PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Lilliana Parrales was born with facial differences that her family feared would be subject to bullying.
But cutting-edge surgery at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia transformed the 5-year-old's life and she's now finishing her first year with a new ear.
Lilliana had just turned five when Dr. Jordan Swanson and his team at CHOP constructed an artificial ear.
She was born with hemifacial microsomia, which causes part of the face not to develop. She was also born without an ear.
"She finally got the courage to look in the mirror and be like, 'Oh it's just an ear','' said mom Angelina Parrales. "Since then, her confidence spiked so much."
Angelina and her husband opted into the surgery.
Traditionally, the procedure would have taken several procedures to use cartilage from Lilliana's ribs, but thanks to a new method, it only took five to six hours to construct an ear
"One of the interesting things about ears is that by about five years of age, our ears are about 90% of adult size, so in her case, we slightly overexpanded from the size of her other ear when we planned the construction of her ear, but it won't grow much from here," said Dr. Swanson.
As for Dr. Swanson, he says he does this type of reconstructive surgery once a month.