A mortuary is a room in hospitals where dead people are stored. They are refrigerated to prevent decomposition.

A mortuary can also be a separate business that offers services such as embalming, burial and cremation. Unlike standalone morgues, mortuaries attached to funeral homes can aid you during the entire process of mourning.


An autopsy is an examination of a dead body. It can be conducted for medical reasons or for criminal investigations. The results of an autopsy can help physicians diagnose and treat diseases or injuries. The procedure also helps families understand how their loved ones died.

Students in mortuary science programs often learn about the process of an autopsy, including how to prepare and operate the equipment needed for the procedure. They also learn about the laws and regulations governing the procedure.

People working on an autopsy should use proper protective garments. This includes a surgical scrub suit, disposable gown with full sleeve coverage and cuffed ties, facial protection (preferably a face shield) and resistant closed shoes. An additional layer of double surgical gloves is recommended. When finished, the pathologist prepares a detailed report on the findings of the gross, microscopic and special studies such as microbial cultures. This report is then transcribed, proofread and signed.


Embalming is a common practice that can help people say goodbye to their loved ones. It can also be used to prepare the body for viewing. It is not a requirement for burial, but it’s often needed when there will be an extended period of time between death and the funeral service or entombment. Embalming can also restore a damaged or disfigured body to make it look more like the person who died.

To embalm a body, the embalmer washes it and massages the limbs to relax the stiffness caused by rigor mortis. They then inject the body with an embalming solution through the arteries. The solution typically contains formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, methanol, ethanol and phenol. The embalmer may also add dyes to the solution to create a more life-like skin tone. After the embalming process is finished, the embalmer styles hair and applies makeup to help the body appear more natural. They can also apply moisturizers to hydrate the skin and make it feel soft.


Cremation is a popular option for funerals today, often because it saves money and allows for more personalization. It also helps to reduce land usage and protects the environment, as it eliminates the need for embalming chemicals that are dangerous to morticians and can leach into the earth and surrounding waterways.

The body is placed in a large furnace called a crematorium or retort and subjected to extreme heat, which reduces the remains to bone fragments and ash. Once the cremation process is complete, it takes several hours for the ashes to cool. The ashes are then inspected for metal remnants, such as pins or screws that were surgically removed from the body, and any of this debris is discarded or sent for recycling.

Cremations can cost more than traditional burials, but final expense life insurance — also known as burial insurance — can help pay for these expenses and other associated costs. You can read more about how this type of policy works here.


A body can be buried either in a casket or in the ground. In some cultures, burying the dead is considered the most holy of all acts. Some people choose to have a cremation rather than a burial.

If a loved one’s family wants to hold a viewing before the funeral, it may take a while for the body to be ready. This is because the body must be embalmed or refrigerated before a viewing can occur.

There is a risk that workers in the mortuary could contract disease from a corpse. However, the training that funeral directors receive includes lessons on worker safety. Sharps (scalpels, scissors and lancets) can pose a health risk.

Some funeral homes also offer burial insurance, which is a type of life insurance that pays out upon death. These policies can help families who cannot afford a traditional funeral or burial. The money can be used for anything the family wants, but it is typically earmarked for funeral expenses.

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