Royal Oak Beaumont Doctor to Perform Facial Reconstructive Surgery on Girl Attacked by Raccoon
Charlotte Ponce, a 10-year-old who was attacked by a pet raccoon a decade ago, is set for surgery at Beaumont's Children's Hospital in Royal Oak where she'll get a new nose, ear and lips.
It's been a long time coming for 10-year-old Charlotte Ponce, a Michigan girl whose face was attacked by a raccoon when she was just an infant.
But on Aug. 15, Ponce will make her journey from Spring Lake to Royal Oak where she will place herself in the care of Dr. Kongkrit Chaiyasate at Beaumont Children's Hospital for the first step of her facial reconstructive surgery.
Dr. Chaiyasate, a plastic surgeon in the Craniofacial Clinic at Beaumont, will perform craniofacial reconstruction and microsurgery on Charlotte in order to reshape her nose, ear and lips.
When Charlotte was 3 and a half months old, her birth mother laid her down for a nap with a bottle and then left her unattended. The raccoon somehow got inside her room eating off parts of her face.
Tim Ponce, Charlotte's adoptive father, speculates that she might have some sort of milk on her face at the time.
Since the time of the accident, she has had over a half dozen surgeries, having been worked on by various doctors all over the state.
The technique that Dr. Chaiyasate will use on Charlotte involves transplanting tissue from one part of the body to another. Unlike skin grafting, the tissue must be disconnected and then reconnected in what Dr. Chaiyasate calls a very "high-risk" operation but one with minimal scarring.
"She needs a very complex construction for the nose, moderately complex for the lip and extremely complex for the ear," Dr. Chaiyasate explains. "It's very tedious and delicate work so we need a microscope to do it."
The skin for Charlotte's nasal lining with be transplated from her arm and forehead, the skin for her ear coming from her lip and her upper lip borrowing from her lower lip.
The entire procedure will take two years to complete, with each body part consisting of multiple stages. As an ongoing process, Charlotte will be asked to check in with her doctor every week.
"We've got to do it; someone has to do it," Dr. Chaiyasate says of the procedure. "She's 10 now and in the next few years, she will be paying attention to herself more and I just can't let it go, I have to fix it."
With Charlotte’s surgery fast approaching words of encouragement in cards, letters or postcards can be sent to Charlotte Ponce, PO Box 397, Fruitport MI 49415.