We describe technical pitfalls of a porcine brain injury model for identifying primary and secondary pathological sequelae following brain retraction by brain spatula. In 16 anaesthetised male pigs, the right frontal brain was retracted in the interhemispheric fissure by a brain spatulum with varying pressures applied by the gravitational force of weights from 10 to 70 g for a duration of 30 min. The retracted brain tissue was monitored for changes in intracranial pressure and perfusion of the cortex using a Laser Doppler Perfusion Imager (MoorLDI). To evaluate the extent of oedema and cortical contusions, MRI was performed 30 min and 72 h after brain retraction. Following the MR scan, the retracted brain areas were histopathologically assessed using H&E and Fluoro-Jade B staining for neuronal damage. Sinus occlusion occurred in four animals, resulting in bilateral cortical contusions and extensive brain oedema. Retracting the brain with weights of 70 g (n = 4) caused extensive oedema on FLAIR images that correlated clinically with a hemiparesis in three animals. Morphologically, an increased number of Fluoro-Jade B-positive neurons were found. A sequential decrease in weights prevented functional deficits in animals. A retraction pressure applied by 10-g weights (n = 7) caused a mean rise in intracranial pressure to 4.0 +/- 3.1 mm Hg, and a decrement in mean cortical perfusion from 740.8 +/- 41.5 to 693.8 +/- 72.4 PU/cm2 (P < 0.24). A meticulous dissection of the interhemispheric fissure and a reduction of weights to 10 g were found to be mandatory to study the cortical impact caused by brain spatula reproducibly.