Background: After an acute traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI), the spinal cord is subjected to ischemia, hypoxia, and increased hydrostatic pressure which exacerbate further secondary damage and neuronal deficit. The purpose of this pilot study was to explore the use of near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) for non-invasive and real-time monitoring of these changes within the injured spinal cord in an animal model. NIRS is a non-invasive optical technique that utilizes light in the near infrared spectrum to monitor changes in the concentration of tissue chromophores from which alterations in tissues oxygenation and perfusion can be inferred in real time. Methods: A custom-made miniaturized NIRS sensor was developed to monitor spinal cord hemodynamics and oxygenation noninvasively and in real time simultaneously with invasive, intraparenchymal monitoring in a pig model of SCI. The spinal cord around the T10 injury site was instrumented with intraparenchymal probes inserted directly into the spinal cord to measure oxygen pressure, blood flow, and hydrostatic pressure, and the same region of the spinal cord was monitored with the custom-designed extradural NIRS probe. We investigated how well the extradural NIRS probe detected intraparenchymal changes adjacent to the injury site after alterations in systemic blood pressure, global hypoxia, and traumatic injury generated by a weight-drop contusion. Results: The NIRS sensor successfully identified periods of systemic hypoxia, re-ventilation and changes in spinal cord perfusion and oxygenation during alterations of mean arterial pressure and following spinal cord injury. Conclusion: This pilot study indicates that extradural NIRS monitoring of the spinal cord is feasible as a non-invasive optical method to identify changes in spinal cord hemodynamics and oxygenation in real time. Further development of this technique would allow clinicians to monitor real-time physiologic changes within the injured spinal cord during the acute post-injury period.