Embalming is a process in which blood and gases are removed from a body and replacement fluids are pumped in to temporarily retard its disintegration.
During the process, which should
be conducted by a specially licensed embalmer, small incisions are made in the body and fluid is injected into arteries, while the blood is drained through the veins. The embalming fluid is a mixture of chemicals usually made up of methanol, formaldehyde, and ethanol. The body is then washed and sealed.
An autopsy can be performed on an embalmed body, although the embalming process must be conducted differently, with that in mind.
Embalming usually involves a number of final steps aimed at improving the body's appearance where there will be an open casket or public viewing. These aesthetic touches include setting and adjusting the facial features; adding structural enhancements and makeup to the hair, face, and hands; and dressing the body in specified clothing. Since the aim is to create a natural and lifelike appearance, it's helpful to provide the embalmer and others involved with the final preparations of the corpse with a recent picture of the deceased, and even grooming products or makeup that he or she used.