SPRING LAKE, Mich. (WWJ/AP) - A surgeon at a Detroit-area hospital plans to perform a procedure next week that will begin the process of giving a new ear to a western Michigan girl whose face was mauled by a pet raccoon when she was a baby.
The surgery for Charlotte Ponce is scheduled for Tuesday at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.
The Grand Rapids Press reports Dr. Kongkrit Chaiyasate will take cartilage from Charlotte's ribs and carve it into the shape of an ear using a computer-generated template based on the 11-year-old's other ear.
He'll implant the ear structure under the skin of Charlotte's forearm. In the next eight weeks, the skin will mold to the ear shape.
Charlotte has already gone through half a dozen reconstructive surgeries, including skin grafts from her forehead to replace some of the scar tissue between her eye and nose and extensive work rebuilding her nose and repairing her lip and cheek.
Charlotte was 3-months-old when she was attacked by a raccoon while left unattended at the family's home in Ravenna, near Muskegon. She barely survived the attack, and spent months in the hospital before being released. The animal had eaten away her nose, right ear, part of her lips and cheekbones.
She and her brother were adopted by their great-aunt and great-uncle in 2005 after Michigan terminated the biological parents' rights.
A website has been created so the public can follow Charlotte's journey and offer words of support along the way. Visit the website at this link.
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