(SPRING LAKE, Mich.) — An 11-year-old girl mauled by raccoon as a baby is recovering from surgery to attach a makeshift ear that was grown on her arm.
Charlotte Ponce of Spring Lake, Michigan, lost her right ear, nose and part of her lip in the 2002 attack.
“The raccoon pretty much ate the right side of her face, all the way back to the ear,” Charlotte’s adoptive mom, Sharon Ponce, told ABC News in an earlier interview. “Now, all she wants is to wear two earrings.”
In April, Charlotte underwent a seven-hour surgery to embed an ear-shaped scaffold carefully crafted from her own rib cartilage and embedded under the skin of her right her arm.
Doctors at Beaumont Children’s Hospital in Royal Oak transplanted the man-made ear to Charlotte’s head Thursday, according to the hospital.
Dr. Kongkrit Chiayasate, the plastic surgeon who performed the operation, said Charlotte was doing well and recovering in the hospital’s intensive care unit, where blood flow to her new ear is being monitored.
“First time we met her, she never made any eye contact, did not talk at all,” Chiayasate said of Charlotte’s growing confidence. “In the past two years, she’s transformed. She’s got more confidence.”
Charlotte has undergone at least 10 operations since 2012 and might need revision surgery as her face grows, Chiayasate said.
“If you look at her face, she’s beautiful,” said Chiayasate of seeing Charlotte’s transformation. “It’s just like your own child seeing them grow up.”
As for earrings, Chiayasate said Charlotte would be able to wear them as soon as she recovers and they no longer pose and infection risk.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com
Rachel Sande, EastIdahoNews.com
Julie Wootton, Times-News
Jennifer Graham, Deseret News