Activated microglia are involved in secondary injury after acute spinal cord injury (SCI) and in development of spinal cord-related neuropathic pain (NeP). The aim of the study was to assess expression of translocator protein 18 kDa (TSPO) as an indicator of microglial activation and to investigate visualization of the dynamics of activated microglia in the injured spinal cord using PET imaging with -[C]PK11195, a specific ligand for TSPO. In SCI chimeric animal models, TSPO was expressed mainly in activated microglia. Accumulation of -[H]PK11195 was confirmed in autoradiography and its dynamics in the injured spinal cord were visualized by -[C]PK11195 PET imaging in the acute phase after SCI. In clinical application of -[C]PK11195 PET/MRI of the cervical spinal cord in patients with NeP related to cervical disorders, uptake was found in cases up to 10 months after injury or surgery. No uptake could be visualized in the injured spinal cord in patients with chronic NeP at more than 1 year after injury or surgery, regardless of the degree of NeP. However, a positive correlation was found between standardized uptake value ratio and the severity of NeP, suggesting the potential of clinical application for objective evaluation of chronic NeP.