In modern Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS), lack of visualization and haptic feedback information are the main
obstacles. The spinal cord is a part of the central nervous system (CNS). It is a continuation of the brain stem, carries
motor and sensory messages between CNS and the rest of body, and mediates numerous spinal reflexes. Spinal cord and
spinal nerves are of great importance but vulnerable, once injured it may result in severe consequences to patients, e.g.
paralysis. Raman Spectroscopy has been proved to be an effective and powerful tool in biological and biomedical
applications as it works in a rapid, non-invasive and label-free way. It can provide molecular vibrational features of
tissue samples and reflect content and proportion of protein, nucleic acids lipids etc. Due to the distinct chemical
compositions spinal nerves have, we proposed that spinal nerves can be identified from other types of tissues by using
Raman spectroscopy. Ex vivo experiments were first done on samples taken from swine backbones. Comparative
spectral data of swine spinal cord, spinal nerves and adjacent tissues (i.e. membrane layer of the spinal cord, muscle,
bone and fatty tissue) are obtained by a Raman micro-spectroscopic system and the peak assignment is done. Then the
average spectra of all categories of samples are averaged and normalized to the same scale to see the difference against
each other. The results verified the feasibility of spinal cord and spinal nerves identification by using Raman
spectroscopy. Besides, a fiber-optic Raman sensing system including a miniature Raman sensor for future study is also
introduced. This Raman sensor can be embedded into surgical tools for MISS.