A massive localized trauma to the spinal cord results in complex pathologic events driven by necrosis and vascular damage which in turn leads to hemorrhage and edema. Severe, destructive and very protracted inflammatory response is characterized by infiltration by phagocytic macrophages of a site of injury which is converted into a cavity of injury (COI) surrounded by astroglial reaction mounted by the spinal cord. The tissue response to the spinal cord injury (SCI) has been poorly understood but the final outcome appears to be a mature syrinx filled with the cerebrospinal fluid with related neural tissue loss and permanent neurologic deficits. This paper reviews known pathologic mechanisms involved in the formation of the COI after SCI and discusses the integrative role of reactive astrogliosis in mechanisms involved in the removal of edema after the injury. A large proportion of edema fluid originating from the trauma and then from vasogenic edema related to persistent severe inflammation, may be moved into the COI in an active process involving astrogliosis and specifically over-expressed aquaporins.