New ear from rib for girl mauled by raccoon

April 15, 2014 2:37:43 PM PDT
A girl attacked by a pet raccoon when she was a baby underwent groundbreaking surgery today to give her a new ear made from her rib.

11-year-old Charlotte Ponce's face was badly torn in the mauling, which occurred when she was just 3 months old, and left alone with the raccoon by her biological parents.

She was left with no nose or ear, and the right side of her face was heavily scarred.

Her great-aunt and uncle heard about the incident, and stepped in to adopt Charlotte.

Since then, her nose, lip, and cheek have been rebuilt, but she still didn't have an outer ear.

Today, surgeons carved rib cartilage to begin making that ear.

During the 6 to 8-hour surgery, plastic surgeon Dr. Kongkrit Chaiyasate, who also created Charlotte's new nose, shaped the cartilage into the ear.

"We need to create a framework, and we need to put that framework under a good area of skin, to allow the framework to stay and become part of the body," said Dr. Chaiyasate.

The frame was implanted under the skin of her forearm to grow.

About 8 weeks from now, doctors will remove it and attach it to her head.

The procedure has only been done twice before.

Charlotte says the best part of the new ear will be having BOTH ears pierced and wearing 2 earrings.