalmer in distributing fluid.
The embalmer’s ability to learn more about Physical sciences as it relates to embalming can prove as useful a tool as an aneurysm hook. Holding the vascular system in high regard and understanding how fluid will or will not move within it will aid the embalmer during challenging cases where there are multiple pressure systems being encountered, from air, to fluid within the abdomen, and everything else.
-The Mortuary Scientist

→ Pre-injection - Physical Science & Embalming

Wait a minute, this is supposed to be about Physical embalming—pre-injections are chemicals! We together have made some serious strides thus far, so thank you for reading. You did read this right, and it is important to support data and claims as we progress, so excuse me if this seems as though we have digressed. We haven’t, yet.
Undoubtedly, pre-injections have certainly proven themselves valid to those who have taken the time to see the effect they have prior to arterial embalming. Consider what they are. We could just ask the chemical company, couldn’t we? They break up and help push clots, is what I am told. Yet, I’ve never seen it dissolve a clot or some pooled blood. Would you agree that maybe we should stick to what we can touch and see right in front of us? Most pre-injection fluids are slippery as ever, they are generally thicker than water or arterial chemical, and they have color. Let us together consider what something slippery might do inside the vascular system. We have already established that restricted drainage will slow fluid movement within the vascular system, causing pressure to increase. How would high internal pressure benefit the embalmer? High internal pressure of the large vessels will lead to dilation of additional smaller vessel pathways. Not enough pressure within the large vessels will not permit the passage of fluid to the smaller pathways.
So what is the negative to high internal pressure within the body? If the pressure in the large and small vessels gets too high, the result could be devastating for families. Swollen tissue or severely dehydrated tissue could be the result. So how does this challenge of the embalmer relate to pre-injections, or pre-injection fluid for that matter? Read on.
Please visualize fluid traveling through a large diameter pipe to a smaller diameter pipe. From the small end of the pipe, fluid is able to escape through a very tiny hole. Consider what happens as we flow fluid from the large diameter pipe at a constant rate of gallons per second through the pipe and out of the small diameter end. Fluid entering the large diameter and leaving would be the exact same volume. So visually, we would see a large stream entering traveling apparently slowly, as compared to a tiny stream exiting traveling apparently much faster. This is not the same system we have while we are performing arterial embalming. The variable we would need to change and consider is the pipe. We have two very different vessel types: veins and arteries. For our purposes, in this example visualize the pipe being an artery. This artery is only capable of holding so much pressure before it has a negative consequence to the appearance of features. How would a slippery viscous fluid help the situation? Well, in short, it reduces the drag or friction within the vessel or pipe. Friction or drag would slow fluid down, while lubrication would help to keep speed. More simply, pre-injection fluid permits a higher pressure system within the vessels as compared to without. Furthermore, we talked about the Venturi effect and how it is enacted upon cross sections in the vessels. Well, increasing the density or viscosity of fluid will, by the Venturi formula, increase the suction or vacuum being enacted on pooled blood or clots.
The comment often heard is, “Wait a minute, I embalm with high pressure all the time! It isn’t dangerous, and the body looks great.” Interested to know what can be said about this? Well, we are pretty close to tackling this topic from an engineering perspective, so please read on.
-The Mortuary Scientist

→ High Speed Low Drag - Physical Science & Embalming

As an embalmer, you may be a fan of good drainage. Good drainage has long been linked with great distribution. If you have been reading, you now better understand why.
Great drainage requires high flow. Flow in and out at high speed will yield many positive effects. Distribution, blood or staining removal, and “whip,” to name a few. We might agree “whip” is not something we often hear discussed among embalmers. To be put simply, “whip” is the desaturation of tissue. It is an effect that happens when flowing fluid travels fast enough to pull from surrounding tissue. Take the time to concentrate on how this works. Visualize a car traveling under 5 MPH in a straight line. Air in front of the car will be pushed around the car and air will replace the space behind that car as the car moves forward. Now picture this same car traveling above 190 MPH, also in a straight line. The car will cut through the air, leaving a trail in the vehicle’s wake empty. Air will rush to fill this space rapidly from the surrounding area. This is much like what happens as fluid travels fast through the vascular system. The vessels will draw fluid from the surrounding tissue. This is a physical means that can be used to reduce edematous tissue. The embalmer must consider and account for drainage being near equal to the displacement of fluid via injection. To utilize this method to its full potential, the embalmer must also consider the injection point and drainage point.
As an example, consider the injection site at the right common carotid artery with injection south towards the heart, with drainage via the jugular vein. Generalized edema is observed within the legs. This method is going to promote fluid remaining within the body, and be only partially effective to desaturate the legs. Compare the above method to an injection site at the right common carotid artery with a cannula deep within the abdominal aorta and drainage via the femoral arteries. With delivery of the fluid closer to the target location, fluid has less of an ability to travel via other vessels, therefore increasing the volume of fluid being delivered to the area. Subsequently, the drainage from this area can now be greater. By being closer to the target location, the embalmer can affect or influence the drainage with more control, using drainage instruments designed to pull fluid. These instruments which pull fluid will only increase the speed of drainage and therefore increase the desaturation of tissue.
It is wise of the embalmer to consider their approach to be certain that they have spent the proper amount of time desaturating tissues, as well as saturating tissues, to achieve proper preservation. From injection to drainage, where, why and how. Furthermore, the particular case circumstances of as example edema location is necessary to maximize the results of the embalming process.
-The Mortuary Scientist

→ Fast & Slow - Physical Science & Embalming

To address how distribution is directly affected by drainage, one must thoroughly understand “fluid in motion” vs. “fluid not in motion.” Fluid which is moving or flowing, as we better understand, is considered to be low in pressure. Conversely, if fluid is not moving or flowing, the fluid is considered to have high pressure. As an example, fluid within a vessel flowing in and out equally is without pressure, and so will not saturate the surrounding tissue. If drainage was restricted, pressure would accumulate within the vessel and saturate the surrounding tissue. To have a greater understanding of this, considering reading more on “Bernoulli Principle.”
In our previous chapter, our example described how low pressure could have a greater ability to distribute fluid. Without pressure, how could this be? It is important to realize that flow and pressure are not mutually exclusive. For example, you can have fluid moving very fast at high pressure, and moving slowly with low pressure. For our purposes, please continue to allow slow to be high pressure, and fast to be low pressure. The result of greater distribution with low pressure or fast flowing fluid traces back to vascular design. There are many cross-sections of vessels throughout the vascular system, on both the arterial side and the venous side. After death, pooled or still blood will coagulate, forming thick masses which can obstruct or impact the flow of fluid. Other circumstances, such as true clots or obstructions, may also exist and pose greater challenges to the embalmer. When we flow fluid across these section of vessels, we enact a “Venturi effect” upon the obstructions. The Venturi effect is a vacuum, or suction effect, that works much like a hydro-aspirator. The obstructions are pulled into the larger vessels where they then can easily travel out. This process is known as vascular clot removal.
While fast moving fluid or low pressure does not always have the ability to saturate tissue, it most certainly has the greatest ability to remove obstructions. Conversely, though slow moving fluid or high pressure will certainly saturate tissue, it does not have the easiest time pushing a clot out of the body. The arterial system narrows towards extremities, and so the idea behind pushing an obstruction through a narrower and narrower vessel is just not plausible. Furthermore, the pressure needed to achieve this poses a risk of swelling the features everywhere in circulation from injection site to obstruction.
-The Mortuary Scientist

→ Distribution - Physical Science & Embalming

There are a seemingly endless amount of combinations of mixtures and solutions an embalmer might create per case. For our purposes of discussing fluid dynamics, please consider water being mixed with your favorite arterial solution. This fluid is now capable of entering the human body and preserving it for a finite amount of time.
What is most significant about our solution is that it must make contact with the area we intend to preserve. For it to affect and preserve tissue, it must be able to reach, saturate, and act upon the tissue. Perhaps the first greatest adversity for the embalmer is reaching the area. Secondly, has enough fluid arrived to saturate the tissue without distortion? And lastly, has enough time elapsed before the fluid leaving for it to reach its full preservation potential?
So how does it get there? Embalmers commonly advise on their methodology: “high pressure and low rate of flow,” “low pressure and low rate of flow”—it seems there might be enough combinations to make someone’s head explode. Let’s for now agree to revisit those concepts at a later time, but remember it is very significant.
For our purposes now, we will be using the “Mortuary Magic Hand”. We can restrict flow enough that it slowly enters the hand. Once we see fluid draining, if we stop drainage then we are now pressurizing the tissue in the hand. As per our flow restriction, as time goes on the tissues of the hand will become more and more saturated in the areas we have distributed fluid. This fluid will not necessarily reach all of the areas of the hand we might have intended. If we were to start and stop drainage, we might see it distribute more thoroughly. If you already know why this is, great job. If you don’t, please consider or try and visualize why.
Consider another method commonly employed by embalmers: concurrent drainage. This time, we will inject the hand and not restrict drainage in any way. In fact, while fluid begins to escape freely, we will decrease the restriction of injection flow. This will increase the displacement of fluid into the hand, where it will enter at a rate faster than it can escape. This method will also saturate the tissue, but you might notice that distribution of fluid will happen on its own.
In our next chapter, we will begin to address why this is.
-The Mortuary Scientist

→ Intro - Physical Science Embalming

The chemistry of science as it relates to embalming has been long analyzed and interpreted by many. This article is to bring to light the science that has been less acknowledged by the embalming community. We refer to the science of Physics to explain the physical science of flowing fluids, specifically fluid dynamics.
Physical science in conjunction with the Chemical science is responsible for the embalming procedure, and knowledge of one without the other can ultimately lead to a failed operation and an unsatisfied client family. The Physical science of embalming accounts for how fluid is distributed within the vascular system, whereas the Chemical science accounts for the effect the fluid will have on the tissue. A good knowledge of both will lead the embalmer to a greater understanding of where and how to make adjustments to achieve positive results.
As a short example, please consider a known working solution for an edema case. The water has been retained within the legs of the deceased. The operator will use a waterless solution of a high index chemical, and consider salts as well. The operator will use a single point injection via carotid artery and drainage from the jugular vein. This Chemical approach to the problem can prove successful in reducing the tissue in the legs; however, it could cause massive dehydration to the upper extremities. So allow us to ask: is there a Physical approach to this problem which could yield greater results with less effort or room for error?
You might agree, after reading on, that there are many superior Physical approaches to this problem.
-The Mortuary Scientist