New nose revealed for girl, 10, mauled by raccoon as a baby as first reconstructive surgery to repair her face hailed a success

New nose revealed for girl, 10, mauled by raccoon as a baby as first reconstructive surgery to repair her face hailed a success

Photographs have been released showing Charlotte Ponce’s new nose after the 10-year-old who had part of her face chewed off by a raccoon underwent reconstructive surgery last week.

The brave Spring Lake, Michigan, girl spent eight hours in surgery as doctors tried to repair the horrific damage she suffered as a baby, in the first of a series of arduous operations that will take place over the next two years.

Despite not being able to ride her bike or swim, Charlotte had no complaints on Wednesday, as she was discharged from Beaumont Hospital. ‘I’m okay and I have a nose,’ she told reporters at a news conference.
‘At first it was all puffy. It looked like a turkey beak and cat nose together but the swelling goes down every day. Now it looks better.’

Plastic surgeon Kongkrit Chaiyasate hailed the surgery a success, but insisted Charlotte’s peculiar-looking nose was not the finished product. Last week, they took tissue with a blood supply from Charlotte’s forearm to create a lining for her nose, folding it over on itself. It was a very delicate procedure to make sure the repositioned tissue has adequate blood flow.
‘The first operation I am very pleased with the result and the microsurgery technique was taken well,’ he said. ‘I have no concern at all.’

Charlotte will recover for six to eight more weeks before undergoing the next stage, building a solid structure to support the new nose, according to The Detroit News. It will take at least three more surgeries before the young girl will have a functional nose that matches her face and skin tone.

Then, in what Dr Chaiyasate said was one of the most difficult cases he had undertaken, surgeons will use part of Charlotte’s bottom lip to recreate her top lip. Finally, they will give her a new ear by carving out part of her rib and covering it with skin from her chest plate using microsurgery technique.
‘The goal is for a perfect nose, lip and ear,’ he said. ‘I can’t guarantee it but I can say I will treat her like my child.’

Charlotte said she had been up and about since the surgery but was missing playing outside.
‘I’ve been walking around and been doing stuff on one hand, but I can’t go outside,’ she said. ‘I used to ride my bike every day, even when it was raining.’

But her adoptive mother Sharon Ponce said she was not perturbed by the bulbous appearance of her new nose.
‘She’s so used to people looking at her differently that I just think she takes it in stride,’ Ms Ponce said.

Charlotte made headlines around the world when she was badly mauled by a pet raccoon that got into her crib 10 years ago. She was three-months-old when the animal chewed off her nose, ear and part of her lip.

The newborn baby had been left alone in her home by her 18-year-old mother and 23-year-old father. The raccoon was thought to have escaped from its cage after a door was left open when food had been dropped in.

They later lost custody of Charlotte and she was adopted by Tim and Sharon Ponce along with her brother who was aged 15 months. The children are their great-niece and -nephew.

Over the years Charlotte underwent six reconstructive surgery operations including having an artificial ear fitted. But now after friends raised more than $10,000 in Spring Lake, Michigan, she is to undergo a series of operations on her face that is hoped will restore her looks. Last week’s operation was the first in a series of procedures to create a new nose, repair her upper lip and create a new right ear for Charlotte.

The Ponce’s medical insurance will cover the cost of the operations but the cash raised will be used for transport and hotels for the repeated trips to hospital.

Sharon had quit her job at a daycare center to look after Charlotte after doctors said she would need full time care.

Charlotte has undergone previous surgery to repair the scars on her face and three years ago had a prosthetic ear fitted. After it became painful Sharon researched pediatric plastic surgeons and came across Dr Kongkrit Chaiyasate at the Beaumont Hospital’s Craniofacial and Cleft Palate Clinic. He agreed to remove the ear and carry out the new surgery.

Charlotte is happy to have the operations and has been responding to well wishers who donated money by writing a personal thank you note. She said she is looking forward to being able to eat popsicles. The first operation was carried out last Wednesday and family members said it had gone well with Charlotte resting.

At a recent fundraising event for Charlotte one of the visitors was the 911 dispatcher who took the frantic call from Charlotte’s parents after she had been mauled. The woman, identified by her first name Sharon, told the Ponces the frantic call was the worst she had even taken.


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