To study the development of post-traumatic spinal cord (SC) cysts, and their fine anatomic characteristics, rats were subjected to severe SC contusion. Specimens were analyzed from day 1 to 1 year post-injury. Using conventional light, and transmission and scanning electron microscopy, three stages were typified, namely: necrosis, repair, and stability. The final cell composition and thickness of the cyst walls were not uniform. Astrocytes, fibroblasts, ependymal cells, and collagen fibers were the main constituents. Chronic inflammatory cells were also observed. The neuropathologic characterization of posttraumatic SC cysts could be useful in planning strategies for SC reconstruction at different times post-injury.