In order to quantify degenerative and regenerative changes and analyze the contribution of multiple factors to the outcome after neurite transection, we cultured adult mouse dorsal root ganglion neurons, and with a precise laser beam, we transected the nerve fibers they extended. Cell preparations were continuously visualized for 24 h with time-lapse microscopy. More distal cuts caused a more elongated field of degeneration, while thicker neurites degenerated faster than thinner ones. Transected neurites degenerated more if the uncut neurites of the same neuron simultaneously degenerated. If any of these uncut processes regenerated, the transected neurites underwent less degeneration. Regeneration of neurites was limited to distal cuts. Unipolar neurons had shorter regeneration than multipolar ones. Branching slowed the regenerative process, while simultaneous degeneration of uncut neurites increased it. Proximal lesions, small neuronal size, and extensive and rapid neurite degeneration were predictive of death of an injured neuron, which typically displayed necrotic rather than apoptotic form. In conclusion, this in vitro model proved useful in unmasking many new aspects and correlates of mechanically-induced neurite injury.