BACKGROUND : Spinal cord injury (SCI) may result in neuromotor, sensory, and autonomic function damages. Edema because of spinal cord trauma can reach serious dimensions. The aim of this study was to histologically evaluate the effects of duraplasty on neural tissues. METHODS : Twenty-eight Wistar rats were randomly divided into 4 experimental groups: group 1 received laminectomy without SCI (sham); group 2 received laminectomy and SCI with the weight drop method; group 3 received laminectomy, SCI, and duraplasty within the first 6-8 hours of SCI; and group 4 received laminectomy, SCI, and duraplasty after 24 hours of SCI. The neurologic functions of the rats were tested periodically. All animals were euthanized 28 days after the surgery. Histopathologic and immunohistochemical evaluations were performed, and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used for statistical comparison of data between the groups. RESULTS : There was no significant difference in the Tarlov examination scores from different time points between the groups. The number of neurons stained with nuclear factor kappa beta was higher in group 3 than groups 1 and 4. The number of neurons stained with terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling was higher in group 2 than group 3. CONCLUSIONS : Decompressive laminectomy is a procedure frequently used in spinal trauma surgery. However, it is often unclear whether the decompression is fully adequate. Our results will aid the development of further studies regarding the reliability of duraplasty in the treatment of SCI.