Spinal training course with Laurence Rhines, M.D., director of the spine tumor program at MD Anderson.

The MECCA Laboratory welcomed its first neurosurgical training course in January 2012. Since, other surgical disciplines have followed, including courses in plastic surgery, head and neck dissection and thoracic study.


Surgical training goes modular

By Jacqueline Mason

The David C. Nicholson Microsurgical and Endoscopic Center for Clinical Applications brings cadaveric learning into the 21st century.

Modular workstations — Each of its 17 stations can be configured to support almost any surgical specialty or approach. Stations can be moved, modeled and removed from the 1,500-square-foot space to support the educational goal.

Integrated technology — Students never have to leave their workstations to gather around a proctor station. Each work station is equipped with overhead cameras attached to LED surgical lights, enabling one workstation to broadcast to the entire room and outside audiences via captured recordings. The same holds true for robotic and endoscopic observations.

Conferencing support — Adjacent conference rooms provide opportunities for follow-up discussions and distance learning.

“The foundation for surgical education is anatomy,” says Nicholas Levine, M.D., assistant professor in MD Anderson’s Department of Neurosurgery. “The beauty of having one space that’s modular is that you bring everyone together instead of having them use separate spaces with no cross-fertilization between activities.”


  • Spine surgery
    A spine surgery training course was held in the MECCA Lab in April 2013. 
  • Spine surgery
  • Spine surgery

    Laurence Rhines, M.D., professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at MD Anderson and director of the Spine Tumor Program, instructed the course. 

  • Spine surgery

    Participants received hands-on training using cadavers. 

  • spine surgery

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Q&A: Focus on brain surgery 

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