Physician Spotlight - Dr. Panetta Leads Microsurgery to Ease Lymphedema

Dr. Nicholas J. Panetta has established USF Health and Moffitt Cancer Center’s comprehensive program in the surgical management of lymphedema, performing microsurgical procedures to treat cancer related lymphedema. These cutting-edge treatments include lymphovenous bypass, vascularized lymph node transfer, and suction assisted lipectomy. 

Plastic Surgery 

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Breast Oncology

Education & Training


  • Plastic Surgery
  • General Surgery


  • Stanford University - Plastic Surgery Research Fellowship
  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center - Microvascular and Reconstructive Surgery


  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center - Plastic Surgery
  • University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine - Surgery


  • Indiana University School of Medicine - MD

Dr. Panetta is an Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Plastic Surgery at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, as well as faculty in the Breast Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center. In addition to the surgical management of lymphedema, Dr. Panetta practices the most advanced breast reconstruction techniques, with expertise in microsurgical free flap reconstruction (SIEA, DIEP, muscle-sparing free TRAM, GAP, TUG), nipple-sparing reconstruction, direct-to-implant one-stage reconstruction, and oncoplastic “breast-sparing” reconstruction. 

Dr. Panetta’s practice encompasses the entire broad spectrum of plastic surgery, including general reconstructive surgery and aesthetic surgery. His research interests are focused on clinical outcomes of the surgical management of cancer related lymphedema, as well as the development of novel cell-based therapies utilizing adipose-derived stem cells. 

Dr. Panetta graduated from Indiana University with a degree in biology. Subsequently, he matriculated at the Indiana University School of Medicine, where he graduated with a distinction of Honors in Surgery in 2004. He completed his general surgery training at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, and is board certified in general surgery.  He completed a plastic surgery research fellowship at Stanford University, where he served as the Hagey Fellow in Pediatric Regenerative Medicine. Following the completion of his general surgery training, he completed a three-year residency in plastic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Subsequently, he remained in Pittsburgh to complete further fellowship training in microvascular and reconstructive surgery. He has been on faculty in the division of plastic surgery at the University of South Florida since the completion of his training. 

Dr. Panetta is a member of the American College of Surgeons, the American Society of Plastic Surgery, and the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery, the Southeastern Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and the American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons. He has been awarded the American College of Surgeons Resident Research Scholarship, the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health Child Health Research Institute Award (Stanford University), and was co-investigator on a NIH/NIDCR R21 grant. To date, he has been lead or contributing author on over 60 published abstracts, manuscripts, and book chapters, and regularly lectures in scientific and clinical research at regional and national meetings.

To refer a patient to Moffitt’s breast program, complete our online form or contact a physician liaison.