[en] Ante- and post-mortem MRI and detailed pathological examination were performed in a patient with a typical acute traumatic central cord syndrome (ATCCS) after a minor hyperextension injury to the neck who died 60 h later from heart failure. T2-weighted MRI showed a central hyperintense area at C3-4. There were disc protrusions, but no vertebral fracture or displacement. Histopathology disclosed severe axonal swelling and oedema in the dorsolateral fasciculi and, to a lesser degree, in the dorsal columns. In addition, an area of recent necrosis was found in the right anterior horn at C4-5. These findings suggest that the pathological hallmark of typical ATCCS is mechanical axonal disruption at a segmental level, but that more severe trauma may be accompanied by tissue destruction.