Charlotte Ponce, 10, of Spring Lake, will undergo her fourth surgery today to reconstruct her nose and upper lip. when she was an infant, left the West Michigan girl severely disfigured.
Surrounded by her favorite stuffed animals and a new Furby toy, Charlotte was a trooper this morning as the Beaumont team prepared her for surgery.
Dr. Kongkrit Chaiyasate, of Beaumont's Craniofacial Clinic, completed the first stage of Charlotte’s nose reconstruction in August. In the first procedure Chaiyasate and his surgical team took tissue with a blood supply from Charlotte’s forearm to create a lining for her new nose.
During Charlotte's second procedure in October, Chaiyasate took skin from the girl's forehead and pulled it down over the nose lining that was constructed during the first procedure. Chaiyasate also built a structural support for Charlotte’s nose using her ribs.
The last facial reconstruction surgery took place Nov. 2, in which the medical team thinned her nose, enhancing its shape and they began reconstructing her upper lip. Skin from her lower lip was grafted to create an upper lip.
Today Chaiyasate is expected to continue thinning Charlotte's nose and working on her upper lip.
Each surgery is getting easier for the family, according to Charlotte's mother Sharon Ponce.
"The first surgery was eight hours, the next was six and the last one was five hours," Sharon said. "Today's surgery is only expected to be a couple of hours and then her last surgery is in two weeks."
Her Nov. 30 procedure gives her a chance to heal before revealing her new face in time for Christmas, Chaiyasate said. Then the family will take a break until the spring when the girl is expected to come back for an ear reconstruction procedure—the first of its kind according to Chaiyasate.
You can follow Charlotte's story at http://royaloak.patch.com/topics/charlotte-ponce.
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Letters, postcards, etc. may be sent to:
Charlotte Rose Ponce
PO Box 397
Fruitport, MI 49415